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Describe your writing or art-making space.

Yark!  I write wherever I am–sometimes at my computer desk on the desktop computer or in a notebook.  Sometimes I write while sitting on the couch or in bed, with the laptop or pen and paper.  I’ve been known to go to the library and hide in a corner and scribble like mad in a notebook.


For art–there’s always the floor–and the table–when I can find it.  Usually the floor though–more room there and I can spread out more.  Since i cannot get to any table lately, I have actually been using my ironing board as a sewing platform to hold my sewing machine aloft as I sew.

Describe your writing implement, device, equipment, or tools you use to create.


pens of all sorts, pencils, crayons in a pinch–usually because my dd steals all my pens and leaves me broken bits of crayon in place of the stolen pens, laptop computer, desktop computer, dip pens, markers, a finger or two dipped in paint upon occasion


What is the oddest object in your creative space?

a big round metal thing–we found it on the ground during a trip to the library–it looks as if it fell off someone’s car although for the life of me we cannot identify where on any car or truck or anything else it could have come from–it’s as big around as my hand with a big hole in the middle and all rusted and beautiful–and my dd and I immediately said we needed it for an art project–that particular art project has not yet presented itself so I have the piece just lying here and there as it gets moved around alot just to keep it out of the way

Do you listen to anything while you create? If so, what?

my dd singing is a norm–Deva Premal, Duran Duran, Madonna are other typical things–of late my favourite thing to listen to is absolutely nothing at all–which has now come into conflict as we live in an apartment and school is nearly done for the year apparently as there are kids–as in near teen-agers always about yelling and screeching and basically being a menace on many levels

Do you engage in any interesting habits, exercises, warm-ups or rituals before you settle down to create?

hiding from cats and kid?  making a nice strong pot of tea is a definite–I drink tea all day and night.  other than that I do alot of deep breathing all the time

when I use the laptop I do try to keep the charging cord nearby just in case I need it lest I lose anything 


Raven TK


In no real order at all…with no real rhyme or reason…


1.  Geisha by Liza Dalby–an exploration of the real world of Geisha 

2.  Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman–much better than the movie too

3.  Emotional Yoga by Bija Bennett

4.  Drawing As A Sacred Activity by Heather Williams

5.  All Year Round by Druitt, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling



Raven TK

These are all books I’ve acquired since I moved out here, and I deliberately chose different books–it didn’t seem interesting to grab all the communication texts I teach from

1. 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Phoenix.  A book that breaks down interesting hikes by views, difficulty, location.

2. The Zen of Seeing. A beautiful book,  hand-drawn and handwritten using shades of gray and black inks, that promotes seeing and drawing at meditation.

3. Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks.  Music and the brain. (I’m tone deaf.)

4. Book Proposals that Sell.  Step by step instructions for writing the non-fiction book proposal.

5. Create Your Own Artist’s Journal. A beautifully written and illustrated book that grounds you in the practice of keeping a visual journal.

My books are in no particular order:

The Creative Habit

The Witch of Portobello

The Elements of Design

Not Quite World’s End

Jottings: Flights of Fancy from Liz Smith


Only by closing my eyes in front of each section of shelves stacked with books, more or less arranged in genres, and reaching out blindly.  Thus, I came up with these five.  In an hour, or a day, there would be a different five.


1.  Die To Live – Questions and answers about meditation, existence, life, reincarnation, etc., with humor and wisdom.


2. The Source  – one of the first books taking one place on earth (a tell in Israel) and relating a fictionalized history of that place and surrounding area since the very beginning.  Going through the history of pagans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, the book relates the beginnings of the centuries-old problems still affecting that area, and the world.


3.  Writing From Life: Telling your Soul’s Story – great prompts and writing information to assist you to dig deep into your life and its motivations.


4.  Soul Collage – Great information and examples on how to do collage to enhance the processing about who you really are and why.


5.  The Doomsday Book – science fiction whereby historians in 2055 go to the 14th century to observe, unfortunately arriving in the midst of an influenza outbreak which complicates their project.  

I can’t just list five – here’s another I have to include:

6.  God’s Whisper, Creation’s Thunder – dealing with the connection between findings of the new physics and the insights of the great mystics.

1. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – poetry

2. Zen in the Art of Writing – essays on writing

3. Aunt Dimity, Vampire Hunter – a cozy mystery

4. The Fire Rose – a fantasy, retelling the story Beauty and the Beast, set in early 20th century San Francisco

5. The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns – the title says it all!

– She Wolf


The place where I like to write is where I am right now.  A comfortable computer chair with head and lumbar support combined with a card table situated by a window looking out over my backyard.  From this spot I can meditate, read, or write at the table with my purple gel-pen.  Frequently I lean back, gaze out the window, watch the birds, butterflies, bugs and bunnies, while clouds of all configurations coast by. I delight in the deciduous and evergreen trees of all hues of green, and revel in whatever flowers are blooming, from the huge wild rose bush with cascading white-flowered canes to the erect purple iris – I observe it all, and mull.


