Samara O'Shea

Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous Letters’ Category

Gen Y Loves (or at Least Knows of) Letters

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Over the weekend the Boston Globe published this optimistic article called Pleasing Mr. Postman. I find it encouraging because they interviewed Gen Yers who are into letter writing despite having been born in the age of e-mail. One of them (a 23-year-old) even owns a small stationery company. More proof that all people and all forms of communication can live together in harmony!

My Dearest Self

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

While catching up on the posts over at, I spotted a link to an article called Writing a Letter to Yourself. This piece celebrates writing to yourself in a time-capsule type of way—taking a picture of your life with words rather than a camera. I haven’t done that. If I write a letter to myself, it’s in an emotional way. I try to step outside myself and be the voice of reason that often times only outsiders can be. In any case, the article offers some great tips for writing to yourself—whatever your reason.

Rules are Made to be Broken

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Reader Mike sent me this great link tothe Victorian Do’s and Don’ts of Letter Writing. We 21st-Century Letter Writers have no rules—lest we risk letters not getting written at all. Still, it’s amusing to look back and see what was an epistolary sin was according to the Victorians. Of the rules, these are the ones I am most likely to break:

5. Never use underlining to further emphasize your meaning.
– Back in the day they learned to write in italics for emphasis. We don’t do that anymore, so I think underlining is a fine way to make your point.

6. Do not abbreviate; abbreviation is the sign of hasty writing.
– I actually don’t abbreviate much, but I think whoever wrote this rule would have a heart attack if s/he knew of text messaging.

7. Do not erase or cross out misspelled words in a letter. Should you make a spelling error, the letter should be rewritten.
– Yeah, this is not happening. I worship Wite Out!

Happy Birthday Mr. President

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Obama for America asked me if I wanted to wish the President a happy 50th birthday (August 4th). I said yes, so they sent me this card.


I am to write my birthday message and mail it back ASAP (and include a donation if I am so inspired). I’ll try to do it tonight. Here’s what I’m thinking:

Dear Mr. President,

I am very proud to call you my leader. You epitomize the American dream. Here’s to four more years of leadership, and fifty more years of the well-lived life. I will continue to pray for you and the difficult decisions you have to make. Happy Birthday!

Samara O’Shea, Philadelphia, PA (D)

And for fun. . .another President’s birthday celebration:

The Stuff Memorable E-mails Are Made Of

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Earlier this week, a friend of mine was telling me how upset she is that another one of her friendships seems to be ending. That friendship is with her ex-boyfriend and he has recently gotten engaged. The girl I’m speaking of is happily married, so no, there is no lingering hope of romance. She has been friends with her ex for years, and she had hoped they would be friends for many more years to come.

If you recall, I went through a similar situation myself. It began here and ended here. To console my friend, I sent her the following e-mail which my friend Rich sent to me as I was going through the same thing. As I re-read this brilliant piece of correspondence, I realized it must be shared. It’s insightful, it’s got a great literary reference, and it makes me laugh each and every time I read. This is the stuff memorable e-mails are made of!

August 26, 2010


Let me get right into it: this is ridiculous—and he’s going to regret it. He is, of course, operating under the assumption that, since he’ll have the splendid (I’m sure) Sally* for the rest of his life, he won’t really need his friends. Many have made this mistake and found themselves virtually friendless when their marriages or relationships imploded. Give it ten years: he’ll be back, begging for forgiveness. They all do.

I’m reminded of an episode from Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence (I believe it appears in the film version, too, but I’m not sure). While traveling in France, Newland Archer and his new bride, May, attend a dinner party where they meet a young man who works as a tutor. Newland and the tutor have “an awfully good talk after dinner about books and things,” and Newland tells May he’d like to have the guy over to their place for dinner. May scoffs and, to Newland’s chagrin, casts the deciding vote on the matter—a resounding no: “The little Frenchman? Wasn’t he dreadfully common?” And then the third-person narrator breaks in with this passage, which I’ll never forget: “[Newland] perceived with a flash of chilling insight that in the future many problems would be thus negatively solved for him.”

I think that Kevin’s going to find the same thing: this is the first of many decisions that will be made for him. He couldn’t find the courage to stand up for a friend of ten years…wow, just imagine what’s in store for him! Stick a fork in the man—he’s done. In other words, she’s got him by the balls already!

Just look at it this way: no expensive gift; no subpar dinner; no stupid conversation with the inevitably inane table-mates; and, most important, no goddamned chicken dance and hoky poky. (I hate weddings.)

I hope you decide to come to Pittsburgh anyway—and look forward to seeing you if you do!

Rich*Names have been changed

Short & Sweet

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Leaving a note for someone in an unexpected place is one of the best ways to make his or her day. It can but doesn’t have to be of a romantic nature. You can extend this effective gesture to friends, co-workers, and, of course, significant others. My friend Blake left this for me last time I was in NYC. He calls me wife, even though he’s a fierce & fabulous homosexual.


Radical Honesty

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Oh my! You must stop by Letters of Note and read the rejection letter posted. Then re-read it if ever you are having a bad day. Say to yourself, “Well, at least I didn’t get a letter like THIS!” And you’ll feel better.

Also, stop by the World of Psychology blog, where a very kind editor has written Tips to Start Journaling and quoted Yours Truly.