Soul Food Focus

The Soul Food Cafè has been a portal for artists and writers for over a decade. It has provided a safe haven where creativity flourishes. Soul Food Cafè aims to promote creative pursuits as a daily practice.

The static, Web 1.0 part of this site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every artist. The Artist's Loft, Box of Wonderment, House of the Muse, Advent Calendars and other assorted features contain masses of creative stimuli. Just click the links in the top bar and you will discover a never ending labyrinth of material.

After a period of quiet over the past two years the site is currently being rejuvenated.

The current emphasis is on building a collection of interviews with a wide range of people who can offer food for the soul. You will fiind a collection of these in the Salon du Muse and the Artist's Loft.

One portal to the massive constellation of collaborative blogs attached to Soul Food can be found by responding to the Call of the Raven

Halloween Coming


Come and Visit The Disturbing Playground For Halloween!

Over the years The Soul Food Cafe has hosted Halloween Blogs where writers, poets and artists have contributed wonderful Halloween Tales that added a slight chill to one of the most delightful nights of the year.

This year we invite you to visit the Disturbing Playground- where on a daily basis your will find prompts and stories, artwork and resources to add a seasonal touch to your work. So come one, come all- we'll have a haunting good time. 

And for inspiration take a moment and check Halloween blogs over previous years

Eventide At The Chamber of Horrors
Halloween At The Chamber of Horrors
Mrs Parsons House
The Late Show
Once Upon A Midnight

To become a member of The Disturbing Playground collaborative blog and to post your material for Halloween contact Anita Marie Moscoso gargoyle642001 at yahoo dot com or heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm

Finally: Because this blog caters for all ages we reserve the right to restrict work with 'adult' content.

Blogging Mentor and Guide

Heather Blakey has had over ten years experience building online communities using web based technologies. She first began to blog in 1999 when she was a columnist for Cathy Atherton's Prairie Den and went on to demonstrate the potential of blogging. She wrote articles such as Zen and the Art of Team Blogging and worked in schools across Victoria, Australia, promoting the use of blogs to engage students and enable them to meet and be heard by people with similar interests.

The Wild Garden Advent Calendar, created in 2007, explored the use of web based technology and amazingly, much of it is very current. The creative work of women who Heather Blakey has mentored and guided reveals just what can be birthed in this environment.

Perhaps you still don't know what a blog is. Maybe you don't know a tweet from a widget or how to link to others. It could be that you simply need the hand of a creative midwife to help you realize your creative potentiality.

It so happens that Heather is offering private mentoring for those who want to use blogging for educational, artistic or business purposes. You can work with Heather and become familiar with all those tools people are using. You can learn about

  • Basic blog construction using WordPress

  • Creating digital portfolios

  • Discover diverse, imaginative blog applications to meet individual needs

  • Monetizing Your Blog and promoting business

  • News-gathering and Research Methodology

  • Building niche communities and online groups

  • Link-building Strategies

  • Social Media Optimization

  • And much more...
    Contact heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm for more information

Newsletters 2003 -4

June - July 2003
August - September 2003
October - November 2003
January - February 2004
April - May 2004
June - July 2004
August - September 2004
October Nonsense 2004

Return of Newsletters - August 2011

Newsletters will become a regular feature at Soul Food as work is undertaken to breathe fresh life into the Cafe.

This month I want to draw attention to two very penetrating interviews that I have recently undertaken with Quinn McDonald, author of Raw Art Journaling and Mike Sheppard, composer of The Soul Rests Eternal. Both artists provide rich responses to the question that were posed.

Over coming months you can expect to find more interviews appearing.

Heather Blakey - Creator of the Soul Food Cafe

Featured Writing Exercise

crow or raven

After a long period of hibernation I responded to the call of the Raven and began blogging again. A Raven Calling highlights how rich a single subject can be. As I gather material about the Raven I am discovering just how great an impact this wily survivor has had on so many cultures.

Perhaps you will establish a single subject blog and experiment.

Featured Project

Carl Jung made it a daily practice to complete a mandala. Visit the Mandala Project and start a daily practice today by downloading a free Mandala.

For an interesting take on Mandalas make sure to visit Amy Swagman's Birth Art Mandalas.

Raw Art Journaling

raw art

Quinn McDonald wanted to be an obedient, dutiful wife and patient mother, but she was born at the wrong time. Meet Quinn and learn about how this artist reinvented herself and authored Raw Art Journaling.

The Soul Rest Eternal

souls rest

Check the Salon du Muse and make sure to take the time to read a new interview with Mike Sheppard, the British Composer who created 'The Soul Rests Eternal'.

Supporting Independent Book Stores by Lori Gloyd

My local Borders Bookstore, as with all the others in this chain, is going out of business. I have to say that I am somewhat conflicted over this. There is something sad about a bookstore closing down. Bookstores, especially those open late at night, are places where those of a bookish deportment can hang out. They are safe places filled with civilized, literate people. But, on the other hand, these big, glossy, corporate box-stores put a lot of indy bookstores -- used bookstores in particular -- out of business. Local independent bookstores are places where the people who work there actually READ the books they sell and take the time to speak with patrons about why they love books.

