Writing can be like having a bowl of nourishing soup.

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
1 small white onion,
chopped 1 stalk celery,
chopped 1 small carrot,
chopped 2 sweet potatoes,
peeled and diced 1 medium sweet jap pumpkin, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cinnamon
salt to taste ground black pepper to taste

1 Heat oil in a heavy-bottom pot. Add leeks, onion, celery, carrot, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and garlic, and sauté until they start to brown.
2 Add bay leaf, stock, and cream; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all vegetables are tender.
3 Add sage, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf, and puree.

Serve hot.


Good Artistic Habits

There is a vast amount of material on the Internet about writing and how to get yourself organized and I have no intention of replicating that. The bottom line, for each of us, is having enough good reasons to write on a daily basis. Just as we need a good reason to diet, we need the motivation to turn to writing as a daily practice. 

If you have found this site it is unlikely that you need to be convinced of the therapeutic value of writing. It is likely that you already yearn to put pen to paper. We are living in a loquacious time and booksellers are recording high sales in writing notebooks. But perhaps you are still trapped by a metaphorical concept that has been imposed on you. Because TIME IS MONEY in western society, secondary school educators are reluctant to squander time 'playing' and follow tight programs that ensure 'a better future'. Individuals find it hard to find the time to fit in writing. Worse still some folks are trapped by the concept that self nurturing is self indulgent, that it is risky to put feelings on paper and that they really can not squander time idly chit chatting in a journal or even a daily work diary. They think writing involves making up stories and deny themselves time alone with pen and paper to find direction.

This saddens me because I know from first hand experience that once I made writing my practice my creativity exploded and my productivity flourished. Writing on a daily basis has enabled me to learn that I am not a fiction writer. I am, first and foremost, an essayist. I write about writing. Writing with other people has shown me that the simple act of writing has the power to ignite the creative spark in people of all ages. When people come to the page and write primarily for themselves, allow themselves to do rich inner work and daydream, they recognize that they have the skills to face life's challenges and their literacy skills accelerate. 

The practice I promote involves the following simple steps.

Step 1

Turn your desk into a creative space. Surround yourself with things that assault the senses. Play stimulating music and make it a daily ritual to take time to use this space creatively. Eventually the simple ritual of sitting down to write in a creative environment will enable you to concentrate your mind and make the transit into the creative world. Carry a notebook with you wherever you go and make sure that you always have a pen. You never know when you may find time to sit and quietly mull or reflect, make lists or plan ahead.

Step 2

Make the most of time during the day and use your P.C. on a regular basis. Create a daily journal and dream diary in Microsoft Word or better still use 'Life Journal' the computer software that has been designed for this express purpose. Much more than a word processing tool or a daily management calendar, Life Journal is a personal software program filled with innovative features to promote creative self discovery. The creator, Ruth Folit, has done important research and her software is a magnificent tool to assist personal writing.

Step 3

Make 'The Soul Food Cafe' your base and zip in and out of the web to get ideas and activities for writing. Make it a habit to do the activities suggested and write hundreds of words every day. Play with words, daydream, write your dreams and experiment with expressing feelings. Don't limit yourself by imposing standards. Don't let standard grammatical usage impede you. Be daring! Use the Henry Poincare approach and simply let go and make yourself open to word flashes. In the midst of intensive mathematical work on a problem Poincare took a short break to go on geological excursions. The excitement of the travel made him forget all about mathematics. Instead of Fuchian functions his mind was full of geology. As he got in a bus on this trip the solution to his mathematical problem came to him in a kind of intuitive, unthinking flash. History demonstrates that there are many instances of 'flashes of insight' that provide a person with a solution. Train yourself to be receptive to flashes.

Step 4

Make it a daily participate to participate in silent reading and allow yourself time to do rich inner work. It is this work that will provide the life skill to support you through any crisis life may hurl at you.

Bring about change by changing the metaphorical concepts that you live by. Time is not an economic unit. It is elastic and will spread to enable you to meet the challenge if you are committed enough.