A Pilgrimage Affirmed


It has been some time since I have worked collaborative blogs at the Soul Food Cafe but the material is all still there, documenting a rich, creative period applying blogging technology to build a community well before social networking had become so popular. Tania Pryputniewicz found some of the work and has written about it. It feels like she is describing another life that I have lived in another time, another space.

“You’ll remember that Chaucer’s group of traveling pilgrims–including among others the Knight, the Miller, the Cook, the Wife of Bath and the Parson–compete to recount the best tale in hopes of winning a free meal at the journey’s end. Chaucer’s question to us: Who tells the best tale? The pilgrimage becomes incidental; in fact, the tale in some ways becomes secondary to what the tale reveals about each storyteller.

For our purposes here, notice Chaucer uses pilgrimage as a frame as a way to feed us tales from the point of view of multiple pilgrims traveling the same road. Someone who has taken this concept into blog-land with far-reaching and beautiful scope is Heather Blakey, through her project at Soul Food Café , where in part, anonymity of participants fosters sanctuary over competition and allows for blossoming across forms (blogging, artwork, collage, etc., all while playing with available technologies that interface with the internet).

Through the sublime timing and hopscotch of connection the blogosphere invites, I just now stumbled upon Heather Blakey through Edith O. Naullain, a writer who blogs at In A Room of My Own. I am in awe of Blakey’s project and skill as moderator–she has been working with bloggers for years—if nothing else, read Zen and the Art of Team Blogging for direct testimonials of Blakey’s online node like this one: “She gives me a place to open up along side others who may journey for different reasons. We journey together in a virtual world that allows us freedom to dream.” (Luna Eternally).

One page that exemplifies what I mean here by creative frame and delivery or reinterpretation of pilgrimage is a page called the Rookery.” You, in your role as visitor, are greeted by an image of a tree, branches weighted by the bodies of rooks, trunk base circled by a few standing rooks on the ground and a few wheeling midflight. Not a single word appears other than the title, the Rookery, each letter etched white across a blue sky.To enter the space, you must select a bird, and thus are transported/winged to another page. Each bird represents a view, a voice.”

by Tania Pryputniewicz

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