Soul Food Cafe Found Art Project

FoundArt is full of excelllent ideas. To participate in a Soul Food 'Found Art' activity simply cover an inexpensive notebook, using symbols and images that will inspire a writer and leave it in a public place with a note to say it comes with compliments of the Soul Food Cafe.

This month's writing tip:

The Joy of Words

Writing is joy -
so saints and scholars all pursue it.
A writer makes new life in the void
knocks on silence to make a sound
binds space and time on a sheet of silk
and pours out a river from an inch-sized heart
As words give birth to words
and thought arouse deeper thoughts,
they smell like flowers giving off scent,
spread like green leaves in spring
a long wind comes, whirls into a tornado of ideas
and clouds rise from the writing brush forest.

from The Art of Writing: Teaching of the Chinese Masters. Shambhala.

Stillness: Scott Russell Sanders sheds "a feeling of decadence for sitting here alone, idle, on a Sunday morning." Stillness is a wonderful reminder of the sheer joy of writing.

Manhole Cover Project

Manhole Covers Project - "The notion of our inner world being beneath a manhole cover is one way of explaining why some of us are reluctant to enter an inner world. Some of us may be prevented from doing this because the manhole cover is so tightly fitted, so heavy, that we quite simply cannot go within". Visit The Soul Food Cafe - A treasure of of site!

From the Bookshelf

On Writing : A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
King gives you a whole writer's "tool kit": a reading list, writing assignments, a corrected story, and nuts-and-bolts advice on dollars and cents, plot and character, the basic building block of the paragraph, and literary models.

The New Diary by Tristine Rainer This one's a must for your library of journaling/writing books.

A Joseph Campbell Companion by Diane K Osbon

Diving into Soul Food

After diving into Soul Food Tony Anthony, author of Beneath Buddha's Eyes wrote that "Being there, in the site, is something like being under water, looking up at the sun’s rays reflecting off the blue liquid."

When you come to Soul Food it is easy to get lost in the labyrinthine corridors and to miss some of the exquisite beauty of this cyber cafe. One place you can really get lost in reverie is amid the residences of Patrons who have retreated, if briefly, to this quirky cyber cafe. Go now and check out the International Banquet , Student Folios and the Patron's pages. You will find some very beautiful, inspired writing and art work amongst them.

Meet Tony Anthony
author of Beneath Buddha's Eye

Tony Anthony has followed a life-long spirit for adventure beginning the summer he graduated from the New Hampton School for Boys and traveled on a 250cc BSA motorcycle through six countries in Europe. Not long afterwards, he found himself drafted into the Army — assigned to the infantry as a Combat Correspondent for the 1st Batallion of the 52nd Infantry, 198th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division in Vietnam.

Thus began the author’s career as a photo-journalist. It was his black and white ink sketches that first gained the notice of a larger audience. Using a self-made bamboo pen, he illustrated a spread of soldiers celebrating Christmas in the field for the Americal Division newspaper. With his work suddenly in demand, the author’s stories, drawings and photographs began to appear regularly in Army publications including Stars & Stripes.

After the war, Tony headed to California where he found work on an anchovy boat. It was the captain of the boat who introduced him to the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Following Vietnam, with the life and death and the questions it raised, it was a natural progression to turn to Eastern philosophy for answers. As it turned out, Tony worked as personal photographer for Maharishi in Europe and India for six years.

Anthony’s first book, LIFE IS WAR But You Can Win, was published in 1994 and was inspired by the author’s recovery from Post Traumatic Stress. The book was bought by VA hospitals and Vet centers across the United States. Dr. John Gray wrote: “Tony Anthony’s account of what he learned under fire inspires us all to take control of our lives, to move forward with greater awareness and courage.” The Dallas Morning News said, “Gutsy and sometimes as grisly as war itself.”

Featured Visual Journal Exercise
Make Retablos

Cynthia Korzekwa's exploration of the Aesthetics of Appreciation is nothing short of extraordinary. "If you're lucky and don't know it, it's like not being lucky at all" writes Korzekwa. She suggests that to keep your luck alive you need to recognize it by making Retablos Retablos are a means of offering thanks for this luck. Personally I think Korsekwa is on to something big.

