Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Inaugural Gray Fox Epistle

My goodness, what a whirlwind of magic it was getting the very first Gray Fox Epistle, a retelling of the Children of Lir, off her tender padded feet. And as with all spring whirlwinds of sudden blossomings (one day it seems the hazel catkins are dangling, the next furry leaves are pushing out, flanked by magenta strings), it is already time again to sign up for April's Epistle.

Here is a taste of the very first Epistle and its packaging. It was a deep joy to write and to bundle each letter with love and old fabric scraps from the magical textile studio of Molly de Vries. I cannot quite describe the meditative and tactile pleasure of these simple tasks: wrapping with fabric, stamping, addressing, sending.

Each tale sent to each one of my blessed subscribers was a small gift of wild words, old myths and the wonder of fabric scraps. Who says the experience of reading a story should not also be tactile in some way?

Molly studio is in an old greenhouse-barn by the mudflats, near the 101 freeway and its whooshing noise, but a world apart; a sanctuary. I stood for hours at that piled table, picking scraps, wrapping ribbons. It was meditative. 

Her studio is full of its own textile-tales and wonders.

Into late evenings and mornings I stamped, seal, addressed, lighting candles, listening to music and storytelling. I'm used to the writing of a tale: at sunrise, with tea, in the afternoon with the windows open, the robins outside, more tea. Running out of ink cartridges, changing them, eventually the long haul of typing up the story from my notebook, editing, re-editing. I've never had the pleasure of handling a tale this way, of dressing it up like a present, sending it off into the hands of dozens of other people.

When I dropped the first batch in the mail (bound for the UK, Australia, and Thailand), a little bit of my heart went into the blue bin with them, like seedlings you have sprouted and grown but whose blossoming will happen in the care of someone else.

I've made a hand-felted, hand-sewn "story-case" for my first subscribers; it is being given away to one of them, whose name will be drawn from a hat. I will make more in the future, on commission, for anybody who thinks they might like a roll-up-case for these wild-bundled tales.

The buttons are wild harvest hazel sticks, from a fallen branch beside a sweet leaf-blooming tree in the redwood forest just up the hill.

It fits six-months worth of tales, in hand-felted pockets, nestled in a scrap of Japanese cloth from Molly's studio, in an outer case made of a mix local wools.

What a magical month it has been; this project fills my heart and my spirit too. May the webs of myth-tale-letter connection keep growing between us! Thank you deeply to all of my first, brave subscribers.

Anyone who would like to join the caravan of fox-pawed wonders, do sign up (to the left just below the Indigo Vat banner) by MARCH 28TH to receive April's Epistle, a re-telling of the Russian tale, Tsarevna Frog.


  1. what a beautiful process you've shared with us!! i've been an admirer of your work since i found your blog months ago. i want to join the caravan...

  2. Evocative writing! Here's My blogspot Epistle...