Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Interview With Friko, of Friko's Musings

Welcome to the third in this set of interviews.  If you do not already know and love Friko, please let me introduce her - confident that a fascinating relationship will result from the meeting. 

Upon visiting her blog, Friko's Musings you will discover Friko is a talented, forthright, no-nonsense woman.  If I did not know the story, I would be sure it was Friko who exposed the emperor with no clothes.  Friko's short vignettes, keen observations of human nature, uncanny wit and way with words will leave you entranced.  (Her command of what is a second language for her is astounding!!!)  In her brief time blogging Friko has amassed a large group of devoted followers, of which I am one.   Do visit her blog, Friko's Musings, by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.  All of the  images in this post are the photography of Friko.  Let's begin the interview: 

Friko, please give us a brief overview of who you are, where you live, current interests or preoccupations?

My current preoccupation is how to complete this questionnaire, which Bonnie has kindly (?) sent me all the way from Montreal, across the big pond, to reach me here in the beautiful backwater of the South Shropshire Hills, where I have ended up, to my great surprise, after years of living and working in London.

As we gaze at the incredible South Shropshire countryside, could you name a couple of your strengths?

What springs to mind immediately is that I am a great survivor. Nothing that’s happened to me has ever really destroyed the essential core, the essential me.

How about naming one weakness.

A tendency towards melancholy, which I find wholly enjoyable.

Apart from wrestling with this questionnaire, Friko what do you consider your greatest achievement?  :-) 

Survival until now.

What quality do you value most in a friend?  A sense of humour.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Become more patient with other people, perhaps even like them better.

You are a lover of poetry. Could you tell us about the origins of that love?

I have read poetry since I was in my mid-teens and possibly even earlier; it comes with being solitary. I had a teacher whom nobody much liked except me, not even the other teachers at my school, yet she spoke to me directly, in a way nobody else has. She liked and taught poetry; perhaps I am her only convert.

When did you begin to write poetry yourself? Tell us a bit about your writing process.

Bonnie, I have never written poetry. My pitiful attempts are NOT poetry. Even these attempts have only started very recently, maybe two months ago. There is enough embarrassingly bad ‘poetry’ about, I really don’t want to add to it. What I do is to write shorter sentences and start each one on a new line.

And maybe wax a little more lyrical than in my prose.

But they read like lyrical phrases of poetry to me!  :-)
What do you consider the most over-rated virtue?

To be a very hard worker. Diligence in what one does, yes, always, flogging yourself to death, no. No matter how much people might praise you for it.

Which living person do you most admire?

I have never thought about it, so can’t give you the name of an individual. I admire people who struggle against the odds to make ends meet, to bring up a family, to fight injustice wherever they meet it. I really admire people who have the courage to stand up for their beliefs. What is called ‘Zivilcourage’ in German.

Is there a historical figure, or a figure from literature, you identify with?

Can’t think of anyone, unless it is one of the suffragettes.

Friko, how do you play?

By listening to music, gardening, walking in isolated places, writing, reading, entertaining, eating and drinking good food and wine. Arguing with Beloved and anyone who will join in about the meaning of the Universe and Everything. I also blog.

How do you attend to your spiritual needs?

By doing all of the above. My spiritual well-being is closely allied to my physical well-being. Perhaps eating and drinking and blogging do not necessarily come under this heading, but walking and feeling one with creation is my way of giving thanks.

Is there one thing you wish you had learned or discovered earlier in your life?

Yes, and not just one: but valuing myself is chief among them.

What do you still want to learn?

Easy: everything I don’t know and would like to know. Could I please have another 1000 life times? And then another 1000.

 How do you make your life meaningful?

Not so easy. A question that needs qualifying: meaningful to whom? In the great scheme of things my life is meaningless; to me it is meaningful because I exist, I am here; I cannot make it any more meaningful than that. If you mean making my life pleasant or useful, well, by the usual means: I try to live consciously and I try to help others in my small way.

What is your greatest fear?

I faced my greatest fear, which made it disappear. Now I fear being overly afraid.

What sustains you through difficult times?

Sheer bloody-minded determination for one, and a strong belief that things must and will change. Everything always does, particularly if you do all in your power towards that end.

