Samara O'Shea

Archive for June, 2010

Work in Progress

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Back in February, I made the announcement that I would add wedding-vow writing to my services on this site. At the time I was hoping it would only take a few weeks to get together, but life got in the way. You know how that goes. Today, however, I am much closer to seeing it to fruition. I have written the text for the new pages on the site and sent everything off to my web designer. She will design, add, upgrade, when she is able and volia! we’ll have some fun new features here at LetterLover.

I plan to offer vow writing and also toast writing—specifically maid-of-honor toasts. I was once a maid-of-honor. I know the drill. I hesitate, however, to offer to write best-man toasts. I feel a best-man toast is an animal all its own—something only men can understand. The pressure to be funny is really on. I can be funny but not on demand. I got a few laughs during my toast (see below), but it has to come to me. I can’t force it. The thought of having a customer say to me “Make it funny! Make it funny!” is disconcerting. Sentimental is my forte.

Interestingly enough, I’ve come across some people who do promise to be funny as they help write any speech, toast, or presentation. Over at the Oratory Laboratory Nathan and Victoria are two performers who promise a side-splitting toast. I admire their gusto. Perhaps I’ll inquire as to what business relations with a best-man-to-be has been like for them. For now, I’ll stick with what I know.

My Maid of Honor Speech in July 2007:

The Blessings of a Blackout

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Due to a short yet powerful thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, we had an extended blackout. A power outage is one of those things that seems unbearable at first, but after the initial inconvenience fades can be very pleasant. Last night I:

– Showered by candlelight

– Read by candlelight

– Wrote by hand lit by candlelight

– Savored the silence

– Sent a good girlfriend a text message asking if she could catch up (via phone conversation). She was unable but we made a date to talk tonight.

The power was back on before I went to bed. I hope it goes out again soon . . .

Writings Around Town

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

I’ve been up to some guest blogging. Over at Ramshackle Glam I wrote a tidbit on how to keep things steamy between the sheets. (Scroll down, I’m there. It’s called “The Couples Journal.”)

This week’s Keeping in Touch column for Tranquility du Jour focuses on writing letters to your emotions. Don’t knock it until you try it!

Finally, my friend Carla over at 365 Letters has started profiling her fellow letters writers, and I’m honored to be the first. I look forward to meeting some great letter-writing minds.

In the near future: I’ve written an article for the August/September issue of ReadyMade magazine. It’s an old-fashioned print piece. I’ll let you know when it’s out!

The Lascivious Letters of Liz & Dick

Friday, June 11th, 2010


I devoured the July Vanity Fair last week. It features never-before-published letters between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (pictured above on the set of the movie Cleopatra). All this time, I’ve been thinking that Mike Todd was the love of her life. Todd was Taylor’s third husband, and he died tragically in a plane crash. Reading these, however, leads me to believe it may have been Burton. She did marry the man twice after all. (Would someone please ask Elizabeth who the love of her life was? She’s still around to tell us!) The Burton/Taylor love was glorious. It was as passionate and painful as love can be.

These letters are only a glimpse into what was surely a furnace of a relationship. The love making not to mention the fights must have gone way beyond boiling point.

First, the love making: From Richard to Elizabeth

December 27

Continued with the same gifted pen. It’s no use pretending you are an ordinary woman. Quite clearly, like this pen, you are not. I don’t mean, for a second, that you are in any way comparable with a pen. And yet you are, like this divine pen, heavy and light at the same time . . . How [to] watch the puritanical face relax into slow lust? How to watch that watch catch its breath, and, for a speck of a speck of a millionth of a second, become the animal that all men seek for in their women? And since we’re talking of pens and you, how to watch the ink splurge out of the pen . . . reaching out from the inner depth of the divine body. Will you, incidentally, permit me to fuck you this afternoon? Yours truly (you just have to come into the room), R.B.

