Sophfronia Scott, Author Writing, laughing, and loving

What Back to School Means to This Writer

August 27, 2015 | Writing | Permalink

Summers tend to reshape my writing life. My husband is a teacher so when school ends in June both he and our 11-year-old son, Tain, are home and my carefully honed routine dissolves within days. That didn’t mean I stopped writing altogether this summer. I just had to accept writing under different conditions. At any given time, for example, Tain, all 85 pounds of him, would come into my office and sit on my lap. Or my husband would come in to inquire what I’m doing or to sit on my chaise and read.

I suppose I could have put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door or communicated a hard and fast “Don’t bother Mama while she’s writing” rule, but I didn’t. These warm and lovely days are fleeting. For all I know this may be the last summer Tain will be able to fit on my lap. And the time my husband spends in my office is brief because, being a musician, he has his own artistic pursuits. I was grateful for impromptu hikes, going out for ice cream, and being available to drive Tain to and from his rehearsals for the show he was in this summer, “The Lion King, JR.” I told Tain as we waited for his school bus I would miss all these things and it’s true.

But I have missed my routine. I am happy to have once again time to think, and time to take better care of myself. After putting Tain on the school bus I exercise, shower and dress, then write. It sounds simple but it’s grounding. And that’s what I need. In her wonderful book Still Writing, the author Dani Shapiro quotes a list of instructions for writers left by the poet Jane Kenyon:

Protect your time.  Feed your inner life.  Avoid too much noise.  Read good books, have good sentences in your ears.  Be by yourself as often as you can.  Walk.  Take the phone off the hook.  Work regular hours.

I have these words on a bulletin board next to me in my office. When I posted them I made peace with the fact that there will be many days, as there were this summer, when following these instructions would be impossible. They do remind me, though, to honor the days when it is possible. Today is such a day. It’s a good day.

The Importance of Forgiveness

July 4, 2015 | Loving Life, Ruminations on Faith, Writing | Permalink

Last week I was working on an essay I planned to submit as my latest contribution to Ruminate Magazine‘s blog. Then I read Roxane Gay’s “Why I Can’t Forgive Dylann Roof” in the New York Times. It bothered me so much I woke up thinking about it the next morning and knew I wanted to respond. I emailed my Ruminate editor and told her I would be scrapping what I was writing and sending her something entirely different. I ended up writing, “For Roxane Gay: Notes from a Forgiving Heart,” and you can read it at this link. I’m not saying she has to forgive him but I do believe it’s important to discuss why this level of forgiveness matters. In fact I felt it was so vital that this is the first completed essay I’ve managed to write in connection with the Sandy Hook shooting at my son’s school, two and a half years later. I hope you’ll comment on the piece and join this ongoing discussion.

Thanks and be well,

signature

 

 

On the Gospel and the #CharlestonShooting

June 18, 2015 | Loving Life | Permalink

crazychristianscoverI’ve been reading Michael B. Curry’s Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus. Today I read this, which of course led me to think of the members of Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church who were indeed following the Gospel witness of welcome when they welcomed a stranger into their Bible study circle. I’m angry about the results, but in my heart I know we must continue to follow their example of welcome. Here’s why according to Bishop Curry:
 
“We never know what can happen when we feel called to follow Jesus’ gospel witness of welcome. Heeding such a call can require incredible courage. Sometimes this gospel way of welcome can lead us to put our very lives on the line. But Jesus’ way of welcome can inspire us to keep working to do what is right in a world where too often too much is wrong.”

David Goldman/AP

David Goldman/AP

Blessings and best wishes. Praying for Charleston.
signature

Ruminating on Grace

May 26, 2015 | Writing | Permalink

Ruminate Magazine Cover

Recently the editors of Ruminate Magazine asked me to be a contributor to its blog. Ruminate is a fine literary journal produced in Fort Collins, Colorado that publishes short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art that resonate with the complexity and truth of the Christian faith. I’ve read and admired it for some time so I was thrilled when my essay, “Why I Must Dance Like Tony Manero,” was named a finalist for Ruminate‘s VanderMey Nonfiction Prize and published in Issue No. 33.

I’m excited to write for the blog as well because as my work progresses I’m noticing I have a lot of thoughts about faith and my spiritual journey that I’m sifting through on the page. Ruminate‘s request was a timely one. It’s nice to know this writing will have a home.

Here’s the link to the first essay, “The Definition of an Open Heart,” in which I ponder the meaning of grace. I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers,

signature

 

 

 

Talking Frat Boys, Books, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

March 19, 2015 | Loving Life | Permalink

That's Bruce Barber between me and Mark Oppenheimer, and Brian Slattery is on the right.

That’s Bruce Barber between me and Mark Oppenheimer, and Brian Slattery is on the right.

I recently had the pleasure of throwing in my two cents on cultural news of the week as a panelist for WNPR’s Colin McEnroe show. Mark Oppenheimer, a new friend and writer of a regular column in the New York Times, guest hosted the program from New Haven (it’s usually in Hartford) and invited me to join him. Hey, anytime I get to hang out with smart people and talk about the world, I’m all in. We covered those frat boys in Oklahoma (and the behavior of college students in general), and the marvelous new Netflix show created by Tina Fey, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which, surprisingly, I admire. Here’s the link to a recording so you can listen in. At the end you’ll hear me endorse new books by two Connecticut authors: The Listener, a novel by Rachel Basch, and The Politics of Promotion: How High-Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead by Bonnie Marcus.

I’ve had a few people ask me about whether the show was rehearsed because, as you’ll hear, it runs quite smoothly. No “Um’s” or “Uh’s” to be found. But you can’t rehearse live radio. We knew the topics going in and that’s about it. You can’t really prepare exactly what to say beforehand because you have no idea how the conversation will flow. The best way for me to prepare is to know what I think about the topics so when I speak I can articulate a clear point of view. These were the 3 intentions I set for myself going into the studio:

1.) Be present and listen well so I can offer useful thoughts to the conversation.

2.) Support local women writers. (I knew I would have an opportunity to make endorsements.)

3.) Enjoy my time with my friends in the studio.

What difference would these intentions make? The first helps the host and the producers so they can do their job well of creating a good radio show. The second allows me to use this great opportunity to provide exposure for sister writers so more people can benefit from their excellent work. The third allows me to take care of myself and remember to have fun. I think I fulfilled all three intentions and I’m still buzzing with the good energy of having done so. I’m truly grateful. I’ll let you know when I have the chance to do the show again so you can tune in and even call in live.

Blessings and Best Wishes,

signature

 

%d bloggers like this: