Autobiography of Ruth Heil

Square

I am someone who cares.

My first byline came in 1996, when Time magazine published a short letter-to-the-editor sent in response to an article titled, “Global Fever; Climate change threatens more than megastorms, floods and droughts. The real peril may be disease.”

I had written in favor of the planet getting global attention, and although I hadn’t realized it at the time, when my concerns made the national press, they officially launched my writing career.

I had grown up playing in the wooded acres behind my rural Pennsylvania home. There I realized the value of Nature … to life and to my well-being. I also learned the art of quiet contemplation. I grew to see that my existence was impacting the ecosystem in which I lived, and I began to turn to Nature for further understanding.

I also used another kind of keyboard to express myself, the one on my mother’s spinet piano. After 10 years of weekly lessons, I vowed to maintain this skill for a lifetime. My heightened appreciation for rhythm, melody, and harmony transposes easily to the craft of writing.

Heritage

My grandparents lived in a Pennsylvania Dutch community where the concept of “save and reuse” flourished. My farming ancestors were at the mercy of the land and weather. As immigrants, they learned to survive in America using their own skills and self-taught trades. They were, and I am, industrious, devout, self-sufficient, open to every shade of religious expression, and dedicated to wasting nothing.

Career Path #1: Advertising

At age 18, I moved to the big city of Philadelphia and entered the world of advertising. I eventually became Vice President in Charge of Production at the Gallagher Knetzger agency in King of Prussia, where I served as a liaison between the client and the artist. I got to know the importance of professional design, copywriting, page layout, typesetting, and branding from a wonderful group of long-time creative executives, the kind of men who preferred their martinis dry and their Fridays relaxed.

Career Path #2: Consulting

In 1999, the agency closed when the owners retired. I then put my production skills to work for entrepreneurs who wanted to build solid office foundations, consulting under the name Streamline Organizational Services. This strict focus on office management and business success set my service apart from a rapidly growing collection of professional organizers at the time.

In 2007, the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce honored me with its “Distinguished Service Award” for my work in its office.

“Ruth has the unique ability to quickly assess a situation, determine the magnitude and then offer a suggestion … Her quiet and unassuming presence has a calming influence when things get hectic.”
— Luanne Stauffer, Executive Director, UPV Chamber of Commerce (award presentation speech)

Outside the office I made a lot of great friends in a local Toastmasters public speaking club, where I achieved Competent Leader status and served as an officer.

My clients inspired me and the work was gratifying, but after 10 years, I realized it was time for another change.

Career Destination: Writing

In 2008, following the advice of colleagues, friends, and loved ones, I officially began my writing career.

I now organize thoughts on paper (or online) through the arrangement of words instead of filing systems. When not writing for others, I satisfy my curiosity about natural science and spiritual wisdom through the writing of articles, essays, commentary, and blog posts. (Click here for a list of published pieces or check out blogs.)

My AudienceMaine coast

I write to support readers who understand that their lives make an impact, and I honor their attempts to foster a sustainable way of living. I remind them to trust their instincts, and I offer simple solutions to common problems as well as examples of the miracles that surround them each day.

Other Interests

After more than 30 years, I continue to express myself at the piano (now a Boston studio) where I play classical, folk, pop, and more.

I support various economic development, community building, and environmental organizations. I serve on the planning committee for Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s annual Watershed Congress on the Schuylkill River. I volunteered with the planning committee during the first few years of Green Lane Park’s Scottish and Irish Festival as well as its Upper Perkiomen Bird and Wildlife Festival. I was a founding member of the former Upper Perkiomen Land and Water Alliance, and for 10 years, I donated an extensive amount of administrative time to the “Food Crew” at the Philadelphia Folksong Society’s Folk Festival. I also enjoy hiking, gardening, jigsaw puzzles, and living life.

Writing Vision

I strive to say what needs to be said while building a well-balanced, healthy environment for myself and others.