Sheep, Tell me a Story

Illustration_for_the_Brothers_Grimm_fairy_tale_Rapunzel.My little sister, fourteen years my junior, has called me “Sheep” (sometimes “Sheepy”) since I can remember. She is the most important thing to me in all the world and everything that rolls beyond it. I find it appropriate that she calls me something unique because, even as sisters go, our relationship is something different.

Since she was smaller than I thought people could be, I have been telling her stories. I have created castles and dragons and hairless bears and ghost children all just to see her eyes light up and to hear laughter burst from her like seeds from a dandelion. I have shaped her dreams while she has slept, and I have guarded a fire in her that I hope one day becomes a roaring passion for literature. She, in turn, has told me her own stories and it has been a frightening experience to watch her imagination streak from simple plot lines to complicated story arcs over the years.

When I talk to her, the words “Sheep, tell me a story” inevitably slip from her lips. Half of the time I want to say, “not right now”, but I don’t. There is nothing more beautiful in the world than a child asking you to expand their imagination, to push the limits of their thoughts, and it would be a travesty to deny her such a small thing. The gears and cogs of my brain will start turning as she waits in expectant silence, and eventually, after tossing out countless ideas, I will start. It’s never anything brilliant, and it’s never anything worth writing down, but it’s all the more precious because of that. It’s something that is hers alone. She will never have to share it with anyone but me, and I will never need to share it with anyone but her.

She pushes me to think creatively, to look at everything in words, and to store that information to make a story out of later on. She has, single-handedly, pushed the limits of my own mind by speaking the simple words of “Sheep, tell me a story” over and over and over.

I think it’s important, as writers, to have people like that in our lives. People that rely on our words, that give them meaning and purpose, no matter what story those words might tell. We need people that push us to look at everything around us like it’s the whisper of a story that only needs to be captured and held in ink. Without anyone to give our words to, there’s not much point in writing them.

What or who pushes your writing?

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20 thoughts on “Sheep, Tell me a Story

  1. Beautifully written, and what a special connection!
    My writing is pushed by… an unknown. I’m still trying to make sense of it. When I was younger I started out with telling stories to my siblings — and creating them with my siblings. But now I feel like it is a drive that is completely “other.” Self-driven (and stubbornness) but also longing to capture some sort of strange flow of story that I don’t know where comes from.

    • Thank you, she’s pretty special to me! I know exactly what you mean by the “unknown”. I’ve got that, but I feel like it’s pushed by my sister, because I am always trying to think of new stories to tell her. I suppose the two just complement each other.

  2. Usually it’s myself, because I’m the person who most wants to see my work written and published. However, I did have a bunch of influences growing up, and it’s because of them that I write. JK Rowling, Anne Rice, Stephen King, they all push me without saying a word to write more, write better, and work harder. And I like to think it’s all paying off, all this effort and striving and whatnot.

  3. This is such a beautiful post, and I thank you for giving us a glimpse of the special bond you share with your sister. I’ve always had a voice inside myself that drove me to write and tell stories, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I met someone who personified that voice. My fiance is my champion and encourages me every day to write and pursue the dream I’ve had for so long. Having these people in our lives is such a gift 🙂

    • Thank you, that’s very kind! It’s so nice to hear that your fiance provides that drive for you! I think that many of us have that “voice”, but it’s an added bonus to have a real person who also encourages you.

  4. Ahaha…this post actually terrifies me a little. As much as I know it would help me to have someone who loves my words – and while not young and innocent like your sister, I actually do have someone like that, my spouse – but it’s just so…so hard for me to believe that my words, unpolished, really could mean something to someone. But then, that’s a belief that stems from unkind words of the past. For me, learning to tell stories and not worry about if they’re good or not, that’s a learning experience.

    • I know that feeling, I think everyone has it. I used to be very shy about my writing—it’s such a private thing!—but not as much now. It’s nice to tell stories just for the sake of filling the air with dragons and princesses and Ken dolls names Darth Vader (that’s one of the stories, haha), instead of worrying about whether they are good or not. The people that hear them make them good, that’s all that matters.

  5. I feel like I have something to say. I am a writer. Always have been. Always will be. I don’t need something published to prove it. If I didn’t write, I’d probably just shout out my thoughts to the world. That wouldn’t be appropriate, so I write. (And, of course it’s way cheaper than therapy! he,he!)
    Love your words today!

  6. Such a beautiful post.

    There is something inside which drives me to write. For me, writing is a way of coming to terms with and understanding the world around me. I like to tell stories, but I also like to lose myself in a world that I alone control. More than that, I write because I love to 🙂

    • Thank you, that’s very sweet of you to say.

      I known what you mean about losing yourself, I like the control too. It’s still fun to share things though, and to make stories for one person.

  7. I loved this post. Youve inspired me to tell stories to my kids along with reading them, which they enjoy. My inspiration at the moment comes from thinga that happen around me conversations and traveling my journey in reaching dreams. Thanks again for your words. Im sure your sister will cherish the memories of that time spent with you along with having a growing imagination. Awesome-sauce!!!!

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