A Story Teller in Residence at Bancroft

The purpose of the Soul Food Cafe is to promote writing as a daily practice. The site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every writer. It’s full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement for writers of all kinds. Visit it often for inspiration for “listening to your muse”

What’s changed for me over the years as I have begun to haunt Bancroft is this, I am older ( of course because I came to the Café over ten years ago ) I feel like a writer AND a storyteller and now instead of wearing labels that were slapped on my back as I raced through life I’ve kept one because I am fond of it. You can meet Anita Marie at The Crossroads

Anita Marie Moscoso stumbled upon the Soul Food Cafe back in 2004 when she was searching online for a restaurant to have some lunch.

“Instead of an address and menu and dining hours for your standard restaurant fare she found writing prompts and ideas for creating poems and challenges tied to advent calendars which contained even more ideas for stories or crafts and even recipes for pastries”.

At this point, she realised that she had happened upon an Australian site that claimed to be dishing up food for the soul. What is more, she found that without a doubt, the Soul Food Café was food for the storyteller in her. She realised that she had actually been starving and that the food this site offered nourished her.

More than ten years after the Soul Food had shut its doors, Anita Marie was still visiting the site, digging away, using prompts that lay within features such as the Chocolate Box, the Alluvial Mine and the Advent Calendars. Little wonder that when she learned that Heather Blakey was opening Bancroft Manor, “like any restless spirit with time on their hands” she “happily moved in and found a new place to haunt”.

Anita Marie is addicted to telling stories. It is her life-blood! It’s a label that she credits her Grandpa Bert as having slapped on her back so many years ago. And just between you and me, I am in no doubt that it is her muse who feeds her inner imp.

Make sure to visit Anita Marie at the Crossroads.

Autoethnography – My Life As a Writer

Autoethnography is a form of qualitative research in which an author uses self-reflection and writing to explore anecdotal and personal experience and connect this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.

Evocative Autoethnography

Begin by thinking about your life as a writer and then consider refining these questions to flesh out other aspects of your life.

Write the story of your life as a writer. Write creatively, focusing on as many concrete events as you can. Give your story a beginning, middle and an ending. Make your story interesting by some of what has happened in dialogue and scenes rather than telling about it in ‘this happened, then this’ fashion.

Include memories of childhood and adolescent writing experience. Do you remember being taught how to write? What principles were you taught? By whom? Where did you write? Do you recall any products of your early writing experiences? What made you like or dislike writing?

When you write now, how do you feel? What emotions circulate through your body? Do you feel as if you are a subjectively or emotionally different person when you are writing? Characterize these differences?

Is writing a rational, emotional or spiritual experience for you? Explain or specify. Do you feel compelled to write or do you avoid writing as much as possible? Describe the best and worst writing experiences of your life. What made each memorable?

How do you write? Where do you write these days? Is writing integrated into your daily routines? Do you write every day or only when you must? What are your work habits as a writer? How do you get started? From what sources do you draw inspiration to write? How many drafts do you typically write? Do you write with the door open or closed? In restaurants, bars, or coffee shops? What is your ideal writing environment? How do you organize your space for writing? With whom do you share what you write?

What are your revising or rewriting habits or patterns? How do you evaluate your own work? Do you have someone to rely on as an editor, critic or writing buddy?

How do you know when you have finished writing a particular piece?   Do you act “professional” as a writer? What does “acting professional as a writer” mean to you?  What forms of writing are you engaged in, e.g, poetry, journalism, short stories, memoir? Which do you enjoy most? Why?

What are your hopes and aspirations as a writer? What are your fears and apprehensions? What kind of future do you envision as a writer? What would you like to accomplish? What will you need to do to achieve this goal?

What obstacles are in the way of your writing? To what extent do you get distracted by social media, e-mail, text messaging and phone calls? How can these distractions be overcome? Do your family members and/or friends understand the importance of writing to you? Are you able to keep them from disturbing you while you are working?