AN: Just a little ditty inspired by the need to get a portfolio together for University. Concrit would be loved muchly.
It was brought to my attention that I switched the twins around. Here they are in their proper places, haha. XD
To Whom it May Concern,
Unintelligent, dumb, stupid, foolish, the words have always hung on the edge of my existence. They aren't ever said, just tiptoed around cautiously for fear that I might grow up feeling neglected or inferior or whatever.
Because God knows that I'm not Myles. I'm not an Artemis either. I'm just me, unintelligent, dumb, stupid, foolish little old me.
Even Myles learned not to insult me early on. One of my first memories is of him bursting into my room with a book on child psychology in hand.
"Beckett, do you ever feel undermined by my nickname for you?" He had asked, concern evident in his voice.
I had looked at him incredulously, I'm sure, though it's fuzzy. I hadn't known what "undermined" had even meant then. All I knew was that Myles had called me simpletoon for as long as he could talk. I had worked out that it was a vaguely insulting term a while ago, but I had grown used to it.
Myles had looked so distraught. "It says here that children who are bullied by their siblings can grow up to have security issues and may turn into bullies themselves."
I hadn't said anything, just stared at him.
"Have I had a negative effect on your upbringing?" He had enquired.
"N-no…" I had stuttered, not really comprehending.
Myles hadn't seemed all that convinced. He left the room muttering to himself about the lack of education provided by our parents.
I think that we were five at the time. My parents still tell the story to their friends when they think we aren't listening. They laugh at how adorable we were as children. I am still a bit embarrassed by it.
My parents are both intelligent people. Vastly so, in fact, and they knew a lot about raising children. I think that was the problem.
Like I said before, I never heard anyone say anything about my lack of brain power. Well, except Myles, who eventually grew out of his fearful stage and realized that it was normal for brothers to poke and prod each other. He didn't feel bad about calling me simpletoon when the word nerd flew so easily off my tongue.
It was the adults that were the problem. They shuffled around me as if I were dying. Dying of terminal stupidity, I guess, because I didn't know what other problem I could have.
Everyone was always so happy to see me. Oh look, the idiot, smile and make him feel welcome, was written on their faces every time I entered a room. They were so eager to praise me about everything I ever did.
As I child I was certain that they loved me more than they did Myles. After all, they always told me that my finger paintings were spectacular and beautiful and used flowery words that I didn't even really know.
When I began to grow up I realized that it was because next to me Myles was showing off his nearly perfect replica of a Dali. They didn't want me to feel so inferior. It wasn't until I was seven or so that I started becoming paranoid. Every smile had felt fake; every compliment had started to wear thin.
My mother was most understanding. Or maybe that's not the right word; it could have been that she was the most worried about me of them all. She had pushed me into piano lessons and drama lessons and art lessons and even dance lessons. I had willingly obliged, also wanting to find my niche in this house of geniuses. My older brother would correct me and say that I should be typing genii. My twin would disagree and say that geniuses was correct. They could debate this subject for hours, arguing over rules of grammar and the English language.
While the words stupid, unintelligent, foolish and dumb may not have been used often at my house the word genius most certainly was.
My family, you see, has always been an interesting bunch. My father was the head of a crime empire for most of his life. Nowadays he's just your run-of-the-mill billionaire. My older brother is only thirty-three, and he's already one of the richest people in the world. He has made leaps and bounds of discoveries in the field of medical research, released ground-breaking technology to the world and earned billions of dollars from his business empire. My twin brother has, at age seventeen, has degrees from several different universities. He is a famous psychologist and also dabbles in stock.
So, as you can see, it is difficult to live in the house. I am guessing that you are beginning to understand why all of the adults around me acted the way they did.
If there's one other word overused in my household it is the word normal. I almost prefer stupid. There's nothing worse than being praised for being so normal. Normal is a veiled insult. Normal means average, unremarkable, unoriginal.
But that's the word that my parents shoved on me.
Beckett, you don't need to be ashamed of your grades, they're normal. Beckett, thank God we have you, the normal one in the family. Beckett, take Myles out, help him be more normal.
