Writing a New Book

There are two screens open on my computer right now, this one I’m writing to you on, and just under it, Word, with seventy-one pages of my new book, a very rough draft, written. Voila!  If you had x-ray vision you could read it.  You KNOW I love to write my blog, but right now I’m addicted, addicted I tell you, to the writing of this book.  I love going back in time to search for magic.  Actually there are three screens open, there’s THIS.

1974

On my art table, oh what an assortment, two of my old diaries are face down and open because I’m reminding myself of inspirations from my youth and my days and thoughts from long ago.  I just found a list I made called “The Secrets of Life.” I’ve made so many lists with names like “What I Want” or “How to be Happy” and they almost all say the same things.

what I want

inspiration

diaries

Between the scribbled pages there are ticket stubs, valentines, polaroid pictures, things cut out from newspapers, notes friends left on my door when I wasn’t home, shopping lists, old Circus cakeletters from my grandma (Every one of them starts “Sue Darling” causing eyes to water and lower lip to protrude) and my mom, and from Diana when I first moved to the island. The recipe for my mom’s Circus Cake (it’s going into book) is peeking out from under them. One of my Junior Classics Stories of Wonder and Magic is open to a fairytale I found while looking for the scary Hobia story my dad used to terrify us with.  It’s called the Brownie and the Cook and it’s written by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik and I think I need to read it.  I just found the part in my diary where I came to the island for the first time.  I’m on the boat, it’s cold outside, the ferry is rocking, I’m drinking hot chocolate and thinking everyone on the boat looks like a Kennedy.  I can see the island coming towards us through ocean-splashed windows.  Who would’a thunk it all these years ago that these diaries would come in so handy one day?  For organization and storytelling.  They are like my own little memory catalogs.  I can see the snow falling out my window from my bed in 1984, get my first kitty in 1976, burn up my first stove in 1974.  It’s all there!  Plenty of cringing going on too.  Ah youth.  I will try to spare you the gory details.  Here’s a pretty piece of MUSICA so you don’t have to think about it.

diary

flowers

 In reality, I’m home here on the island and firmly attached to the 21st century; one of my grandma’s knitted nap blankets is over my lap and legs, the light on my desk shines out to the street making a square of yellow on IMG_5130the ground, I have a big cup of lavender and roses tea with honey and cream.  Girl Kitty is on her pillow on my art table and Jack is in the kitchen staring at the floor next to the door.  I don’t know why.  Apparently something is there, but I can’t see it.  He’s been at this spot off and on for several days now.  All’s quiet on the eastern front.  Heater is humming, damp towels are moistening the air, it’s still dark outside, and fingers are clicking away.  Blessings • blessings • blessings. 

Girl

I’m waking up these mornings with words jumping out of my head. I can’t get downstairs quite fast enough to get my thoughts down.  This book seems to be writing itself.  I carry paper and pencil everywhere with me.  They’re in the pockets noteof my jacket when we walk out the dirt road in the morning, and on the table next to the bed so if I wake up with a memory or an astute and brilliant thought (like that happens), I can get it down before it disappears in a dream puff or gets crowded out by the next one coming to the top.  Diana’s voice rises up distinct and clear in my head, “Why don’t you go ask him to dance?” I burst into laughter, and run for paper and pen. This book is flowing out of me like a river after a big snow.  Joe is my editor, he reads my pages as we go along, fixes sentences, gives me suggestions.  He’s scanning old photos and getting them ready to put in the book and  working hard not to get his tea bag caught on his glasses. 

tea and books

Only one other thing takes my attention almost as much and that’s another book ~ the one I’m reading written by Donna Tartt called Goldfinch.  I take it upstairs to my exercise bike and as I ride and read my thoughts turn completely away from the  book I’m writing and go into an entirely NEW and all encompassing world. I’m somewhere around page 150, and it sits up there waiting for me like a little jewel.  I’ve been loving the characters and the way the story is going, but suddenly there’s this new character and I don’t like him and I want to scream to the boy, and to all the people supposedly taking care of him, “Don’t go with this guy!!!!!!!”  But I have no power and it looks like we are moving to Las Vegas.

timequote

The weather is definitely changing although I’m kind of impervious to it right now.  I notice when we go for our walk there’s definitely more light.  The sun was breaking over our faces out there yesterday, I had to take off my hat.  Also, how about that, daylight saving time?  AGAIN.  It’s giving me a slight case of jet lag.  (I just looked at the clock in here and thought, “Oh, that’s wrong, it’s almost 6:00 ~ need to fix that.)  Another season is slipping into the past.  Have any of you started Christmas shopping yet?  I almost feel like I should begin thinking about it!  I’m going to wake up and it’ll be here!  Fa-la-la-la-la! Help!

flowers

coleslaw

flowers

I’m trying hard to be healthy which is much more difficult when my mind is elsewhere as it is these days.  I eat apples in the morning, I’m addicted to apples for some reason now, and I have cut-up carrots and celery in the fridge for those moments when I crave SOMETHING and must grab it NOW.  I keep a HUGE bowl studio 036of my favorite crunchy juicy coleslaw in my fridge at all times, with sliced almonds, golden raisins, chopped apple, thinly sliced cabbage, shredded carrot and dressed with mayonnaise thinned with fresh lime juice.  I eat on that practically all day.  I’ll have a baked sweet potato for dinner, or maybe a piece of fresh fish and some broccoli, and there we are.  Not counting the M and M’s  in my desk drawer.  Am I losing weight?  No.  That is not a thing that happens.  But I feel good.  It’s the only way to get through book writing and still be alive at the end of it. Exercise and eating right.  Not quite as easy as it sounds, is it girls?  However . . . we keep on keepin’ on, because . . .

Tickle-me pinkN o   w e   a r e   n o t.

Hope all is well with you guys.  OH!  I just lifted my eyes, guess what?  It’s snowing!  Pretty• pretty• pretty.  Never a dull moment around here.  Well, must go now.  One guess where I’m going?  Yup, just the other side of this screen.  Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful day!  XOXO, your friend, Anna Susana Branchburger the Third.  Yes, that is me in alternate ego and in full girlfriend mode. 

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589 Responses to Writing a New Book

  1. Frances Fowler says:

    Your blog totally made me smile :-) Right before I tidy up and take my sniffly, sleepy self to an early bed. Another book to look forward to — yay!

    • Top O D Mornin to Ya Susan…It is still morning in Kansas. We just had a visit from our neighbor and his King Cavalier named Teddy. Our little doggie is Abby and she really enjoys sniffing around all the green grass in the Spring Time. We hope you have a Blessed Saint Patrick’s Day. We love your photos and descriptive words you use…you are so inspirational…thanks for all you do.

  2. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Sunday my son and his fiancee came over for dinner to celebrate his 31st bday. I made steak and boneless chicken thighs on the grill (in all the snow!!) served with a big stone crock of scalloped potatoes and your coleslaw Susan! well….everyone said the coleslaw could be a meal all to itself! sooooo very yummy :)

  3. Teddi Lowry says:

    Hooray, another book! I look forward to it’s release. I gave A Fine Romance to all my girlfriends last Christmas. If you have it done by this Christmas, I know what I’ll be getting all the girls again. :)
    I have to tell you your story on Joe and the tea bag made me laugh out loud!! I found it so funny I send it to a friend who had the same reaction. Thank Joe for allowing you to share his story.

  4. Susie Rodgers says:

    Good morning Susan, Girl and Jack..and also mystery object on other side of kitchen, I just sent my oldest daughter the perfect birthday present (she was born on St. Patricks Day and married into a full blown Irish family) of your Spring tea and A Fine Romance. She’s a busy mom of my two grandson’s and a fourth grade teacher. She loves to read but never has much time. The boys are seven and four years old so she is now able to take a bit more time for herself and your book and tea is a perfect lure! We will be anxious for your current project to be ready for reading. There is something so very special about the way you write and paint, you share so much of yourself in everything you do. Blessings is a great word, too, isn’t it? Thank you, so much, for letting us be with you on all your journeys…past and present.. Please take care, :) Susie

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sure your daughter can use a little get-away with all her responsibilities! Thank you, and yes, it’s such a lovely word. Makes all the difference to my frame of mind and happiness quotient when I count them. xoxo

  5. Cindy Tuning says:

    While reading this awesome post, my minds eye is seeing a flurry of words circling around in the air above your head and you frantically trying to grab them all so as not to let any escape. Is this close to what it’s like? If I could tell my youngest self what to be sure to do,it would be to do just what you did. Write everything down along the way because you just won’t remember it all like you think you will. I have your Book of Days by my bedside but just never have time to jot anything down. No excuse! This is the one thing in life that you just can’t get a do over for. What a gift to be so focused and to look back and realize you have gotten exactly what you asked for.

  6. Tammy M says:

    I know you are busy, busy writing YOUR new book and I certainly wanna let you be because I can’t wait to read it, but….I saw Emma Bridgewater came out with her new book today! I am sure you know that, Susan, (being a BIG fan) but I wanted the girlfriends to know too! :) :) Sorry to bother you…..keep writing :) So excited!

  7. carolshapiro says:

    Susan, as always when I am reaching for a smile, ( there are some days when you just have to reach!) I turn to your blog and always find delight- wit, charm and inspiration to go around!!! I recently discovered “Call the Midwife” ( PBS through Netflix_ I became quite addicted to the first two seasons) – the new season begins March 30th on PBS…the author actually wrote 3 books about her experiences as a midwife after WW11 in London’s impoverished East end…if you haven’t discovered this fine PBS series, or her books, might be worth taking a look…I know you are always reading such wonderful books! Can’t wait for your new book- and very interested in your doing a book on tea and everything related- didn’t Downton Abbey just make it look so ever delicious!!!

  8. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    The salad looks yummy. We left WI Tuesday before the new storm hit, and got here Wed. before the night time rain and winds. Tired!

  9. Debs OBrien says:

    See, I made a small, ever so small error of judgement, or mistake, when I decided to give up all my social media for Lent. Consequently, I’ve been away from the computer a lot, consequently I’ve missed some of your blog posts. Yikes! So, now I have some reading to catch up on. Yay!

    Wondering how long a new book takes? {purely selfish reasoning on this, of course, but I know I am not alone in asking this question} Anyway, not going to loiter here with a lengthy reply, there is writing to be read!

    Waving from Across The Pond in {slightly foggy but mosty sunny} Wildly Wonderful West Wales ~~~ yes, Spring is springing~temperatures are rising~and stormy Winter is {hopefully} over and done with {although March did come in like a lamb!} Debs xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, teeny judgement of error. :-) But you are a good girl and will go to heaven. That’s what really matters. It took nine months after we returned from the trip to put A Fine Romance into my good (and more importantly, readable) handwriting. This one, I’m just writing the story now, and I might add, writing like a crazy woman. When I get done, I’ll rewrite into a book in my handwriting, the words will change a bit because that heart to hand thing has different requirements than typing into a computer. So it won’t be as soon as we would like, that’s all I know. I want to make it wonderful. I want you all to get caught in it like a whirlpool dream and not want to come out. That’s my prayer.

