I come from a long line of storytellers, I guess. At the very least, it started with my dad, who truly relishes the times when he can be waving his arms emphatically and holding people in the grips of a tale too wild to be anything but believed. Since not a lot is known about either of my extended families, I can only assume that it is a family trait that has been passed down through the generations of my family.
I certainly inherited this trait. While, like all true storytellers, I can exaggerate like the best of them, I have always felt more passionate about the stories that are all the more ridiculous because of their truth. I went to school originally for English, but ultimately switched to Journalism because of my love of stories. However, I knew, deep down, that I never wanted to make money telling stories, or search endlessly for ways to profit from stories. I think all storytellers must feel this way. It is the truth-seekers who become journalists, not the storytellers.
Yikes. But this is the look of a storyteller. No jest.
While most classifications of storytellers fall into the arm-waving, wildly expressional folk who can captivate any audience, in any location, with any type of tale, they are certainly not the only types. I certainly fall into that category, as does my dad, but I also branch out to other areas as well. Artists are storytellers, as are songwriters. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, they just do it in their own way.
My storytelling days can be traced through my entire life. For as far back as my memories go, I have been just like my dad: surrounded by people listening and laughing as I tell tale after tale. When I was younger, I also took the stories to my room and decorated the very walls with stories and poems, artwork, and random paint splashes on the walls. I don’t know that my folks were thrilled by my artistic expression, but they didn’t try and squash it. They didn’t scold me or insist I paint back over it. They let me tell my tales, in whatever form was free for me to use.
When you are a kid, your bedroom is all you have. It is your expression of YOU. It is your bulletin boards full of medals or photographs, it is your shelves and shelves of books, or artwork on your walls. It is everything that you are, represented in walls and decoration. Your bedroom is the story of you. I was lucky as a kid to have parents who grasped the truth in that and let my brother and I have some freedom when it came to the layout and decorum of our rooms. I have tried to be that way with Sierra as well. She has inherited some of my family’s charisma when it comes to storytelling, but it doesn’t enthrall her the way it does my dad and I. She doesn’t live each day to entertain people with her stories. She loves people, and she is as social as anyone I have ever known, but she’s not a storyteller in the same sense of the word as my dad and I. People are still drawn to her, but it is because she pulls them in with every part of her being. She doesn’t need the stories. She IS the story.
This winter, my dad (in a fit of creative genius) built Sierra a loft bed, complete with a built-in desk space and book case. Loft beds were made for people like Sierra. It is perfect, and it is perfect in her bedroom. The child in me saw the potential for greatness within this structure and we have been having a blast turning her bed into her story. It is becoming the bed version of her, and it has been incredible to see it develop. All kids should have a cool room. All kids should have a room that tells a story about them. In Sierra’s case (and in all children), her room shows the world at large what kind of person she is. It also reminds Sierra what kind of person she is. I don’t ever want her to forget how unique, beautiful, and full of magic she is. Her bed is her personality on display for the world, and it is showing her that her personality is worthy of display. Everyone’s is, but few realize it, and even fewer appreciate it.
In this age of technology and machines doing our work, both creative and otherwise, true artistic talent has been nearly forgotten, it seems. I know that I am greatly impressed by anyone who can paint a decent Easter Egg because true human artists seem so rare anymore in the world of graphic design and computer-made illustrations for everything. The stories are still there, though, for anyone willing to tell them or share them. Let your kids tell a story…encourage them to tell THEIR stories. No two people are the same, so their stories are different as well. Expression is never bad, and we all need to be reminded of that, be it paintings on a bed or tattoos on flesh. It all comes back to stories. Tell yours.
A climber on the bedpost for my little rock monkey.
A close-up of the silhouetted climber.
“Let her sleep…for when she wakes, she will move mountains.” Best Sierra quote ever.
T-Rex. Who doesn’t love a T-Rex?
A spy. Sierra wants to be a spy when she grows up. Or an Olympic athlete. Or an astronaut. Or a professional climber. Or a veteranarian. Or all of the things.
Top ladder rung.
Second ladder rung. What girl doesn’t love technicolor leopard spots?
“Some girls are just born with glitter in their veins.”
Bigfoot hunter. Natch.
“You alone will have the stars as no one else has them.” From The Little Prince. Read it.
I painted the Solar System on her desktop.
This is on her on-desk bookcase. Love that Dr. Seuss.
Her toybox/bookcase. This may be my favorite piece-so bright!
Oscar, our kitty.
One of the posts I painted like a giant ruler. Since this photo, I have added her past measurements to it, including her birth length.
Da-dum…da-dum…da-dum, da-dum, da-dummmmm….
Again, from The Little Prince. If you haven’t read this book, read it. This was the first book we bought for Sierra when we found out I was pregnant.
For my little shredder.
S for Sierra, of course!
H for Hattan!
“And she shall have music wherever she goes.”
This is the shelf above her pillows. This and her toybox/bookcase match back to her bedding.
The bed is far from finished. It may never get completed, but rather, remain ever-changing, just like Sierra. Tell your stories, and cherish the stories you are told, for they reflect all people in this world.