About SkyScribed

Who I Am

Born Shirlee Anna Sky, married to a Hoffman, I chose Shirlee Sky Hoffman as my nom de plume under which I have been writing  for decades.  When I submitted my writing, often it was published. But as anyone who has submitted knows, the enterprise requires a lot of time and energy. Plus, the elapsed time between acceptance and appearance can be and has been years, seven in one case. When I’m not writing, I volunteer at the University of Chicago’s Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures (formerly the Oriental Institute) where I delight in sharing my ever-growing knowledge of the ancient Near East with visitors of all ages.


Why on the Internet?

As a marketing consultant, facilitator, and trainer (firm name: Marketscope), I got involved with the Internet in the late ‘90’s. The idea of publishing my writing on the web was always lurking in the background, long before the recent explosion of self-publishing, blogs, and social media.

It was this cartoon that gave me the needed last push into actually purchasing a domain name and publishing online. Unlike the 1967 me in the “Sky Earthbound” poem below, I now wonder “Indeed, why not?”

Credit: William Haefeli The New Yorker Collection The Cartoon Bank

Credit: William Haefeli The New Yorker Collection
The Cartoon Bank


Sky Earthbound: Missing the Second Stage

Leslie Fiedler was talking today about
“the poetic experience” and  “the writer’s experience”
and how it has two stages:
1) you write cause you have to and 2) you write to affect somebody.

1) without 2), the former sans the latter = no artist.
I’d better resign myself to obscurity,
or secretly hope for a redemptory “Emily Dickinson,”
cause if there’s one thing I haven’t got
here in my Sky-centric, focused on me and my privacy world,
it’s 2).

Three and a bit volumes of mostly virgin,
only slightly shared by others’ ears poetry,
proves that for sure.

Why SkyScribed?

I didn’t start out trying to purchase SkyScribed as my domain name. Originally I had my sights set on SkyWriting. And so did many others. That URL was no longer available. I am, however, pleased with having been able to secure SkyScribed. Especially after learning about the ancient Near East and the role of scribes, the word “skyscribed” offers several resonances:

1.  Presented here are my writings and my photographs. I have scribed them.

2.  While these writings and photographs are by my hand, reflective of a kernel or flash of experience that catches my attention, where they originate is unknown to me. In that mysterious process which each of us confronts and explains for him or herself, I am a mere scribe who has been inspired to arrange these words or frame these photographs.

3.  A section of this site, Others in the navigation menu, is where I am pleased to act as a digital scribe for family and friends who wish to contribute their creations. First in the section, I have chosen to include writings by my mother, Frances C. Sky (perhaps 1908 to 1975). Irene Savine also appears. I thank her for being willing to be the Others section pilot poster and contributing her wonderful poems.

A Note about Being “Sky”

In my family, I am not the only woman who has included Sky as part of her public persona. Dearest to my heart was my sister (1932 to 2011) who chose to be known as Sky Sigal for much of her life. Her photography can be viewed online. Among the wider circle of Sky cousins, I know of the children’s book author, Linda Sky Grossman, the singer, Amy Sky, and the artist, Sky Pape. Are there others? I’ll have to wait and see who shows up!