Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Remarkable Susan Branch

You wouldn't think one not-so-big woman (at the podium on the left) could have such an impact, but Susan Branch does. She has a cadre of devoted followers ("the girlfriends") because because of her ability to create joy out of everyday occurrences.  Yes, she's a wonderful artist and cookbook author, but I think the magic is in her attitude.

Susan has a talent for living: for appreciating the small things in life, for creating beauty in her books and calendars and fabrics, and for lifting the hearts of her readers.  Her first book, a handwritten and hand illustrated cookbook, The Heart of the Home, was published more than 25 years ago.  Now she's published her thirteenth book, and her blog, in which she writes prolifically (how does she get anything else done?!), is a celebration of life's little pleasures.  Reading her stories and the quotations she sprinkles liberally through her writing, and seeing her photos and artwork, bring joy to the reader. And the comments from the readers!  One of the things that has delighted her followers on the blog is not only the chance to communicate with Susan, but also to communicate with each other.  The girlfriends love Susan, and they love each other as well.

Susan and Joe, her partner of 26 years, are on a cross country book tour, and this is what they are traveling in:  a van wrapped with Susan's photos and artwork, celebrating the book.

The book signing at my local bookshop was fun, but the tea at a suburban country club two days later was pretty close to perfect. Because we were sitting around linen-covered tables, there was even more conversation and exchanges of information between the girlfriends than there had been at the book shop two days earlier.  At my table were a group who had driven down from Wisconsin, one all the way from Green Bay (4 hours?).  These are devoted fans, people!  It was wonderful to meet them and exchange stories about how we had gotten to know of Susan, favorite books, things that had inspired us.  It was a magical afternoon. 

 The pictures are courtesy of Dawn, a devoted Susan Branch girlfriend, and a new friend of mine.  Isn't that nice?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Susan Branch! In my neighborhood!

Be still my heart!

Tonight I took my parents to our local bookstore for a Susan Branch book signing. Her new book is called A Fine Romance.

My dad offered to take our picture with Susan when we had our turn in the book signing line, but to prepare for that shot, he walked around practicing picture-taking with my point-and-shoot camera.  When I got home, downloaded the pictures, and looked at them on the computer... Well. Maybe I shouldn't have said yes to his offer.

Granted, my camera doesn't take the best outside-in-the-dark pictures, but...

...even the inside pictures were a bit, er, shaky.

On the last shot in the series, though, my dad came through. 

Yea!  Thanks, Dad!

And Tuesday, my cousin Mary is treating my mom and me to tea with Susan Branch.