Thursday, September 23, 2010

An interview with Ruth of "synch-ro-ni-zing"

Ruth, poet and author of the delicious blog "synch-ro-ni-zing" has consented to participate in this 'feature interview series'.  Ruth has been blogging since 2006 and has many loyal Followers.  If you are among them, no doubt you would enjoy learning a little more about Ruth.  If you have not yet experienced the delightful and varied offerings on her blog, you will have your appetite whetted for more by reading this interview.  A link is set up to take you to synch-ro-ni-zing at the end of this post.  (All the images that appear in this post were photographed by Ruth.)  So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Ruth.

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

I am a working woman, wife, and mother of two grown children. I believe I might be the happiest woman alive. I live with my amazing husband on a hobby farm in Michigan. He does all the work, and I write about this beautiful property and take pictures. We each get what we want! I am falling more in love with Michigan every day, which is where I grew up. We left and lived in other parts of the world for many years, and I think we’re back to stay.

 So could the perhaps happiest woman alive name a few of her strengths?

I am a good communicator, and I work at relationships. I am not afraid of problems, and I go after them with a vengeance.

 How about naming one weakness? 

 I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m working on that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My children. Having Lesley and Peter be the kind and caring individuals they are, and involved with the world in beautifully creative ways, blows me away. I am continually humbled by their understanding of life, and living.

What quality do you value most in your friends?

Being eager to converse about ideas, and be open-minded.

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

Showing in my face if I don’t like something.

The word 'curious' appears at least twice on your sidebar. Why is curiosity such an important quality for you?

Oh, it’s there twice? I’ll have to check that out. It’s important to keep the “curious” with what comes after it: “& shrinking”. My desire is to be a girl again, waking up with wide eyes and an open heart and mind. I don’t want to be set in knowledge. I also regret that I was not awake until very late in life. I’m waking up.

Can you name something exciting you have discovered in the last week due to exercising your curiosity?

How about the last month? I went to a tattoo parlor to find out more about tattoos after becoming friends with a woman who has tattoo “sleeves”. I talked with two women for an hour and took their pictures. I learned that there are many reasons people get tattoos, and that many who have a lot of them are shy and reserved people. I found the people who worked in this tattoo shop to be incredibly open and warm.

Ruth, you write enchanting poetry. Describe the role words, language, metaphor, verse play in your life?

Thank you so much for that word “enchanting”. When I started writing poems at age 36, it was a way for me to vent some anger and frustration I felt while I was leaving the religion I grew up with, not so enchanting back then. Now, almost 20 years later, it’s the tight acorn of a poem that appeals to me. What I can fit inside, and what can grow from it, in each reader.

Your blog features a broad range of interests and passions. Tell us about the one that is most 'present' for you, Ruth in Autumn, 2010.

After connecting this year with a few bloggers who are stellar poets, my poem-writing engines fired up again. I write about Nature, and my state of Michigan is never more beautiful than in Autumn. I’m inspired to share photos of it, and write about it.

Your blog invites us to enjoy podcasts of your poems. Do you call yourself a poet? Have your poems gone forth into the public domain in any other ways?

Yes, I finally call myself a poet. It took a while to feel confident saying that. Am I famous, or will I ever be? I’m famous in my family! I’ve had a few poems published in my university’s journal. Reciting poems on podcast started with my friend Lorenzo, who posted a reading of his Rainstick poem, and I liked feeling a different dimension to his writing, hearing his voice.

Who are a few of your favourite writers, poets?

Two poets inspire me daily with equal strength, though in different ways: the 13th century Persian poet Rumi, and the inimitable Mary Oliver. There are also Mark Strand, Pablo Neruda (especially his odes), Rilke, Sharon Olds and Jane Kenyon. And I don’t know how many times I’ve read Jane Austen’s novels. Have you heard, does she have anything new out?

What do you consider the most over-rated virtue?  Being rich.

Which living person do you most admire?  The poet Mary Oliver.

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

Thoreau. He sat in his doorway and looked outside the whole morning. A lot.

 How do you play?

 With my Nikon D40.

 How do you attend to your spiritual needs?

 Get alone, and write.

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

To be curious and go after my own answers.

What do you still want to learn?

How to use the manual settings on my camera, and how to speak and read French.

How do you make your life meaningful?

With people, I work at getting past differences to understand them. By myself, I think and write.

What is your greatest fear?

I really don’t think I’m afraid of anything. Well, I mean besides things like rabid dogs and giant black bears.

What sustains you through difficult times?

Reminding myself that someone, somewhere, has more difficult circumstances. And being surrounded by people who love me.

What advice would you give to a young person just starting out?