  10. Darling Anna Susana Branchburger!
    Oh Spring and a new book to look forward to and you full of inspiration and joy- it all makes me very happy. I always laugh because you are such a kindred spirit and I resonate with all that you share and your living, loving ways. Your list of “What I always wanted” is so much the same as mine. We moved a lot when I was young; I went to 17 schools and was always leaving my friends behind. “A long time” in loving and living is really a treasure to me.

    So as the song says: (change “me” to “girlfriends, we”)

    “BUTTON UP YOUR OVERCOAT
    (DeSylva / Brown / Henderson)
    Helen Kane

    “…
    Button up your overcoat,
    When the wind is free,
    Oh, take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me!

    Eat an apple every day,
    Get to bed by three,
    Oh, take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me!

    Be careful crossing streets, ooh-ooh,
    Cut out sweets, ooh-ooh,
    Lay off meat, ooh-ooh,
    You’ll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum!

    Wear your flannel underwear,
    When you climb a tree,
    Oh, take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me!

    Button up your overcoat,
    When the wind is free,
    Oh, take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me!

    When you sass a traffic cop,
    Use diplomacy;
    Just take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me!

    Beware of frozen funds, ooh-ooh,
    Stocks and bonds, ooh-ooh,
    Dockside thugs, ooh-ooh,
    You’ll get a pain and ruin your bankroll!

    Keep the spoon out of your cup,
    When you’re drinking tea,
    Oh, take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me!

    Don’t sit on hornet’s tails, ooh-ooh!
    Or on nails, ooh-ooh!
    Or third rails, ooh-ooh!
    You’ll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum!

    Keep away from bootleg hooch
    When you’re on a spree,
    Oh, take good care of yourself,
    You belong to me! ”

    xoxo your friend ;)
    Gabrielle Meheadabelle Marshall-mallow

    • Therese says:

      This is too much! That song has been going through my head lately…what my kids would call a co-inky-dink…I don’t think I believe in those anymore…or, at least, I don’t believe they’re insignificant.

      don’t forget to “stay away from college boys
      when you’re on a spree,
      take good care of yourself”…etc.

      Love,
      Therese

      p.s. Susan,
      About the rajasthani waldorf,
      Yes! currants and quinoa and raisins, oh my! Thank you!

    • Sorry, this is what happens when you copy from the internet. I’ve been listening to Helen Kane “The Personality Girl” all week and the stanza about ruining your bankroll is supposed to be:
      “Beware of frozen ponds, ooh-ooh,
      Stocks and bonds, ooh-ooh,
      Peroxide Blondes, ooh-ooh,
      You’ll get a pain and ruin your bankroll!”

      Now I’m off to listen to: “Dangerous Nan McGrew” http://youtu.be/y5IYjj__4T8
      Hope you all have a wonderful day!
      xo Gabi

  11. Elaine in Toronto says:

    I bought my lambkin cake pan from Bulk Barn but when I got it home and looked at it a little closer the ears are different. And it’s the ears that make it so cute. On mine the ears are closer to the head, hang down and are defined by icing rather than shape. Oh, no, she says – it must go back and I must continue my search. It’s the ears that count! Who knew there were two so similar?

  12. Michaelene Hanrahan says:

    Oh Susan!!! I almost can’t explain it, but this post has made me feel so good and happy inside that I am actually crying. Thank you for the blessing.
    Michaelene

  13. Joan in TX says:

    For those of us who will never make it to see the magic of Marthas Vineyard in person we are looking forward to this next book as much as your last book I think. Hope that you describe and show us what Main Street is like and all the little shops there and around town. It just seems so quaint in the movies. I was watching 1995 Sabrina movie recently. The part where Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond were riding bikes at the corner of your street and Main St. Did you get to see them film that part of movie since it was down the street from your house? Losing Chase with Helen Mirren is another one of my favorite MV movies too.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I did see it at the theater here in town. It was fun for us who live here to see views of one part of the island inserted into other places. You could hear the audience murmuring to each other whenever it happened! Three of my girlfriends and I were walking down to Main Street to go to lunch together the day they were filming that bike scene, although we didn’t know it. We more or less stumbled into it, realized what was going on, and skedaddled out of the way as quickly as possible.

  14. RobinfromCA says:

    I’ve just finished (just this moment) A Fine Romance and I am “in love” all over again with England. I used to go each year to visit friends but, since they moved back to the states, haven’t been for over 10 years now. I am “homesick” for a place I’ve been to, but never lived in, and your book took me “home” for a little while. I was amused that I’ve seen most all of the movies you mentioned, read nearly all of the books on your list, and adore your choice of music. Samuel Johnson said “When a man [or woman] is tired of London, he is tired of life.” I think it’s true for the whole country! On your next trip, take your hotel clerk’s advice and get up to Scotland. The land of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns and “the swing o’ the kilt” is to savor. Watch Braveheart, listen to some fantastic bagpipes, and find some CD’s by Alex Beaton singing traditional songs so you can sing along at a céilidh (pronounce kay-lee). You will LOVE it! Thank you for sharing your “fine romance” with us.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you, Robin, I’m so happy it brought back good memories for you. We are sort of getting ready for Scotland, looking at the crystal ball to see how close it might be in our future. I know we will love it.

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Susan, be sure to watch The Monarch of the Glen before you plan–so you can check out the part of Scotland where it was filmed. The scenery is beautiful and you would really like the story…just good to watch the episodes in order…

      • RobinfromCA says:

        Oh, I hope your crystal ball reveals the near future for you!

