Becoming a Raven

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Membership of the Rookery is strictly by invitation. At the Soul Food Cafe artists and writers who are drawn to the site are only given their raven wings after they have proven themselves by being actively involved in the Soul Food Community. Usually they have done this by posting regularly and by supporting the work of others on the site. Ravens have their own Yahoo group and are eligible to be published in Soul Food Cafe features such as this AdventURE Calendar.

Meet Kerry Vincent

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Kerry E. Vincent is a lifelong student of the creative process. She has been hooked on creative writing since the first grade, when her teacher enthused, "Kerry has talent - and a very big imagination!" She has been writing ever since:poetry, fairy tales, novels, trade magazine stories, newspaper articles, journal entries, responses to Soul Food Café's Pythian Games Mad Challenges prompts.(Sometimes she even gets published, on paper and/or online, though she hasn't quite figured out how to make a living out of doing what she loves the most.) Kerry is happiest when lost in a fictive dream.

Kerry tries to do something creative every day, for at least 15 minutes a day. Like Michelangelo, her credo is, "Ancoro imparo!" ("I am still learning!") In the last few years she has tried new creative challenges, working in stained glass and handcrafting beaded jewelry. Inspired and encouraged by Soul Food Café friends, she is now experimenting with digital photography, attempting her first artist trading cards, and playing with computer created collages. She also enjoys firing up her HotHead blow torch to work in the flame making glass beads from scratch. (Kerry admits to being a bit of a pyro-maniac, but stresses she always observes recommended safety precautions.) She posted something about working with glass almost
every day of April 2008.

Coyote is Kerry's spirit animal - a combination of trickster, joker, shaman, and shapeshifter. She has always loved fairies and is proud to be pixie-led. She dwells at the edges, at the fringes, in the
twilight time, when magic happens. She believes we can apply our creativity to transform our pain into art to help ourselves heal and become whole.

Since Kerry can't (won't?) focus on one area of creativity, she named her blog "Creative Kaleidoscope."

Creative Kaleidoscope
Lemurian Line

Kerry's Christmas Moment

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Every year I wait for it – I call it “my Christmas moment”.  Each year it is different, but it is always met with a sigh of relief, “Yes, this is what Christmas means to me…”

   …40 years ago it was walking miles all over town, in the freezing cold, with my best friend, delivering dime store Christmas gifts to our school friends…

   …One year it was when I was shopping on a small town’s Main Street, singing “Jingle Bells” to myself…I had just bought a favorite nephew an old fashioned felt cowboy hat that I knew he would love…

   …It happened the first year my niece and I were “fudge fairies” making Gramma’s fudge , with the special secret ingredient…

   …Another time it was reading about the Moomintrolls’ Fir Tree, how Christmas wasn’t about all the hurrying and scurrying so much as leaving gifts for others, even strangers, to enjoy, on a quiet winter’s eve…

   …Last year it was bringing my son and his grandma together again, for a meeting-despite-the-miles-apart…

…And this year it was re-reading Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory”, reminded of that wonderful story by my dear friends at Soul Food Café…It is almost “fruitcake weather” now – and I can hardly wait!

By Kerry Vincent © 2008

Make Your Own Alter Ego
by Kerry Vincent

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If you were a madwoman, who would you be? How would you look? What would you say? How would you be different from today? What would this substitute personality do that you don’t do?

I created Auntie Olga years ago to help me talk to my daughter about sex – Olga’s a bit bawdier that I was at that time.  She was part the Madwoman of Chaillot (honoring Countess Aurelia in Jean Giraudoux’s play), part Bette Midler as The Divine Miss M, part Janis Joplin (if she’d lived long enough to demand her senior citizen discount), part Amy Brown diva fairy come to life…part Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland playing croquet with hedgehogs and yelling, “Off with their heads!”

Your turn:  Fill in the blanks about one of your chosen alter-egos…

My alter ego’s name is:

She looks like this:

She talks like this:

She likes to eat:

She likes to play:

She says:

She does this everyday:

She lives:

What really makes her mad is:

What really makes her happy is:

I think she is:

She inspires me to:

She scares me because:

We are / are not very much alike because:

She sings about:

If she gave you a gift, it would be:

More Ideas for Self Portraiture, Alter Egos and Avatars

Advent 2004 Day 21 Self Portraiture
Advent 2007 Make an Avatar

 

The Rookery - Day Two

“To be alive is to be fortunate. Of course, in the morning, when you first awake, it does not always seem so very gay.  When you take your hair out of the drawer, and your teeth out of the glass, we are apt to feel a little out of place in the world. Especially if you’ve been dreaming that you’re a little girl on a pony looking for strawberries in the woods.  But all you need to feel the call of life once more is a letter in your mail giving you your schedule for the day – your mending, your shopping, that letter to your grandmother that you never seem to get around to.  And so, when you’ve washed your face with rosewater and powdered it, and put on your pins, your rings, your brooches, bracelets, earrings and pearls – in short, when you have dressed for your morning coffee – and have had a good look at yourself – not in the glass, naturally, it lies – but in the old brass gong that once belonged to Admiral Courbet … then you’re armed, you’re strong, you’re ready – you can begin again!”
From Countess Aurelia in Jean Giraudoux’s The Madwoman of Chaillot,
giving a drowning man a reason to live:

Meet Aunty Olga
Staying at Riversleigh with Kerry Vincent

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Auntie Olga is a dear old soul who is “mostly harmless”, but she’s sometimes known to be a bit off-putting to new arrivals at Riversleigh Manor – they find her wild wispy hair frightful, her odd, out-of-date clothing bizarre, her humor a tad bawdy, her stories long and rambling, her life philosophies outré, her thoughts odd, her behavior unladylike, her décor somewhat eccentric…

She stays up in the attic most of the time, scribbling bits of story, or firing up her blow torch to burn some glass beads, fusing glass in her tabletop kiln, or reading yet another book about fairies…Lady Sibyl likes Olga well enough, aware that someday she too, might be old and forgotten, and Ebony Wilder likes to stop by and have a chat,  but mostly, Auntie Olga’s visitors are her niece & nephew, who always want to hear one of Auntie Olga’s “funny-but-true” stories…

“Tell us some funny-but-true Christmas stories, Auntie Olga! Tell us about Buddha Claus! Or the crunchy brains story! … Or the one about “The Night the Dog Rumbled”…” Or how about decorating the Christmas tree with Grandma Margie’s nipple tassels ...”

Auntie Olga has decided to join the fun and frolic of Christmas at Riversleigh this year.  Do stop by and say hello.

Auntie Olga's Funny-But-True Christmas Stories

A Gift that keeps on giving – every year! – Fun and economical, too!
Auntie Olga loves to tell funny-but-true stories about her family and friends.  One year, for a tight-budget but much beloved Christmas gift for various members of her entourage, she collected several funny-but-true stories, typed them up, put them in decorated folders, and gave them as gifts.  The only rules are:  1) they have to have happened to someone we know personally, and 2) they make us smile, whether you are reading it for the 1st or the 50th time.  And even when Auntie Olga is gone to that big Christmas party in the sky, her words and memories will still be here for everyone to enjoy, smile, and remember dear old Auntie Olga, with the bad hair and the funny-but-true stories…

Crunchy Brains

One Christmas Eve, when Auntie Olga was a little girl, I went to my mother’s bedside to say goodnight.  As I stood there, I heard this crunching and grinding, and I was sure I knew what it was. 

“Mom!” I said!  “I can hear the wheels and cogs in your brain turning! You must be really smart to make all of that racket!” 
“Yes, I am smart,” Mom said – then she giggled and stuck out her tongue so I could see what was really making all the noise – she had been crunching down on hard Christmas candies…

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Buddah Claus

It was the 1960s and the USA was feeling a big Eastern influence.  In one of the department stores my family frequented, there was a statue of a fat red smiling Buddha sitting on a turtle.  Mom loved to walk by and “rub his big belly for good luck”.  It cost $15 – a lot of money in those days, but we three kids went together and bought Buddha for mom’s Christmas present, so she could always have good luck.  Mom loved her gift.  Since it was Christmas time, we made a little red and white Santa hat & put it on Buddha’s head.  It became a family tradition – Christmas did not officially start each year until we put the Santa hat on Buddha’s bald head.

