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.

A Portal to Another World

Come away, oh human child! To the waters and the wild (W.B. Yeats) … Experience a realm of mystical beings who are a part of the magic and beauty of nature. Dare to enter the wondrous Real of Faerie. There are many mysterious and fascinating paths to follow in this enchanting realm.

Patrons who inhabited the Soul Food Cafe between 2003 and 2010 and contributed to major features on the site, will testify to the superpower of the Enchantress (aka Heather Blakey).  Le Enchanteur, as she became known, lured travellers through a portal, into the Cave of the Enchantress and on into the magical fantasy world of Lemuria. As they travelled in this new world those who came honed their internet skills and helped to build a place that went on to exist in the minds of many.

Self Portraiture! “Le Enchanteur Entering Lemuria’ Heather Blakey 2004

Sadly the portal closed for many years but now Heather Blakey has taken on a  new identity. As Georgina McClure she has established Bancroft Manor, a virtual manor house which welcomes creative people to come, take up residence and share their creativity with others.

Are you a creative person who has had a yen to have the dream ‘room of your own’ where you can work? Have you searched for places that really nurture your creativity, where you can shamelessly share what you are doing and genuinely collaborate with other creative people? Would you like to extend your readership and  attract some feedback? Would you like to have access to creative prompts? You can join and help build this quirky, creative, cyber collective. You will be astonished by the ‘extra steak knives’ an inexpensive subscription entitles you to.

For example, members of Bancroft Manor are entitled to have a portfolio on this site. Founding resident, Anita Marie Moscoso is one passionate storyteller who will testify just how beneficial working in this kind of environment has been.

Entering the Bancroft Estate

There are many awesome and spectacular fantasy worlds that have been created, depicted through books, movies and games. The truly amazing, surreal paintings by Jacek Yerka capture my imagination.

It was Virginia Wolfe whose idea of a room of her own captured the imagination of thousands. Bancroft Manor lies within a fantasy world somewhere in cyberspace. It is a place where those who take up residence can have the dream room, apartment, outbuilding, or treehouse of their own.
Heather Blakey

When Katharina Rapp made the journey and approached the Bancroft Estate these were the gates that greeted her. It didn’t take her long. She now has settled into Studio Rapp.

Celebrating Collaborative Creativity

The Rookery was the final Advent Calendar that was published by Heather Blakey when she operated the Soul Food Cafe. It celebrated the collaborative work of artists and writers who had inhabited the site and worked collaboratively between 2002 – 2010. Previous Advent Calendars also celebrated the work of patrons who willingly inhabited this cyber sanctuary. Here at Bancroft Manor residents will also be given the opportunity to have their work featured and preserved. Copyright remains with each artist and writer.

A Piper Called Them

In another time and another place the piper called and travellers came. Can you, like Alice be tempted to follow the rabbit and see where it takes you?

Soul Food Bumper Catalogue of Creativity

Come away, oh human child! To the waters and the wild (W.B. Yeats) … Experience a realm of mystical beings who are a part of the magic and beauty of nature. Dare to enter the wondrous Real of Faerie. There are many mysterious and fascinating paths to follow in this enchanting realm. Choose to the left and dare to enter a wondrous realm full of magic and beauty…
by Edwina Peterson Cross

When the piper called them artists and writers conjured many versions of the portal that led to the Cave of the Enchantress and Lemuria. What would you pack for the journey? How would you find your way into the fantasy world of Bancroft Manor?

Through the Enchanted Doorway
A journey of the Heart

My journey began long before I knew I was looking for something. One night I received an email asking me if I was ready to…

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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?

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

This course offers residency for creatives who are willing to step into a parallel univers and enjoy the stimulation of working alongside kindred spirits. Initially the group will take up residence in Bancroft Manor, a residence established by the somewhat mysterious Georgina McClure, who has been inspired, not only to build castles in the air but to provide a sanatorium environment to protect and strengthen the creative flame.

Setting Out for Bancroft Manor

Close your eyes. Trust that the space you are going to make will be sacred. Now take three deep breaths.

Inhale Exhale

Inhale Exhale

Inhale Exhale

With a final inhale and exhale release any fear about coming to Bancroft Manor. Like the Land of Get What You Want in the Magic Faraway Tree, Bancroft Manor meets the personal needs of each resident.

Breath in and out and release any remnants of doubt.

Now visualise a long path stretching before you. It may pass through a dark wood but it gradually winds up a gravel path towards the top of a hill. At some point, you see a very old iron gate. The gate is locked and vines cover it. As you reach within your pocket you find the very key that is needed to open this gate. Place the key in the lock, turn it and wait as the gate swings open.

You thought that Bancroft Manor was abandoned but you find yourself in a garden. It may be an Italian garden or perhaps something you would find in Japan. It may be any garden of your choosing. Take in all the details. Look at the flowers! Note the old trees and check out the one with a seat underneath it. Just ahead lies Bancroft Manor, a house you recognize, a place that you know. Take a moment to visualize it in all its glory.

You reach the front door but it is locked! Happily you find another key in your pocket. Visualize this key! Take a deep breath and open the door. As you enter take in the overwhelming feeling that you have arrived at a safe place, a place where your creative spirit will flourish. Slowly and with purpose go to what you know is your room. Perhaps it has a tiny door that you have to slip through. Take in all the details of the door and then scan the room to see what is still inside. A large desk overlooks the garden. You sit and open a draw, take out pen and paper and look at the virgin paper that lies in front of you.

Capture your thoughts and feelings as you arrive and return to the space you know so well.

Member Responses

Almurta Arrives at Bancroft Manor

Almurta Settles Into Bancroft

Almurta Goes Exploring

The Journey Started Somewhere

She Wolf’s Journey Begins

First Steps and a Key

Entering the Bancroft Estate