Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Planting seeds: Guild hits the road to spread the word

With cheers and laughter, seven Jonesborough Storytelling Guild members boarded a bus Friday, intent upon the mission of spreading the word.
“There are so many people that don’t know what storytelling is,” said Linda Poland, a member of the guild and Jonesborough’s resident storyteller. “There are so many people that don’t know they have a story. If we can get to some of these veterans, some of these children, they can know that they have importance.”
The guild will be winding their way from Jonesborough to Kansas City, Missouri, for the National Storytelling Network Conference, set to begin July 30. Along the way, they will be telling Jonesborough stories to some new audiences.
“We’re sowing seeds of storytelling along the road,” said Sherril Miller, one of the organizers of the trip, though she’ll be holding down the fort at home. “It took a lot of time (to get this together), but part of our guild’s mission is spreading storytelling and preserving it. What we’re hoping results is that we’re going to get some new sister guilds out of this.”
The International Storytelling Center’s Kiran Singh Sirah, who rose early for the July 24, 7:30 a.m. sendoff, also sees the guild’s current road quest as an important one.
“I think it’s awesome,” Sirah said. “I like to think of it as we’re in the oldest mountains in the world; we have the oldest art form; we’re the storytelling capital of the world; and we’re going to spread the love of storytelling.
“The Jonesborough Guild are our ambassadors.”
The ambassadors include storytellers David Claunch, Judy “Butterfly” Farlow, Saundra Kelley, Linda Poland, Delanna Reed, Jeff Stratton and Libby Tipton. They will be visiting nine venues throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri, and will be telling stories to veterans, seniors, church groups, elementary students and general audiences.
The trip is designed to take four days, and will bring them to Kansas City just in time for the conference.
“Here we come Kansas City,” said storyteller Saundra Kelley moments before the tellers boarded the bus. “Our mission is to perpetuate storytelling. Storytelling is the first language of people.
It’s so important. And we tend to forget it.”
For Marjorie Schaefer, another teller who helped organize the event but will remain in Jonesborough, it may be the community’s love and encouragement that stands out the most.
“It’s really exciting to see it all come together and to have such support from the Town of Jonesborough,” Schaefer said, as the Friday morning sendoff crowd gathered around her. “We have been just awed by the amount of support we have received.”