JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
June Maffin, author of Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture Your Spirituality
(John Hunt Publishing)
“One of the most difficult challenges in modern life is to make space for the soul, setting aside the eternal chatter that has invaded every niche of our existence. “Soulistry” is a marvelous method of finding the silence and attention that a healthy soul requires.” (Dr. Larry Dossey).
“Soulistry” offers readers an opportunity to engage more deeply in the spiritual journey, re-connect with the intangible soul-essence of life and experience rich spiritual growth through a series of over eighty inspirational quotations – signposts to the interior life from ordinary and extraordinary human beings around the world living in different centuries.
Accompanying Soul-Questions encourage, support and clarify the reader’s goal whether the reader wants to heal loss, transform restrictive attitudes and behaviour patterns or explore the personal spiritual journey.
This creative and unique book draws attention to the connection between the sacred and secular, creativity and spirituality, art and soul – challenging, nurturing and encouraging the reader’s spiritual journey in a unique way and encouraging readers to realize their creative potential, deepen their awareness of the presence of the holy in the ordinary, recognize and celebrate their inner wisdom, and embrace life in new ways.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul”?
June Maffin: I’ve never set out to “write a book” even though three have been published. What surprises me is how gently each book has evolved from its initial concept to the final edit. Writing for me is a gift and always a privilege.
A bit of background about the evolution of my latest book: “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” (Soulistry is a neologism: combination of two words – SOUL and artISTRY):
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with mercury poisoning. It was a life-changing moment. Within 48 hours, the mercury moved into my body: my leg, arm and voice muscles began to atrophy, leaving me unable to walk more than a few steps or speak above a whisper. Then the reading function of my brain ground to a halt. I could recognize letters, but not translate them into words.
Sleepless nights, long days of exhaustion, pain, medical complications and doctor’s appointments became my way of life. I was aware that depression often occurs with those dealing with chronic illness and didn’t want to go that route.
Unable to sleep one night, I found myself looking at the top shelf of my office closet and before I knew it, had taken down a plain, wooden framed mirror and started adding embellishments. As I played and created, the pain seemed to lessen and eventually I was able to sleep.
In the morning when I saw the mirror, I was struck by its beauty and simplicity and sensed that some new thing was happening. A part of my brain was working – my right brain! I wondered whether I could activate left-brain activity through right brain functions. I could feel my spirit soaring. Depression would *not* reside within me.
As left brain and atrophying muscles started to function once again, I began to read, move, think and create. Slowly, Soulistry emerged. People saw the mirrors and art cards I’d recently exhibited in craft fairs and asked if I’d teach them how to make their own.
In an intentional effort to move the mercury out of my body, a plan began to surface and Soulistry moved from creating art cards and mirrors to facilitating Soulistry workshops and Soulistry retreats, then to speaking at conferences and groups about the connection between creativity and spirituality, and eventually to the writing of “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul”.
JP: What sets “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” apart from other books in the same genre?
JM: Other quotation books are simply books filled with quotes. “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” offers quotations (from more than eighty ordinary and extraordinary human beings: artists, philosophers, historians, poets, theologians, writers, calligraphers and lyricists living in different historical times; having diverse life experiences; and representing a wide variety of ages, religions, genders and cultures.
What makes “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” so unique is its series of Soulistry Soul-Questions after each quotation. These thought-catalysts become both road map and compass to the elusive ‘road-within’, drawing the reader’s attention to the connection between creativity and spirituality, the sacred and the secular, art and soul and easy-to-follow directions for creating a Soulistry Journal provide a personal space to record responses to the Soul-Questions.
Reader comments and reviews (www.soulistry.com/category/bookreviews) note that “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” speaks to a wide readership: journal writers seeking creative new approaches and prompts, people open to growing spiritually, people of faith, people not aligned with any particular religion, artists and writers needing respite and guidance out of their artistic block, calligraphers looking for creative entries into quotations among others.
In a nutshell, what sets “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” apart from other books in the same genre is its ability to challenge, nurture and encourage the reader to re-connect with the intangible soul-essence of life through its 80+ fascinating quotations, inspiring Soul-Questions, journal-making directions, bibliography of quotation-authors, and in the Soulistry Story itself.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” getting out to the public?
JM: An abiding belief in Soulistry’s message, the kindness and generosity of others who share word of the book’s existence (with friends, colleagues and family; on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.), the reviews on Amazon, and interviews like this one, remind me of the importance of diligence and hard work, networking in general and social networking in particular, and grace – the “keys to success” in having Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul ‘out there.’
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul”?
JM: With each step in the regeneration of my brain cells (nothing scientific, just a profound awareness that it was happening), the idea for a Soulistry book deepened and work on the quotations and Soulistry Soul-Questions continued. When the publisher (of a new imprint of a well-respected publishing firm) enquired through an unexpected email if I might consider publishing with them, the gift of such an offer and the wisdom of exploring such a possibility moved me to focus my complete attention to the completion of the book.
Six weeks later, the final “Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul” manuscript was couriered to John Hunt Publishing (Circle Books) for publication.
Concept to publication? Four years.
JP: What’s next for June Maffin?
JM: Hopefully, invitations to speak and share the story of Soulistry will come my way as will invitations to facilitate Soulistry workshops and Soulistry retreats.
In the meantime, two more books are in the ‘thinking stages’: a children’s book is completed and I continue to create, play, interact on social media sites, write, facilitate art groups and am grateful for the many blessings in my life.
Thank you, Joey, for this opportunity to introduce myself and my latest book. I wish you success with your endeavours and this website. ~ june maffin ~