I first painted Sophie on a red and white streaked canvas. I didn't know where she would lead me on that day she was brought to life, but I took her with me to a place where she was seen by many and from on the wall where she was hanging in a space filled with art projects and people, she caught the eye of more than a few and charmed them enough to encourage me to learn her stories. I completed my MFA in Applied Drama/Theatre for the Young at Eastern Michigan University in 2020 and now I look for everyone's stories--striving to picture them in the fewest words that bring the most meaning, helping others find their voice to articulate their experience and know they are an important piece in life's puzzle. Life is good. Not easy, but good. And I hope that in writing, drawing, presenting, performing and sharing, I can bring some good into the world for others to share! Contact me through Sophie Press if you'd like a workshop in your hometown! (Digital and Live workshops are available).
Doreen Fitzgerald was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1940. During her school years, she lived in Kalamazoo and Portage. She lived in the Midwest until she went to Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1980. That year she met Bob Emmett when she asked him to dance after watching him keep the beat at the Howling Dog Saloon in Fox, Alaska. In Alaska, Doreen (aka Dodie) worked at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, first as a public information officer, and later as a writer and editor in geophysics and natural resources. She holds a BA in sociology and psychology from Purdue University and an MA in English from Michigan State University; she also studied Journalism at the University of Michigan and has worked as a reporter and news editor. Today she is retired in northwest Michigan. Her work first appeared in two university class-related publications, On the Cusp and Seven Signs. Her first full-length book of poetry, Cake, was published in 2004 by the Ester Republic Press.
VELMA ALLEN FITZGERALD CRUMP
Author Velma Allen (Fitzgerald / Crump) was born in 1917 in the mountains of western North Carolina (Yancey County). In 1929, just before the Great Depression, her father brought his family north to Lansing, Michigan. He, as so many others, was looking for work. Velma was 12 when they came north.
Luckily for the family, her father found work, not in a factory, but as a night watchman and janitor at the Governor’s office in the state capitol building, a job he held for many years.
Velma, like her great-grandmother, was a great believer in women’s education, but when she graduated from high school she did not attend college. Not necessary for a woman, her dad said.
Eventually she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. After a long career as a social worker, in the 1990s she recorded this vivid recollection for growing up in the mountains and moving north. Her first husband died in 1983. Later she returned to North Carolina to care for her aging father, who was living in Morganton, there she married Thad Crump, and was with him until her death at age 84 in 2001.