She’s a Woman On Fire! Meet Sophfronia Scott

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other!

She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her. Please say hello to…

Sophfronia Scott

Sandy Hook, Connecticut

WOF member: #00040

Member since:  October 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family, your work, what you are “on fire” about, etc

Many of our members know me as the publisher of Women on Fire Media, an imprint Debbie Phillips created with the vision of producing a whole series of Women on Fire books as well as future media by and inspired by Women on Fire.

It’s been wonderful to have this focus on the industry side with projects I love while I also pursue my own creative writing. I’m on fire about my writing because I’ve put it off for so long, allowing it to play second fiddle to the business I have coaching entrepreneurs to write and publish books.

I’m studying for a dual masters degree (in creative writing, fiction and nonfiction) at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. This past year my short stories and essays have appeared in Sleet MagazineNewYorkTimes.comNuméro CinqMid-American ReviewO, The Oprah MagazineGently Read Literature, and are upcoming in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers and the Saranac Review.

My husband, Darryl Gregory, is a middle school band director as well as a talented singer-songwriter. We are both grateful to have our joyous son Tain, age 8 and a half.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

I used to be in a large mastermind group and one of our meetings featured mentors who worked with us in smaller groups. Rob Berkley, Debbie’s amazing husband, was one of those mentors. We only spoke for a few minutes but I felt this connection with him, as though we were long-lost family. He went home and told Debbie about me and she invited me to a Women on Fire tea party in April 2009.

The last book you read that you would recommend to other Women on Fire?

Right now I’m absolutely enthralled by the book I won in the drawing at the Women on Fire members’ LIVE CHAT in January: Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! by Tama Kieves. This has been my journey these past two years, to be inspired and unstoppable, and I feel as though Tama understands all the secret whisperings of my heart.

She knows inspiration requires work, but she also knows a certain amount of that work includes taking a break and making room for the magic to come in. Finding that combination has always been difficult for me because I’m all about working hard, but Tama is making me more confident in trusting my intuition.

What is your proudest accomplishment in the past 12 months? 

Completing the draft of my second novel, The Affairs of Midnight.

If you had an unexpected free day (a “found” day), how would you spend it?    

I would spend it reading, in meditation, and writing letters to friends. Last year I spent six months in an amazing correspondence where I wrote to a friend 2-3 times a month. Some of those letters inspired stories and essays I wrote later because the conversations we were having concerning creativity and spirituality were just that deep and rewarding. I’m still discovering more as I consider those conversations over and over again. There are days when I think I’d really benefit from spending time in a convent or a monastery.

Name another Women on Fire who has inspired you, and why?

M.E. Jones of Harrisville, Michigan, a co-author in the first Women on Fire book, because she wasn’t afraid to leave behind a life others told her she should be grateful to have. She boldly went after the life—and love—she really wanted.

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?

I would guide a child, as I’m hopefully doing with my son, towards having a spiritual life. Most children, I believe, are already connected to source. They just need to have someone confirming for them what they feel is real and they can rely on that connection when life goes awry.

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

When I was about 13, I became a certified “Beatlemaniac” even though the band no longer existed and Beatlemania was long gone. I soaked up so much of their history I sometimes forget I know it. Today, for instance, I walked through a room where I heard a man say, “Hello! Goodbye! Wasn’t that a song?” Without hesitation I said, “Yes, by the Beatles, the Magical Mystery Tour album, 1967” and kept on walking.

Name three women who have influenced your life, and what you’ve learned from each.

Wanda. When I met her she was in her 70s and I had just turned 30. She oversaw the garden behind the building where my husband and I bought our first apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I’d been waiting to learn how to garden my whole life and she was sorely in need of a willing assistant. She taught me everything from how to make compost to planting bulbs to pruning bushes. Every time I put my hands in the earth I think of Wanda.

Earline, my cousin. She’s about 30 years my senior and we met as adults after my father died. She lives in California and once, when I visited her there, I asked her why she lived so far away. She said, “Oh, honey, I moved out here in 1965 after my husband shot me.” She took her children, left an abusive relationship and got as far away as she could. Earline taught me that strength and bravery run in our bloodlines. If she could do what she did, I can do anything.

Pastor Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, our rector at Trinity Episcopal Church. She’s my shining example of faith in action as she brings all of herself—her intelligence, her heart, her strength—to bear as she guides our community. She’s also a tremendous writer and creates smart, inspirational sermons meant to help us practice faith in our everyday lives. If I were a spiritual leader, I’d want to be like Pastor Kathie.

 Who cheers you on?

Darryl, Tain, and Debbie Phillips!

 When you reflect on your life so far, what is the first word or two that comes to your mind?

