Colouring Stories

30 07 2019

“You have power over people Mrs Blakey. You can get everyone in the room to write. How do you do that?” asked Jason from Keon Park Primary.

“We belong to the force of Blakey” said Avril, a member of a small working group at Keon Park Primary School.

When writing or talking about the Soul Food Cafe one does have to keep in mind that its original purpose was not only to publish fun projects, for both primary and secondary school students that I was working with at the time but also to ensure that students had a readership. Primary school students who I met, years after I had worked with them told me that they still loved showing off work that had been published on the internet, back in the days when the internet was still youthful and uncluttered.

Colouring stories went down well with all ages. One favourite, which I located deep within the Way Back Machine involved colouring in Angelica from Cooltoons, cutting her out, pasting her into a scene, along with some other and then writing about the ‘Bad Girl of the Block’.

Colour her mean! Add some action to the page. Write down a list of seriously ‘bad’ action words. Make a note of the things she is in a habit of saying. Think about who she likes to hang out with, how she walks, how she talks to people. Contemplate and recall some of the past bad deeds she and her gang have done.

Write a story entitled ‘Bad Girl On The Block.

One sunny Tuesday morning when Angelica set off to her aunt Didi’s and uncles Stew’s house she saw a police car. She was thinking, did her aunt and uncle call the police for what she had done last night. When Angelica went there yesterday, she was up to mischief, she wrecked her uncle Stew’s new record and new record player. When she was leaving to go to school she called Chuckie, Phil, Lil and Tommy stupid little babies. Just as she was walking out the door she said, “Bite me” to her aunt and uncle. When she was walking to school she saw a police car driving along beside her. The policeman wound down his window and said come here right now. Angelica ran away, right down to the corner and went in the schoolyard. The police car went through the gate that was open, near where they play soccer. The police car ruined the soccer lines that were marked only two days ago. The policemen hopped out the car and ran into the office so they could call her on the loud speaker. Angelica ran into the office and saw the police. The police said we are going to put you behind bars for two years. After she got out of jail she was really, really, really nice to all her family, even the babies.
by Emma Gould – Primary School Student

There are lots of sites that provide downloads of templates to colour. Judy Clement Wall is just one of them. Images like “When in Doubt, Wear fun Shoes’ would surely fit somewhere into Angelica’s daily life.

 





The Imagined House

29 07 2019

The house often is a symbol of the self, one’s own personality. In this exercise, students are led through a mental imagery scene in which they explore a house in their imagination.

You are walking down a road…. As you are walking, you see a house. Look at it. Notice its details…. Walk towards it. What do you notice about it?…. You start to walk around the house, looking at it as you walk…. Now you are halfway around. Notice the details of the house as you continue to walk around it…. Now you come back to where you were when you started…. As you walked around the house, you noticed a way to get in. Now go into the house…. What do you see?…. Explore the house, what’s inside?…. As you were exploring, you noticed a secret door leading to a secret room. Go inside that room. What do you see?…. Now leave the secret room and go back into the main part of the house…. Now leave the house. As you are walking away from it, you look back at it one more time…. You are back on the road once again, walking.

After completing the imagery exercise, write down what you saw in your imagination.

Upon completion, when in a group situation, we discuss how the various characteristics of the house may say something about their own personality – similar to dream interpretation. We pay attention to such details as to how the house appears on the inside as opposed to the outside, what can and cannot be found inside the house, how one gets into the house, what’s inside the “secret” room, colours, textures, how space is experienced, etc. All of these details may have symbolic significance.

When shared in a group ask other participants to help you flesh out detail by asking questions. The feedback provided by other students is invariably eye-opening. In fact, I am always impressed by how insightful some very young students can be.

Students often are amazed at what the imagined house says about them.

This exercise also works well for exploring the identity/personality of a small group. After someone leads the group through this imagery scene, the group members discuss what they each visualized. Based on that discussion, the group together then visually “constructs” one house that seems to capture the personality of the group and all of its members. Comparing the houses created by different groups can result in some fascinating insights into the unique personality of each group.

 

Source: Suler, J. (May, 1999). The Imagined House





Dare To Be Artrageous

27 07 2019

The purpose of the Soul Food Cafe is to promote writing as a daily practice. The site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every writer. It’s full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement for writers of all kinds. Visit it often for inspiration for “listening to your muse”.

Follow the link and get some instructions about how to make an artrageous hat to celebrate your creativity and help you think like an artist.

Nothing is more ordinary than a paper bag, which is why these hats are so extraordinary. The Hawaii artist Moses (shown right, modelling Halley’s Hat, made to honour the astronomer) crafted more than 250 of them in a remarkable creative outburst that lasted almost ten years.