I do this many times a day, as my job is an academic adviser: Do what you want to do (not what your parents want you to do).

What brought you to blogging?

My sister Ginnie had a blog for a year before I started mine, the only person I knew who had one. I thought it would be fun to instantly publish writing and photos.

What keeps you blogging?

Two things: 1) All this stuff inside me has to go somewhere. 2) Having sweet blog visitors tell me they like my posts. And more than that, having deepening friendships with a few blog friends.

What have you learned from the experience of blogging?

Bonnie, I thought you said you wanted to keep this succinct! I think I’ve learned more about myself in these 4 ½ years of blogging than in the whole rest of my life. Interacting with ideas and people around the world at my blog and theirs confirms that people are the same the world over. I’ve also learned to take better pictures.

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

That I don’t know how to use the manual settings on my camera.

Could you name two recently read books that you would recommend to your readers?

My favorite book is Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. Read it. I’m almost done with Gogol’s Dead Souls, and I love it.

What is your favorite word?  Yes.

What is your least favorite word?

There are several slang terms for the female anatomy that are my least favorite words.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

The play of light through a window, the touch and lift of wind, a moment’s connection with something true and beautiful in a book, blog or photograph, a song by Joni Mitchell, a poem by Rumi or Mary Oliver, any number of things. And solitude.

What turns you off?

Reading the news. But I do it anyway, as much as I can stand, which isn’t much.

What sound or noise do you love?

Birds waking up in the morning while I’m drinking my coffee.

What sound or noise do you hate?

The incessant back-up beeping of trucks working at a construction site near my office window.

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

I like James Lipton’s last question in Inside the Actors Studio:  "If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?"

What is the answer to that question?

"And how have you liked heaven down there, Ruth? For that is what you have created around you."


Thank you for being so generous with yourself and your time Ruth.  I was so happy to have recently discovered your blog and have loved learning more about you by means of this interview. 

To link to Ruth's blog, synch-ro-ni-zing click here
Ruth has been invited to respond in the Comment Section to your reactions and questions.
Other feature interviews are in the works and will be posted in the upcoming days.  Stay tuned!


  1. Wow. I'm in! I don't know who deserves the credit here; Bonnie for the incisive questions, or Ruth for the rich and well-thought-out questions. I am off to her blog now. Best to you both, EFH

  2. Golly and I am to follow this?
    We are very different, yet still the same basically.
    I will visit your blog and see you at work.

    Bonnie, you were right, I needn't have worried, I can see no ulterior motives here.
    There is one thing I would like to do when you are done with us and that is turn the tables and have you go through the questionnaire yourself.

  3. What an interesting person to know! I've read Fugitive Pieces, and I'm still in awe of Ms Michaels's talent.

  4. First, THANK YOU, Bonnie, for you expansive and generous project, and for inviting me to participate. I love being first (I'm a good Leo)! Your words are the kindest and just fill me up.

    Expat from Hell, I can't wait to find out more about your parents who named you that. Just kidding. I see you have joined my blog family, and I look forward to visiting yours as well. Thank you so much.

  5. Interesting to learn more about Ruth. I've been following her blog for a while now.

    Who's next?

  6. oh excellent...loved this bonnie...this is going to be so much fun meeting new people...all this stuff in me has to go true...heart on the sleave is not a bad thing though...smiles.

  7. Such fantastic information!! What a beautiful dream to live on the farm and write about it!

    I'm a new follower to your site today!

  8. I like Ruth. What a positive person. Thank you for sharing her with us. And, I completely agree with her about creating Heaven on Earth.


  9. Expat: You won't be disappointed.

  10. Friko: Well, we wouldn't want a bunch of interviews that were all the same! Diversity is a delicious meal.

    Yes, there are a few who want to turn the tables on me. George has first dibs ... maybe.

  11. lakeviewer: Ruth is interesting. You will enjoy her poetry. I will present more interviews down the road ... so many interesting folks out there!

  12. Ruth: I'm so glad that you like the end result!

  13. ellen: Watch out - I may be tapping you on the shoulder for an interview soon!

  14. Brian: Fun was one of my motivations for taking on this series.

  15. Coffee and a Book Chick: I'm so glad you dropped by AND are now following. I will visit you soon.

  16. Butternut: So true. Ruth's positive, open approach to life shines throughout.

  17. Oh what a wonderful interview..I drank up every word! Thank you for sharing all of this! Am off to see the wonderful blog! Thank you for sharing!

    And are wonderfully, beautifully uncommon!!
    Hugs and love, Sarah

  18. Great blog Bonnie!

    Ruth --wonderful photo of you and hearing more about what inspires you! I can only imagine how MORE magnificent your photos will be once you learn how to use the manual settings on your Nikon!!!