  15. Kristen says:

    Hi Susan, I can’t wait to read your new book! I’m 27..and always making lists of “What I Want in Life” or “How to be Happy”, plus writing down favorite quotes and pieces of advice, saving notes & cards, etc… sometimes I wonder if I’ll always be writing lists while waiting for life to fully start, glad to know I’m on the right track after all :)

    Thanks for bringing us all cheer during this long winter!
    <3 from Baltimore

    • sbranch says:

      You are, and you should know too that I suffered for a long time with that question, what are you going to BE? I didn’t really know until I was around 40. So you have plenty of time! :-)

      • Jack says:

        Just repeat this following mantra to yourself each and every day — “every day , in every way , I get better and better ” –a simple but oh so powerful phrase that will have a calming effect on you , when the emotions get out of sorts ….keep saying it for any reason ….it works!

        • sbranch says:

          ♥ ♥ ♥

          • Therese says:

            Thank you Jack, Susan, Kristen,
            I just went to youtube after reading these entries so that I could hear Libana singing these words:
            I will be gentle with myself.
            I will love myself.
            I am a child of the universe
            being born each moment.
            Oh their voices are so sweet! Their harmonies are ethereal.

        • My mom and dad used to say that to me when I was growing up. We never stop growing and getting better – even when we are old and our health fails (especially then) . This blog is testimony to the power of positive thinking, seeing the good in every situation and counting your blessings.

          Thank you Jack for instilling this simple life lesson in your children and especially Sue. You did your job just right.

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        I am a list maker too. What I want in life…was the same as your list Susan. Somehow I moved so much and at 50+ haven’t achieved that list. Now we may go back to where we started, but it may be too late for the what will I BE part.
        Jack Dad~Thanks for the mantra!

        • sbranch says:

          Never too late. Remember Julia Child was 50′s when she became famous, and then there’s that “Where’s the Beef” lady who was in her 80′s, and then there’s my dad who makes everyone laugh and still learns new things every day. It ain’t over til it’s over, and you’re never too old (or too young) to dream.

          • mary spring says:

            …wow, Jack !..I love your mantra (and your Irish joke..lol..)..and by the way, Susan, I love your above said prayer as well !! (about getting us all caught up in this” whirlpool dream”)..thank you for all you do..you are touching so many people’s lives and really making a difference..with love..

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            Thank you for saying this. I over slept today. I just had to watch the tea drinking Mentalist. Love his hair. My brother in law has hair like that too.

  16. Melissa Andrew says:

    You are the only other person I’ve ever heard mention the Hobyah stories. My mother read us one of these (from a collection of other stories). I didn’t realize that there were more than the one I knew. (Poor little dog Turpie was only trying to warn the family with his barking … I won’t go into the details!) … Oh yes, btw, I’m very much looking forward to your next book! :)

  17. carmel says:

    I just purchased the Shawnee Elephant creamer! I am so excited!. I’ve been behind on reading your blog and looking at the vintage section so I missed it and thought it was gone. I’ve been wishing for one ever since I saw yours awhile ago. It’s so adorable and I love elephants for the way they care for each other. Since I’m a tea drinker w/ no cream, think I’ll use it to put syrups in it. Not to worry, I won’t put in the microwave. Creamer for my guests. So looking forward to your book. Still hope you compile all those growing up family stories too. I love your comments, Jack. It’s good to have your comments – always. You make sense, you provide good information and you make me laugh. Thanks for sharing your dad, Susan. I’m so glad you’re very like him (at least I’ve always thought so) too!

    • sbranch says:

      SO happy you got it Carmel, they just make a kitchen so perky. You’ll love it even if there’s nothing in it! Yes, my dad, he’s such a doll. I wish my mom would want to have a computer and be here too, but I’m thrilled that my dad is so very 21st century. It gives me hope for myself for the future. We both tell my mom what she’s missing, but she rolls her eyes and says she is happy the way she is!

      • carmel says:

        Oh I wish your mom was here too! I love all the stories about her that you’ve shared over the years. I’ve always loved that wonderful handmade carousel cake. Magical. I totally agree that my Shawnee elephant can stand alone and just be cute. Flowers may grace her too! I’m very grateful that even little things can bring joy to so many of us.

  18. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Happy Pi (e) Day!! ~

  19. Sweet Sue says:

    So…..Monday is St. Patrick’s Day…….any Irish recipes and ideas for an Irish Tea Party? I was thinking of cooking an Irish brunch for my sweet hubby yet I am trying to make it somewhat healthy……how about scrambled eggs with low-fat cheese and spinach, baked potato (1/2 for him and 1/2 for me) with light sour cream and green onions and green apples and pears with lime juice? How does that sound?
    Also I was thinking of getting myself a stationary bicycle to exercise on for those days when I am unable to get to the gym or take a walk … you mentioned you had one…. any recommendations of which one to get…..there are so many to chose from.
    Spring will be here next week according to the calendar. Just love the springtime! :-)
    Blessings!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Joe’s asleep in the room with the bike and I don’t remember the brand, but it’s not too fancy and it’s the kind that you don’t have to plug into a wall. It’s the simplest model because all I like to do is turn it on and then turn it to the level of difficulty I choose. I also like to read how many minutes I’ve done and how many calories expended. A place to put your book is very important to me. All those other programs I can do without (although mine does have some of them, I just never use them ~ some people like to check their heart rate). MOST importantly, get one with a comfortable SEAT!! :-) You will be happy if you do.

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        I need one of those too! Especially if I move North again.
        So peaceful when the guys (and children) are asleep. LOL I am getting ready for my women’s group. We have a guest speaker about gardening today.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Great tips!
        Think I will go this next weekend to local sports store and check them out. Yes, I want a relatively simple one myself, having a place to place a book sounds like a great idea as does knowing how many minutes/miles you rode as well as calories burned and ESPECIALLY A COMFORTABLE SEAT–A NECESSITY TO HAVING ANY KIND OF DISCIPLINE TO CONSISENTLY KEEP AT IT. THANKS AGAIN! :-)

    • nanette from alabama says:

      About the stationary bike! Oh! Girlfriends! I am absolutely IN LOVE with my new stationary bike from Dick’s Sporting Goods. I bought it on-line as a friend had told me about this wonderful bike that would actually fold up and could be stored in a closet when company comes! YES! it does!
      The bike is WONDERFUL! It had great customer reviews and after reading those, I was SOLD! It’s the EXERPEUTIC Therapuetic Fitness Bike and it adjusts to many different heights and tension levels. I am short (5’3″) and wasn’t ever able to get the lovely Schwinn ex. bike seat to a low enough level to be comfortable riding it. Had to sell it to a TALL person :) who loved it and turned right around and got the Exerpeutic on sale. With shipping and tax it only came to $155! I hope you find the right one for you but do look at these reviews. Everyone seems to rave over this bike and I am one of them!

  20. cecelia says:

    Susan, looking forward to your new book. You are an inspiration and feel
    a kindred spirit with you

  21. pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

    just had a thought for all the girlfriends, I know everyone is hooked on Downton Abbey, I know folks are around here. the big thing here is having Downton Abbey parties and teas where everyone dresses up for the occasion, but around here finding the proper clothes and outfits is a bit of a problem, well I solved my problem by shopping online at The Victoria Trading Company, go online to: victoriatradingcompany.com and enjoy, they have some gorgeous outfits and dresses for spring time Abbey parties and for Easter. just thought I would pass that along. have a great day everyone. hugs…. :)

  22. Ann Lacey says:

    Oh, Yay! You have a blog. A friend posted something of yours on Facebook and I literally jumped out of my chair. I have your 2014 calendar, and many of your books and journals. I just love your writings and illustrations and quotes. I love your dad’s joke ” Paddy O Furniture”. So happy to have found you.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to meet you here Ann. My dad comes on the blog too, he is “Blog Daddy” — still joking too.

      • Jack says:

        Ann, you like jokes? Here’s an Irish joke for you:
        A mushroom walks into a bar, hops up on a stool and orders whiskey, straight up.
        Bartender says, “Out of here mushroom….we don’t serve Mushrooms in this bar!”
        Mushroom replies, “Why not, I’m a fungi?”
        Irish joke? Oh yeah, mushroom was green……
        Happy Saint Paddy’s Day to all you girlfriends out there–everywhere!

  23. Gert~Iowa says:

    Susan..hello girlfriend!! How exciting..writing another book! WE are all so happy! I love the look of your diaries! I enjoy looking back in my diaries, I also save cards, photos, and lots of other things along with writings! Congrats on eating healthy!! This is the best thing you can do for yourselves…

    Enjoy the snow! Ha! We’re to get some tomorrow also…so maybe you’ll get more later this week…

    • Jack says:

      Gert- you really should try to stop snowing there in Iowa … it’s almost time to plant some corn!

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        Jack…yes it will be real soon! (May..sure isn’t far away..ha!) but, that being said…I would love to use any excuse I could think of! lol

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Jack, as a former “Iowa girl”, I have to tell you that there is no rush to plant corn this early in Iowa–it just needs to be “knee-high by the 4th of July”!!! :-)

    • judy young says:

      From the photo, it looks like you have covered all your diaries and notebooks in different papers. Do you use scrapbook paper or wallpaper..such a nice idea. Also, is your recipe for that delicious sounding coleslaw with the apples and golden raisins, etc in any of your books? I also need a recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage with New Potatoes for Monday, St. Paddy’s day.

      • sbranch says:

        They actually came that way. Most of them are covered in fabric. The coleslaw isn’t in any books yet and I don’t really have a corned beef one, but I bet my dad does?

  24. Lorraine says:

    So glad to hear your book is flowing so smoothly. I KNEW it would. It is a wonderful feeling when you’re on the right path and you get into the “flow” of it. Work that feels good. Life is good.

    The weather continues the rollercoaster ride here too. However, the birds are most definitely ready for spring. There’s a whole lot of singing going on each morning. And yesterday evening, my husband heard the woodcock and got a brief glimpse of him as he was doing his courtship moves. Ah, spring…

    Strive to keep the balance between work and play and take care of yourself – good food is very important. It sounds like you have that covered. Thanks for doing this – hopefully, it will benefit you as much as all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      I think we’re on the same roller coaster as you are! Going out for our walk now … 42 degrees, gray sky.

  25. Charlotte Anderson says:

    Hello Susan! I love the picture of your journals! I love pictures of books on the shelf! I picked up a book about people and the books they love. Each chapter included pictures of their bookshelves so that you could see the book titles. If you haven’t already, I would love to see pictures of your other bookshelves! Ooh, wouldn’t that make a fun journal, to have pictures of the different bookshelves of your life! Childhood bookshelves! When will they invent time travel!

  26. Diana says:

    I adore “A Fine Romance” (my favorite of all your charming books) and eagerly look forward to your new book!! I thought you might be interested to see (if you don’t already know) Emma Bridgewater has a brand new book out about her pottery and life in England, which is not available in the U.S. but I just ordered a copy from a U.K. seller via Amazon: amazon.com/gp/product/B00IRQIUGK/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1WEX6BKD76W1192VC9CC&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

  27. Jane Armour says:

    Susan,
    Could you please, please pretty please give us a “sneak peek” into what you discovered about how a writer writes? How did YOU start? Ideas galore come, but how did you actually start the process?
    Gratefully,
    Jane

    • sbranch says:

      I am going to write all about that in the book. It’s such an interesting subject (to me) I hope I can do it justice.

  28. Hi Susan,
    I haven’t been able to visit your blog in quite some time because my mom fell and broke her hip just before Christmas and has had one thing after the other since then. We thought we might lose her, but her amazing spirit has fought back and seems to be on the road to recovery now. Anyway, I was so happy to read that you are writing a new book! YAY!!!! And I absolutely loved seeing your wonderful photos and reading your post. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

  29. Vicki says:

    You are a constant inspiration! I loved the way your old journals look so much (all lined up with their pretty cloth covers) that I googled “how-to” and now have a pretty journal of my own. Now to fill it with fun and the beauty that is life…Thanks, Susan!

    P.S.—Can’t wait to buy your next book!

  30. Did you write the Queen Victoria quote with lipstick? :-) Sure looks like it!

    • sbranch says:

      I did … it was the opening page to my Girlfriends Book and I thought it seemed appropriate.

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        I am using that quote as we dig out here, and while my sisters and I dig out my mom’s house. Spring is in bloom, and Spring cleaning makes the inside of the house bloom too!

  31. Vicki Saltzman says:

    Hi Susan … So excited to know you’re writing another book … can sense the writing fever that’s overtaken you and know how thrilling it is to be in the beginning of the creative process. Spring is beginning to blow little kisses towards us here in the Berkshires and I’m imagining you and Joe are feeling those first few hints of something wonderful about to burst forth. Just want you to know that your March calendar illustration has been such a delight to glance up at every day. Even though we’ve still had many snowflake mornings, the burst of green and that adorable forsythia wreath make be believe that the long winter will melt away someday. Looking forward to the next book, so keep working! Hope your next book tour brings you out to the Berkshires … would love to welcome you properly since I missed your visit to the Clark last summer! Vicki

  32. Jack says:

    How’s the book ,? You must be on page 500 by now…. in the basic part

  33. Ginger says:

    Plueeeez tell me your new book is the “Breakfast” book!!!! I’ve been waiting for years (literally!)
    for a copy of the pancake story ~ promised to be in your Breakfast book. Eagerly awaiting this new book ~ breakfast or not. It will be added to my collection. Happy writing!

  34. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! So happy to see that “words are jumping” out of your head! Whoopee! Another beautiful book working it’s way onto paper (& I hope a ribbon bookmark at the end)! I’ve been popping in to this blog now and then trying to catch up with you all! Great blog & comments (Blog Daddy Jack, I’m trying to memorize your joke!) love the pictures! Love coming along for your book writing..thank you..dear sweet Sue, may the words keep jumping out of your head! xoxo

  35. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Forgot to say, when we were down there the 9th (for camellia show at Descanso), I was so excited to see the name, Vroman’s in Pasadena but couldn’t pop in – way too early in the morning – of course I had to tell the other 3 in the truck, why I recognized the name of the bookstore! :)

  36. Sheila Hebert says:

    I love Gladys Taber! I’ve been trying to find the Kitchen Gardens Book illustrated by Tasha Tudor but to no avail…your blog, calendars and ‘A Fine Romance’ bring me inspiration everyday. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Jeanie Hans says:

    Well, because I am already simmering my corned beef.. I am going to save the Irish stew recipe for another day but it looks yummy! On the menu, corned beef, boiled potatoes, cabbage and steamed asparagus with a lemon tart for dessert! Maybe green beer if I can find the food coloring. The book looks wonderful. A little Gladys Tabor is good no matter the season. Have a Happy St. Pats and give Jack a little pinch.

  38. Ann says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  39. Loretta says:

    Good Morning, Susan!!! Happy St. Patricks Day to you!!! I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by! Here it is….almost Spring! Easter is right around the corner!! It’s a beautiful sunny day here in California…..take care…have a great day!! Many hugs, Loretta/Calif.

  40. Nola Richter says:

    What a beautiful, sunny St Patrick’s Day in Northern California! Corned beef cooking away in apple cider makes it perfect! My first Gladys Taber book would make it . . . well, what’s better than perfect?

  41. Patricia says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you.
    Love your blog this morning. Its noon here in L.A. and so far were having a beautiful spring day (L.A. Style) after being shaken by a 4.4 quake this morning. It was scary ! I have a collection of tea pots and tea cups and everything was shaking. Thank God it was not the big one. :)
    All the best to you, Joe, and the kitties.

  42. Gale Harris says:

    I’ve been reading Gladys Taber ever since I started exploring the Cape and surrounding islands back in the 70s. It’s so generous of you to part with this beautiful copy of her book. What a wonderful way to welcome spring!

