Sioux Lookout storyteller sharing tales to help entertain during time of isolation, social distancing
Tim Brody - Editor
“Stories are a universal way of connecting with people and communicating a message. Everyone enjoys a well told story,” shared Sioux Lookout resident Merle Burkholder, who has begun sharing personal tales through a YouTube channel in his name.
“I told stories ever since I was a small child. I don’t really know how it developed, but people seemed to like my stories and as I did it more I got better at it. I do some public speaking in churches and organizations in North America and some overseas,” Burkholder said.
“Like most of us I was getting bored with being in the house all day every day. My wife Edith was encouraging me not to go out, but I was finding it hard to do. She suggested that I tell stories and post them online. She knows I enjoy telling stories and thought it would be a way of keeping me entertained,” he added.
Asked about his new series Storytime With Merle, he shared, “I am telling stories from my life experiences. Some are from my childhood in the United States and some are from our lives here in Canada and our overseas life experiences as well. Most of these stories have a connection to a lesson I learned in life.”
“Most of my stories are five or six minutes in length. They are suitable for any age. Many people say their adolescent children are enjoying the stories, but I don’t think they are limited in appeal to that age group,” he added.
“The response has been good. I posted my first video on March 30, 2020. My YouTube channel was brand new at that time. So far I have had over 5,000 views, 280 subscribers, and 440 hours of watch time. I have had over 2,000 unique viewers. It kind of surprised me to see how many people have viewed my stories,” he shared.
Burkholder has been uploading a new story almost every day. “I will see how long the pandemic and restricted travel lasts to determine what I do in the future. I will try to upload stories regularly during the pandemic restrictions. Of course, eventually I will run out of personal stories,” he commented, adding he would like to thank everyone who has taken an interest in his storytelling videos, “I hope people enjoy watching them as much as I enjoy telling them.”