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 Practice of Poetry(Robin Skelton, once my teacher, a guru, wizard, and  poet-this book is always in use for the classes I still teach)

Possession (the novel of research and librarians, greed and determination)

Benang (  Perhaps the  most imaginative historical novel I have ever read, the story of the aboriginal people in Australia)

Chaos (James Gleick makes the history, science and art of chaos theory understandable for those of us who, perhaps we were girls missed out on  physics courses in our education)

Narrow Road to the Interior (Hamil translation of Basho reminding me of a world that once was so very gentle)

And and extra for an old woman’s vanity:  Flight Patterns, my own book of poems by me!

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.

Okay… here are 5 books off my shelves…

1) The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

2)  Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

3) The Blithedale Romance

4) Desert Solitaire

5) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


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

Let wayward fingers
prize words out of the ether
minus thought
drift on the edge
across the final bar
that fences the horizon
only the white flag
signals trust
I hoist the blank page
and hope
there are words, and wordlings
far beyond my minding

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

I’m a person who loves creating and living in a sensual, harmonious and warm environment that melts me into my Muse. Though I have a formal desk, I rarely use it. Instead, I put my laptop and Wacom tablet on a folding table that can be moved anywhere in the house. Typically, it’s the living room where I spend most of my time digitally painting.

The room is a blend of deep reds, blacks, tans and earthy yellows. Candles, a Japanese Gong, Chinese Cabinet made of 300 year old Chinese wood, tea set, books and other objects of meaning add character. A Feng Shui Consultant had this to say about the living room ambiance, “It’s a beautiful, rich and elegant blend of Asian, African and Balinese that manages to come together creating a strong sense of sensuality and serenity.” That about says it all! Now with a new water fountain, it’s become an outer sanctuary reflective of an inner sanctuary.

During the day, I listen to a TV Satellite Station called Audio Vision which is a place where you can be surrounded by sounds of nature, poetry and acoustic music. It’s pure pleasure for me and my black cat, Serena.

Sitting in this environment makes it easy to create. The rest is up to my Muse. She’s very pleased that I listen and give way to her devotion for creating beauty. With each brush stroke, she’s in the mood — the mood to express and bring forth form from something deeper.

— genece hamby, contemporary artist & poetry

Who were the Bluestockings? A “bluestocking” was once a term of derision leveled at women who thought to improve themselves through informal intellectual and literary discussions.  Periodically,  the SFC Bluestocking Society convenes at the Taverna to carry on that tradition. A topic will be posted and Taverna members are welcome to post comments related to the topic. (When you post your comments, please click the “Blue Stocking Society” category.) For more information on the history of the Bluestockings, please feel free to peruse the minutes of their meetings.

Today’s Topic: Writing Rituals

I found a useful article at the BBC website about the writing rituals of several Irish authors. It made me curious about how each of you prepare to write or make art. Using these questions as a model, tell us a thing or two about your “rituals.” To get you started, I’ve borrowed a couple of questions/directives from the article and stuck in a couple of my own:

Describe your writing or art-making space.

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

What is the oddest object in your creative space?

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

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

You may create a new post or comment below. Please categorize new posts to 16.04.08 Writing Rituals.




just a little Valentine I had a lot of fun putting together.

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

Joining Soul Food

If you are an intrigued visitor now wanting to join the Soul Food Experience, visit the Soul Food Cafe for instructions. Or you may write the SFC owner and manager heatherblakey @ .

Disclaimer– Copyright

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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