Samara O'Shea

Archive for January, 2011

A Little Warm in my Heart

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father’s glove

~ Tori Amos


I had a moment with winter yesterday. I stood on my front step, marveled at the snow sitting perfectly on the tree branches, took in a full breath of cold air, and just appreciated. I appreciated the season in a way I never have before. It doesn’t excite me as it did when I was a child, but I am determined not to let it annoy me as I have in years past. We spend a solid three months with winter—sometimes more. The best we can do is find the good in her. This photo doesn’t capture exactly how I felt, but I suppose a photo can’t.

The Theory of Love

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Here are more insightful quotes from Erich Fromm’s book The Art of Loving. These are from a chapter called The Theory of Love. The first one is especially eye-opening:

~ “Envy, jealousy, ambition, any kind of greed are passions; love is an action, the practice of a human power, which can be practiced only in freedom and never as a result of compulsion.”

~ “Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”

~ “The most important sphere of giving, however, is not that of material things, but lies in the specifically human realm. What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other—but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives of his joy; of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness—of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other’s sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness.”

~ “Care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge are mutually interdependent. They are a syndrome of attitudes which are to be found in the mature person; that is, in the person who develops his own powers productively, who wants to have that which he has worked for, who has given up narcissistic dreams of omniscience and omnipotence, who has acquired humility based on the inner strength which only genuine productive activity can give.”

~ “Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one “object” of love. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. . . Because one does not see that love is an activity, a power of the soul, one believes that all that is necessary to find is right in the object—and that everything goes by itself afterward. This attitude can be compared to that of a man who wants to paint but who, instead of learning the art, claims that he has just to wait for the right object, and that he will paint beautifully when he finds it.”

This Reading is Rated R

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

It’s not NC-17 and certainly not X, but it is a little racy. If erotica makes you squeamish feel free to skip and come back tomorrow. There is nothing visually offensive here, but if you’re watching at work I suggest headphones.

This is from the final In the Flesh reading held last month. An amusingly true story:

First Letters of the Year

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I have received my first handwritten notes of 2011 and couldn’t be happier. The first is from reader Stephanie in St. Paul, Minnesota. She wrote me a very thoughtful letter that kept me warm all day yesterday (as it was freezing!). She is a very talented knitter and hosts a delightful blog called Sunbeam Soapbox.


The second note was a bit of a surprise. My boss gave me a gift certificate to a nearby salon. I had a deep tissue massage (treat yourself to this – it’s worth it!). In addition to giving me an amazing massage, my masseuse sent me a thank you note. This is a wonderful business policy.

In completely unrelated news, I draw your attention to a blog I wrote a while back called What to Do with my Social Media Accounts in the Even of my Untimely Death. I relayed what I had written to my friend Patrick and he jumped, “This is a business! We have to do something with this.” It certainly was a fun idea to throw around. We would be the keepers of people’s cyber afterlife and help them write social media wills.

I’ve had many website ideas, but none as big as this. I really would need Patrick’s help—he’s a venture capitalist. Ultimately, nothing came of it. Yet in this week’s NY Times magazine is an article about the very same thing: Cyberspace When You’re Dead. Rather than feeling remorse for not launching our website, I’m happy to know our idea was in the right place at the right time. It’s a reminder to Just do it next time.

365 Thank Yous

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

I just ordered this book:


I look forward to reading it, and I look forward to writing my own 365 thank you notes one of these years. Probably an even year–I’m a little OCD with my even numbers. The book was published on December 28, 2010, which means Letter writing lives into 2011!

Here’s the book trailer:

Flower Power

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

In early 2006, I was at a photo shoot for Country Living. We were taking still shots of tea cups and kettles for a story on the history of tea paraphernalia. During the down time, of which there is a lot on photo shoots, the photographer showed me one of his other still shots—a large black and white photo of a flower–beautiful in its serenity. When we were done he said to me, “I saw your face light up when you looked at this, so you can have it.” I was super duper excited. I couldn’t believe he gave it to me, and I couldn’t wait to have it framed.

But I did wait, because framing is expensive. Later that year, when I left Manhattan to move to Philly, I was excited to have this photo on prominent display in my new home. But, again, framing is expensive and so is moving, so the photo sat unseen in the basement for a while. Then it moved up to my bedroom, still hidden in its cardboard cover.

At the end of 2010 I said, “It’s time, damn it!” And after four years, I finally had this fabulous photo framed. It’s a dream come true! Now let’s see how long it takes me to hang it . . .


The photographers name is David Turner. This might be him. I’m not sure—it’s too common of a name. But David, if you’re out there, thank you!

New Year’s Gratitude

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I’d like to start the year off by saying thank you to all of my lovely readers. Drawing specific thanks to the following three. Masa from Louisiana sent me this “Santa on the Bayou” card. I love it. Only in LA would you come across something like this:

It randomly has a recipe for bread pudding on the back:

Masa also sent these Fleur de Lis chocolates. I’m not sure if I ever told him, but I have a Fleur de Lis tattooed on the small of my back, so these have more than one meaning for me:

Mike and Lynn from Virginia sent another set of gorgeous homemade cards. I think these work well for winter (they could be poinsettias) or spring (they could be any sweet spring flower):

Reader Audra from Connecticut sent me a link to therapeutic Things Unsaid Project. It encourages people to write unsent letters and anonymously send them in. It’s a fantastic idea. Thanks for drawing my attention to it Audra.

Thank you everyone! I haven’t been to my P.O. Box in a while. If you sent something there you will get credit for it. I promise! I hope your New Year is off to a splendid start.