Samara O'Shea

Archive for March, 2012

Cheers

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Tomorrow will be my last day at my current job and I will begin a new one on Monday (no rest for the weary!) I will give details about the switch in the weeks to come because there’s a great big benefit that comes with my new job. I’m excited to share, but not yet!

In any case, I am saying goodbye to my coworkers by giving each of them a mini bottle of top shelf alcohol. I see these adorable things in the liquor store and wonder what people use them for. Gifts! They are $2.99 (and under), and I’m pretty sure they will be appreciated.
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A little bag of these makes a nice hostess gift or 21st-birthday gift.
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Un-break My Heart

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Last week I wrote a letter on behalf of someone with a broken heart. When our exchange was finished I offered to suggest some books that I thought might help. (I didn’t want to volunteer the titles without her wanting me to). She took me up on my offer. I list them here now, too, in the event anyone passing by has a broken heart.

I should note that these books are insightful for us all–whole and broken hearts alike. Each book focuses on self-awareness and that will have a positive personal impact regardless of relationship status. The first two books are man friendly and the last one not so much. Although there is plenty of good advice for any person regardless of gender, the title just leans toward the feminine. You know what, who cares?! No one has to know what you’re reading!

1. The Mastery of Love – This book is simple in the way it’s written and profound in its message. It’ll take you two days to read if you plough through. It’s more about self-love than romantic love and it emphasizes that no love is possible without genuine self-love.

2. Calling in the One – This is a workbook. Every day for 49 days (seven weeks) the author has you do an emotional exercise (involving journaling, meditation, etc.) to help you get closer to yourself and understanding your past behavior. I find the promise of the book “7 Weeks to Attract your Soulmate!” to be cheesy, but the book itself is fantastic.

3. The Single Woman’s Sassy Survival Guide – This is a Kindle only book (totally worth buying a Kindle for!) The author, Mandy Hale, has hit the nail on the head with how to mend a broken heart and heal in a proper (non destructive) way–so you’re ready for love when it comes along. She’s full of energy and gives great advice.

Dear Brad & Angie

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A friend once quipped that I forgot to include ransom and suicide notes in my book. Yes, there are several genres of letters that did not make the cut. One of the less morbid types is celebrity letters. While it’s true I love celebrities (or celebrity gossip anyway) and I love letters, I never really put the two together for myself. Although, I have appreciated celebrity letters on more than on occasion. I was at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville many years ago and saw a letter on display written by Patsy Cline. She sat down and responded to a fan with a long, enthusiastic handwritten letter. I was highly impressed.

Chris Lucas, author of The Actor’s Detective Guide to Writing Celebrity Letters believes it’s still possible to receive that type of attention from celebrities by writing them standout letters. I was skeptical at first. My initial thought was Twitter is the best way to get in touch with a celebrity these days, but he convinced me. (To be clear: it’s not that I think Twitter is a better medium I just don’t know how to get a celebrity address (but Chris does!) and I imagine celebs are way too busy for letters. Again, in some cases I am wrong).

The book’s foreward tells the bittersweet tale of Chris’s father. At the age of twelve he was hit between the eyes with a baseball and declared legally blind. As a way to keep her son’s spirits up, Chris’s grandmother sat beside him in the hospital and wrote letters on his behalf to major league baseball players. Astonishingly, many of them got back in touch. Some of them visited him in the hospital. This obviously had a huge impact on the young man and it ultimately led him to a career in writing and broadcasting.

Chris also makes the excellent point that this is a good way to get children interested in letter writing. Writing to Justin Bieber doesn’t feel like as much of a chore as writing to grandma and thanking her for the sweater.

The closest I’ve come to writing a celebrity is writing fellow authors and asking them to generously provide quotes for the jacket of my books. This worked out very well—especially with authors I hadn’t met. The specific letters the book addresses are as follows:

– Letter to a sports star
– Letter to a director
– Letter to a politician
– Letter to a producer/showrunner
– Letter to a mentor
– Letter to a writer/screenwriter/playwright
– Charity Request Letter
– Letter to a performer
– Letter to a CEO
– Letter to a talk show host/other notable celebrity

The Sound of Solitude

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

There’s a great article in The Atlantic called The Sound of Solitude. The writer points out that we intrinsically seek solitude but we paradoxically use noise (such as an iPod) to escape and separate ourselves from the crowd. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to unplug, which makes it that much more important. Here are the quotes that stood out to me:

“In our eagerness for a semblance of solitude, we’ve lost much of what made solitude traditionally valuable: peace and quiet.”

“It’s high time we seriously consider what effect the sound-culture is having on our self-awareness and faculties of thought.”

“Developmental psychologist Lorraine Maxwell has found that excessive noise causes stress in school children and impairs their attention and memory.”

“As a culture, we are now afraid of silence, and hold suspect those who indulge it. . .But only in silence can we learn to think often and well.”

A Few of My Favorite Things

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

This is something I have never thought about: people who design stamps. I love stamps and obviously someone must create each design, but I confess I’ve never given those designers any thought. Until today! Check out this interview with designer Suzanne Kleinwaks. It’s part of a series celebrating two of my favorite things: women’s history and stamps. Another stamp designer who electronically crossed my path today is Paul Rogers. He designed a splendid stamp in honor of the Cherry Blossom Centennial. This stamp commemorates the 100-year-old gifting of 3,020 cherry trees from Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. I confidently count cherry trees among my favorite things, too.

Spring and a Small Scandal

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Welcome to the glorious transitional season of spring. She did us a favor (in the northeast anyway) and came early. While looking for an appropriate poem for today, I happened upon this prayer said during a Pagan Spring Equinox ritual. It’s quite lovely.

“We kindle this fire today
In presence of the Holy Ones,
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear of aught beneath the Sun
But the High Gods.
Thee we invoke, O Light of Life,
Be Thou a bright flame before us,
Be Thou a guiding star above us,
Be Thou a smooth path beneath us;
Kindle Thou within our hearts
A flame of love for our neighbors,
To our foes, to our friends, to our kindred all,
To all men on the broad earth.
O merciful Son of Cerridwen,
From the lowliest thing that liveth
To the Name which is highest of all.”

In other non-seasonal news, Urban Outfitters has quite the greeting card scandal going on. I have a feeling the person who wrote this card knew that trouble was imminent. (Warning: The words on the card are rated R. The card’s appearance, however, is pleasing).

Britannica No More

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

It’s been announced that after 244 years Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer print encyclopedias in volumes. The information will exist in digital form only. This is sad because it’s the end of a very long era. For the sake of the environment, however, I fully support this decision.

People writing letters to each other is different because there is an emotional factor and it results in a personal legacy. It goes without saying that there is still value in this. Plus individuals do not produce anywhere near the amount of paper that companies do. Printing encyclopedias, telephone books, and dictionaries is no longer necessary. My heart breaks every time a new phone book shows up on my doorstep. Really? I think. I can’t bring myself to throw it away but I know I will never use it.

I still believe in printing books because a book does not contain information that can be Googled in an instant. It contains the unique point of view or the imaginative story of the author. But as we can see books are headed in the digital direction, too. I think bound books and kindle-type gadgets will exist side by side for the next few decades. I read both and enjoy both. When I travel, it’s the light Kindle I want with me. Cozy in my home, I prefer a book in hand (and a pen to underline favorite phrases!)