Samara O'Shea

Archive for August, 2012

Feelings Become Words

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Reader Hope from California left a comment on my “Back to School” blog yesterday and my heart skipped a beat. It’s beautifully written and enthusiastic. I have felt all this year that getting my MSW is an ideal next step for me. Unfortunately I haven’t been unable to articulate exactly how or why. Feelings have not become words for me in this case. Hope, however, hit the nail on the head with her comment. Reading it made me happy and sad all at once. I am thrilled for the next chapter in my life and sad to leave this one behind. I asked Hope if I could post her comment here and she graciously said yes. Thank you Hope—for reading this blog and sharing your thoughts with us.

Samara, I am thrilled for you! Thank you for leaving the website up. I’ve always loved writing and receiving letters and your site was one of the first I discovered when I went to out in to the ether to see if anyone else had this ‘crazy’ hobby. I subsequently bought both your books and a couple of others on letter writing. I truly thought I was the only one who had this devotion to this ‘dying’ art form but nope, there are plenty of us who love fine stationery, pretty stamps, and appreciate the unique characteristics of individual handwriting. Thank you for sustaining all of us who love the written word!

As for your future career and educational goals, well, I see them as a perfect next step from what you created on this site. At the very basic level letter writing is all about communicating between one person or entity and another. At the most intimate level the letter is a place to problem solve, lay one’s soul bare, become vulnerable, encourage, inspire, etc. Letter writing is the act of intimate written ‘conversation.’ What is therapy and counseling if not intimate conversation and the laying bare of one’s soul? I see your next step as completely serendipitous and you will no doubt find a home for your writer’s experience and considerable skill in your counseling career and methodologies.

My own career/educational experience crosses over a bit with yours. I have a Ph.D. in Performance Studies but never once thought of becoming a working actress. I, too, work for a university but in student affairs. I work with students all day every day and have had the pleasure of teaching, developing and teaching workshops, advising, leading teams, etc. While I’m not a stage actress my performance training and critical thinking skills have been invaluable to my current profession. In my wildest dreams I could not have planned for this but I’m pretty happy about how it all turned out.

Many blessings and best of luck to you!

Before I Go

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

School starts this week. I am psyched! I am not leaving LetterLover just yet though. I have a plan for my final blog. Over the years people have asked if and when I’m going to write another book. The short answer is: I’ve tried. I have pitched several ideas since my second book came out (in July 2008) and they haven’t worked out for one reason or another. I want to summarize some of the ideas for you–just so you know what’s been brewing in my mind.

I had hoped to have this finished by the time school started but that obviously didn’t happen. Please bear with me, and I will try to post the ideas soon. Then I will sign off for the foreseeable future. Thank you again for your support! Enjoy the last week of August.

Where I Lived, and What I Lived For

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

“Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” is the second chapter in Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden. I have not read the book in its entirety, but I love the title of this chapter. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that everyone should write an essay (or journal entry, poem, song, etc.) with this title. I think I’d like to write a piece with this title every five years or so. Because surely where I lived and what I lived for will change!

My first attempt was made back in 2009. I had completely forgotten about it until I stumbled across some old Word documents hidden deep down in my hard drive. This draft was rough and I didn’t finish it. When I make another attempt I’m sure I’ll start from scratch. For now, however, I share the first version:

Where I Lived, and What I Lived For

I lived in loud rooms and quiet corners. I am a translator. I experience emotions and translate them to the page. I cried. I cursed. I hid from the sun and stood naked in the rain. I lived long enough to know that kindness is the only medicine and I try (I said try) to have some with me wherever I go.

I lived to tell about it. Whatever it was. A night of passion. An afternoon of ennui. I grew determined to describe it.

I lived to experience and study those experiences to find out which ones were given to me and which ones others fought tirelessly for. I lived to experience and do everything in my limited power to make sure that every person is welcome to have the rights and privileges thereof. Even if the only thing I can do is helplessly watch YouTube and pray.

I already know what my last regret will be. It will be not being able to find the right adjectives to describe death. Whether I fade away slowly in my sleep, take a rogue bullet, am smashed between a Prius and a Honda Accord, choke in agony with someone’s angry hands around my neck, or try aimlessly to reach for the surface while my body pulls me down deeper into the water, I won’t know how to describe what I’m experiencing.

And if the glorious words do come like an unexpected comet across the sky and I say “I’ve got it! I know just how to describe it,” there won’t be a pen and paper handy to get it down just in time.