Mulling is the process whereby I throw various ideas and thoughts in, allowing them all to slowly simmer at their own pace as they recombine into new permutations and possibilities.  It is my brain’s slow-cooking process whereby ingredients swirl around in the stew pot, colliding, passing by, softening and recombining, each adding flavor to the other, to concoct a great stew or soup.  And sometimes an unexpected ingredient I forgot I even added enhances the end result. 


I sit, surrounded by bookcases of books, art supplies, pictures of my loved ones, even a reproduction of a clay Sumerian tablet from about 2500 BC I purchased on one of my many visits to the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia.  I often wonder what people might think if they rummage through the collapsed remains of my house in Arkansas years from now and unearthed what would appear to be a Sumerian artifact.  One of the unexpected ingredients surrounding me.


The place where I like to write is also the place where I like to meditate, read, mull, watch nature without the exposure to ticks and chiggers, plan gardens, listen to music; in other words, the place where I relax in ways necessary for my life.  I realize, though, that I might sometimes need to inject a little more fire and play into my mulling to prevent the tendency to drift off with the clouds.  




1. The Creative License – a book about creative everyday journalling

2. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – novel with a spiritual twist

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time- written from an autistic boy’s perspective

4. Himalaya – armchair travel

5. Beyond Baked Beans Green – veggie cookery

Small Graces- simple beauty of everyday life

Brian Froud’s World of Faery – luscious artwork – over 30 years of his magical mystical beings

The Book of Weird – a quirky encyclopedia of mythical creatures & their descriptions

Green Man myths – an anthology of wood sprites/beings/stories

The Golems of Gotham – “A book Job might have written if he had a wry sense of humor” – “magical realism that delves into Holocaust memories”

The Stand by Stephen King: I read this once a year, at least. King’s best book, raising all kinds of questions about Good and Evil, the nature of society, the best and worst of humanity – the characters are so beautifully drawn, I feel as if I know each one personally now. The underlying theme – what do you believe? What do you hold sacred? Would you take a stand? Powerful stuff.

Nigella Express: My favourite cook book at the moment. I love the succulent way Nigella writes about food. Even her recipes-in-a-hurry dally over the sheer pleasure of cooking and eating. My son in law, the Filipino chef bought it for me as a spur of the moment gift, so it is doubly treasured.

Roget’s Thesaurus: A very old, battered Penguin paperback edition.

The Prester Quest by Nicholas Jubber: I’m reading this now. It’s the hilarious account of Jubber’s quest to walk in the footsteps of a medieval priest charged with finding the mysterious (and non existent) Kingdom of Prester John, somewhere in Africa.

Ghosts of Vesuvius: Charles Pellegrino’s rivetting comparison of the destruction of the twin towers and other major disasters, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. I found it incredibly moving; when Pellgrino and his fellow workers returned to Pompeii after sifting through Ground Zero to study the damage and compare it to Vesuvius (the effects were the same, so investigators were hoping to save lives in future events of this type, including volcanic eruptions) their attitude had changed dramatically. Pompeii was no longer a historical event but an intensely human one. For the first time, these pragmatic scientists `contaminated’ a site by leaving memorials for the long dead – such as a doll, from `the childen of New York to the Children of Pompeii’ (because one of the bodies found at Pompeii is a small girl child clutching a doll.) A most beautifully written book – I highly reccomend it.

Here’s a fun discussion prompt that allows us to know each other better.

As quickly as possible, list five books from your bookshelves making sure they are not all from the same genre. For example, it could be a novel, autobiography, about science, on spirituality, a cookbook, a book, a memoir, poetry, art, how to, business, self help — make sense? 

You can give a brief one sentence description of what the book is about. However, don’t give us any information on why you chose these books or the name of the author (not needed). Just list the 5 book titles and what the book is about and then post them to Blue Stocking Society. That’s it 😉

The second part is where the fun comes in.  We comment on each other’s list of 5 book titles, sharing our perception of what each title tells us about the person we are writing about. When commenting on the book titles, it’s best to write what first comes to your mind instead of trying to figure what you think or know about the person.

I’ll start it off with five (5) book titles from my bookshelves. I look forward to everyone jumping in and posting their 5 book titles and then all of us commenting on each other’s titles.

