Sophie Marie has an addiction. The Rochester native can’t stop writing. Regardless of when or where you see her, chances are she’s got a pen in her hand, a writing tablet on her lap and ink on her fingers. One year ago, Marie, who for years was too depressed to speak, took the stage and shared her personal writings. It was her first spoken word performance. Twelve months later, Marie is a fixture at the Creative Salon. She has been asked to share her creations on spoken word compilations and plans to release a CD of her own work later this year.
What is your definition of spoken word?
Spoken word to me is creative nonfiction, which is meant to be expressed and shared with an audience. Hearing the piece out loud is so different than reading it because the speaker will emphasize what is important to them. I can write anything, and it’s all up for interpretation, and my voice can relay a whole different meaning than if someone else is simply reading it.
When average people hear the term spoken word, what’s their definition?
It’s slam poetry. I’ve competed in slams. There are so many rules. That’s brutal. Spoken word and slam poetry can be the same, but for the most part, spoken word is not slam poetry. When people think spoken word, I feel like they assume that the speaker will go up on stage and just rant and rave and no, that’s not been my experience. There’s a place for slam poetry, but it’s not spoken word to me.
What is your writing process?
I write almost constantly. My routine is to wake up in the morning and have my coffee and write. That’s what I do.
How many of your drafts do you throw out?
I haven’t thrown out anything, really. I will go back and revise. I have journals and journals and journals in storage that I can go back and look and think, “This is really good.” I can pull stuff from a piece that I did two or three years ago and see if it will fit or how I can relate it to me now. No, I don’t like to throw things out. Nothing is ever complete.”
Why did you decide to do an album?
It’s been an inspiration to do an album for a long time. It’s been a big goal because I can only do a live performance once and that’s just it. I know I have a effective voice, and I think background music will only enhance that. Andrea Gibson is my inspiration and has been since 2007, and she does albums and oftentimes has guitar in the back. When I saw her live in Madison last October, I can’t put that into words.
The album will have eight pieces, and it will be a story within itself. It’s about mind lust because there was a point in my life where I didn’t care enough to care. For two years, I was silent. I didn’t smile. I didn’t laugh. From age 19 to 22, I went through a severe depression. People didn’t think I was ever going to come back. My mom, Mary, was there for me. She told me to hope for 10 seconds per day. She was there for me through it all, and somehow I got through it.
How much do those bad times influence your writing?
I’ve been through a lot. I made the realization through those hard times, and during one of my hardest times, that if I got another day I would regret not doing anything with art because I knew I needed art in my life. That was when I did my first open mic on July 30 last year. It’s just been crazy ever since. People will quote me or remember a piece of something I’ve done, and it’s weird because maybe I had just written that or it was something that I improvised.