  43. Romy Silvester says:

    Happy St. Paddy’s Day Susan. Have you read the entire story of St. Patrick? Is is very interesting and will amaze you. He is known for a lot more than chasing snakes out of Ireland. Let’s see now. Am I wearing anything green? Does a green glass count? Anyway, all the luck of the Irish to you and yours.
    That Jack has the same color of eyes my beautiful Happy had. They are mesmerizing. Romy

  44. Barbara Patterson says:

    Susan, I used to read Gladys Taber’s columns in Family Circle when I was a young mother. She inspired me then as do her books today. She had the grace to make my house a home, teaching me with her love of place. You have followed her in kind and keep me centered in the important things. For that, thank you. And for St. Paddy’s day here’s a cutie….my late leprechaun, John, was born on the 17th of March, 1920 in Savannah. When he was 5 years old somebody plunked him on the back of a donkey and he led the St. Paddy’s parade! A warm green blessing to you, my dear. Barbara from the beach

  45. Michele Salazar says:

    Please, please, please do a tiny tutorial of water coloring some little something!

  46. Dorothy Lee says:

    Love that kitty jack..especially his beautiful green eyes..happy st pats!!

  47. Sue s ellsworth says:

    Love, love your blog. Always so interesting and refreshing to read. Would love the book.
    Thank you.

  48. Rochelle says:

    I had a chance today to catch up on several of your postings that I had not yet read…….a wonderful way to spend a gloomy, cold day. I loved being introduced to Gladys Taber, and will certainly try to read some of her writings.
    The calendar says spring is a few days away, however I think the Midwest forgot to get the memo!

  49. janice hearns says:

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

  50. Carol McSeveney says:

    Well……Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and Joe, Ms. Branchburger!

    Would you believe it’s Don’s and my 57th Wedding Anniversary today as well. Doesn’t seem possible.
    It was just 1957 and I’m still 21! How time flies when you’re having fun. (Is that a poem?) I think it IS!
    We got married on my parent’s 23rd Anniversary, by the same Pastor who married them back in Michigan. By the time of our marriage, he had moved to California….where we still are.
    Anyway, in celebrating our many years together ~ he took me out and bought me 3 pairs of pants…not an easy feat these days, so I’m grateful to have found them!!!

    I’m grateful for your newsy blog that comes into my mail box, too. It makes me smile, just to see it there.

    Talk later…..GOD bless you…..Hugs and Squishes, Carol.

  51. Ann from NY says:

    My o’ My, what a lovely Gladys Tabor book. I do so enjoy her books. I found one, Stillmeadow Calendar, about a month ago at a library book sale. I scooped it up before anyone realized what a treasure it was!
    Before I go, I must say that I love Jack’s St. Patrick’s Day pictures. He tis a handsome devil for sure.

  52. Shirley Raffety says:

    Susan, looking forward to your new book. Your blog, is like getting a present!
    Your thought of each day, checking out my SB calendar.
    Thanks for all your time, talents, photos & kind words, you bring to your blog.
    Happy Spring….

  53. Mary Peterson says:

    Hi Susan: Well, another great post by you. We are ALL Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! You have truly turned me onto Gladys Taber, as I’m sure you have done for so many others. It’s great to get inspiration in life, especially when we are waiting ever so patiently for Spring to finally arrive. The particular book you are giving is one I haven’t seen yet. Would LOVE to be able to get yours!

  54. Diana moore says:

    Love your blog, it makes me feel happy

  55. Cecilia says:

    Thanks Susan for letting us know about Gladys Taber. I did buy one book from you, but would love to win this book. So enjoyed reading her book. I love your blog/e-mails. They always make me happy!!

  56. SusanA says:

    I love words, and I love the way you put them together, Susan. I began a diary (or three) back in my teens and twenties, but I made the mistake of going back and reading my Deep Thoughts too soon after I’d written them. Oh, that angst! The cringe factor can still make me blush, all these decades later. I abandoned the practice in embarrassment, but after reading your post, I wish I’d stuck with it. I’m sure I would have worked my way through all the drama and been left with many wonderful memories. Can’t wait to read yours!
    Susan

  57. Judy says:

    As always, your blog post delighted and inspired me. Thank you for being there for all of us who love you so. I’m beyond excited about your new book. Thank goodness one of us was smart enough to actually write in her journals and save them.
    Enjoy the ride while we eagerly await the book.
    <3

  58. Janet Marshall says:

    I love all things Susan Branch! Susan, you help me everyday with all your wonderful artwork and reading your books and blogs. I cannot thank you enough! I would love, love to have the Gladys Taber book! Thanks for sharing you! Janet

  59. Patricia Ruehle says:

    Loved your St. Patty’s Day blog. We enjoyed corned beef and cabbage with Guinness Draught after a beautiful sun shiney day of planting geraniums and a few veggies and herbs in our yard. The weeds had taken over the beds. Our many frosty evenings did not deter them in the least.
    Have an enjoyable Tuesday sipping your new tea and gaining inspiration for your newest endeavor.

  60. Susan says:

    Hi Susan…I know my chances of winning the book are very slim but would you put my name in the hat anyway? Thanks.

    I LOVE Gladys Taber’s writing. Always have. She was such a fabulous writer.

    What is the book you are writing about? What is the title ? Susan

    • sbranch says:

      That is so hard to answer. I guess in shorthand it would be called a memoir. How I learned about life is what it is, stories from my diaries, how I found my first house on the island, How I learned to cook, the 1950′s, why I don’t fly anymore, my first wedding dress, inspirations for art, music, finding joy, for everything I learned. Still thinking about the title.

  61. Janice Mcneff says:

    Ahhh, springtime on the farm.early mornings and late nights, Twin calfs born, and momma cow only accepting one. Sure can drink down his bottle fast!

  62. Kathy Wagner says:

    Thank you so much for the Irish Stew recipe. St Patricks Day is very special to me because our son was born on that day (and I’m Irish)! Also, you have inspired me to look into little corners of antique shops for wonderful books like you found in your travels.
    Kathy

  63. Barbara davidson says:

    Susan you never disappoint in the inspiration dept! Can’t wait for your new book! Would you recommend going to england by sea or by air, now that you have the experience behind you? Thank you for everything you do to keep us happy!