Here goes:

1) Einstein’s Dreams, a novel (simple, lyrical, and literal details to locate Einstein precisely in a place and time–working on his bizarre, unheard-of theory of relativity)
2) A Trail Through Leaves, The Journal as a Path to Place (a treasure-box of ways to write, draw, and be alive to the world.
3) 7 Deadly Sins of Chocolate (a cookbook with chocolate recipes designed to represent the 7 deadly sins)
4) Brave Hearts, Rebel Spirits (stories of modern-day prophets of positive change inspiring the world
5) Through the Eyes of the Gods: An Aerial Vision of Africa (aerial photography showing us the remarkable part of the world from a whole new angle)

— genece hamby, contemporary artist & poet

Writing Rituals – or generally odd things I’ve gotten away with using
the excuse, “Because I’m a writer…”

–One of the oddest writing spaces I’ve ever used was an abandoned,
quite weathered tiny mobile home, which had no electricity, no
furniture, no bathroom – and it was parked in a national forest (behind
a friend’s log cabin). Me, a yellow legal pad, and a couple of pens – I
had everything I needed to write for a whole weekend. My only company
was a few long-dead wasps on the floor. It was quiet, peaceful, and I
filled several pages easily…

–Probably the oddest writing utensil I ever used was a dandelion. I
was at an outdoor concert, got inspired, but had no pen or paper. So I
tore up a paper drink cup, picked a dandelion, and smeared a poem. It
was a rather short poem.

–I don’t know how odd it is, but it seems appropriate for a writer: no
matter what room I’ve used as an office, I’ve always hung a bright 9 X
12 inch orange sign with 4-inch glow-in-the-dark letters that spell,

–When I was writing my novel about my experiences in a religious cult,
I used to listen to Gregorian chants to get in the ethereal mood.

–For warm-ups, I try to remember these inspirational words from Ray

“You throw up at the typewriter all morning and clean up all afternoon.”
And “He who has fun creates!”

—an aside – When John Steinbeck was writing East of Eden, he kept a
companion book which was published as Journal of a Novel. He would warm
up for the day by talking about the story, how it was going, his hopes
for it, by drafting a “letter” to his editor each day…Often, the last
line of the letter read, “And I hope you like it…” I try to keep that
same warmth, friendliness, and respect for my readers in mind when I
start writing…


I usually write on a computer. I find that odd sometimes, because I have always found a clean sheet of paper and a smooth-writing pen pure inspiration. My hand, however, is rarely able to keep up with my mind, and my handwriting degenerates into unreadable, thoughts get lost, and the whole thing turns writing into an exercise in pure frustration. (Poetry is the exception. I still need paper and pen for poetry.) The days of typewriters were no better. My fingers often hit the wrong keys, and I have no patience with myself over that. A computer, though, with a word processing program – now that is my best work-place.

Ideally, I would have a quiet room with peaceful blues and greens decorating it, a few favorite pieces of fantasy art and knickknacks, and a comfy chair and a desk the right height for my keyboard. I would have either no music, or something like world music or new age or gentle classical -anything without words – on the stereo, very softly. Alas, reality is far different.

If I have my keyboard, I can, and often do, write anywhere. I lose myself in what I am writing, and the world around me disappears.

I write at the dining room table with the family squabbling and dogs barking and birds squawking and the stereo booming whatever the last person who got to it set it on, all normal and noisy around me.

I write at my desk in the bedroom with a sport-of-the-season game blaring in the background, my desk cluttered and frequently topsy-turvy. (Although it is topped with some of my favorite bits and pieces – a baby griffin, a Chinese dragon purchased on a trip to Los Angeles almost thirty years ago, a scene of a wizard’s cottage, a sand dollar that my oldest son brought me from a trip to Seattle, a few small stuffed critters, and some tiny eggs from my birds. There is also, regrettably, a collection of tea cups and mugs up there that needs to go back to the kitchen.) But when I’m writing, I really don’t notice the state of the desk. (And yes, I know I actually can do something about the messy desk, but when I do, it never lasts very long. Entropy is strong in my house.)

I would write in the car (this is serious downtime and boredom sends my imagination into overdrive) but I get car sick. I do have a car charger for the computer, though.

I used to think I needed things just right to write. Now I know that if I want things right, then I just need to write.

– She Wolf © 2008

My writing rituals are fairly ordinary and my workspace extremely mundane. Typically, I draft my writings by hand, where I absolutely must use a black felt tip pen, preferably a Flair. With this pen, I can recline and keep the ink flowing. Sometimes I write on my living room sofa; other times I’m at my local natural food store that has free wi-fi—a fact that is important and I’ll describe in a minute. Typically, I write either very late at night or early in the morning, such as right now.

