So eons ago, I read an issue of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy magazine - dated Summer 1995, so it could be as much as fourteen years if I read it right away - with a story entitled "Even More Than Magic" by Bob Dennis. It's about two teenagers, children of a sorceress, who are captured by her rival, and is told from the point of view of the one who wasn't raised in magic - instead sent out for herbcraft and practical learning. There's a bit in the final third or so where the narrator believes she's figured out that her mother simply loves her less, that she kept her out of her own magical craft to protect her sister.
This broke my heart. The anguish in that idea - not just applied to families, but in other areas you can be weighed and found wanting - burrowed into me and stayed there ... so much that now, over a decade later, I instantly - boom - recognized the story when I saw it. Heck, I teared up before I started reading. The fact that this theory of the narrator's is disproved at the end of the story never really helped. That moment remains. I remembered it for all the intervening years.
This inspired me, longer ago than I care to consider, to write a little story entitled "The Other Sister." It's definitely its own entity ... in fact, it takes off the idea of a sister who really is inferior, despite all her attempts and good intentions. (It showed up in Eye of Unicorn, Tongue of Dragon, the little e-zine I ran for a while when I was too young to know better.) I think that's one of the few pieces I've ever written that was genuinely carthartic. I usually just don't go there.
I'm pondering rewriting this one. My style has improved so drastically (stop sniggering: I can hear you!) that it would basically be restructured from ground-up, the same essential plot with everything else fleshed, filled, extended and - of course - rewritten. Maybe ... who knows? I wouldn't be surprised if it touches off the same reaction for me as a writer. The feeling is still with me.