June Cotner on Finding the Meaning of Life Through Comforting Quotes

(Author of Hey! It’s Your Day) June Cotner is featured in Mango’s very own Authors Corner- read her latest interview.

June Cotner is the author of over 30 books, including multiple bestsellers. Collectively, her books have sold more than one million copies and have been featured in many national publications, including USA TodayThe New York TimesBetter Homes & GardensWoman’s DayGlamour, and Family Circle. June has appeared on national television and radio programs as well as local television including “New Day Northwest” and “AM Northwest.”

June is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. Through Book Proposal Services, she evaluates nonfiction book proposals and analyzes concepts for books. June is a member of, and publicity liaison for, the Poulsbo Noon Lions Club and Poulsbo Friends of the Library.

She lives in Poulsbo, Washington with her husband and their dog. Her hobbies include yoga, hiking, dog training, community service, and spending time with her two grown children and four grandchildren.

Hey! It’s Your Day is a beautiful collection of quotes and affirmations that you have been gathering for multiple decades. How did you choose which quotes to include in your book? Are all of the quotes from your original collection or did you find more along the way as you were putting together this uplifting book? 

I initially started what would become HEY! IT’S YOUR DAY when I was fourteen. Using a lined journal, I recorded quotes that inspired or comforted me. I had thought of creating a “quotes only” book at least a decade ago, but I wanted to make sure the book would be a comprehensive collection that readers would absolutely love. My books have sold over one million copies; most of them are anthologies consisting of inspirational poetry and interfaith prayers, such as Graces. So, I continued to work diligently on HEY! IT’S YOUR DAY while 36 of my other books were published.

I chose quotes for HEY! IT’S YOUR DAY that had some sort of emotional impact whether that was excitement, clarity, inspiration, motivation, or comfort. Also, I wanted to make sure that the quotes would appeal to younger people, so a long-time employee, who is 34, rated all of them and only the high-rated quotes were included in the book.

Only about fifty quotes are from my original collection. HEY! IT’S YOUR DAY includes more than 800 quotes. I continued gathering excellent, new quotes as the years passed.

What makes a quote or affirmation noteworthy to you? How do you decide which quotes to add to your personal collection?

Ideally, I like to find action-oriented quotes that can be practiced in my life. I love this example:

“Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

~ Mary Oliver

On the other hand, some quotes remind to take time for self-care, such as this one:

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly

useless manner, you have learned how to live.”

~ Lin Yutang

How does someone take a quote from being words on a page to actions applied to life? How does one live by a quote? 

I think it helps to write down individual quotes that move you. The exercise of writing the quote by hand reinforces the quote. I like to use sparkly pens for the text and create different-colored borders around the quote. And, you can use colorful paper rather than white. When finished, you can put the quote somewhere in your home or office where you’ll encounter it regularly such as your office wall or refrigerator. You can also copy the quote into a journal that you use regularly. 

Also, readers tell me that they copy quotes from my books in greeting cards whether it’s for sympathy, a wedding, congratulations, or a holiday or special occasion.

Many of the quotes in this book have become my affirmations for living.

What was the first quote (or one of the first quotes) you added to your collection? What is the most recent quote you have added to your collection?

The first quote I added to my collection was:

“Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind.”

~ William Wordsworth

[This quote comforted me after the death of my mother at age eleven.

It continues to offer much comfort today.]

The most recent quote I added was:

“Each day is an adventure in discovering the meaning of life.”

~ Jack Canfield

[This quote captures the essence of HEY! IT’S YOUR DAY.]

Would you say that quotes and affirmations tend to “find you” or do you seek them out? Or is it a combination of both?

It’s probably about 25% that I seek out and about 75% that come to me. I subscribe to many publications including TIME Magazine and The New York Times. Some of the original quotes came from these sources, online sites, and library books. I have an average of 50 library books checked out at any given time and I love it when a quote leaps out at me from a book. 

If you had to choose your favorite/go to quote from Hey! It’s Your Day, what would it be?

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

~ Roald Dahl

I created a magnet using the above quote and gave it to a mountain-climbing friend.

How do you want your readers to feel after they turn the last page of your book?

I would like them to feel very excited about their lives, the good and bad elements, and the all-around joy of this blessing called life. I would like them to feel that the quotes have nudged them along in finding new inspiration, new adventures, and new goals in their lives. At times when we need comfort, I think the quotes from the “Hope,” “Comfort,” “Renewal,” and “Serenity” chapters will truly offer solace for readers.

I especially like this reminder:

“Every day is a new opportunity to change your life.

You have the power to say, “This is not how my story ends.”

~ Karen Salmansohn

On a personal note, how are you nourishing your own soul and taking care of yourself during this chaotic time? 

(1)I devote the first hour of work every day to what I call “Morning Coffee Time.” I allow myself an hour to work on anything I desire. Often, I’m researching nature and wildlife photos to make photo cards for my grandkids. (2) At then end of the day I take my dog Indy on a three-mile hike in a beautiful wilderness area nearby. Some of the trails are not marked, so we often go on adventures.

 Rapid Fire Questions:

Favorite place in the world? Depoe Bay, Oregon

Go-to coffee (or tea) order? 16 oz. iced mocha with soy, half the amount of chocolate & whipped cream on top!

Summer or winter? Summer

Pancakes or waffles? Pancakes

Last book you read? The Promised Land by Barack Obama.

Hey! It’s Your Day

Inspirational Quotes and Affirmations to Live By

Inspiration at your fingertips in minutes. June Cotner has been gathering her favorite quotes for more than two decades. Now, she shares these specially curated words of wisdom to guide readers on their personal journeys of positive thinking. Featuring an eclectic selection of figures like Edward Abbey, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Oprah Winfrey, this positive thinking book captivates readers with fresh, insightful, and engaging motivational quotes. Inside, they may even discover a new book, mantra, or role model.

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