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A Complex Labyrinth

The Soul Food Cafè is a portal for artists and writers alike. It is 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.

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The domain names www.dailywriting.net and www.outbackonline.net belong to Heather Blakey and they house the Soul Food Cafe and the creative stimuli that the site provides. You will find special projects, serene sanctuaries and work that has been published since 1999.

Soul Food provides a Web 2.0 learning environment. This is powered by WordPress. To make full use of Soul Food join the Yahoo Soul Food Cafe group. It is advised that interested members undertake the Mastering WordPress Tutorial. When an individual is Word Press savvy they will be able to apply to participate in the Pythian Games. Mad Challenges are available for those who participate in the games but participants are free to do their own thing.

The static, Web 1.0 part of Soul Food Cafe is an expansive vault of creative stimuli. You can choose to explore this vault by yourself and take advantage of the innovative prompts and suggestions. No one will ask you what you are doing. There are no officious bunnies that will pop up and say that you should not be using that key or looking behind the small door at the end of the corridor.There is no charge. It is a free resource and will always remain so.

Of course, you might just take the plunge and leap into the zone, begin to interact with the artists and writers who call Soul Food home. You can join Soul Food’s Yahoo group. This provides you with access to the whole Soul Food community, many of whom have blogs attached to the site. As a member you will be notified when members post and you will be informed about upcoming events and projects.

This is what has been called the first Web 2.0 stage, the point at which you feel an irresistible urge to learn more about this place and meet those people who have helped to make it the rich site it has become. This is the moment that you begin communicating and interacting in an online setting.

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At Soul Food, the main place to interact is within the sanctuary that Lemuria affords. Webmaster, Heather Blakey, has quite literally built a target specific, interactive community for people who want to practice the Soul Food Way and make writing and art a daily practice. As a result of her work Soul Food now has artists, writers, journalists, photographers, scientists, archaelogists, storytellers, illustrators, musicians living in residence. The Soul Food Cafe has long ceased to be a static webside and provides very real mechanisms for working collaboratively in a creative, online environment.

Lemuria grew out of the myth Heather lives by. She first learned about this world in 1980. She discovered tha during the late 1880’s her great Grandfather, George Chale Watson, wrote a book entitled the Mountain Tops of Lemuria to record his journey on a Black-birding ship through the Polynesian Islands. He believed that these islands were the old mountain tops of Lemuria, the lost southern continent.

The Lemurian writing sanctuary was born after Heather Blakey located, at the Queensland University, the only copy of her great grandfather’s book. The University Librarian permitted her to make a copy of it and you will find Watson’s fascinating account of his journey, together with other ancestral material, on the site.

Original adventurers found Heather’s Lemuria by passing through a very special portal and all the stimuli was housed here. At this time we used Bravenet Forums as a means for people to participate and publish their work and Heather Blakey transferred some of that material on to the site.

When the Blogger Revolution came in 1999 Heather created a virtual monastery at Soul Food using this exciting new self publishing tool. In an interview with Chris Dunmire she talked about how she envisioned the Lemurian Abbey as a place full of fine art and craft, a monastery that would be filled with tiny, Spartan cells where votaries of the muse could come, retreat behind walls and observe time differently. She believed that in this Monastery, time would not be measured with clocks and believed that monastic writers would be free to wander through the cloisters and walled gardens in a meditative state, capturing metaphors in their writing nets.

The Lemurian Abbey became a wonderful sanctuary for people eager to practice the Soul Food Way. A metamorphosis began to take place and Heather realised that there was something magical happening on the site. A creative transformation was taking place and she could see that interaction and collaboration were working in an online setting. Soon a map of Lemuria emerged and people began to explore previously unexplored parts.

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Lemuria became a fantasy realm which could be emtered through a magic portal not unlike that which took Alice in to Wonderland or the children in to Narnia.

Lemurian Cosmos
as envisioned by Heather Blakey

Like Wonderland, it is a bit confusing and overwhelming at times. But, it is utterly addictive.

To learn more about Lemuria make sure to visit Lemuria Calling for more information. To attend to your creativity, to develop new thoughts, make the commitment to working at Soul Food on a daily basis.

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