I grew up in a very creative family. When we’d travel into the city of Chicago on the weekends, we’d always go to at least one museum. Since my mother was an artist, the art museums were always our pick. We were members, so we could go to all the newest shows as often as we’d like. Just picture this; a little blonde girl in braids dressed in a sweater set walking around the Monet exhibit by herself looking up at the paintings hanging above her head.
That was my childhood.
I know those paintings shaped my love of stories. When we are only given a picture, it is up to us to figure out what is going on in the scene. Are the people happy? Sad? Is it a lover’s quarrel? So many questions with no answers gives a young child limitless possibilities for stories. I made up characters in my head unlike anyone I’d ever met in my life. The only paintings that were not fully up to interpretation were the religious icons, obviously.
I’ve always been gravitated towards people with interesting stories. Or maybe everyone has an interesting story and few people take the time to listen. I thrive off of stories, giving mine freely just to see people react when I get to the punchline. Could you really resist a story that started like: “Hey, Did I ever tell you about the time I got attacked by a monkey in Japan?”
When it comes to trading stories, people routinely tell me not to repeat what I hear. See the thing is, I don’t want to repeat anything. I just like knowing that I living in a world filled with billions and billions of little stories, most of them never being told to anyone except through whispers. Who’s sleeping with who or who hates who are so insignificant when it comes to stories, I don’t even like to hear those. I want to hear your dreams; the ones that you keep in a shoebox in the back of the closet and peak into every once and awhile. People are so very interesting when you take the time to listen to their lives.
My grandfather would always tell me stories of his life. Until he passed away, I told him stories of my life. I told him grand adventures at College, traveling to the farm back in Ireland, and my life. Now, I know my stories to him would be so much more than he could ever imagine. But those are my stories to tell, those are the only ones worth repeating. It’s not that the stories I hear aren’t amazing, but they belong to others. People love to hear stories, we read them and watch them on screens of various sizes.
Tell your hopes and dreams to others; maybe they’ll give you a story back.