What two or three pieces of other advice would you give to a young person just starting out?

Do what you can. Try again if it hasn’t worked. Be as kind to yourself as you are towards others (I hope you are kind to others). Allow balance and humour into your life and don’t take yourself too seriously.

What brought you to blogging?

What keeps you blogging?

What have you learned from the experience of blogging? 
That we are all different, yet basically all the same.

What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers of your blog?

My kind heart and sweet nature.

Your kind heart and sweet nature have created a few blogs. Can you tell us about them?

I have created two other blogs myself and contribute to a third – other than my main blog - . Poetry and Pictures is sheer self-indulgence. The blog follows no other blogs. I have few comments and am rather surprised that it has a few followers.

Fridge Soup is/was my baby but has acquired a life of its own. It is a communal blog. It was supposed to be a site for small posts, funny or sad, serious or amusing; it has become a site a bit like a ping pong game,
one contributor starts the match by adding a post and comments ping back and forth from all comers. Not quite what I had in mind but quite witty sometimes.

The third blog is access for members only. I only contribute.

What two books would you recommend to readers of your blog?

A dictionary and a Thesaurus. (Presumably my readers are also writers).    Alrighty then ....

What is your favorite word?

Weltanschauung, which means world-philosophy and is untranslatable. It means "a personal view of the world in a philosophical sense".

Or "Heimat", which is equally untranslatable and means "that pain we all carry around with us for a place which no longer exists".

Or simply "nostalgia" which at least comes close to the last and maybe even the first.

What is your least favorite word?   Strife

What sound or noise do you love?   The wind in the trees.

What sound or noise do you hate?   Shrill, angry voices shouting.

What question have I neglected to ask that would have given readers more insight into who you are?

Would you be happy to stop flitting from subject to subject in your blog? Or your life?

What is the answer to that question?   No.


Thank you Friko for sharing this personal information about yourself.  As ever, it is a delight to connect and interact with you!  Of course, there is so much more to discover about this renaissance woman.  You can do so by visiting her blog Friko's Musings.  Simply click here.

I am hoping that Friko will respond to some of your comments in the Comment Section here.  Her first comment will probably be to deny some of my accolades, but don't you believe her!  :-)

More interviews are in production.  So many wonderful people to showcase, and so little time!


  1. nice. what i loved most about this one was her humility...glad you are a survivor and share that with us...good luck learning everything...smiles.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview, Bonnie and Friko, and i will definitely be checking out Friko's blog site. One thing that struck me in particular was Friko's statement that her greatest weakness is probably melancholy, which she described as "wholly enjoyable." That statement resonated with me because melancholy — which is something I often feel myself — is often equated with depression, whereas it can also mean something more salutary like thoughtfulness or pensiveness. You're the expert on these things, Bonnie, but it's something worth thinking about. It seems to me that a person can have a penchant for being melancholy and yet be perfectly content, even happy.

    Thanks again to both of you. I will be visiting Friko's blog today.

  3. Oh, these are really wonderful Bonnie. I have been a follower of Friko for a short time now and always enjoy her posts.

  4. I really like Friko, just from this interview. I feel a sense of experience, humility, forbearance, humor, beauty, joy, kindness. Like George, what she wrote about melancholy (and what George wrote too) is reflected in my own soul, that it is not something I resist, and I do enjoy a tender melancholy.

    I smiled at the question about poetry, that line breaks and lyricism can be perceived as poetry. The thing is, good writing is half the battle, and Friko is a good writer.

    I love Friko's final question and answer. Can I claim them too?

  5. Another brilliant interview. How could I not go visit after reading through these. I'm chuckling at the dictionary and thesaurus reference... off to visit.

  6. Friko is a force to be reckoned with. Her determination and straight forward point of view have led me to always hurry over to read and savor her blog posts. Followers are nurtured like the flowers in her garden. (With the occasional healthy snip from the pruning shears).

  7. English Rider: I couldn't have (well I didn't) expressed it better! I am always wondering if I am going to get snipped!!

  8. Bonnie - I so enjoyed your interview with Friko. Her warm nature and kind heart are no surprise at all. We met up for lunch last March with some other bloggers from one of her sites. She is a very talented lady and a lovely friend.

