The strictly nonfat chocolate from the Soul
Food Chocolate Box is currently being refilled with material to help
us return to that wondrous kingdom where imagination and creativity rule.
Childhood is a state or phase of imaginative existence, the phase in which the world of imagination is still a brave new world and yet reassuring and intelligible.
The new fillings focus on celebrating childhood joy, spontaneity and imagination. Join me, lend a helping hand, as I fill the chocolates with deliciously different fillings
The 2003 Advent Calendar is packed with writing activities.
Magic Writing Tram
To participate in the primary school writing program clamber aboard the Magic Writing Tram, designed by Greg Blakey, and do some of the exercises that you will find on board.
Many buildings have been left behind. Empty. Forgotten. Midnight Society have reserved these pages as a way to pay tribute to these buildings and remember them for what they once were.
Clearly I am not the only person is convinced that old buildings provide fascinating fuel for writing. Explore this wonderful collection and be inspired.
Is your house riddled with secret rooms, trap doors and mystifying symbolism? Check out the intriguing history of Eltham Palace and have a bit of a wander around the place, with your notebook and pen in hand, of course.
One of the techniques that I have successfully applied in my teaching of writing is guided imagery. My students like being given a framework and really enjoy hearing the diversity of directions that classmates have taken.
My signature guided imagery involves walking inside a seashell to meet one's creative self but most classes enjoy wandering into the deserted, long abandoned farmhouse. What people find within varies enormously.
Working with guided imagery is just one reliable way to draw forth the stream of memories and images that have lain buried in the subconscious. Indeed, recent emails with Soul Food folk have shown that abandoned buildings hold very special secrets and provide rocket fuel for writing.
Wild and Wacky Writing Exercises - 2004
The Soul Food Cafe works in liaison with and actively supports the work of many artists. Worth Studio is the creative child of Stephanie Hansen. Hansen is just one of a cast of artists who have found inspiration in the halls of this labyrinthine cafe and taken up residency in the Artist's Loft. Make sure to read a recent interview with Hansen and discover her fascinating self portraiture. Learn more about this quirky self portraiture and consider taking up the self portraiture challenge.
Flight of Fancy
The work of Liudmila Kondakova is enough to make me save the milk money, pack my bags and head bag to Paris for an extended stay. Stroll through Paris with Liudmila and write diary entries or letters home. More than one collection of letters home have ended up on the book store shelves.
What constitutes an identity? Is the identity an invention produced by the civilisation in which we live? What can we learn about the artist from a series of his ID cards that is not already declared there? Or the answers may be in the passage of time. The basic information given on the identity remains the same in each card, but the facial form and expression of the artist is gradually changing and ageing, as evident by the passport photos, telling an unwritten and undocumented story.
Each of us is unique, every ID tells a different
story, and the real identity may not always be inside the official document.
Follow the example provided here and scan cards that you have carried. Use this to begin some narrative writing.
Romancing the Past
A highlight of our trip to Greece was an idyllic
day spent exploring the crumbling ruins
Founded in 1249 by the Franks, it grew to a city of 20,000 under the Byzantines, becoming the seat of the despots of Morea in 1348. It remained a center of learning and art as well as religion for many centuries, until it was finally abandoned in 1832.
What remains of the Byzantine city are its churches, a monastery, an olive grove, some walls and roads. The steep, cobbled streets are mostly genuine, and give the feeling of actually walking there in the 14th century.
Wander the cobbled streets and write from a Byzantine perspective as invading Turkish forces bring permanent change. While you're not likely to find lost treasures like a pair of tungsten rings or old diaries among the rubble, there is plenty of things to find that can inspire you to write about as you walk the streets.
Paper Doll Art and Writing
Become a Virtual Pilgrim
If, like me,you yearn to make the medieval pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, then the images of the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos that I found at Mysterium will simply harden your resolve to get there.
Like Carlos at Mysterium "I've yet to set worldly cares aside to make the trek" Carlos waxes rhapsodic. He writes: "The castles, cloisters and friendly young women - I mean, cathedrals - one comes across in northern Spain. Then there's the magic of hobbit-like descents into wine caves, the incomparable gusto (pardon, vegetarian friends) of roasting lamb chops in an open field over a fire made on dry rosemary branches. There are places where water is beautiful because its presence in certain landscapes is utterly unimaginable. Above all, there's a silence there, the famous, supposedly mystic Castilian silence, under huge blue skies, that demands something be said."
Make sure you take the monastery tour and view the path that the pilgrims followed.
Another trek for the spiritually minded is to Montserrat Abbey set in one of the most unique ecological settings in the world. It all began at the moment when, as the legend goes, the image of the Virgin was found in the Holy Grotto. Since the Monastery was founded... Experience life with a community of monks.
Masque of the Red Death
"The "Red Death" had long devastated the country.
No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour."