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.
My favorite perfume… is (I can’t decide) Amouage Opus I, Amouage Epic Woman or Chanel No. 22.
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?
Of course I am! (a reader of Suzanne’s Perfume journal)
And I certainly hope it’s not nearing its end – I think Suzanne has lots more to write (she’s just thinking lazy). 😉
I agree with you both, friendships are the best part of the perfume community, closely followed by perfumes themselves.
Perfectly said, I completely agree! 🙂
I adore Suzanne. She’s a jewel — in so many ways that even my verboseness can’t sum it up. From her enormous sensitivity, to her endless kindness, to her passion, to her thoughtfulness, and her joie de vivre, she’s a beautiful soul and incredibly precious. As for her posts, she better not stop. I’m always touched by them, find myself laughing, or just feel better upon reading them. They are so profoundly intimate and personal, that you just feel better about your day or life after you’ve read one. So, Suzanne, if you ever stop, I’m going to hunt you down with The Hairy German and have him lick you into changing your mind! You’re my Prozac in a Post!
Nothing to add here! 🙂
I admire her relaxed attitude to (seemingly) everything. I’ve never visited her Journal, but I’ll definitely pop in today.
Me too! I wish I had a relaxed attitude to anything! 😉
A daily run through the fields – remarkable. I am more of a stroller and had many a pleasant stroll through the fields of Suzanne’s writing. Write On Suzanne.
Stroller here too.
This was a joy. Suzanne is one of the good ones. A person with such genuine warmth and generosity of spirit. Of course, her heart-felt, lyrical writing reflects this.
It was lovely to read about her life and I particularly loved the things she’d never want to miss.
I totally agree that the friendships we make in Perfumeland are the best thing about it.
“One of the good ones.” Absolutely.
No, but I am about to be!
I truly enjoy Suzanne’s blog and hope she continues.
I hope she does too! (Although I understand her very well at the moment.)
I love Suzanne’s posts. They have been part of a wonderful introduction to this wonderful world. I like the idea that she uses this as a way of examining her life. I suppose that us why I’m so drawn to the writing. You have given me much joy in reading the posts!
A great introduction indeed! I’m glad you found Perfumeland via Suzanne.
There is no need for her to be anywhere close to the end of her journal writing. I love when she compares certain perfumes to films that inspire her. Life is about connection and creation, so finding ways to connect to others, self and the world we live in, means that we can’t live in a box and look at one view.
Art makes the world rich, whether it be perfume, painting, writing, sewing… It is all connected, and I love when people make connections that I did not see, because that way, I can expand my world and perspective.
I love what you say about expanding one’s perspective!
Thank you for that thoughtful comment.
One of my favorite ways to read Suzanne’s Perfume Journal is to randomly click on one of the ‘post-headings’ in her list, randomly dipping my toes and then being pulled into a post. Reading her posts is always a rewarding experience. It is funny because my mom (and not I) discovered her blog while doing internet searches of her own for reviews of Amouage Jubilation 25. Of course I actually ‘met’ Suzanne on your blog- for which I am very thankful..:)
I really hope she doesn’t decide to stop writing..I loved so many of her answers here: the lip balm from her neighbor (who sounds like a wonderful lady herself), what she does when she has a bad day, what she keeps on her night stand and the bit about her maternal grandfather (among many other bits)
I do the same thing! You never know what awaits you in a review of hers! 🙂
i love the answer to the last question! I visit Suzanne’s when I am in a certain mood and have time to hunker down and savor each vignette. She weaves evocative, insightful, and thoroughly engaging reviews!
So true, hers is not a blog you quickly skim, but sit down with and savour.
Birgit, thank you for the honor of featuring me at OT as part of your interview series – and for the friendship and support you’ve always shown me, and others, in our “community.” I always feel like I’m at home and among good companions when I’m here.
Your really beautiful intro thrilled me(!!) – and so did the kind and encouraging remarks of your readers, a number of whom I feel like I know personally, either from seeing them here or visiting their blogs. As I’ve been having a very challenging week, dealing with some issues (the reason I couldn’t check in until today), this means all the more to me. Thank you, everyone! ❤ ❤ ❤
Thank you for taking hte time to participate. I’m glad this post and the subsequent, well deserved outpouring of Suzanne-love helped to make your day a bit better.
I hope you are well and well cared for in that challenging time. Big hug.
Oh, how I would like to meet Suzanne! Her answers to these questions – coupled with the Rome trip reports – only serve to reinforce my impression that she has a redoutable intellect, as well as being sparky and sweet and kind and generally fun to be around. I’d even get my running shoes out if need be. 🙂 Speaking of shoes, I can totally relate to the thing about taking four extra pairs – there’s a huge bag of mostly extraneous shoes in my hotel room right now!
It would be a memorable meeting for sure! Let’s hope it’ll happen one day, I’d love to read that Bonkers post.