The Soul Food Cafe is proud to be a participating member of a collective of writer's working within a web spun by Cathy Tudor at One Woman's Writing Retreat. Cathy's ability to draw kindred spirits into her den, to work collaboratively, is an inspiration and demonstrates the potentiality of the internet.
Cathy Tudor moved onto the Web in 1995 where she began work as a content editor for a design company and Internet service provider. She had no background in computers other than once teaching herself BASIC programming on a whim, but she sensed the potential of the Net, and bought herself a modem so she could conduct research for one of her novels-in- progress.
When she spotted an ad in the Cedar Rapids Gazette about a fledgling Internet corporation offering minimal pay, but solid perks: fuzzy slippers, camaraderie, and free microwave popcorn, she called the CEO to inquire if he taught any classes. To her amazement he needed a content editor and requested her resume. Though she had never faxed in her life, she took a chance and sent off a goofy letter about how she had danced and choreographed for 15 years, had then earned a degree in horticulture and had worked many odd jobs to support her bohemian lifestyle. She explained her ideal career would challenge her inquisitive nature, improve her writing skills, and help keep her yellow Labrador retriever supplied with chewies. The CEO phoned her immediately, and told her she just might be crazy enough to work for his company. Two weeks later she had the job.
In the summer of 1996, her boss bought her her own domain named after her den that overlooked reconstructed prairie. At prairieden.com she played with HTML coding, stored hundreds of writing links, and learned the finer aspects of Web site architecture. One Woman's Writing Retreat evolved and in 1999 was voted one of the top 101 writing sites by Writer's Digest Magazine.
Although Cathy has left the corporation to write full time, the company continues to sponsor her site. A native Iowan, Cathy has been writing since childhood: a sort of 12-step-program to wean her off imaginary playmates. While she worked toward a B.A. in dance, she took a poetry class from the University of Iowa. At age 25 she became a closet novelist, sequestering her writing, telling no one she harbored secret worlds. One day she broke down and admitted her habit to one of her connected landscape clients, and everything snowballed. A professional editor asked Cathy to join a writer's group in Iowa City. She began to workshop her novels, and take fiction and screenwriting classes. (She has also been a movie buff since childhood.) In the new millennium, she was invited to be an honorary board member at WriteMovies.com.
Cathy continues to write, dance (when no one is watching), seek inspiration from the land, enjoy films, read, and live and work on the Web. She hopes to one day submit a novel for publication, meet her columnists in person, retire at age 120, and eventually, inevitably have her codes scattered in cyberspace.
A few of the writers she admires are: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Hesse, W. Somerset Maugham, Thomas Hardy, E. E. Cummings, Edgar Alan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Jamaica Kincaid, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alice Hoffman, Mark Strand, Toni Morrison, Emily Bronte, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Ann Tyler, Dylan Thomas, W. B. Yeats, Gustave Flaubert, Tennessee Williams, Ray Bradbury, and Kent Meyers