They're so abnormal that they think that it's some sort of compliment. Let me tell you one thing, it's not. Not in any way, shape or form does it feel good to be called normal. Not when you have my family.
My mom always made me do the normal stuff. But I never lasted in any of her lessons for very long. Music? Hah, I can play acoustic guitar, but my brothers are walking orchestras. Art? Please, my whole family has been forging masterpieces for generations, I can barely manage still life. Athletics? Not with Butlers around, you'll only feel weak and useless.
Finally, in the oddest place, I found something.
It was at school, of all places. I had never liked school. My grades were well enough. I was more intelligent than most, though you would never have guessed by the way that my family treated me. It's just when I thought of school I thought of Myles. By this time I was thirteen. Myles was away at University for the first time, and I missed him so much. As different as we are, he's my twin. We are night and day, yin and yang, though Myles would scold me for the cliches. Sometimes I swear we can read each others' thoughts.
But that's not the point. I didn't like school because I thought of Myles. And all of the teachers expected me to be like Myles or Artemis (my older brother). They saw the name Fowl and nearly combusted with enthusiasm. When they found out that I was just your average kind-of-smart kid, they deflated. It wasn't a nice thing to watch. So I resented it, as all teenagers will do.
However, in English class that year we were required to write a poem for a contest. The class around me had groaned, but I was strangely excited.
I penned a few words, huddled up in my room. They had flowed easily, the ribbons of ink streaming onto the page. I had thought that normal.
I hadn't written just one poem, though. No, they came out of me almost violently. I had stayed up most of the night. The hardest part had been choosing one. In the end I had picked one randomly, not really thinking much of any of them.
About a month later the teacher had entered the class, vibrating with excitement. She announced that I had won! She handed back our papers, mine with a lovely A+ on it, and a little note chastizing my handwriting.
My family, of course, blew it out of proportion. When Myles had won his million dollar science grant we hadn't had a dinner so fancy or a party so big. I knew that I was being patronized. The big commotion that was being made just proved to me even more that they didn't really think that the petty little contest was worth much. But still, I revelled in the compliments. I liked being the center of attention; I liked having accomplished something and having beaten someone.
Myles had promptly informed me that my prose was horrible. I had been too happy to care.
I had found something that I was moderately good at.
Now, I'm not going to claim that I was a literary genius. Hardly, at first anything I wrote was clumsy and awkward. My characters were silly and my grammar was awful. In fact, it still is, I've never been one for rules.
The important part was that I could express myself.
Nothing else I ever wrote touched the light of day. My brothers and father had a bad habit of criticizing any work of literature. They picked apart classics, and I did not think that anything I produced would stand up to their intense scrutiny.
Still, I wrote and wrote. It felt so good to have this talent to myself. I realized that if no one else understood me, at least my characters did, at least my paper and pen did.
After that things began to fall in place. I realized that I might have a few things that the rest of my family lacked. Social skills, for one, seemed to be something only my mother and I possessed. While my brothers both understood psychology they just couldn't figure out people.
Myles never really understood that telling a girl his IQ wasn't going to get him anywhere. And nobody except me ever noticed that Artemis always had an excuse for why his girlfriend couldn't come to dinner.
Nobody ever noticed the way he acted strange some nights, or him sneaking out to meet her either.
So it was certain that nobody else noticed that she was only three feet tall (though definitely a full grown woman) and often hovered.
I think that this is what made writing so easy for me and so hard for my brothers. I noticed the little things about people. I understood their habits and they way that they interacted with each other. What I knew wasn't textbook.
The words just kind of flew onto the page. The ones never used, like unintelligent, stupid, dumb and foolish made their way into my stories. The ones used falsely, like spectacular and beautiful, came to life. The ones used too often, like genius and normal, faded into the background, lost amongst the other, more important words.
That leads to this, I suppose. I was supposed to write you a letter or an essay detailing the affect that my family has had on my writing. Somehow I think that you got more than you asked for.
This will be edited, of course. I don't think that Artemis will allow me to send off that part about his girlfriend. Still, it's hard to explain any affect that my family has without sounding at least a little odd.
I hope that you will consider my application for your creative writing program.