I have to admit, though, that I am partially responsible for Borders going out of business. First, it was the siren lure of Amazon. Why buy it full price when you could get it for a discount? I would still go to the brick-and-mortar stores when impatience took hold of me and I did not want to wait the week or ten days it took for Amazon to send a book. But the death knell to the relationship with the boxy bookstores came when I met my Kindle. (Yes, yes I have started sleeping with my Kindle). I could have my books cheaply and instantly delivered by the flick of a button.

One day last week, I poked my head in Borders and saw a line of book patrons, at least fifty people long, curled all the way back to the cafe section, the arms of each patron filled with 40% off books. Scavenging is an ugly business. I turned right around and left the store.

I needed a real bookstore fix, so I headed on over to my favorite used bookstore, Dave's Olde Book Shope. I needed the comforting smell of musty books and the embrace of its towering shelves over narrow aisles. I entered through the back door (when were you ever able to do that at Borders?) and found Dave sprawled on the floor sorting books. He smiled with recognition. I cringed with guilt because it has been months since I'd been in there. He asked if he could help me find something. (The last time I tried to find something in Borders, I couldn't find anyone who wanted to help me). After he directed me to the shelves I was looking for, I too sprawled out on the floor, browsing and flipping pages. I went back in time to when I was a kid at one of the many old bookstores in our neighborhood. Yes, I know, I am a nerd but this is what nerds do.

I selected two books. When I approached the desk to pay for them, Dave was busy conversing with a young man about Pillars of the Earth and the Lonesome Dove series. Never, ever had I seen a chain store worker actually discussing books with a patron. I stood and listened for a few minutes and made a mental note of someday reading Ken Follett's book. (This is what happens when you take the time to discuss books).

As I finished the transaction and headed out the door, I was hit with this thought: could the demise of the chain stores breathe new life into the local independent book venture? As Dave says in the clip below, there is a place for both real and electronic books.

But this is not going to happen if we don't support our local brick-and-mortar stores. I urge you then to find your own local bookstores and patronize them. Most likely you are still going to find a used book cheaper than the same one in electronic format or shipped from Amazon.

Second, tell someone else in your neighborhood about that bookstore. Share the store's website on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. (If the store is on FB or Twitter, like it or follow it.) If you have a blog, blog about it. I happened to find a Youtube clip about Dave's and I am posting it below.

If we say we love books and bookstores, then it is up to us to save our neighborhood stores.


Lori G. (c) 2011

Time Back Machine
Online Community by Gail Kavanagh

Some online communities crash and burn through back biting and downright sneakiness by some of its members - I know, I've been there and it put me off online communities for a time. But then I found the wonderful Australian creator of the Soul Food Cafe and was tempted to join because of the wonderful work I saw there - and I've never looked back.

The heart of an online community is the one who puts it together. and Heather Blakey, the creator of Soul Food, is certainly the heart of the community she has created. She is passionate about helping other artists realise their full potential, and to this end she has created a vast network of sites, blogs, Squidoo lenses and Yahoo groups.

I started at Soul Food by joining in one exercise - I attempted to characterise my muse for an item on the cafe menu. Heather's warmth and encouragement kept drawing me back until one day I took the plunge and joined one of her `tours'. These are led by Heather's alter ego, Le Enchanteur, who lures you into the online fantasy world of Lemuria with inspiring writing prompts.

Heather has other alter egos, including Baba Yaga and the Amazon Queen, but it is Le Enchanteur who plays the pipe and sets us all voyaging to new and mysterious places. Lemuria is a place where you can be anything you want to be, and with Heather's hand at the helm, compassion, kindness and forbearance are the orders of the day. No one is allowed to let their snakes loose in this Eden - as a warm and supportive online community, Soul Food is second to none.

Heather is always scouring the web for new ways to express ourselves, and constantly challenges us to try something new. I had never blogged before Heather came along, now I am virtually addicted. Squidoo was another exciting way of self expression that she opened up for me - and her encouragement and kindness have opened up my imagination in ways I never dreamed possible.

There is no pressure to perform, though - I have been away from Soul Food for months at a time, but have always come back to the same warm welcome. It is as if I had never been away. All newcomers to Soul Food are welcomed and encouraged, and if they need it, mentored by the more web savvy members of the group.

We share our personal problems and know we will have a sympathetic ear. Heather has even set up a Temple of Solace blog, where we gather to offer to offer condolences or share our pain. In Lemuria, you are never alone.

We all have personal blogs which we share with each other, and are invited to take part in those blogs and journeys that Heather creates. There seems to be no end to the inspiration and enthusiasm to be found here. We engage all our talents, interests and passions to help build Lemuria, and find companionship of a most excellent degree at the Soul Food Cafe..

If your heart yearns for adventure and your soul longs for the nourishment of a community dedicated to art and beauty, why not join us?