There are so many really cool people doing cool stuff out in the world right now. And, given that we are supposed to be living in a post modern melting-pot world where nothing new ever happens anymore, it is always such a joy to come across them.
I have often thought that if we make it – wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of running 100 miles per hour towards the destruction of everything, that we actually made it through the other side – to the 1000 years of peace on the green earth that Jesus talked about (was it Jesus?) and if the world were populated by thinkers like Charles Eisenstein and Joanna Macey, artists like Rima Staines and writers like Sylvia Linsteadt.
I think we’d be ok.
Sylvia Victor Linsteadt is a writer, artist, and certified animal tracker. Her work—both fiction and non-fiction—explores the tenets of deep ecology and wild myth, and is devoted to radically transforming and broadening our human stories to include the voices, perspectives and dreams of the more-than-human world.
Her books include The Wonderments of the East Bay, The Lost Worlds of the Bay Area and Tatterdemalion, (Unbound, forthcoming 2016/2017) (a project with the aforementioned artist Rima Staines).
For three years (from 2013 to 2016) Sylvia ran a stories-in-the-mail business called Wild Talewort, in which she sent out rewilded tellings of fairytales and myths to the physical-post boxes of hundreds of subscribers around the world.
More recently she sells her stories at local farmer’s markets, each a unique Being of its own, handwritten on paper and lovingly folded into hand-made felted covers.
Eeek! I cannot get enough.
Here’s an excerpt from a story she is sending me in the mail.
The Midwife of Temescal
About: While settling in to a new home in Oakland—a new urban landscape scattered still with fruit trees, with flycatchers and starry nights and sidewalks here and there uprooted by coast live oaks—I heard mythteller Martin Shaw’s rendition of an old British tale, Midwife to the Fairies. This story moved me because it seemed to suggest that the beings who live under and between and above and around us, who have alternately been called fairies, elves, trolls, nature-spirits etc., somehow need a human midwife to birth their children. At the same time, I was doing some reading about the Temescal Creek, buried beneath this part of the city, one of the most important perennial creeks in the area pre-culvert. The creek began to sing out in my imagination, buried under the sidewalks and freeways, a wild-spirit who actually needs us, somehow, to be midwifed back into the world. In this era of environmental dissociation and catastrophe, we humans often carry (rightfully) a lot of guilt, and also (speaking for myself) this sense that we don’t quite belong any more in the wild fabric of the world. The old stories of humans midwifing fairy babies, and my own rendition,The Midwife of Temescal suggest that the wild ones, and the wild land, long for us as much as we long for them.
Excerpt: In a scrap of marsh left at the edge of the Bay, beyond the freeway, a great blue heron stalked and speared fish as the first rain of the winter began to fall. She shook her feathers and the silver drops of water slid down the long curve of her back. Under her gray feet there were shells in the mud, and bones, and sometimes she could hear the faint memory of a deer dance song, the clattering of dried hooves at the waistbands of young men. Underneath the shopping complexes near the culverted stream mouth, where the Temescal Creek spilled a modest dirty current into the Bay, there was a leveled shellmound as big as a village. Inside the shellmound were 9,000 years of human bones, bird-bone awls, obsidian and mortar bowls and antlers buried ceremonially. The shellmound was a village, a hundred hundred generations of village, built beside the mouth of the Temescal Creek, and like that creek it let the tendrils of its memories seep out into the Bay under the heron’s spearing beak.
Visit Sylvia in her Etsy store where she is selling her stories and felted crafts, along with hand crafted animal figurines and candle holders.
There is something very special to me about shaping the animals that live near me into clay vessels for light; after all, animals have been lighting our way in spirit, in story and in flesh for millennia. These candleholders are a way to honor them daily as our kin.
Update (Summer 2016): I believe Sylvia is away on a sojourn at the moment, but her store will reopen at a later date.
Where else to find Sylvia: