Samara O'Shea

If I Could Turn Back Time

November 25th, 2018

If I had it all to do over again (and by all I mean launch LetterLover), I would have included a newsletter. When I first started this site in 2005, I offered Letter of the Week as a way to keep audiences coming back for more. It didn’t work very well, and I’m not even sure I updated it that often. Certainly not weekly as the name would suggest. Shame on me! In time came social media as a way to continually engage an audience, and updating a website regularly seemed unnecessary. Again, in time, social media changed (please see previous blog about my breakup with FB and Twitter) and I find writers with newsletters are in the best position to reach their audience. Read the rest of this entry »

The Breakup

November 24th, 2018

After 11 years of being in a serious relationship with Facebook and 9 years of casually dating Twitter, I’m ending my relationship with both of them. Here’s how and why … Read the rest of this entry »

E-Thank You Notes

October 30th, 2018

A friend of mine sent me a thank you note last week, over email. I’m not judging. I’m praising! She thanked me for the 40th birthday present I gave her, the 4-hour trip I took to attend the party, and she attached photos to liven up the message. I have received more handwritten thank you notes from this friend over the past 15 years than any other friend. At 40, she has two young children and not as much time to hand-write notes. She’ll get back to it in 18 years or so. I understand. The note brightened my day nonetheless.

I must confess: I’ve written a few e-notes over the years. I’m not talking about the practical emails we send all day every day but rather the emotional messages that require a little more thought. It can happen that time is of the essence and it’s better to send an e-message than no message at all. When that’s the case, I turn to Paperless Post. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fig Tree

September 26th, 2018

Below is a passage from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. She poetically describes the stress of choice and how gaining one experience means losing another. The good news is, in the 21st century, choosing one fig doesn’t mean saying no the ALL the others but it still means saying no to many of the others. As people live longer and hit milestones (such as marriage and children) later, there is more time to take the road less traveled. For a woman in the 1960s, however, choices were limited and there was less time to indulge unique life experiences, as Sylvia brilliantly expresses.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

When the Church Goes to Confession

August 20th, 2018

In 2006, The Episcopal Church issued a comprehensive, formal apology (a resolution) for its participation in the institution of slavery. They accepted full responsibility for past actions and admitted they used scripture to justify their actions. “…we express our most profound regret that (a) The Episcopal Church lent the institution of slavery its support and justification based on Scripture, and (b) after slavery was formally abolished, The Episcopal Church continued for at least a century to support de jure and de facto segregation and discrimination…”

Instead of saying, “Now that we’ve discussed it and apologized, let’s never discuss it again,” they said something like, Let’s continue to uncover our transgressions (past and present) and continue to repent in order “to make a full, faithful and informed accounting of our history” and “be ‘the repairer of the breach'” (full quote below). Read the rest of this entry »

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard…Is True

July 16th, 2018

Twas December 2013 when I submitted the following essay to a website called Indie Book Week. Recently I clicked on the link and IBW was no more. Websites come and they go. C’est la vie. I’d like the essay to live somewhere, so I post it here.

The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard…Is True

In early 2010 I attended an event called “Eat, Love, Write.” It was a fundraiser featuring bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert and her sister Catherine Gilbert Murdock as the keynote speakers. Catherine is a successful author in her own right—specializing in young adult novels. During the question and answer session, someone asked, “How do I get an agent?” Catherine began to respond practically but then she interrupted herself and said, “Focus on the writing. If a book is meant to be published it will find a way.” I rolled my eyes. If a book is meant to be published it will find a way. Don’t get me wrong; I am an advocate of everything happening for a reason, but come on! Agents don’t go knocking on doors asking if you happen to have a manuscript hanging around. You have to take your written work to the world. At the time, I dismissed it as one of the dumbest things I’d ever heard. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock the Vote

July 1st, 2018

I, shamefully, did not vote in the 2014 midterms. I will not make that mistake again!

“For those who face the future in fear after Wednesday, there are no easy answers — but there is a clear duty. Do not for a moment underestimate the importance of getting out and voting in November. Four years ago, only 36 percent of Americans cast ballots in the midterm elections. Had more people showed up, the Senate may well have remained in Democratic control, Mitch McConnell would not be the majority leader and Judge Merrick Garland would now be Justice Garland. In the days and months ahead, remember this.”