Releasing Creative Energy

Popular Billabong

SARK Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, says that she 'visits the Soul Food Cafe to revel in language, soak in creative experiments, and marvel at the depth that is there.'

Such praise from the creator of Planet Sark was like music to the ears. Personally I love Sark's Studio but I confess I like to call in and ask Jupiter (Sark's cat) for some advice about how to spend my day.

Waterhole Dreaming

Good heavens. I have only just discovered Soul Food Cafe. Thanks to Boynton What a fine site. What an innovative use of the internet to developing the historical becoming of Australian culture. Finding such sites is like following trails through the desert of cyberspace with other weblogs providing a series of maps of the country:

John Tjapaltjarri The Tingari at Pantjantjanya, 1993

Then perchance, coming across soakages in the sand hill country, or a waterhole along a trail:

courtesy of Barney Ellaga

Soul Food cafe is one such waterhole. Do take time out to replenish there. That is what waterholes are for---soul food. Many a time I've wandered the trails at night looking for a watering hole that pointed the way to the promised land. Around the waterhole we sit under the night sky and reflect about the country, express our feelings about what is happening on this earth, and start telling our stories.
Junk for Code

Finding one's muse

Do you ever run out of inspiration for things to write? I do, but I've found there are a myriad ways to regain it when all seems lost. Often, all it requires is a quirky take on everyday things. For instance, my partner and I once drove the lass behind the counter at our local video hire place to distraction - because quite by chance we noticed that you could make stories from juxtaposing the titles of movies - we spent perhaps an hour one particularly quiet evening rearranging all the new releases into sentences! I don't think they ever quite got over us :-)

Lord of the rings' matrix: Gone in 60 seconds - the Italian job... a river runs through it!

Then you could consider what happens if you take information signs literally... Have you ever gone into a public toilet and read the driers while drying your hands? Consider the breakdance possibilities of the instruction "cup hands and roll close to the outlet" Or the truly frightening possibilities of: "Dryer stops when hands are removed..." It sounds like a really painful way to stop a drier.

"Fire hose" - another scary thought, however you look at it. I mean, whatever did poor Hose do to get fired? or 'So THAT's how fires get started!' Read latin? That Exit is really out of it!

Of course there are the wonderful visual stimuli - Have you ever tried to describe what it takes to open a door? Now think film - as you reach for the door, give it some significance and zoom in... what are the fingers doing as they linger gently on the handle... and what happens to the veins on the back of the hand. How does the handle sound as it turns... does it squeak a little? or does it whisper the promise of what is on the other side...

One of the best sites for creative stimuli I've seen recently is the Soulfood cafe - a feast for the senses! and some great snippets of writing too! Jerry Everard

A Review of Soul Food

Named one of the 101 best Writing Web Sites by Writer's Digest, SOUL FOOD CAF… provides inspiration for writers and artists to make creative work a daily practice. The editors hope that searching minds will appreciate the "chain reaction that promotes creativity and the flow of words."

The surfer finds a creatively expressed menu on the "cafÈ's" home page: "Quirky Soul Food Idea Generators," "Freshly Baked Writing Prompts," "Wacky Writing," classroom exercises like "Rear Vision Mirror," "Poems for My Pocket," "Peeling the Onion." Younger writers might be interested in "Spotted Dog Sundaes," "Magic Writing Tram," or "Muse Toolbox."

Creativity is stimulated by many means. The SOUL FOOD chef Fredrik Goldhahn promotes interesting recipes: breakfast - Dutch Babies; luncheon - Dilly Chilly Hamburgers; meats like Camel Stew; desserts like Berried Treasure.

SOUL FOOD CAF… forums are popular. The purpose here is also encouragement of daily practice of writing and art. Writers of all ages can share their ideas and get reaction to them. The magic password permits access to an establishment open 24 hours a day.

One article I liked explored writing for wellbeing. The author Heather Blakey tells of her volunteer work at a "palliative care unit." Teaching adults and young students in grades 5 and 6, Heather became convinced of writing as therapy. She speaks of the "medicinal effect" resulting from the ill putting their words on paper and telling their story.

I think I'll go back to the "CafÈ" soon.

Leona Mayeux is a retired secondary teacher and counselor. She co-authored The Chronicles of West Baton Rouge, wrote features for the Baton Rouge Advocate, The Catholic Commentator, Share Magazine, and The Louisiana Counseling Journal. Her poetry has appeared in the Southern Poetry Association's Editor’s Choice annual. Leona wrote this review for Writer Advice.

A Real Internet Cafe

I found The Soul Food Cafe about two weeks ago when I was surfing for writing prompt sites. I couldn't really explore it too deeply on Dad's computer, so I waited till mine was returned. But it looked cool. It's only now--on my what? twelfth time?--that I'm just beginning to understand the concept the webmistress had in mind when she created this and be able to navigate my way around without stumbling.

It's a real Internet cafe... I'm talking a real Internet cafe here. One that's on the net and can take its customers virtually anywhere. Its patrons are artists, writers, musicians... anything to do with creativity and the arts. The idea behind this cafe is to feed your soul's creativity and fuel your imagination. It's awesome!