Next up, the fights: Again, from Richard. This letter was written shortly after the first divorce became inevitable in the summer of 1973:

I love you, lovely woman. If anybody hurts you, just send me a line saying something like “Need” or “Necessary” or just the one magic word “Elizabeth,” and I will be there somewhat faster than sound. You must know, of course, how much I love you. You must also know, of course, how badly I treat you. But the fundamental and most vicious, swinish, murderous, and unchangeable fact is that we totally misunderstand each other . . . we operate an alien wavelengths. You are as distant as Venus—planet, I am—and I am tone-deaf to the music of the spheres. But how-so-be-it nevertheless. (A cliché among Welsh politicians.) I love you and always will . . . Come back to me as soon as you can. . .

Then comes the press release! Elizabeth sent it out. I love this. It’s so honest. Can you imagine celebrities today saying any more than the trite, “We’ve decided to separate. We remain close friends. Please respect our privacy during this difficult time.” Lizzy, on the other hand, told it like it was:

July 4, 1973

I am convinced it would be a good constructive idea if Richard and I separate for a while. Maybe we loved each other too much. I never believed such a thing was possible. But we have been in each other’s pockets constantly, never being apart but for matters of life and death, and I believe it has caused a temporary breakdown of communication. I believe with all my heart that the separation will ultimately bring us back to where we should be—and that’s together. . . Wish us well during this difficult time. Pray for us.

And one day they reconciled:

October 10, 1975

Dearest Hubs,
How about that! You really are my husband again, and I have news for thee, there bloody well will be no more marriages—or divorces, either . . .

Yours truly, Wife

They divorced again on July 29, 1976.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You Katharine Hepburn

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010


Guess what I got yesterday . . . Katharine Hepburn stamps! I wasn’t sure the Post Office would have them. (The Post Office I frequent is not always well stocked.) Alas, they did, and I had an instant dilemma. They’re too pretty to send, but how could I not send them?! I decided I will send most of them, but the stamps you see here—placed beside the elder Ms. Hepburn—I will put in one of my many letter boxes and look forward to finding in the future. For today, I’m sending my first letter to be sealed with the kiss of Kate. My friend Anne moved into a new apartment with her brand new husband last week, so I’m sending them a welcome-home card.

More on the stamp from the USPS News Release:

“This issuance in the Legends of Hollywood series honors Katharine Hepburn, one of America’s most fascinating and enduring film stars. This stamp will be issued May 12. Over the course of her career, Hepburn made more than 40 motion pictures, including the comedy classic Bringing up Baby (1938)—with Hepburn as a leopard-owning heiress and Cary Grant as a stuffy paleontologist—and The African Queen (1951), in which she played a prim missionary spinster to Humphrey Bogart’s scruffy riverboat captain. Hepburn’s long, illustrious career—and perhaps even more, her independent personality—inspired three generations of Americans. She was, in particular, a role model for women who chose to live life on their own terms. In the words of her niece Katharine Houghton, she “provided hope and inspiration and courage for a whole new generation of women.” The stamp portrait is a publicity still from the film Woman of the Year (MGM, 1942). The photographer was Clarence S. Bull. The selvage image shows Hepburn as she appeared in the play West Side Waltz.”

Me and the Monument

Sunday, June 6th, 2010


City Snob Learns a Lesson

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I’ve just returned from three weeks in Washington D.C. I’m ashamed that I haven’t spent much time there considering it’s so close (closer on the Acela). The city was enchanting. It’s a walking city with adorable shops, savory restaurants, and a lively bar scene—in addition, of course, to all the national monuments and museums. I must admit I’ve been a bit of a city snob up until now. I believed that cities without skylines aren’t real cities. I take it back! D.C. is very much a city with all the rights and privileges thereof. Since I was there for a work project, I didn’t get the museum time I wish I would have. Alas, I have no stories or photos of letters written by Thomas Jefferson. I’ll get them on the next trip. I will go back! For now, here’s a picture of The Washington Post office, which was right across the street from my hotel: