it would be off
to a deserted building covered in crows
to study in.
Raven Goddess, courtesy
of Megan NoŽl
"In my beginning is my end. In succession
House rise and fall, crumble, are extended.
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new buildings, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die; there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break a loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field mouse trots....
T.S. Elliot "Four Quartets'
Food Cafe has always had a weakness for crows
, abandoned buildings, fantasy
retreats and groves
A recurring theme has been the idea of
exploring derelict Castles, Monasteries and modern ruins. Soul Food
has regularly suggested that if you want inspiration then you should
take a camera, paper and pen and and explore some abandoned buildings.
Perhaps it was the way I played that
is reverberating still! As a child my favourite destination was
the ruins of the
Sugar Beet Factory that lay across the paddock from my childhood
In my mind the old abandoned building
was peopled with characters from the books I read and I spent hours
playing, creating a playhouse, on the steps that led within. A brick
wall provided a place for me to practice my forearm and backhand
but I never did reach the Australian Open Tennis Championships.
My future did not lie in the world of tennis, or sport for that
matter. Sadly, all that remains of the factory near Sale Road, where
we lived, is a large brick store beside the Sale Road railway crossing.
the ruins is just one page at Soul Food that offers links to
let those, who do not have ready access to a deserted building,
explore images that have been collected. The
Raven Project is another destination within Soul Food for those
who want to incorporate the mystery and intrigue of abandoned sites
into their writing.
1. Write about a prominent building in
your childhood and have the piece archived here at Soul Food.
2. Draw an outline of your earliest home
and fill in as much detail as you can. Wander through the deserted
old home, noticing details, listening, watching amid the shadows
for people from the past. Write about memories associated with that
home, no matter what they are, using that childhood voice. Allow
any feelings to emerge, permit any creepy crawlies to crawl out
onto the page. Celebrate the joyous! Shed tears! Bear witness to
the experiences of the child who lived there. Identify when childhood
3. At the end of 20 Letters to A Friend
Svetlana Alluiluyeva, Stalin's daughter, gives thanks to the
persistence of the friend who made her write them. She says that
"she could never have set in motion this dead weight of memory
all by myself." and feels the release that comes with having
"shed an intolerable burden." Perhaps more importantly
she comments that she has had the all important opportunity to live
her life over again and to "see once more those who were near
and dear" to her even although these people were long dead.
She is appreciative of the opportunity to wrestle with "the
difficult and conflicting feelings" she had towards her father
- "feelings of love and fear, of censure and puzzlement."
The past having descended Svetlana was able to talk to the shadowy
figures who stepped forward, to those ghosts who came crowding around
seeking a voice.
Are you brave enough to revisit the shadowlands
and wrestle with shadowy figures from the past? You can write 20
Letters to me or a friend. We will be your audience!
Prospector by Heather Blakey
Diamonds by Edwina Peterson Cross
Red's Mother by Lisa Phoenix
by Vi Jones
in the Window by Trendle Ellwood
on the Hill by Sylvia Kleindinst