Mutziger: Stories for all ages
TELLING TALL ONES – Sarah Mutziger's parents didn't believe in television, and she has had her nose in a book since she was a girl. As a child, she told her first stories spooky ones to her brother and sister in a darkened hallway closet. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Elizabeth Hall / special to The Star
Oct. 27, 2002
Sarah Mutziger says storytelling is not just for children.
She should know. An avid storyteller since childhood, she recently implemented a program for adults through the Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library.
The first session, on Sept. 21, was the story of Deborah Sampson an obscure, ordinary woman with extraordinary courage who secretly fought in the Revolutionary War. On Oct. 19, Mutziger presented "Ghost Stories For Grown-ups."
The next meeting is Nov. 16. This expanded version of "The Snow Goose" by Paul Gallico includes details of the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II.
An assistant children's librarian, Mutziger also works with head children's librarian Donna McLendon on the toddler and grade-school storytelling programs.
Although she reserves "in-depth issues" for her adult listeners, Mutziger said people underestimate children's capacity to listen.
Mutziger's childhood was filled with stories. Her parents, fearing their children would miss out on the joys of literature, refused to buy a TV set.
The plan worked. The children became voracious readers, and Mutziger began telling her brother and sister stories in a darkened hall closet.
She also became fascinated with Greek mythology particularly "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" by Homer and draws on them even now.
After college in Massachusetts, Mutziger became a psychiatric nurse. When she accepted a job at a homeless shelter for the mentally ill, her storytelling found a new channel.
For Mutziger, the storytelling process is based on images a "mental movie." She does not memorize and improvises as needed.