Vibrance. The world’s always a little more colorful when Sophia is near. So she’s shifting the color palette of her walls—truth is, there’s simply nothing beige about her presence. I knew it the first day we eyed each other across the conference workshop.

Was it Dara Weir’s or Jack Myer’s class we crashed that day at Writer's at Work? I can’t recall.  Twenty+ years later and those early days have become a bit of a mash up. I remember an older woman across the room from both of us. Sophia will remember her with her own details, I’m sure.

The poems this woman brought with her, nothing that drew me in. The poem she wrote in the workshop – luminous – the stanzas broken up in sections, like an encyclopedia series A- Bu, Bu-Dr, Dr-Ez, etc.

She was so humble about her work, inspired as it was, and yes, she owned that room. She stole it outright.

I can’t remember if, at the time, I wished to be that THAT in my old age, but now I hold her as an example of the way to wear age well. To keep the creative momentum going, endlessly.

No way I could understand the deep content or discontent that brought her to that poem. I didn’t have the years to appreciate those rivers, but I knew it was something that would last, and I loved the words of it.

Sophia and I didn’t really meet that day. We didn’t go get coffee and start writing together until months later. We did size up the room and glimpsed each other in those brief moments. Her poem, about a boy and a train and longing, was the best kind of purple – not purple writing – purple embodied. I hoped to know her better because of the words and the magic in that room.

Years – miles – poems and stories – boys – cakes – homes – later, I want to get my hands on those poems, all of them from that workshop, and see how they color me now.