What we didn’t know was this version was a fertility god, and pilgrims rubbed the belly if they wanted to get pregnant.  My sister and I were afraid to dust the statue until after we’d gotten married and were ready to have children.  I know of 8 babies who were born after their moms rubbed Buddha’s belly – including my own 2 kids, who are now grown and still respectful of Buddha’s powerful belly! 
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The Night the Dog Rumbled

One time, not so far away and not that long ago, when Auntie Olga was a stay-at-home mom, she wanted to have a nice, quiet, family Christmas Eve.  She wanted her children, Hayley and Bryan, to be home with her, not at their friends’ houses.  She wanted the kids’ dad to come home early for a change, after all, it was Christmas Eve, when families should be together to celebrate the season of love.  She wanted her husband to play Christmas carols on his guitar, and they could all sing along, with the dog curled up at their feet, and they would be one happy family, and there would be peace on earth, good will towards all – Well, one can dream, right?

What really happened is this:  Dad didn’t come home – he was down at the bar having some Christmas cheer with his buddies, late into the night, as usual.  The kids begged to open presents early and Auntie Olga said “NO!”  Spunky was barking, and had just turned over the kitchen trash can for the second time that day.  Olga was trying to get the supper dishes done, Hayley and Bryan were fighting over what TV show to watch, and trying to convince their mom to take them to the mall, because they were BORED. 

Earlier, Auntie Olga had made some lovely Christmas fudge, using her Gram’s recipe, four-generations of rich chocolatey goodness, and she asked the children to help her decorate plates of fudge and cookies to be given as gifts to family and friends.  The kids asked again if they could invite their friends over, but Auntie Olga said “No, Christmas Eve is time for families to be together and enjoy each other’s company.”
“I’m not enjoying his company,” said Hayley.
“I’m not enjoying her company,” said Bryan.
“Then go.  GO!  Be with your friends.  Leave me here all alone, on Christmas Eve, just like your Dad,” Auntie Olga said.  “You know what I want this year?  All I want for Christmas is some peace and quiet.  You guys not to fight all the time.  Your dad to come home at a reasonable hour.  Everyone to be nice to each other for once.”
“He started it…”
“She started it…”
But it didn’t matter whose fault it was, or how mad or sad everyone was, or who did or didn’t come home for Christmas, because suddenly, the dog started to rumble.
Auntie Olga, Hayley, and Bryan all stopped in mid-sentence, and turned to Spunky, the dog, who was looking scared and a bit green around the muzzle.  Her stomach was rumbling loudly.  There was no retching, but strange burps and gurgles, and when Spunky opened her mouth, and out came a river of brown, stinking watery vomit.  The dog had gotten into the Christmas fudge and eaten more than half the five-pound batch.
“Oh, no, dogs can’t have chocolate! It could kill her!” wailed Hayley. 
But Spunky did not die – all she did was throw up on the living room carpet.  Then she walked a few feet away from the mess, and threw up again.  And again.  Auntie Olga was chasing the dog with a roll of paper towels, trying to wipe up the messes, fighting her gag reflex, hoping she didn’t have to make an emergency run to the vet’s office…it was the worst Christmas Eve ever, according to Auntie Olga.

But according to Hayley, it was the funniest Christmas ever.  To hear Hayley tell the story, it is a favorite Christmas memory, “the night the dog rumbled”.  “We were all yelling at each other, and then, “the dog started to rumble…” It was like a Christmas message from God for us to stop fighting, and then later that night, when we knew Spunky would be OK, we all laughed, and when Dad got home, we still sang carols around the Christmas tree, just like nothing weird had happened…”
   
Which just goes to show you, sometimes the holiday event you think is a disaster, is someone else’s holiday highlight.

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Grandma Margie's Nipple Tassels

 “Why do you have little green Chinaman hats on your Christmas tree, Auntie Olga?” asked one of the children.
“It reminds me of my dear friend Margie, who used to be an exotic dancer in a burlesque theater.  That little green satin decorations were part of her costume.  One time, when Margie’s daughter had to make an ornament for the Christmas tree in her classroom, she glued one of her mom’s sequin tassels on a Styrofoam ball, and guess what?  She won the contest for the best ornament! 


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Vote

Would you like to hear more of Auntie Olga’s funny-but-true family stories?  Should she start a web site?  You could hear about the time she almost pierced her own tongue with a rod of hot glass, or when she lost her cell phone and only found it when someone called and her bra started ringing.