Elisha “Mother” Minter to headline annual storytelling celebration
For Elisha “Mother” Minter, storytelling is an art form, and being a storyteller is a calling. “The most enjoyable part about sharing stories for me is seeing the faces of those who will listen,” Minter says.
On Thursday, Sept. 20, as the featured storyteller for Rowan Public Library’s 2018 Millstream Festival, Minter will have the joy of sharing her stories with Rowan County second-graders. She will join 24 other storytellers who will share tales with the second-graders from public, private, and home schools. The annual festival, now in its nineteenth year, will again be held at Sloan Park in Mount Ulla.
Also on Thursday, at 7 p.m., Minter will perform a Storytelling Hour at RPL Headquarters’ Stanback Auditorium, located at 201 W. Fisher St. in Salisbury. Admission is free, and all ages are welcome to this family-friendly storytelling performance. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Minter credits her father for her initial love of storytelling. “Listening to my father share scary tales on rainy thunderstorm nights laid the groundwork,” she says. Minter went on to be an elementary and Sunday school teacher, and recalls, “I found myself doing stories a lot and enjoying giving a message and making everyone smile and feel better about their situation.” In her later work with media professionals in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and later the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library System, she realized that storytelling was her passion.
“It is most gratifying to spark a memory that we can all share and to see the smiles and even concern when some of my characters get into a little trouble. I love the laughter and the warm hugs after the session has ended,” Minter says.
Minter regularly takes her storytelling on the road. As an N.C. Road Scholar, a program supported by the N.C. Humanities Council, Minter travels around the state. “[I] share stories with folk from all backgrounds, ethnicities, socio-economic levels and let storytelling put us all on one plane of life and remind us all that people are people,” Minter says.
Storytelling offers a means of community and communication and is “very therapeutic,” Minter points out. “A story eliminates the divide and puts us all on common ground. I can feel the tie that binds when a session is going on and watch as the barriers are dropped.”
Minter’s creative process is ongoing. “I carry a notebook around and make sketches, take notes for story ideas, and I pray a lot,” she says. “Reading fills a large part of my day and taking care of grandchildren. I love to travel and see new places and write about what I see…I’m just having fun.”
Beyond her storytelling performances, Minter’s also writing tales. “I am currently working on three books – one of South African poetry, one children’s book featuring one of my Bread Family tales, and a collection of all my Bread Family Tales.”
She sees her writing projects as contributing to her legacy for her children and the audiences of children she’s shared stories with for many years. “It’s my desire to be remembered as one who loves storytelling and the people who will listen. One who tried in her own small way to connect as many as she could to the good and make this [world] a better place,” she says.
The Millstream Festival and the Millstream Storytelling Hour are sponsored by the Friends of Rowan Public Library. For more information about either event, contact Emma Rose at 704-216-7841 or Emma.Rose@rowancountync.gov or visit www.RowanPublicLibrary.org