Tag Archives: Georgina McClure

The Great Escape – Intensive Journal Writing

“Sometimes I fantasise about throwing my suitcase into the car, taking off down the highway, sucking up that white line like spaghetti and running away from it all road-movie-style. Sometimes I am on my own escaping my current life and indulging the exquisite loneliness of solitary travel” writes Elly Varrenti. Personally, I am happy to pack my bags and go within Bancroft Manor via my journal. When I am in the room of my own at Bancroft I am more likely to grapple with projects that I am working on.

To get the key to Trains of Thought choose the amount you are able to afford (no more than $40 in your currency), pay heatherblakey@fastmail dot fm via PayPal and contact her with details of your WordPress account. It is very easy to acquire an account with WordPress and you may choose to keep your intensive journal online in a private blog.

Have you considered escaping from it all? You don’t have to spend a fortune on airline tickets or run off to another country. All you need to do is cast aside any preconceived ideas you may have about journal writing, take the quantum leap and participate in The Great Escape Intensive Journal Writing.

Acquire a key to Trains of Thought, a site full of ideas and prompts for those who are interested in intensive journal writing.

Select a journal, pack a creative medicine bag and prepare to go deep within.

Consider This Option

If ever writers are stuck for inspiration, they need only to click on Heather Blakey’s Soul Food Cafe to find friendly support from fellow writers from all over the world and masses of sparkling ideas to trigger their imaginations. Heather is a truly creative dynamo, and this is a magic site. I’m so glad I found it. 

The Rookery was the final Advent Calendar in which Heather Blakey featured the work of writers and artists who gathered at the Soul Food Cafe. A hyperlink on each Raven took visitors to individual profiles featuring their work.

The face of the internet has changed dramatically since its inception. Back in the early day’s cyberspace was less crowded and corporate advertising was not as prevalent. When I open sites and find my computer inundated with pop-ups and requests to join mailing lists I confess I click right back out again. But maybe that is just me! I am old enough to remember when this didn’t happen.

Within this site are links to the work of individual artists.

Aside from the endless popups, there are countless courses to fix almost anything that may be ailing people – often at considerable cost.

When it was fully operational The Soul Food Cafe never generated an income. It operated using a different currency. Accolades support that it was a much-loved sanctuary for many people and you only need to visit the Artist’s Loft, take a slice of Pizza or visit many of the Advent Calendars and you will get an idea of how the site freely promoted the work of others. Moreover, if you feel so inclined, nine years after halting her work at Soul Food, Heather is undertaking an archeological dig and taking anyone who is interested into long forgotten corners of the cafe.

…one of those rare jewels in a special crown, Heather brings us all together, no matter what our ages, or experience, through Soul Food Cafe…Now we are really soaring up into the cyber heights with the eagles and ravens! Just as she imagined!
Teresa Seed

Bancroft Manor is in its early development stages but Heather Blakey (who created and grew Soul Food) and I have this vision of populating it with a diverse range of artisans who can work collaboratively if they wish, or simply extend their reach and gain access to like-minded readers.

A project which will give you insight into the potential of Bancroft Manor is Danse Macabre, a site which provides stimuli for anyone who is interested in the Macabre, who is looking for some extra ideas to kick start projects. Danse Macabre is currently being worked by Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey.

Another project is pitched to those who are interested in evocative ethnography, autobiographical and biographical writing.

If you are interested in joining Bancroft Manor you can choose how much you will pay, in your own currency, for a ‘life-long’ subscription. Subscriptions are used to keep the all associated sites free of advertising.

If you do decide to join us you will not be asked to ‘upgrade’ your membership, pay an annual subscription, be added to a mailing list (to be sold to others) or inundated with requests to pay for any additional ‘steak knives’. You will be added to a closed Facebook group and encouraged to set up an artistic space, post interesting links and let other members know what you are doing. You will also be invited to be interviewed and have your work showcased here on this home site. Of course, if you want to remain silent and be left alone to do things at your own pace no-one will tap on your chamber door making any demands.

Diverse Creative Projects at Bancroft

We have wandered roads together
played and learned and found each other
hand in hand the journey winds
through the back roads of memory
through the pathways of new learning
up the stairs where magic beckons
into caverns dark
and to the morning.
Waking we have joined the circle
glowing dawn forever holds us.
Fran Sbrocchi

Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey, each of whom have established themselves at Bancroft Manor, have been working collaboratively and spending some time Dansing with the Macabre. If you visit the site you will find that it is full of interesting stimuli and has lots of prompts that folk can work on in their journals.

When she is not off ‘Dansing with the Macabre’ or running a creative Lived Life Narrative course in Castlemaine, Heather Blakey is working in her apartment at the Manor, wandering down memory lane, remembering the times she travelled with a host of Soul Food patrons. She is busily putting together a retrospective of the decade when she created and managed the Soul Food Cafe.

