Making a Difference

Soul Food supports the work of over five hundred students in Melbourne's Northern suburbs. A cursory glance of the work competed amid the participating schools will reveal the success of the innovative Writing Passport Program. This program promotes positive habits of the mind in order to develop creative thinking and self expression. An important side benefit of this program is that students gain self awareness, self confidence and they become more socially resilient. Soul Food is a free site and will always remain so. You can help ensure that the Writing Passport Program expands its field of influence and actively support the learning of young people.

I love a sunburnt country...

Celebrate being Australian, learn about Australian History and discover the essence of creativity all at the same time. The Dig Tree, is etched into the Australian pysche as one of the greatest ironic tragedies. Dig and unearth some of the secrets of creativity. The Dig Tree was designed by Greg Blakey, a talented design student, with flair, imagination and the ability to meet the needs of his clients. Greg has created, amongst other things, Soul Food's zany Magic Writing Tram.

Creative Copywriting

Meet Michele Pariza Wacek, Soul Food's in-house copywriter and marketer and find out more about creative marketing and copywriting.

Michele Pariza Wacek began writing professionally in 1993 and launched Creative Concepts and Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency, in 1998. Going into business was the best decision Michele ever made. She discovered a passion for combining her creativity with her writing ability and marketing knowledge to help her clients grow their businesses. And she can teach you to do the same.Discover her free articles, exercises and resources at Writing USA.

Don't forget to sign up for her free two monthly e-zines.

Renewal and Reinvention

The Soul Food Cafe is propelled by a myth. The Princess and the Muse became the myth Heather Blakey lived by and The Soul Food Cafe is the place she retreats to in order to be with her Muse. Within the safety of The Soul Food Cafe Heather Blakey has renewed her creativity, reinvented and named herself. These days she wears her creativity on her sleeve!

The Princess in The Princess and the Muse experiences a depression which is familiar to many artists. Artists and writers who are made to feel worthless because they do not earn enough money, whom are forced to relinquish their creativity or create in stolen time, suffer similarly.

Mental darkness of the kind the Princess experiences creeps upon individuals gradually and unobtrusively. Many would be artists have been subject to a slow process of pasteurisation and calcification with rationalists systematically purifying the irrational, the primitive and the unwanted raw emotions.

The good news is that individuals who work within the Soul Food community come to understand that the creative flame is eternal and learn that when they engage in a cycle of renewal they are able to reinvent themselves and discover new aspects of their creativity.

When Trendle Ellwood first introduced herself here at Soul Food she never really named herself, but as time passed and she shared photographs of her private Lemuria we all bore witness to her creative spirit blossoming.

Edwina Peterson Cross, poetry editor at Welcome Home observed that "it is fairly obvious that Trendle’s Ohio is not Ohio at all, but Fairyland; colored with the blues of Chicory, the cream of Queen Anne’s Lace, the bright, honeyed sorcery of Marigold, all bunched together in Trendle’s gathering-skirt" and that "even Farmer Shaw believes in the Lady of the Ellwood."

And now?

Trendle Ellwood publishes her work with magazines and at Ellwood Passages. To bear witness to the transformation make sure to visit the space that she has created to celebrate the beauty and generosity of earth.

Newsletter
August - September 2004

As a child, under southern skies, my days were spent in imaginary worlds, soaked in mythos, reading, writing and riding on the back of the winged Pegasus. It was during those hours of solitary dreaming, within the safety of my private universe, that the seeds of the cyber writing sanctuary, The Soul Food Café, were sown.

The The Soul Food Café as it exists today is a product of imagineering, born of a creative dreaming and dogged persistence. The fantasy world of Soul Food emerged as I strove to prove that it is enough to simply write. It sprang from a mission to make writing accessible to all who desire to write, from a need to break down the myth that the only real writer is the published author.

I entered the New World of cyber space when I pulled up my sleeves and applied the technology that computer geeks had invented. When I applied their tools to promote writing I observed an alchemical shift. The web became a calling and I created the kind of community that computer people like to talk of, but which is, in reality, as rare as hens teeth.

As time has passed The Soul Food Café has gained a life of its own. It has become a true oasis in a desert, a place where the tired and thirsty come to drink of the creative waters, sing their personal songs and, in so doing, re-invent themselves. The Soul Food Cafe has become a sanctuary, a delicious, divine release from reality, a place where the weary and the thirsty can feast upon myth and nourish creativity.