  19. So many great bloggers (2 posting here today)

    so little time!

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  20. Congratulations to both you and Ruth, Bonnie. This was a wonderful and informative interview. It's so great to get to know each other better. Thanks for making this opportunity available.

  21. I wandered over here from Ruth's "synchronizing" today to read her interview and I have enjoyed getting to know her better...Is it possible to like her even more?...I hope I am considered one of her blogging friends.

    Thank you Bonnie for sharing this!

  22. What and in-depth and interesting interview! I've learned more about you Ruth as a person. Not only are you beautiful, but you are smart and talented too!

  23. Friko, I look forward to your interview. As Bonnie said, we each see the world in unique ways.

    Lakeviewer, thank you, and I love finding a kindred Anne Michaels spirit! I decided when I read FP that I never need to write a novel. I embrace hers as my own.

    Ellen, how nice of you to come over and read the interview.

    Brian, you think? :)

    Coffee and a Book Chick, we do feel like we're living in a park sometimes, it's pretty great. I think you are following Bonnie now, if I understand you, and that's a wonderful result of this interview!

    Butternut Squash, thank you for those kind words. And I like butternut squash! :) You sound quite positive and I already like you too.

    Sarah, thank you for your positive review of the interview. You are so right about Bonnie . . . wonderfully, beautifully uncommon. Yes.

    C.M., thank you! Thank you for coming over to Bonnie's to read the interview. Now as for my photos improving if I learn the manual settings? I have a feeling they might get worse, in fact very bad, before they get better. :|

    Aloha, Claudia. You got that right. :)

  24. This is such an insightful, enterating interview (how could it not be with Ruth as your guest!) Thank you for this and what an amazing blog you have so pleased ot have found you via Ruth.

  25. Hi, George, you're right, Bonnie did a great job, and it's terrific of her to do this series. It really is wonderful to get to know our blog friends better.

    Oliag, oh you are a doll. You touch me.

    Pat, your comment is so kind. Thank you for your friendship.

    Gwei Mui, what a nice thing to say!

  26. Ruth, I am impressed by this interview, after this comment I will look through the archive of Bonnie's blog.
    I already 'know' a lot about you, but dear sister I had to laugh out loud when you told us, you have no clue about the settings on the camera!
    You know I admire your photo-work so much so maybe don't even try understand what the settings are......
    ....and Ruth, learning French is great, why don't you give it a try.

  27. Even I have learned something new about you, sister, so HELLO! Wanna hear something ironic/sychronistic? Just yesterday I was interviewed by a fellow resident here at De Lindeborg for our October issue of De Lindeborgpost. So this post really brought a big samile to my face. :)

  28. Hello. I'm coming here at a good time, because I'm just now meeting Ruth. I enjoyed reading your interview very much. The questions are great, and I love Ruth's answers. Her positive attitude is wonderful. Thank you very much for the introduction!

  29. What a great set of questions and answers. I enjoy getting to know new to me bloggers and this a great way to really get a feel for someone. Great photos... and not shot in manual mode? Wow, that is pretty amazing and intriguing all at once.

  30. Astrid, one of these days you need to teach me what you know of camera settings. Thank you so very much for reading this interview Bonnie did, and I am excited about Ginnie's now!

    Boots (Ginnie), I can't wait to read the interview in the De Lindeborgpost! I am sure there will be humor, lightheartedness and also fervent observation. They're so lucky to have you in that country.

    Julie, your comment is more for Bonnie than for me, but I promised I'd respond, and I am delighted to respond to yours. I really appreciate you reading this, and for your kind comment over at my blog too. I've been astonished by your poetry for a little while now. It's great to meet you.

    Hi, Vicky, thank you for your feedback, I'm sure Bonnie appreciates it too.

  31. Bonnie, this is such a nice idea - a great way to honor someone whose blog you admire as well as your readers to whom you offer this.

    I'm off to check out Ruth's blog!


  32. Great interview – thoughtful questions and responses! I admire Ruth’s positive attitude towards life. My favorite response was “yes” being her favorite word. Nice photos too. I’ll go visit Ruth.

    It’s fun to be introduced to new bloggers. Author Blog used to do that before he quit blogging. I’d love to see you do more blogger interviews.

  33. Great interview of a wonderful woman !

  34. I'm here via Ruth's lovely blog, and glad to have found your blog home here equally inviting.

    One thing that caught my eye about Ruth's interview? Her favorite word is "yes." From her insightful, thought provoking blog, I am not the least surprised. She encourages as much as she gently teaches and inspires the reader. For those reasons and more, I am privileged to call her friend.