Moses says he “feels like the luckiest guy in the world” because he was given “The Paper Bag Hat Assignment.” He can’t explain why, but throughout the 1980s he was obsessed with paper bag hats. He saw designs in trees and in mountains. Some are quite simple — just a bag cleverly folded and shaped into a head covering. Others, like Anthurium and Gothic Knight, rely on the bag’s crisp texture to hold intricate pleats. Quite a few, such as Two/Flat Knight, are held together with vast quantities of white glue. Waiting for the glue to dry was the most tedious part of the construction process.

Local merchants gladly donated bags and Moses used thousands. The rays of Sun Rook were made from at least 100 paper bags, which were twisted tightly, bent in half and glued onto a form so that more than 200 points bristle from its crown. To achieve the soft texture of Beethoven and Dahling, bags were twisted and crumpled repeatedly until the fibres just gave up and the paper became like flannel. Moses did so much folding and twisting that he developed serious tendonitis. At the time, Moses lived in a Chevy van and used the project room of the local library as his studio.

Periodically, he’d fill his van with the current crop of chapeaus, drive down to Hapuna Beach with a borrowed camera and ask passersby if they’d like to be photographed wearing one of his creations. People’s reactions were always positive. Perhaps they caught a dose of Moses’ infectious enthusiasm. The bulk of his Crowning Glory collection is owned by the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California. Martha Longenecker, the museum’s founder and director, marvels at these “imaginative, amusing, whimsical and timeless sculptural forms.”

Moses is one person who can suggest you put a bag over your head without your being insulted.

By Elizabeth J. Erskine
All photographs courtesy of Moses





Dream Imagery

27 07 2019

I had given up on writing a good while before I discovered the cyber-treasure Soul Food Cafe. Heather Blakey coaxed from me one last dying ember of literary inspiration, added her unique fuel and spark, and then graciously sat back to admire the fiery imagination she expertly fostered, though assuring me the magic is all mine. Heather taught me and continues to encourage me not to give up five minutes before the miracle happens
Stephanie Hansen

Gail Bixler’s Dream Imagery

As I patiently dig within pages of the Soul Food Cafe that the Way Back Machine snapped and visit internet sites that have long since been removed, I am finding material that reminds me of prompts I have found not only stimulate my imagination but have induced a flow of words in people I worked with.

Gail Bixler documented people’s dreams and their interpretations of those dreams. Dream Imagery is a great place to view pages that will not only give you ideas about how to record your dreams but use some of the material as you develop characters you are working with.

 

When I was working with some Grade 3 and 4 students at a local primary school last year I asked students and the two teachers working with them to take turns, to stand up and share a recurrent dream. Then I had other students listen and react as critics and ask for more information. I was, quite frankly, stunned by the ‘interrogation’ that took place and was inspired by the rich detail that emerged.

Then, having reminded students how to write in the third person I asked them to use this material to generate a story or a news report.

Perhaps you will use this technique and see what emerges.

In Writer’s Dreaming by Naomi Epel, Epel introduces us to some of today’s most important writers. As they discuss their dreams–both sleeping and waking– the 26 writers in this intriguing book create a portrait of the creative process that is more candid than most autobiographies and more inspiring than any guide to writing.

This guideline I relocated, tucked away within the endlessness of the Way Back Machine provides more ways to work with dreams.





Aesthetics of Appreciation

27 07 2019

Named one of the 101 best Writing Web Sites by Writer’s Digest, SOUL FOOD CAFE provides inspiration for writers and artists to make creative work a daily practice. The editors hope that searching minds will appreciate the “chain reaction that promotes creativity and the flow of words.”

Back in 2004, I stumbled upon the work of Cynthia Korzekwa’s. Her exploration of the Aesthetics of Appreciation captivated me. Her retablos were a delight to meditate upon.  “If you’re lucky and don’t know it, it’s like not being lucky at all,” wrote Korzekwa. She suggests that to keep your luck alive you need to recognize it by making retablos

A retablo is a devotional painting, especially a small popular or folk art one using iconography derived from traditional Catholic church art. More generally retablo is also the Spanish term for a retable or reredos above an altar, whether a large altarpiece painting or an elaborate wooden structure with sculptures. Typically this includes painting, sculpture or a combination of the two, and an elaborate framework enclosing it. The Latin etymology of the Spanish word means “board behind”. Aside from being found behind the altar, “similar ornamental structures are built and carved over facades and doorways”, called overdoors.

Korzekwa percieved Retablos to provide a means of offering thanks for her luck.