Within these magic, virtual, walls lies an atmospheric haven where fragile, sometimes timid writers can publish, share their knowing, express their deepest fears and reclaim their imagination. Within the fantasy world of Lemuria there is fellowship, yet, for so many, this world feels like it has been created especially for them, tailored to meet their individual needs, built so they can live out their private mythology in a private garden of Eden.

The Soul Food Café works collaboratively with and actively supports a stable of artists who have taken up residence in the Artist's Loft and also houses a Student Lounge which directly impacts on over five hundred students in Melbourne's Northern suburbs. A cursory glance of the work competed amid the participating schools in the Lounge will reveal the success of the innovative Writing Passport Program. This program promotes positive habits of the mind in order to develop creative thinking and self expression. An important side benefit of this program is that students gain self awareness, self confidence and they become more socially resilient.

How did this all ranspire? At what moment did I transcend my dream and create a vibrant, safe, creative cyber community where the creative congregate?

I transcended my dream and began to live my vision and when I reached within the deep loam of a powerful creative force known variously as Duende, Pakaramdam, Nommo, Mana, The Dreaming, or the Muse. I surpassed my wildest expectations when I felt the heat of this creative force conspire to build a magnetic doorway, whose energy draws kindred spirits to enter, seemingly by chance.

These days I look in wonder at what Soul Food is becoming.

The good news is that there is plenty of space out here in this exciting cyber world! You too can share the sense of community. You too can reclaim your dreams within the safe, non-judgmental environment of Soul Food and, in so doing, actively live out your wildest creative vision.

Soul Food is a free site and will always remain so but really, there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you want to reciprocate and express gratitude for what you have received you can help provide realistic inducements for young people who are learning to write and ensure that the Writing Passport Program expands its field of influence. Actively supporting the learning of young people will make you feel good and keep your muse happy.

Heather Blakey Webmaster

Enter the Kingdom of Imagination

When I first created Lemuria people entered this enchanting realm through an ancient stone doorway.

Since that time artists, like Jane Tilton, have endeavoured to capture the beauty of the tranquil land of imagination which lay beyond this portal.

Similarly, writer's have endeavoured to define the sacredness of the space that they have found has sustained them. Susan Preston, cruelly trapped by disability, explained how she was called back to this wonderful place. She said "I love it here. There is time to wonder and meander without interruption. I could potter round here for days. It feels wonderful. I can sit on the seat and watch the sparkling flowing gently babbling stream. It seems to be almost singing as it glints in the sun. There is lush green grass under my feet and pale but bright blue sky above my head. A smiling figure approaches. It is a long lost friend. It is so beautiful all this colour and such wonderful scents. Nature is just magical. I didn't know you knew about this place! I come here often it is such a delight. It is a special place especially for creative people and now I can share it with you to. All the things that really matter take place here. The meaningful conversations, the enduring friendships, the special projects. There is room to spread and time to just enjoy. What a strange idea that seems! This place is quite addictive it seems. Oh what it is to relax have fun and just enjoy. This place is a real treat for the soul, made all the more special because I can share it with my friends."

Since I have been working with primary school students I have spent a lot of time teaching them to experience quiet and solitude, to focus, concentrate and trust that, if they enter the realm of imagination, they will always return with exciting ideas. To prove my point I use the metaphor of a doorway leading to the kingdom of imagination.

There is nothing more pleasant or arresting than a door. The intriguing possibilities that lie beyond or behind it have inspired poets to use the door as a metaphor for both hope and denial. Doors around the world are designed to lead a person from the distractions of the outside world to the peace of internal space. The architecture of the door establishes a heirarchy of space which distinguishes eache one from others. Doorways mark the transition from community space to family space and is one of the most important of thresholds.

Students considered the great diversity of doorways and delighted in seeing the magnificently diverse doorways of Saudi Arabia.


image courtesy of Aramaco World - Saudi Arabia's Centennial

They silently meditated upon what sort of doorway they would create to enter their private creative world. One boy created a door which only opened in response to a specific thought while others created elaborate fortress style entrances with elaborate keys and passwords.

Create a doorway that leads to the kingdom of imagination and keep it in your visual journal so that if you have an attack of writer's block you will know to pass through this doorway. Write about the world behind this door. Soul Food is the world of my imagination.

Heather Blakey Webmaster.