Today’s #RealLifeWonderWoman is a badass. She’s authentic, funny, raw, hard-working and caring. This former preschool teacher is a renown letterpress expert, college instructor, breast cancer survivor and entrepreneur. Oh, and did I mention she’s a brilliant artist? Please join me and get to know the one, the only, Mary Bruno, owner of Bruno Press in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
KR: Hi Mary! You are a busy woman, active in the community and the art world. What brings you joy and fulfillment personally and professionally?
MB: I feel extreme joy when I finish a project in the shop, like all the way finish. That is the best. I enjoy carving lino blocks, it takes so much concentration that I cannot think about anything else, so I can actually shut down my over-active mind. That’s good for me. I enjoy teaching workshops. Showing off what I know to people who want to learn makes me feel useful. I really like to travel alone. It is the greatest way to meet people.
KR: Aside from your fulfilling work and travel, do you have any other hobbies?
MB: I like petting dogs, cooking, singing karaoke and mountain biking.
KR: Like Wonder Woman, we all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
MB: Um, I think I am pretty good at listening and connecting to people. I can’t do it all day everyday, but I find people to be fascinating and I love to find out all about them and how and why and all that. I like to lead and I am not afraid to ask the stuff that makes people uncomfortable. Fuck that Minnesota Nice crap–not that I don’t think one should be nice, I think that people should say what is on their minds, not to hurt people but to be honest about stuff. It doesn’t always feel good hearing stuff I do that sucks but it makes me try to be better.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
MB: I think that Brené Brown has inspired me in some ways. I have listened to some of her TedTalks and am reading her book Braving the Wilderness right now, and I just think that being vulnerable is so key to everything. She is relatable and smart and cool and funny and has taught me a lot.
KR: If you could have one superhuman power, what would it be?
MB: I dunno, I mean, it would be sweet have superhuman strength and brain power. It would be THE coolest to be a hero that saves people and the world.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
MB: This question is goofy to me. This is the sort of thinking that if you could warn yourself to avoid certain things or people or decisions that you might avoid pain or struggle. I see pain and struggle as integral ways of learning on a very deep level. I don’t want to seek out pain and struggle but I understand its value. I think I would high five myself and say “hey kid, see you at the end.”
Check out the Bruno Press website to learn more about The New Old School Letter Press and how Mary came to the printing biz. Trust me, it’s a story worth reading.