I consider myself to have been lucky to meet people like Korzekwa when I worked the Soul Food Cafe. This site is what I consider to be a Retablo. It is a way of giving thanks to the divine source that continues to feed me. It also enables me to express how much I appreciated the generosity of all those people who joined me and fired my imagination during those amazing ten years.


Gratitude journals are very popular thanks, in large part, to the work of the mindfulness movement. Making retablos may enrich a gratitude journal. Consider finding ways to keep your luck alive and find fresh ways to make retablos.





Old Internet Gold

26 07 2019

While I was digging around in the Soul Food Cafe, as snapped by the Way Back Machine, I couldn’t resist following links to sites that have long since disappeared. Bingo! I came across an old link I had to Spam Letters.

Johnathon Land who created this insane site didn’t remember why he started writing back to those people who send spam but he did, and, in so doing he created Spam Letters.

Be cautioned! It is generally agreed that responding to such mail only results in your computer contracting a nasty social virus or encourages spammers to send more mail.

However, for fans of unsent letters and Julia Cameron’s morning pages, this does not pose a problem. There is no danger in copying ridiculous spam and using it to meet your daily ten thousand steps of writing target. (I can’t help wondering why no one has designed a ‘Fitbit’ so we can count our words).

Needless to say, I ended up going off on a tangent,  foraging around and low and behold I found some great ways to serve up spam.

But I digress! Here is one of Land’s replies to a spam letter! Back when I linked to his site I did think he might just have been on to something! Clearly, he was! He produced a book called, you guessed it, Spam Letters.

A Spam Letter by Johnathon Land

Subject: Re: Complimentary Disney Area Vacation
To: freevac3@turbomail.net
From: Jonathan Land <jland@incomplete.net>
Date: 07/03/2001

Congratulations!

You will be our guest in Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, for 4 days and 3 nights. All compliments of major Vacation Resort Developers.

Click here>>> http://www.websurfking.net/freevacations CLAIM YOUR GIFT

While I’m thrilled to have won this prize, I have to say that the timing is wholly unfortunate. I just got back from a 5-day trip to Orlando where I went to Walt Disney World and several other area attractions such as amusement parks and outdoor wax museums (which for some reason all featured a character named “Puddles The Blob”… must be a local thing).

I’d like to know if it would be at all possible to use my winnings from this contest to go to a different location. I realize that it would probably have to be some comparable amusement park-like thing, so I’ll just let you know what I’m looking for, and maybe you can suggest an alternate location for my prize.

OK… from my recent experience, I’ve actually found a lot to be desired from an amusement park. For instance, I’m not a big fan of light, heat, lines (queues when I’m overseas), height, speed, crowds (particularly children under the age of 30), individuals who have a lack of awareness of their own personal space, and noise. Basically, if this were more of a road trip scenario, my ideal buddy would be Woody Allen, but neither of us would dare drive.

I know it’s far easier to say what you don’t want out of something as opposed to what you do, so I’ll attempt to “verbalize” that to the best of my ability here.

My ideal amusement park would be a self-contained, climate-controlled environment that’s available for use 24 hours a day. It would be small enough to traverse the entire area with ease, but large enough so you don’t feel claustrophobic. It can have many windows, but the shades should always be drawn.

I’m very easy to please… I’m fine with just one ride. The ride itself should be a big uber-ride confined to one place where you don’t have to go running around the park. Personally, I like the video presentations that you can find at parks. It would be really, really cool to either A) have some sort of monitor like that with some sort of link up to a network that would allow the patron to select various presentations to view, or b) I don’t know… have some series of cartridges or cool computer-y thingies encoded with presentations that you can plug into something attached to the monitor. That could entertain me for countless months!

The most important thing about the above attraction though is that the monitor setup must be visible to all attendees, and the seating for the ride should maybe be a single row… possibly with a little table in front to accommodate refreshments.

I realize that more is to be taken into consideration in regards to an amusement park besides the fun stuff, so here I’ll address the nightly hotel situation, the concession stand, and the restrooms in reverse order.

The unisex restrooms should have full amenities such as a shower/bathtub (especially since I’m about to propose that the park have a built-in hotel), and a stocked, gratis medicine cabinet. Since the maximum occupancy of the park should only be a handful of people, the restroom should rarely be occupied, and you can easily co-ordinate with any others (essentially your guests who are there by invitation) about the necessity and priority of use, unless of course someone has “really gotta go”.

The concession area would have all of the foods that are traditionally strewn throughout the park in one concise space. Some of the food can be prepared at will by the consumer in an available oven or microwave. Until then there will be a facility where it can be refrigerated or frozen. There should be a network of businesses within immediate walking/driving distance of the park who can supply such things as food items, or even new entertainment cartridges for the ride.