    • sbranch says:

      If time is no problem, then I would definitely sail over. At least once for the experience. And you could always sail over and fly back.

  64. Ramona Horta-Riedeman says:

    Susan – I’m looking forward to trying your Irish Stew! I do consider myself Mexican-Irish for at least one day a year because I do love the corned beef and cabbage. I will be having it again today for lunch! yumm! In any case, in this last blog, I noticed a very cute bowl the one with the apples in it with cutouts also. It is very attractive and I would like to know if you offer it for sale online? but I couldn’t seem to find it as I “shopped” in the store a few minutes ago. I would love to buy one! :) Also, I’m looking forward to a new book! Lovely! Can’t wait! :) Sincerest Regards – Ramona from Atwater, CA :)

    • sbranch says:

      I’m Mexican Irish-Scottish-English on Cinco de Mayo, so it all balances out! ~ That bowl was something I designed for Lenox many years ago. You might find one on Ebay, but other than that, it’s not being made anymore. So sorry.

  65. We never really had Winter in southern California and now we are headed full-speed into Spring! I need to get my vegetable garden planted and new plants potted along the side of the house. If there were only a little more time in every day or more days in the week-end it would be easier to get these things done. Do you think Gladys Taber felt the same way – So many tasks ~ So little time? Well I will do the best I can and be inspired by your blog and the other girls on FOSB.
    Happy Spring!

  66. Linda Wheeler says:

    Oh Susan. My mom passed away this January and her favorite books were from dear Gladys Taber. I am lucky to have one or two and I know how special they are because they bring my mom so close in my heart. Thanks for loving Gladys Taber too!

  67. Michele M. says:

    Oh where to begin? Me being a cancer sign, I am always chock-full of emotion. I believe it why I do not keep journals. I can’t bear the emotion of looking back sometimes! My photos are enough. Susan, you must be having fun going down memory lane. It’s just awesome that these memories can make up your book(s)!! Who wouldda thunk!?!? :)
    That lamb cake is so precious in the other post!! What a sweet job they did!! There are so many creative people out there and I am thrilled we can all share in that here on your creative blog!!
    I give you a ton of credit! Most people don’t do the effort it takes to exercise and eat healthy. We are our own worst enemies in that regard, right girlfriends!?!? Weight loss or no weight loss, as long as you feel good every day, that’s what matters. You can be HAPPY every day!! Plus you have Joe and the kitties and US. How fortunate. We are also fortunate to have you and this great place to come and ~*belong*~
    Happy Spring To All!!

  68. Hi Susan, I sure wait impatiently sometimes for your new blogs. You share so much with all of us. I wanted you to know what 3 girlsfriends from the West Coast are hoping to do next Spring……..

    Three of your girls friends ( me included) are planning to come back to Martha’s Vineyards next Spring- first week of May. I have tried to come in the summer and just to hard to fine a place to stay. So third time is the charm as they say.
    So…………….. us three girls, Jennifer my BF, myself and a new girlfriend Ann- we met while we were standing in line to get your signature on each of our “Fine Romance” Books in San Luis Osbispo this past Fall. ( Your husband even took our picture sitting and waiting ( 3 long hours- but worth every minute waiting) then you even shared the pciture in your blog a week or so later. Anyway Jennifer and I became good friend with Ann, who came all the way from Utah with her husband to meet you and sign her book, and we have been writing and chatting to each other ever since. We all love and follow you sweet girlfriend so much that we are going to try and get a room or a house in your area for a longgggggggggg weekend and may even try and take a peak at where you live. You have inspired us so much Susan that we all want to see your neck of the woods in MA and be part of the magic that you share with us in your blogs. Will you by any change be around that same time? Sure would love to have a TEA PARTY with you. But we know you may not be available to do so with your girlfriends on the West Coast. Any suggestions on where to stay and if that first week of May is a good time to come to the island? Thanks for listing and can’t wait for your new book. Also am a BIG Fan of Gladys Talber too! Who wouldn’t be!!! I Thank you for always taking the time for answering sweet girlfriend. Hugs Madelyn

    • sbranch says:

      May will be lovely because there will be very few tourists. The flowering spring trees will be in bloom, and it will still be cool . . . our roses, for example, don’t bloom until June. How great you three are keeping in touch! I always think the lines at my booksignings is where the real action is and want to jump up and join in!

  69. Juli says:

    Oh, another surprise?! As if we all don’t already love and adore you over the moon, you find a treasure and then gift it! You are beyond words! :)

    Since you are into lambs did you see the card I emailed you that I made for our nephew who also loves lambs?

    Thank you again for all you do and share with the world!

    Happy and yea spring!
    Juli

    • sbranch says:

      I Did Juli! Thank you . . . I’m sorry, these days I’m so busy on the book I haven’t been making time to answer everyone, but I did love it and thank you for it. xoxo

  70. Elizabeth Knowlton says:

    Happy 1st day of Spring, Susan!
    Love from still chilly Chilmark,
    Liz

  71. Janice Braxton says:

    Thank you for sharing glimpses of Spring and introducing me to Gladys Taber! Hope the book will end up on my table! Happy Spring…

  72. Candra Fisher says:

    Just looking at that book creates a contented longing in my heart.

  73. Mim Pepper says:

    Wonderful site. So glad I found you. Bummed that I won’t be able to go to Stillmeadow in June.
    Mim

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