“Love” and “Fear.” The pivotal moments of my life have all involved a confrontation of one or the other or both together. The lessons I’ve learned have been pretty much the same: the more I love, the less I fear. And the less I fear, the more I love.

More about Sophfronia ScottWhen Sophfronia published her first novel, All I Need To Get By, with St. Martin’s Press in 2004, one prominent reviewer referred to her as potentially “one of the best writers of her generation.”

Online you can read Sophfronia’s short story, “The Night Viera Kissed Her,” in the Fall 2012 issue of and an essay about her father, “White Shirts,” in the September 2012 issue of

She blogs at
Compiled by Women on Fire Senior Writer Becky Adams


Coming up in a future She’s A Woman on Fire! …

Who in our community felt excluded from being able to buy sophisticated, contemporary, well-fitting clothes in a plus-size? And 14 months later, while working a full-time job, launched a brand-new clothing line “for the majority of women” who wear sizes 12-24?  We’ll share the life and dreams of this inspiring Woman on Fire member in our next edition of She’s A Woman on Fire!

Not yet a monthly member? You are welcome to join our inspiring membership program and keep inspiration, strategies and support by your side all month long.  For information and to register, go here!

All that remains

There are no words.

Hanukkah candles lit in memory of all who perished. (Photo by Jill Dulitsky)

And so we need say nothing.

Yet, the horrific tragedy last week calls for us to want to say something … do something … to take the edge off this wrenching grief and disbelief.

Particularly for us.

Because the hand of fate directly touched one of our own beloved members of this circle.

Sophfronia Scott of Newtown, Connecticut sent Tain, her darling third-grade son, to Sandy Hook Elementary School on sunny Friday morning.

Then she went to work — with me on Women on Fire Book 2 where she is the publisher and to take her husband’s car for repair.  While at the garage, she noticed police cars streaming by.  Then she saw on TV there was a shooting at Tain’s school.

With few details, Sophfronia’s first response was to ask for prayers. And, then the long, what felt interminable, wait to hear if Tain was safe.

If you have been fortunate enough to meet Sophfronia you know what a kind, gentle, honoring soul she is.  Devoted to her husband, her son, her family, her church, her town, her work as a writer and publisher, and her role in our community, she is truly one of the most loving, caring and supportive women I know.

In waiting for news about her only child, Sophfronia was comforted when Tain’s godmother Fran, searching for her own two sons, spotted him with his class.

By 11AM Sophfronia learned Tain had been reunited with her husband Darryl in an evacuation area.

“Relief, just sheer relief,” she emailed.

If only the relief for her could have lasted.

Fran’s younger son, BenTain’s god-brother — was unaccounted for. And so began the long night of hoping for the best and knowing the worst.

What unfolded Friday in Newtown, Connecticut is the 9/11 for parents of school-age children.  And across the country, and indeed the world, we sat frozen, numb and teary in horror — once again.

As with 9/11, we are devastated, heart-broken, angry and outraged.  And, we are called to something deeper, something more profound to correct this terrifying  wrong.

Libby Bradford, my cherished, late mother-in-law, a Hospice pioneer and grief expert, used to remind me what remains in life is this: love and caring.

And, so it is with our precious Sophfronia.  She was supposed to babysit Ben on Friday night and instead she did what Sophfronia would do. She stood with Ben’s family and others in love and support during unspeakable grief.

And, so it is with Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old Emilie died in the tragedy, when he offered a most extraordinary gesture of love and caring.

He extended his condolences to the family of the killer:

“I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you, and I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well.”

Today Sophfronia did what she always does on Sunday.  She taught Sunday school at her church, and I guarantee her students walked away with the comfort that they are loved and cared about.

If you are like me, you want to be able to do something to make things better.  We can.

Who right now needs love?  Who needs your shoulder?  A pot of soup?  A few extra dollars?  Who is having a tough time that you can give help and comfort to?

In the days, weeks, months and years ahead, we will keep the vigil to love and care for those in Newtown, Connecticut, and we’ll offer ways we can do that as a community.

For now, please keep Sophfronia, her loved ones and community surrounded in your love and caring and prayers.  She is a deeply spiritual person and she will feel it!

And, I wish for you a gentle holiday season. One that finds you at peace with your family and loved ones.

I’d like to close by sharing this beautiful passage that Women on Fire member  Jill Dulitsky of Vernon, Connecticut and a mom of two young children sent today.  It was sung at her Synagogue in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.

Not By Might

Not by might and not by power,

but by spirit alone shall we all live in peace.

The children sing. The children dream.

And their tears may fall, but we’ll hear them call

and another song will rise, another song will rise,

another song will rise. (Zechariah 4:6)

I wish you peace. I wish you comfort.