As an aside, my primary concern about linking you to Korzekwa is that I may never see you again, simply because there is so much to explore and be inspired by. Make sure to take Ariadne's thread so you get back here to Soul Food again.

Upon return try recognizing your luck as an artist or writer by writing a Hymn to the Muse and posting it in the Muse Hymn Box.


August - September 2003

A Home for Soul Food?

Oldest Cafe in Baghdad?

If the proprietor of The Soul Food Cafe could find a venue on earth she would try to rent something like this old cafe, in the heart of Baghdad, which she located thanks to Sugar 'n Spicy.

Take a virtual tour and explore this incredible café elder in Iraq, a country of many faces and surfaces.

Featured Writing Exercise
Turning Spam into Ham

Stop! Do you simply delete all that spam mail that arrives in your email box? Johnathon Land doesn't remember why he started writing back but he did, and, in so doing he created Spam Letters. Clearly Land does not have a life.

However, I have been thinking that randomly responding to spam mail (although generally it is agreed that actually sending replies to such mail only results in more spam arriving) does seem to be one way for all of those fans of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, to do their morning pages.

Who knows? This could end up being the basis of the great Australian Novel. Come to think of it is possibly better to aspire to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Or would it be better to win the Pulitzer?

Whatever! It is the daily practice that matters isn't it?

Lemurian Grove

The tree can symbolize the feminine principle, the nourishing, sheltering, protecting, supporting aspect of the Great Mother. The roots of the tree go deep within the earth, seeking nourishment.

Within Lemuria seeds are sown and ideas flourish, as accomplished and struggling writer's alike congregate. From the golden seed of the silver birch came the elegant birch that so gracefully filters the morning sun as it streams in the windows of Carnforth, the home of the Soul Food Cafe. Similarly writing germinates from seeds sown in writing workshops, from writing within the forums here at Soul Food..

This grove is for people who understand that real writing can come from the humblest of origins, that to write you need to be able to tap into deep sources for nourishment. The grove is for those who know that it is enough to bear witness, who find that writing provides a healthful release for feelings and tensions.

Take the time to remember your favourite tree. Hug a tree, sit in your favourite grove and write and write and write about those gentle giants who have protected you. Stop and ask an old tree for some directions, to guide you as you travel down the writing path. Listen to the whispering words amid the rustling leaves and share your piece in the Lemurian forum here at Soul Food.

Vietnam Veteran, Tony Anthony tells a Tale of Two Trees
Cassandra writes a Requiem for a Tree

Featured Artists

Natalie d'Arbeloff and Augustine

I slipped out for a moment and came back to find that Augustine had arrived, hung up her hat and is recovering from jet-lag in the old hay loft behind Carnforth. When did she arrive? This really is going to be an adventure!

Blanche d'Arbeloff

"Blanche d'Arbeloff began to paint at 94, producing work of extraordinary youthfulness and vitality. Her strength of character, simplicity and joie de vivre (she was French) are always with me. She was down to earth, direct and sometimes blunt - she did not suffer fools gladly! And she was impatient with complicated or over-decorated forms of thinking and expression. She'd say: Get to the point!"
Natalie d'Arbeloff.

The Searcher
(acrylic on paper, 35 X 65 cm)
by Blanche d'Arbeloff, 1999.

Barbara Schaefer

A portal is a passageway from one place to another; doors, windows, openings that allow the viewer to step in, out or away from one position to another. A portal rests on firm ground between water, yet to port means to carry something, implying movement. Therefore, between static and movement there is an opening that offers access to another realm. Whether one takes the journey depends on one's courage to step through the opening to meet what is unknown.

New York artist, Barbara Schaefer provides a new portal to enter Lemuria.


Being only able to dream about going to this artistic retreat at Ischia I asked Barbara Schaefer, one of the tutors, if she would provide an online workshop for us here at Soul Food, so that we could experience a little of the magic. Barbara Schaefer's workshop has oiled my creative juices and inspired me to save all sorts of scrap material for my visual journal.