Suzanne, who revels being in nature and had recently made Descansos, inspired by all the talk about visiting cemeteries “had the compelling urge to stop and take photos of stone angels“.

There are diverse spaces available at Bancroft and you certainly do not have to confine yourself to the Manor House. She hasn’t revealed her location yet but I assume that Raven’s Apothecary is located deep within the woods that are a part of the estate.

If you established yourself in space at on the estate what would it be like? What projects might you be inspired to undertake? Check out the Artist Loft in the Soul Food Cafe to see just what an interesting group of creatives found their way into the site.

A Key to a Room at Bancroft Manor

Back in 2014 Thalia found the key that enabled her to enter Riversleigh, a virtual retreat former members of the Soul Food Cafe remember affectionately. This key opened the door to a healing haven where she worked for an extended period.  Spend some time meditating, allow yourself to go through a portal and who knows, you may  just find the key to Bancroft Manor, the newest of  Soul Food’s retreats. It is possible that like Thalia you will establish a soulful healing haven.

A Key to Riversleigh

It was one of those lovely winter days when I was lying on a branch of a tree, content to have shifted into a small female human and be hidden – or so I thought.  Suddenly the raven flapped down beside me and squawked.   I took it to mean “hello” so I responded appropriately.  She muttered as she reached under her wing and pulled out a small key on a string with her beak.

holding out the key

Extending it forward towards me, she nodded and murmured.  I tentively reached out and she nodded in response.  A key!  Whatever for?  As if she could hear my thoughts, she replied, “It is the key you will need as you travel in a variety of ways and many places.  Use it wisely!”

I was already in this realm of Riversleigh, so it wasn’t for me to get in.  Where might I need this?  Always more questions than answers.  As I mulled this over, the raven flapped her wings and took off for places beyond my sight, so she didn’t want me to shift into a raven and join her.  I clutched the key in my palm as I fastened the string around my wrist for safekeeping.  Settling back down to once again to resume my time of being small and hidden, I pondered the nature of things appearing when you least expect.   What was next?

A Touch of the Macabre

Bone Church Kutna Hora

One of the tours that have left Bancroft Manor involves cemetery hopping. Some of the best travel destinations involve cemeteries such as

1. Highgate Cemetery, London

2.  Cypress Lawn, Colma, California

3. Vysehrad Cemetery, Prague

4. Protestant Cemetery, Rome

5.  Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

6. Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

7. Sunset Hills Cemetery, Flint, Michigan

8. Zoshigaya Reien, Tokyo

9. Sleepy Hollow Cemeteries, New York

10. Waverley Cemetery, Sydney

I have visited Montparnasse and Vysehrad and can testify to the benefit of using cemeteries as one focus when you travel. Certainly, my day visiting the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic and another exploring the historic cemetery in the old Jewish Quarter of Prague will be etched into my memory as absolute highlights of my time in Prague.

Loren Rhoads has worked extensively in this field and her Cemetery Tours site provides a wealth of insight into the creative work that simply visiting cemeteries can generate.

Danse Macabre is a site that is a receptacle for some of the work that emerges. If you are interested in joining Bancroft Manor you will find details on this site.

A Writing Residency in Castlemaine

It’s a dream of many writers: to spend time at a quiet colony or residency where they can focus on their work. But all too often the only writers’ residencies we hear about are prestigious and only accept a tiny percentage of applicants who are charged to even apply.

It is true that there are lots of other wonderful writers residencies to choose from, many of which are less competitive, so you’re more likely to get accepted.

Alternatively, you might consider taking advantage of my offer to provide a ‘room of your own’ and mentorship in the heart of Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia. Castlemaine is a town nestled in a region well known for its artistic vibe. My aim is to provide short term residency and to make available a supportive environment which provides writers or artists with space in which to develop their ideas.

Members of the Bancroft Collective and those who were active at Soul Food are eligible for residency. Other applicants will be asked to take the time to communicate and check conditions, expectations and availability. They will also be asked to

  • provide a short biography which provides some background of their creative endeavours
  • present a short project description, describing what they intend to do during the residency, and why
  • a statement outlining the benefit of the residency to either their professional development or the successful realisation of a project (or both).

There is a standard accommodation fee of $50 per person per night, with a minimum stay of 4 nights or $200 for a seven-night stay. 

Making the most of an active imagination

Residents at Bancroft Manor obviously have active imaginations or they would never have signed up and taken up residence in this virtual Manor. Some of them, like members of the Writing for Wellness course in Castlemaine, will be working with effective techniques to make the most of what Jung coined ‘Active Imagination’.

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