  35. Hi, Neighbor! :) I know you're speaking to Bonnie, but I'll just say I appreciate your reading the interview, as I know she does. And thank you for coming by my blog. Bonnie is doing a wonderful thing, and I look forward to the next interview.

    Sarah, Thank you for your "yes" to my "yes" and for the other kind things you said. I'm glad Bonnie is receiving new visitors from my blog as well, for she and hers should be explored.

    Sidney! Thanks so much for reading the interview, and for thinking I'm wonderful.

  36. I do feel like I just "watched" a James Lipton interview. Well done Bonnie and Ruth!

    I love that first photo of you in your attractive glasses!

    I'm taking my first photo class at the local community college with one of my book club sisters. I'm terrified to take my camera to the "M" setting. I don't know my aperture from shutter speed, let alone ISO. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

    As for your last James Lipton question. You have indeed created a slice of heaven for me and many others with your inspiring blogs.

  37. Bonnie, I have to hand it to you. You come up with so many fresh and creative ideas in your blog - and this is a wonderful one. I 'know' Ruth already, and although I can't remember if it was she would led mt to you or the other way around, I'm just glad I found you both.
    Your questions were great, and I liked the surprises that I got from reading some of Ruth's answers. The manual settings one, for sure!!

    I've had to stay away from the blogosphere for a while because of other priorities, but I'm glad I peeked tonight. I'll be sure to read your other interviews. Such a great idea!

  38. dutchbaby! Thank you. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.

  39. Hi Deborah! I've missed you. Thank you for your kind words. Hard to miss with an interview when Ruth is the subject!

  40. Good heavens, Bonnie! Speaking as a former newspaper reporter, off-the-chart extrovert, and insanely curious whipper snapper, your questions are ASTOUNDING! I've been away from blogland for a while and decided this afternoon to do some catching up, as I lay with my post-surgical knee wrapped in ice. I feel richly rewarded for having made that decision (to catch up on blogs). Thank you for this fantastic interviews.
    On to the next one!

  41. I am enjoying your interviews. Like Neighbor, I'm off to see Ruth's blog. We sure like the same poets!

  42. Great to know more about Ruth. I'm already a follower. Great interview. I've got to go hear some of those podcasts!

  43. So great to get to know more of you..and such a wonderful interview. Both the questions asked..and your responses - give pause for reflection and thought.

  44. Bonnie, what a delightful interview with my dear friend Ruth. She gave you such a lovely insight into her thoughts and her life, and yet so much of her is still a mystery to your readers. She gives so much to all of us who follow "synchronizing" like salivating puppies, but she keeps a large piece of her heart and soul just for her family. And that's just one of the many reasons I love her.

  45. Kathleen, isn't Bonnie the best? She's good at so many things, and you never know which will turn up, and all delights.

    Dan Gurney, we like the same poets. That's so nice.

    Shari, thank you, my friend, for coming to read Bonnie's interview with me. She is so generous to do this.

    Thank you, Marcie, it means a lot to me that you came and read.

    Susie, thank you for coming over here to Bonnie's to read more about me. I wonder if there were any surprises for you? I doubt it. You know me so well, and yet you still love me. :) I love you too.

  46. Bonnie ... so grateful to you for doing this. I can't tell you how excited I was to click over from Ruth's place .
    Your questions were perfect.

    Ruth... you truly are "a stranger in my heart" .

    and I was in Ann Arbour briefly to see my daughter's team from UMASS play there. I actually live near Toronto, but each time we are in Michigan for one reason or another I fall in love with it more. So who knows. I will not rule out a someday meeting. It would be beyond words. Really.
    And I just might take my Nikon D40 off auto in the next bit. I printed out a set of user friendly tips and am determined to say my yes to this.

  47. I simply love Ruth's blog and have had the good fortune to lunch with her not long ago. She was everything her blog presents and more! It was a pleasure to get to know this wonderful woman even a bit more! Thanks, both of you!

  48. One of the greatest things about blogs, I think, are the new folks one meets by clicking through the links that attract. That's how I first found Ruth, and now I've found this one, Bonnie.

    Thanks to both of you for enlarging my day.

  49. Deb, I love that "stranger in my heart". How perfectly suited to this blog friendship we have. I hope you will come back to Michigan, and when you do, HOLLER at me. We will spend an afternoon together, maybe in Ann Arbor, which I love.

    Jeanie, you are a doll. It was such a pleasure meeting you face to face, and getting to know you in our blogs, while we work on the same campus, is just as fun as it gets.

    Kate, thank you for coming over to Bonnie's place to read the interview! That means so much to me.


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