Whitman Wire

Sophie Johnson – On Polyamory, Love and Pie

Connie Moore, Staff Reporter

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Last Wednesday Sophie Johnson, Whitman alum and author of the book “Many Love: A Memoir of Polyamory and Finding Love(s),” came to campus to give a reading of her book and explain what polyamory is, and mainly what it is not.

The reading opened with Johnson humorously presenting a few facts about her life: that she loves pie and was featured in a newspaper during high school for her fashion. After pulling up a few pictures of funny cats, she quickly transitioned to explaining her definition of polyamory. Johnson defined the root of the word itself, that “poly” is the Greek root for the word “many” and “amory” is the Roman root for the word “love.” To quote from Johnson’s memoir, “When I say I am polyamorous, that is what I mean: I have many loves.”

Johnson emphasized that polyamory is not all about sex but rather sharing compassion, creating communication and prioritizing all of the loving relationships in one’s life, not just one’s primary partner.

Her unique book is not only a memoir but a graphic autobiography, filled with illustrations Johnson completed herself. The images help tell her story in an engaging way, giving the reader an appealing, and often humorous, visual of Johnson’s life story. Johnson joked about how many images were cut (over 100, she assured us) and revealed that after completing all the illustrations she went back and began again, using a thicker brush dipped in black ink. The new style of the pictures is funky, different and entirely more inline with the feel of the book itself.

“I thought the pictures showed how dedicated she was to her work; when she shared her process, which involved taking two hours to create one drawing, and even with having over one hundred of them cut from the book, she kept pursuing them. Her drawings also added character to the stories, made the reading feel more intimate because we were able to visualize her stories from another perspective,” first year Maddie Bouvet said.

Throughout the reading, viewers laughed and listened. Attendees undoubtedly left with a new perspective on polyamory, and the importance of love, commitment and open communication in one’s life.

In closing, Johnson offered one last remark to the audience, inviting all Whitman students to attend her wedding in New Orleans this summer, which she assured will be an entertaining event.

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Sophie Johnson – On Polyamory, Love and Pie