Saturday, February 2, 2013

Announcing: the Gray Fox Epistles

The Gray Fox Epistles, illustration by Bendix Carabetta, © 2013 (Drawn with redwood stick in India ink)
This wild, fox-pawed, starry eyed project is my offering to the stirring seeds & sap of spring, still underground in winter, but moving upward. In honor of Imbolc, (and at the very moment of sunrise on this day) it is my ewe's milk offering of rambling magic, given over to your hands and to the wily ground. With your good graces, it will take off running, and leave fox-prints in its wake! Without further ado, I introduce to you:

In brief:

I am launching a story-via-letter project called the Gray Fox Epistles. Subscribers will receive one of my original tales every month, in their physical mailbox, printed, packaged and wax sealed beautifully and with scraps of woodland leaf or feather included. All stories will be at least 2,000 words in length, and previously unpublished.

They will all be retellings of deep old myths and fairytales, the kinds that have passed on through centuries, through many different wild landscapes. These retellings will be re-rooted in the wilds that I know-- redwood forest, tule marsh, northern coastal scrub. They will be walks into the mythscapes & landscapes of the soul, and also very tangibly and vividly rooted in the wild cycles that I am always learning here, on the edge of the central coast of California, a state named for the legendary Amazon queen Calafia and her island of wild women and gold.

It is up to you to root these tales in your own heart and place. They have paws. They leave trails. Go, take them outside with you, see where they will lead you.

You can find samples of my story writing here (for tunnels & tallow), here (mad ladies & birds), here (for bones), here (for post-civilization elk herders) and here (for a Catskin), to get a sense of what you might receive via post.

(If that is enough to tempt you, skip down to the bottom for DETAILS & LOGISTICS! Or just SIGN UP ABOVE TO YOUR LEFT to receive the first tale in March )

In more detail:

 Stories are meant to be shared from hand to hand and mouth to mouth, by firelight or starlight, gifts of otherness and the unkept edges of our own hearts. They are meant to be consumed, and then walked across the prairies and the alleys of your life. Subscribe to Gray Fox Epistles, and once a month, a gray fox will trot through your living room with a beautiful letter in his teeth, hand-addressed, with a tale inside.

Imagine a woman (like the lady painted with redwood, in black ink, above!) wearing a big felted cape patched full of pockets. In each pocket is a folded-up tale. She is walking down the country road, toes in the dust, toward your town. A gray fox trots beside her, catching Jerusalem crickets and berries in his teeth. He leaves paw prints that are the stories of the wild. Together they are up to their teeth and fur in tales—tales from the mole tunnels and the woodrat lodges, tales from the alder roots and the spiderwebs, tales from the trunks of abandoned cars, tales from the fiddles and water-towers, the tents and teapots of our own hearts. Tales that are deep-rooted in the human and more-than-human worlds, passed down through the ages. They have weathered the centuries, and always come out new.

This woman and her gray fox are the spirit of the Gray Fox Epistles, a project that seeks to re-create the magic of the wandering tale-bringers of old using the newer magic of our wireless webs. Together, we can create a new form of story-sharing, a glistening web of connection facilitated by the Internet but made material and embodied in monthly letters that contain original versions of old, old tales. Each letter is a work of hand-crafted art, on beautiful paper, with a small monthly surprise of feather, leaf, fountain-penned note, or any other scrap of wonder I can find. 

Details &  Logistics:
Stories will be delivered on the new moon, roughly the 10th of the month for the whole year 2013— that time of darkness when tales take on a special richness. All work is of course original, previously unpublished, and copyrighted by me. It is fresh from my inky hands.

Subscribers will have access to a Blogger site, where reflections on the tales, as well as suggestions for upcoming retellings, can be voiced. In addition, the blog will feature the original version (and variations) of each month's story.

Subscribers will also, every few moons, have their names tossed in a hat and drawn to see who will receive free felted goods (such as a felted holder for all your Epistles) or original woodblock printed illustrations by Bendix Carabetta.

Subscriptions are $9.00/month for U.S. residents and $11.00/month for international subscribers. Subscriptions received by the 3rd of the month will receive that month’s letter. Any later, and the subscription will begin in the following month. A minimum of 65 subscribers will be necessary to keep the project alive.

Forgo two lattes, or three chais, or whatever hot beverage you like to buy, per month, and receive instead a truly beautiful, hand-packaged tale-letter in the mail. Then brew up your own hot treat on the stovetop and sip while reading!

SIGN UP USING THE PAYPAL BUTTON ON THE TOP LEFT CORNER to receive the first tale on March 11th. It will be based on the Children of Lir, a gorgeous, tragic, profound Welsh myth. Once I have a steady group of subscribers, I will offer 3, 6 and 9 month discounts. And please EMAIL me at with your interest or questions. 

© Bendix Carabetta, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sylvia,

    What a beautiful thing to do!! I am not able to subscribe immediately but I just wanted to let you know it is high on my wish list.
    I 'm also wondering what your thoughts on art, healing and story might be?

    Warmest wishes for such an inspirational project.

    Cathy x