It has been some time since I have worked collaborative blogs at the Soul Food Cafe but the material is all still there, documenting a rich, creative period applying blogging technology to build a community well before social networking had become so popular. Tania Pryputniewicz found some of the work and has written about it. It feels like she is describing another life that I have lived in another time, another space.
“You’ll remember that Chaucer’s group of traveling pilgrims–including among others the Knight, the Miller, the Cook, the Wife of Bath and the Parson–compete to recount the best tale in hopes of winning a free meal at the journey’s end. Chaucer’s question to us: Who tells the best tale? The pilgrimage becomes incidental; in fact, the tale in some ways becomes secondary to what the tale reveals about each storyteller.
For our purposes here, notice Chaucer uses pilgrimage as a frame as a way to feed us tales from the point of view of multiple pilgrims traveling the same road. Someone who has taken this concept into blog-land with far-reaching and beautiful scope is Heather Blakey, through her project at Soul Food Café , where in part, anonymity of participants fosters sanctuary over competition and allows for blossoming across forms (blogging, artwork, collage, etc., all while playing with available technologies that interface with the internet).
Through the sublime timing and hopscotch of connection the blogosphere invites, I just now stumbled upon Heather Blakey through Edith O. Naullain, a writer who blogs at In A Room of My Own. I am in awe of Blakey’s project and skill as moderator–she has been working with bloggers for years—if nothing else, read Zen and the Art of Team Blogging for direct testimonials of Blakey’s online node like this one: “She gives me a place to open up along side others who may journey for different reasons. We journey together in a virtual world that allows us freedom to dream.” (Luna Eternally).
One page that exemplifies what I mean here by creative frame and delivery or reinterpretation of pilgrimage is a page called “the Rookery.” You, in your role as visitor, are greeted by an image of a tree, branches weighted by the bodies of rooks, trunk base circled by a few standing rooks on the ground and a few wheeling midflight. Not a single word appears other than the title, the Rookery, each letter etched white across a blue sky.To enter the space, you must select a bird, and thus are transported/winged to another page. Each bird represents a view, a voice.”
Cheryl P. Kennedy
Cheryl Kennedy is an Assemblage Artist who is engaging in the Castlemaine Arts Open and needed a basic web presence. She can choose to develop this site further if the mood takes her and she wants to share more of her work in an online setting.
Lori Gloyd Shares the Love
With great enthusiasm I respond to today’s prompt from the Daily Post: “Tell us about another blogger who has influenced your own online journey.“
Without reservation I say that Heather Blakey through her work at the Soul Food Cafe launched me on the road to daily writing and navigating the realm of the blogosphere.
Prior to 2006 I was plugging away at writing on my own static website. No one in my world knew diddly-squat about these things called “blogs” and certainly no one was reading my website. Then one day I fell into Heather’s magic Chocolate Box and started writing. One turn in her labyrinth led to another and then another and I ended up blogging on a regular basis with a delightful group of women (and a few men).
I have moved on to my own work here at the Perch, but I still keep in contact with many of my SFC buddies. Many of them are actively engaged in their own writing projects. I urge you to take a click on the links in my Blogroll on the left and see the handiwork of these wildly creative individuals.
According to the SFC website, the group is now closed, but Heather is back working online! Take a look around. Be inspired by Heather.
I was, and still am.
With Wings They Fly
There is nothing so gratifying as running a course, seeing the lights go on and have a student fly. Ann Paterson has joined a legion of people who, under the guidance of Heather Blakey, have quite literally taken to WordPress like a duck to water. Ann found the work on this blog added meaning to her participation in the Exhibition Project at Continuing Education. Of course, then these people turn on you and do things like interview the teacher. And go that step further and publish it on the web! Well done Ann!
Soul Food Cafe
The Soul Food Cafè, built by Heather Blakey, has been a portal for artists and writers for over a decade. It has provided a safe haven where creativity flourishes. The Soul Food Cafè aimed to promote creative pursuits as a daily practice. It is a massive site with over ten major projects, and links to hundreds of purpose built, collaborative blogs. An article entitled Zen and the Art of Blogging highlights just how successful this virtual cafe was during its zenith.