There should be a built-in hotel that is mere feet away from the ride. There should be no specified check-in or check-out time, with no random strangers knocking on your door at 9 am to make your bed for you. However, random strangers in bed with you are perfectly acceptable, even welcome.

Most important – the park attendant. Preferably a young nymphomaniac in a french maid outfit, who would handle the upkeep of the entire facility and my sexual needs in exchange for affection, trinkets, an occasional dinner outside of the park, and a noble attempt to accommodate her insatiable sexual needs even though failure is virtually guaranteed. She can also reside in the hotel room space. I realize this last request might be toeing the line of illegality/impropriety, but I just thought I’d ask.

While I want this thing to be sparsely populated, it it would be ok with me if this park were part of a community of similar theme parks where each operator can tailor the place to their own whims and desires…. as long as they don’t play their music too loud.

I’ve enclosed a rough layout:

I know this sounds heavy duty, but the more I describe this place, the more I’d like to live there. Hell, I’d be willing to pay a monthly rate, but obviously I’d need to relocate there, and eventually I’d have to support myself by getting a job within a reasonable distance, but oh, it would be paradise!!!

So where am I going?
Jonathan Land

Your Complimentary Vacation Package Includes:

3 Nights Resort Hotel Accommodations…PLUS

2 Adult Admissions to Disney’s Pleasure Island Attraction…PLUS

$500.00 Discount Coupon Book…PLUS

Round Trip Transportation between your Hotel and Disney World, Epcot, and the Animal Kingdom.

You Must Qualify – Now.

Click here>>> http://www.websurfking.net/freevacations CLAIM YOUR GIFT

To be removed from future mailings please visit
http://www.websurfking.net/freevacations/remove.html





Archaeological Dig

26 07 2019

The Soul Food Cafe is an incredible multilateral sea of creativity and creative people in writing and art. This place is creative and inspirational without becoming cheesy and all-together far too feel-good for comfort. The visual aspect is unbelievably beautiful and complementary to its content.
Eating Peanuts 2003

The science of Archaeology was glamorised by the film Raiders of the Lost Ark which featured Dr Indianna Jones, the tweed suited, a celebrated archaeologist who is hired by the government to locate the Ark of the Covenant.

Plenty of famed archaeologists have set out to find the hidden treasure but not all face the challenges Dr Jones is confronted with.

The purpose of archaeology is to study how people in the past interacted with their world. Archaeological information is gathered through a detailed study of historic objects, sites and monuments and the contemporary uses of heritage.

Day-to-day Archaeologists conduct field investigations, analyze artefacts, excavate sites, manage the logistics of projects at sites, write reports and recommendations, teach, conduct research, and publish the results of their research in academic journals.

Archaeology is an important career because it assists us in obtaining a chronology of our past, it gives us some understanding of why human culture has changed through time and it allows us to explain cause-and-effect behaviour of humans in the past which in turn helps us understand the present and why humanity is the way it is. Through Archaeology we can make more informed decisions about the progression of humanity as it currently exists.

For example, important remnants of an antique Town, discovered in 1974 at Dzalisa, close to the Mukhranbatoni Château, indicate that these early inhabitants mastered and developed the art of winemaking. They also prove the existence of an important town north of Mtkvari (mentioned by the C2nd B.C. by Greek author Ptolemy). This established settlement, a satellite of the larger Town Mtskheta, played an important part in the development of the Karthli Kingdom. By its historical, artistic and stylistic significance experts believe Dzalisa to be part of the global heritage of mankind, as are Pompeii, Herculaneum and similar sites in Palestine and Syria.

Given all of this, what kind of archaeologist am I working as? In this instance, I am digging deep into the vaults of the Soul Food Cafe, making full use of the amazing Way Back Machine, to study this historic internet application, look at how it functioned, how its creator mastered emerging computer applications and consider its relevance for contemporary use.

Initially, I might unearth old prompts and try entering through a manhole.

Try the following Guided Imagery and when you have completed it write an extended piece.

It is raining heavily but, tired of being indoors, you decide to go out for a walk. As you walk you hear the sound of a solitary raven calling. The cars spray water and you can see the drains filling. Water is gurgling and splashing like mini rivers along the curb into the drains.

Under the shelter of your umbrella you keep your eyes down and suddenly you see a manhole cover that you have never noticed before. (pause)

It is ajar and you can see that there is a ladder leading below. (pause)

The urge to explore is great. (pause)

Suddenly you are aware that you have company.

The two of you decide to check out the world beyond the manhole. (pause)

As you clamber below you are greeted by… see, hear, smell, taste, feel…

You might begin by drawing the world below the manhole cover and then write or you might, like me, when I was in the Czech Republic in 2018, simply seek out interesting manholes when you travel.