Interview with Joy Reichart

Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing with us. How do you feel with Soul Writing out in the world?

First I feel deep gratitude to Autonomous Press for ushering it out into the world with such skill and care. So, thank you. I’m learning just how much faith it takes to do something like this. I know it doesn’t hold a candle to parenting, but I do feel like I’ve launched my little creation into the world knowing I’ve done all I can, and now just have to trust that it’s doing OK, making friends, connecting with the people it’s meant to. Maybe it’s even helping in some way, and at the very least doing no harm.

I’m also still a little shocked at how this unfolded. My original intention had been to create something like an e-course or pamphlet-type thinggie that would give folks a sense of what Soul Writing workshops are like. But once I started writing, so much poured through me that before I knew it I had nearly enough words for a book. This is very unusual for me, so I took this as a sign that it was ready to become… something. Luck and serendipity landed it in the hands of Autonomous Press who helped me realize it fully, and it became much more than I ever thought it would. So yes, I’m still reeling a bit.

We imagine that your audience ranges from experienced writers to anyone looking to awaken their creativity. What would you like your readers to gain from the experience?

That is very true—folks attracted to this work run the gamut in terms of writing experience, but I have to admit that there is a special place in my heart for beginners. I love when folks show up at workshops saying, “I’m not a writer,” or “I don’t actually know I’m here,” and who are ultimately surprised by what comes through them. I suppose that is my hope for the book as well: for people to work with the prompts and discover that they have more to say than they thought, that the process is fun and cathartic, and maybe even that they are creative and can write.

Also, since sharing and supportive feedback are such essential elements of Soul Writing, I’d be over the moon if folks worked through the book together. Like, maybe an existing writing group uses the prompts or concepts for a while, or maybe a new group or community even forms around it. There is actually a Discord server that I created with that second intention in mind—anyone who is working through the book is more than welcome to post their writing there.

In terms of your own creativity, what are you up to these days to alight that spark? And is this orientation shifting as your work develops?

Great question. I think part of why I created Soul Writing is because it’s always been difficult for me to create alone. I’ve always preferred the atmosphere of a class or informal gathering over shutting out the world and creating in a vacuum. Of course solo work is necessary sometimes, but for me (ironically an introvert), there is something about a mix of souls that brings the juice. For that reason I’m part of a few different groups—Soul Writing and otherwise—to share the creative process with.

And yes, it certainly shifts. Lately I’ve been playing with different forms of writing… for instance I just took a course where we wrote three lines every day in response to a particular prompt, and have since begun playing with verse on my own. I’ve also been craving doing more visual art. I found a cool journal that gives a daily drawing prompt that I respond to with the tools at hand—namely the same trusty pens I use to write.

Funny, in writing this response I’m seeing how much of a role prompts—including these questions!—play in sparking my creativity.

Lastly, movement is vital for my creative expression and my life in general. I walk every day and travel as much as I can. It’s hard for me to see, process, or create if I’m physically stagnant or doing the same thing over and over.

We read your blog avidly and it sounds like a phenomenal experience of discovering your birth family. Do you have plans for another book?

Aw, thanks for reading! It has been a phenomenal experience indeed. Yes, there are plans… and then there’s what’s happening.

This story is (perhaps all stories are) its own being: one that is big, complex, sensitive, and still unfolding. Yes, it’s “my” story, but it also feels like something I exist alongside and must cooperate with. When I come at it, arms outstretched, saying “Imma make a book out of you!” it—the story itself—shrinks back in alarm. So I’m giving it space, letting it tell the pieces of itself it’s ready to reveal—publicly and otherwise. It’s allowing me, as you’ve seen, to capture snippets in the form of essays. Maybe one of these days there will be enough of those to compile into a [whispering, so it doesn’t hear] b-o-o-k. I actually think this is what I’ve needed as a soul, as a person, so it makes perfect sense that the story is echoing that.

In the meantime I keep the door open and the light on to welcome whatever is ready to be written. I’m always curious about how I can be an ever more capable vessel to convey whatever wants to come into the world, and am open to wherever that inquiry leads me.

Thanks for asking these questions. I learned a lot by answering them.

Posted in Uncategorized.