One of the most amazing women I have met in Perfumeland is Suzanne Keller from Suzanne’s Perfume Journal. Suz is a highly intelligent woman with an enormous capacity for kindness. She exudes a particular joy for life which I admire. She is honest, shares my idea of what perfume is and does to us and her unusual, touching and often literary reviews are a joy to read.
Here is a peek at the big personality that comes in a small package:
A good day starts with… the sun peeking in my windows and the sound of mourning doves cooing (my favorite of all bird songs).
I’d never leave the house without… my favorite lip balm: it’s a shea-and-cocoa-butter lip balm scented with honey, made by an enterprising lady who lives in my neighborhood (and one of my role models because she’s nearing 90 and she does all kinds of fab things, like making soap, sewing beautiful Asian-inspired satin purses and gardening like nobody’s business).
I always feel good when… I’ve had my daily run through the fields near my house.
My favorite thing in the world is… a blue-sky day and the thought of traveling somewhere where that kind of weather is on tap (light is a motivating factor of my life — I love to study it at various times of the day — and I find the golden light of a late-summer day the best light of all).
The next thing I want to buy is… a pair of Frye ‘campus’ boots, simply because it’s a nostalgia purchase, one that comes to mind every autumn.
The place I always come back to is… the stories I find in certain novels; I think some part of me permanently resides in books like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, William Kennedy’s Ironweed, and John Irving’s Cider House Rules, to name a few that I re-read every year.
My personal style is… casual, in that you’ll frequently find me in jeans, but I also love to wear sundresses in summer and sweater dresses in winter, even when I’m just at home.
When I travel I always take… four more pairs of shoes than I ever end up wearing on my trip.
To relax I need… to have a certain amount of time outdoors each day, because I get edgy when I’m cooped up inside.
When I have a bad day… I usually go someplace where I can be alone and have a good cry.
I find my inspiration… in nature and in the creativity of others, whether they are writers, musicians or perfumers.
Something I would never want to miss… is the sight of someone smiling back at me; my nieces’ achievements; the beauty of seeing the full moon each month.
My last mistake was… not one I’d care to mention here.
In my fridge there is always… half-n-half, because I can’t drink coffee without it; spring mix, because I love leafy green salads; and a good cut of meat, usually steak or lamb.
On my nightstand I keep… books (in lieu of a nightstand, I have a small bookcase) and a Christmas card that features a print of the Mackenzie Thorpe’s “Out with Dad,” because it reminds me of my father.
The perfect weekend starts with… the no-alarm wake-up and a mug of coffee made with beans that I pan roast on a weekly basis.
My role model is… the lady I mentioned earlier in the interview; the artist Georgia O’Keefe; and my maternal grandfather, who learned how to water ski when he was in his 60s and who took tap dancing lessons not long after that at the only dance academy in town, even though it catered mostly to young girls (he didn’t care, he just wanted to learn the steps).
Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is… Why do you write such meandering perfume reviews that have so little to do with the perfume in question?
The answer is that I view perfume writing as a way of examining my life, and though I think I’m nearing the end of that journey (as the writing seems to get tougher each week), when I look back over my collective posts, I feel like I really got something meaningful out of my perfume collecting and sampling — something that goes beyond the bottles on my shelf. And when I see the names that pop up in my blog entries, I know that the greatest thing that participating in the blogosphere has brought me has been friendship.
Lipbalm, Frye boots, John Irving. Searching for blue skies, crying alone and missing a grandfather. It is in the small and in the big things that I find so much in common with Suzanne. Like her, Perfumeland has given me many pleasant things, but the most valueable ones are friendships that feel real despite only exisiting in a virtual space.
Are you a reader of Suzanne’s Journal?