While I was visiting Soul Food I stumbled into the House of the Muse. I was looking for a writing prompt, of course, but what I found instead was this: a Muse Box. It sounds fun, huh? That's one of my aims this summer, to create my own Muse Box and fill it with things that inspire me. I already have one thing to put in it: a small votive candle that smells of lilac blossoms. Perhaps I'll even find a picture of Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, who is over playful and idyllic poetry--the closest to what I do--and add it in as well. It couldn't hurt to beseech a Muse, now could it? In the meantime I'll write and write, praying and hoping I'll be able to tap into the creativity I hope is still there, lying dormant.

Releasing Creative Writing Magic

Soul Food's Creative Armoury Project

WRITERS' block.....

It is a terrible thing. It can inflict bouts of frustration on school students and professional writers alike.

But English teacher, Heather Blakey has found a way to make writing more stimulating for students. Mrs Blakey unlocks the creative juices in her students by using free stuff that inspires, such as visual aids.

"It provides students with a reason to learn. I sprinkle a bit of magic into the learning process," Mrs Blakey says.

"For example, I'll bring in a box of shoes cut out from magazines and each student uses it as a visual trigger to stop writer's block."

"We get the mannequins and we decorate them and arm them to help with the study of text."

Mrs Blakey has been a teacher for more than 30 years and is in the perfect position to know how students work. Her website not only helps unlock creativity in students but anybody who is having trouble finding their muse.

A number of primary schools have invited Mrs Blakey to teach her methods to students.

from The Leader Newspaper: 2002

Soul Food Fosters Creativity

Heather Blakey from Soul Food Cafe dropped me an email through the week. I am pleased she did for I have spent hours at her site. I was aware of this site a few years ago and I think I simply consumed it then. For some reason I have not returned in quite a while and it has grown to a massive site of resources and inspiration for anyone who is interested in writing and the visual arts.

Soul Food Cafe fosters creativity and encourages people to relax with a cup of coffee, take some time out, poke around the site and reflect. The site is loaded with exercises, articles, essays, links to artists sites, images of work and pieces of writing by patrons. After recharging you can participate in forums, develop your skills by trying out one of the many exercises on the site or if you are feeling stale prompts and encouragement in the creative arts are numerous.

The Visual Journal Lounge will be of particular interest for most people who regularly reads this weblog. "Ideas, feelings and insights, kept in journals offer us not only a clue to the richness of our imagination, but insight into our very being." I could not have put this better - hence the quote.

Heather Blakey is a fellow Aussie and like myself seems to enjoy ranging far and wide. The daily grind is just wonderful if you are in the mood for procrastination which since it is housework I am trying to avoid at the moment this section has been wonderful. I found some great sites there and rediscovered some old favourites. If you are not already a regular to this site, do visit, otherwise you are missing out on some very rich experiences.

Looks over shoulder at vacuum cleaner … that can wait… now what bit will I read next
Sharon Boggon - In A Minute Ago

A Pearl

"I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried in my heart." – Anne Frank

This pearl is just one of many I found when I dove beneath the surface of the "Soul Food Café one of the most beautiful web sites I’ve seen. Being there, in the site, is something like being under water, looking up at the sun’s rays reflecting off the blue liquid.

There is a lot about Lemuria, the ancient civilization that is said to lie beneath the Pacific Ocean. Since my family and I are moving to California, somehow there is this draw of things having to do with the Pacific and that part of the world.

I’ve lived in California before—shortly after returning from Vietnam and being discharged from the Army. It is where, while working on an anchovy boat in Santa Barbara, I first heard about Transcendental Meditation and began a spiritual journey that took me to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the knowledge of the Vedas. I hope to find what it is that this westward draw has to offer—why it is happening.

Heather Blakey, creator of the Soul Food Café said she found my site by accident--although I don’t believe anything is purely by chance! She gave me the opportunity to write something, which appears on the site now—"A Tale of Two Trees" —about the experience of meditating under a pine tree in my yard in Connecticut and dreaming about finding a tree to meditate under in California.

I mention this so that you will pay a visit to the Soul Food Café and have the blissful experience of Lemuria—it’s really very beautiful there!
Tony Anthony - Beneath Buddha's Eyes

People are saying

The Soul Food Cafe is an incredible multilateral sea of creativity and creative people in writing and art. This place is creative and inspirational without becoming cheesy and all-together far too feel-good for comfort. The visual aspect is unbelievably beautiful and complimentary to its content.
Eating Peanuts

The Soul Food Café is an award winner. A magazine that delights the eye and stimulates the imagination.
Mistry Journal

I'd like to share a wonderful Webster with all of you, called Soul Food Café. Run by the fabulous Heather Blakey, this Australian site is a gold mine of a writer's retreat. The café has everything: daily writing exercises, a muse toolbox that has links, writer's resources and writer's toys, the artist studio where writers showcase their work, writer interviews, and 101 Ways to Nourish Writers' Spirit, to mention but a few. Heather even has a special area all about Australia that includes a most interesting story about the historic Dig Tree. I am not exaggerating when I tell you this doesn't even scratch the surface of this truly great site. Check it out when you get a chance, and plan on spending some time, as there are so many things to see and do. You'll be sharing this one with your friends!
Lisa's Lounge