So, anyway, my handwritten drafts just tend to be a list of notes, phrases that roll around in my mind, and perhaps some more complicated explications. Then I move to my PC and flesh out the text. Now, when I am creating digital art, I typically skip the handwritten bit and just go straight to my computer and start working. My computer is in my bedroom/library/office/storeroom…. See, I live in this really, really small apartment and most rooms are utilized in a multipurpose manner. No I do not write in the bathroom but I have had many inspired thoughts there.

I don’t have too many odd things around my workspace—just usual things like books, papers, music CDs, books, a vacuum cleaner, my bed, a DVD of Qi Gong exercises (which I watch on my computer because my DVD player is broken,) books and more books. Regarding books, the two that are right next to my monitor at the moment are Writing Down the Bones by Goldberg and Krause’s Color Index: CMYK and RGB Formulas for Print and Web Media.

I don’t usually listen to anything specific when I write or make art. At the moment I am listening to some guy on the radio ranting about the state of the world—oh, I just heard a crow caw right outside the window—really, I’m not making this up—and two bus lines roar by my front door every five minutes from about 5:30 am to about 9 p.m, rattling the windows and drowning out any other sounds. In hot weather, when I have my bedroom windows open, I can hear everything coming from the people who live in the building next door. I hear them talking, cooking, watching tv, entertaining, etc. This is usually followed by the sounds of my muttering something about their getting a room somewhere else and the loud sliding shut of said bedroom window.

I have no other writing rituals except when I work at my computer, I MUST have something to drink—it can be anything (usually coffee) as long as it is sitting on the right side of my computer—which is interesting because I am left-handed. Also, and more importantly, I can’t even begin to work unless I check my e-mail first. I don’t know why this is, but I cannot work until every unread e-mail is read. So when I am writing somewhere not my home, then I must find a place with a free wi-fi spot (such as my local natural food market), when I can plug in my Ipod and look at my e-mail. Oh, no, I’m not addicted at all to the internet, nope, not me.

My ending ritual is realizing that I have to be somewhere else, scrambling to sign off, and bolting out of the room–Such as now– It is now 6:20 in the morning and I have to hustle to get ready for work.

Have a great day everyone. I’m looking forward to reading about your writing habits.


Two wooden figures  on the upper shelf
wave to some hidden presence
bend their knees
in ritual parade
one kicks out at the set
of opera glasses as if it knew
them ancient and useless
The tiny carved cat disregards the lot
and shuts her eyes

And at that point a thunder clap
closed my electronic performance
so I took off with the book that explains
my  predicament:  Chaos theory; now there’s
an explanation for the break up
of pattern and its reconstruction and that, I think,
is the oddest thing
I keep at hand.

The rest is routine, a keyboard, Mac,
a WACOM that is refusing my direction
I cannot listen
to music, but strangely often
to someone who speaks to a far off microphone
as if the drone of someone else’s voice
will help to  find my own when the new pattern
has failed to form at the edges of that chaos,
age and history create

You talked of habit—most of mine need discipline
a question to be answered
a plan to make
a memory  to release
a view from far beyond the  walls of quiet room, or garden
an old letter
an attempt to picture a long-forgotten face
and now this challenge—the reply
too long perhaps—I thank you friend
for demanding a place in mine.

by Fran Sbrocchi

Official Lemurian Tavern

Authenticated by le Enchanteur

What is the Soul Food Cafe?

The Soul Food Cafe is an international group of writers and artists whose global mission is to promote writing and art-making as a daily practice through the use of interactive web-based technologies such as blogging and e-mail groups.

Exploring Lemuria

Lemuria is the fantasy construct where the participants of the Soul Food Cafe post their work, andThe Taverna di Muse is one of many places and realms within Lemuria. To see some other Lemurian destinations, select one below and start your journey:

Riversleigh Manor
Murmuring Woods
Cyberia, City of Ladies
The Hermitage
On the Road with Enchanteur
The Digital Atelier The Cave of the Ancients
Lemurian Abbey
Halloween Party, 2006
The Heroine's Journey
Aboard the Calabar Felonway
The Pythian Games
Isle of the Temple People
Isle of Ancestors
The Temple of Solace
Grand Tour
Lemurian Tour
The Gypsy Camp

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The opinions expressed by contributors to Taverna di Muse on this blog as well as on public domains outside this blog are not to be construed as an endorsement by Heather Blakey or Lori Gloyd. Material appearing on this site remains the property of individual artists and writers.


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