  9. An interesting interview. 'Friko's Musings is one of my favourite places to visit. I know I'll find quality writing, clear observation, honest opinion and, poetry that doesn't appear nearly often enough.

  10. Well, I had a little smile on my face reading about Friko. And I have to admit that when I got to the 'surprise' question (which I think I like the best) I laughed out loud. Then I sobered up, because actually it's true. She IS kind. A kind person with pruning shears (thank you, ER, that was brilliant)

    There is nothing more interesting than another human being, Bonnie. Thanks for another illuminating interview.

  11. Lovely interview, and, of course, you've chosen in Friko a wonderful subject!

  12. HI BONNIE_

    this is an amazing idea. I thoroughly appreciated it and enjoyed it and the pictures are stunning.
    I am SO glad to 'meet' Friko' - one of the warriors.

    Love to you both
    peace, hope and healing.....

  13. Friko: Much to be said about melancholia!
    Bonnie: Outstanding

  14. A very enjoyable interview, Bonnie. Friko was the first blog I followed over a year ago and I always relish reading her new posts. In a way it is like a vicarious feeling (don’t know if this is the accurate word) reading her posts – what she writes is what I feel too. I enjoyed reading this.

  15. This interview brought a smile to my face because much of what was included lived up to my preconceptions.

  16. A wonderful interview with thoughtful questions and the sort of depth and wit in the replies that I would have expected from Friko. Brava, Bobbie! Brava, Friko!

  17. I think the interview is wonderful--questions and answers both--not to mention the lovely photographs that accompany it. Having tried my hand at an interview a time or two, I have some idea how hard it is for both parties, and you have both done a terrific job!

  18. Great interview... Delving variety of questions, of which the answers reflect a bit of the person beyond the prickly survivor. Not too far from what I consider much of myself to be.

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  19. Yes , this is the Friko I'd imagined , too .
    Between you you've captured the eye for beauty , the feel for language , the kindness and an expectation that we'll all pull our weight when called upon .
    Very enjoyable . Thankyou , I'll be back .

  20. A great interview and very interesting answers. I have been on of Friko's followers for only a short time but I love her way with words me her words are paintings in themselves. I like 'to live consciously' - this is so important to me.

  21. Great interview, and a chance to get to know the no-nonsense Friko who leaves frankly-quite-bossy comments on my blog and whom I would like to adopt as a life coach as a result.

  22. Thank you, Bonnie, for interviewing Friko with such good questions. This interview is surely going to encourage many folks to visit Friko's blogs. They will find treasures, provocative musings, beautiful phrases and pictures, and will always know that they will want to visit again.

  23. These are so interesting -- I'm loving this series. I love exploring new blogs and finding sharp, exacting minds and people with a love for language. You're a great matchmaker, Bonnie.

  24. Bonnie, this is an excellent interview. I love that you said Friko could have been the one to expose the naked Emperor. She's like that. And Friko: it's true that the world is full of terrible poetry. It's full of so many terrible things. But I would like to see you forget that, not even consider whether your own efforts are good or terrible and write more poems anyway.

    There's something odd about people leaving admiring comments about a blogger's honesty. How do you know when someone is honest? You don't, really. But you definitely get a sense of when someone is striving for honesty, and I get that sense about you Friko, and I admire it.

    Your answer to the thing about you that would surprise your readers touched me, and I love the two favorite words you chose. I wasn't familiar with "Heimat". That's a profound word; I'll remember it.

  25. I am a relatively new reader of Friko's and always wonder what she will come up with today. I had her down as a formidable and inspiring person, now I see that she is sensitive and fun-loving too. Thanks for the interview. And I am glad to have found your blog too. Hope to be back. Every Blessing

  26. Bonnie, Friko is absolutely one of the gems of the blogosphere. Like me she is a survivor who lives in a place that gives us an advantage. All we need do is chronicle and photograph, but Friko brings so much more! Good interview.

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  27. I'm happy to see 'Friko' interviewed here; I've been reading her blog(s) for a few months and have learned to value her wit and her vision.

    And I've wandered a bit through this blog, Bonnie; I like what I see in the content, but have trouble with the light text on the charcoal. The larger font helps so I'll stick for a bit...

    Thanks to you both.

  28. I'm completely intrigued...


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