Do you want to fill your life with magic and wonder? Do you want to express yourself in a nurturing, homey atmosphere, cradled in the caring arms of a Webmaster who taps into her vast experience as a high school writing teacher to nurture everyone's writer within? Then meet Heather Blakey, a muse to all who visit her magical site. Step into any of her rooms and savor the atmosphere. It will be hard to leave, for time will fly, but when you do leave, expect to feel renewed and excited about life. Join one of her forums for insights and friendship. If that's not enough, she has a free newsletter available for you.
Everyday Warriors

Heather has given those who have reached her Soul Food Café of herself, her friendship, her ability to gather groups of like minded writers together allowing us to learn from each other, from our own errors, and from the teacher. Soul Food Café is a center for learning, publishing and becoming. A school where all share, and where teaching, writing and continuing production is evident.
Fran Sbrocchi

If ever writers are stuck for inspiration, they need only to click on Heather Blakey's Soul Food Cafe to find friendly support from fellow writers from all over the world and masses of sparkling ideas to trigger their imaginations. Heather is a truly creative dynamo, and this is a magic site. I'm so glad I found it.
Jenny Aarts of those rare jewels in a special crown, Heather brings us all together, no matter what our ages, or experience, through Soul Food Cafe...Now we are really soaring up into the cyber heights with the eagles and ravens! Just as she imagined!
Teresa Seed

The aptly named Soul Food Cafe is my colourful haven in a relentless life of monotone daily grind. Heather Blakey and her Musers have given me the courage to write, to dream and to re-evaluate myself in kinder and more creative terms. Heather's website is my number one choice for writer resources, and it's forums provide a gentle place in which to test writer's fledgling wings.
Nicole Cody

I had given up on writing a good while before I discovered the cyber-treasure Soul Food Cafe. Heather Blakey coaxed from me one last dying ember of literary inspiration, added her unique fuel and spark, and then graciously sat back to admire the fiery imagination she expertly fostered, though assuring me the magic is all mine. Heather taught me and continues to encourage me not to give up five minutes before the miracle happens
Stephanie Hansen

The purpose of this site is to promote writing as a daily practice. The site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every writer. It’s full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement for writers of all kinds. Visit it often for inspiration for “listening to your muse".

The Soul Food Cafe put together and actively run by Heather Blakey has enabled me to progress in writing at a pace and to a depth I had not imagined. Heather has set up the site in a fun, engaging format. The atmosphere is friendly and non-judgemental. The exercises give motivation and a sense of mastery. It has helped me to write novels and to go on to other groups. The unique learning atmosphere has the advantage of being available at any time day or night and being a shift worker for some time this was extremely helpful. I would recommend the site to all those wanting to write, both new and experienced as a way to have contact with other writers and continually develop one's skills. Well done Heather and thank you. Your teaching methods are refreshing and bring great results.
Pauline Nolan

Run by Heather Blakey, this site features a section on writing as creative medicine, one on muses, and one on reclaiming the imagination through creative arts. Of special interest is Peeling the Onion, pages on the arts and healing. The purpose of this site is to promote writing as a daily practice. The site is full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement for writers of all kinds and those wanting help in using writing as a way of healing.

I came to " SOUL FOOD CAFE " entering the year of its opening in 1996. There I met Heather, "WRITER IN RESIDENCE " . Over time the Cafe has evolved to become a world wide writing experience enabling me to meet like minded souls. As Heather has said ,"When people come together writing cannot be set but allowed to happen in its own way and time " For me writing flows freely when shared by another and another.Writing leads me by the way that no one has walked before, to a place that nobody has been. Through her encouragement I have grown to understand that we all can write our way to finding our true selves. Lois Daley.

If you want to write, and write well that is, you should visit Soul Food Cafe. IntheRain

The purpose of this site is to promote writing and creative pursuits as a daily practice. We at the Author's Quill can not say enough about this wonderful site and highly recommend that you pay it a visit and experience the magical world contained within for yourself.
Author's Quill

Welcome to this 'field of dreams.' You'll will find that whenever you visit there'll be artists; picture takers, poets, painters, and story tellers, ready to stimulate the muse. Vi Jones

HOW did I NOT find this site BEFORE? Not only is it about journaling, Muses, and creativity, but it's practical, well-written, and has stuff on VISUAL JOURNALS!! There is, literally, enough stuff here to keep you busy until your favorite pen has gone the way of the Dodo. A MUST SEE site of 2003, in our not-so-humble-royal opinion. IN(ner) QUESTION

I was beyond elated to discover Soul Food Cafe, an unbelievable mecca for writers and other creative folks. I don't know when I've ever been so taken aback by seeing so much juicy, HELPFUL information on a single Web site. Take a look at the Navigation Signposts on the left side of the home page and then go where your intuition steers can't go wrong! One of my favorite sections was the material for journal keepers which, I'll mention, includes prompts and tools that are equally effective for art journalers. Artella


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