Samara O'Shea

Archive for December, 2008

Quote of the Day

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

My cousin Kate and I went to an ugly Christmas sweater party last night. It was great . . . it would have been greater if EVERYONE had worn ugly sweaters. There were only a handful of us brave enough to do so. Anyway, I slept at Kate’s place last night and while I was reapplying my make-up this morning I noticed the following quote torn from a magazine and tucked into the side of her mirror. This is a mind-opening one. I’m going to memorize it . . .

The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status, and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.

~ Eckart Tolle

Please Write: Don’t Phone

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

I just returned from a wonderful, whirlwind-of-a-trip to Wausau, WI. In five days I visited six high schools (and spoke to 15 classes!), hosted two lectures / discussions at the Woodson Art Mueum, spoke at one corporate event, and appeared on one radio show (my show hasn’t been posted yet but will be soon). Whew! I’m exhausted and fulfilled. The people of Wausau are thoughtful, welcoming, funny, and liberal. Obama / Biden everywhere! I’ll share some photos with you as soon as I can figure out how to post them on my blog (I’m always behind with these things).

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you this fabulous poem that one of the teachers at DC Everest High School gave to me.

Please Write: Don’t Phone
By: Robert Watson

While there is mail there is hope.
After we have hung up I can’t recall
Your words, and your voice sounds strange
Whether from a distance, a bad cold, deceit
I don’t know. When you call I’m asleep
Or bathing or my mouth is full of toast

I can’t think of what to say.
“We have rain?” “We have snow?”

Let us write instead: surely our fingers spread out
With pen and paper touch more of mind’s flesh
Than the sound waves moving from throat to lips
To phone, through wire, to one ear.
I can touch the paper you touch.
I can see you undress in your calligraphy.
I can read you over and over.
I can read you day after day.
I can wait at the mailbox with my hair combed,
In my best suit.
I hang up. What did you say?
What did I say? Your phone call is gone.
I hold the envelope you addressed in my hand.
I hold the skin that covers you.

Another Day, Another High School

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

I’m happy to report that Wisconsin and I are getting along famously. I woke up this morning to a story in the Wausau Daily Herald about my visit. Then I spent today with the Wausau East High Lumberjacks. Could there be a better mascot? I think not. I spoke with three creative writing classes (juniors and seniors) and two honors English classes (freshman). The freshman are the class of 2012! I’m happy to report that everyone was very well behaved. As I did yesterday, I asked them to write me letters following the presentation. One of the girls wrote and told me that not only did she like writing letters but she also really liked my outfit. Score!

I just finished up an hour presentation at the museum. As much fun as I’m having with the kids, it was nice to chat with adults for a while. I didn’t feel I had to censor myself. Not that I need to do too much censoring, but there are a few letters I tone down (or skip sentences) as I read to the youth. Adults also ask more questions. Tomorrow I’m off to two more high schools, but we don’t hit the road until 8:30 a.m. I’m excited about all the sleep I’m going to get tonight.

Greetings from Wausau, WI

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I landed on a snowy runway yesterday—a fitting welcome for my first extended stay in the great state of Wisconsin. I did drive through a number of years ago to attend a wedding in Minneapolis, but that doesn’t really count. So . . . I’ve been invited here by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. They have a wonderful exhibit called More than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. It features evocatively illustrated letters of Thomas Eakins, Andy Warhol, and Fredia Kalo (among many others). I’ll be lecturing tomorrow evening at 6:30 and Thursday evening at 6:30 also.

During the day, however, the museum has asked me to go around to area high schools and talk to the teenagers about letter writing in the digital age. I headed over to DC Everest Senior High at 7:45 this morning, and I had five classes to talk to. Truth be told I was terrified. Teenagers are scary. Or so I thought. As soon as first period began I was reminded that teenagers are actually thoughtful, insightful, funny, underestimated, self-conscious bundles of joy. I know. I was one. I remembered that soon after I got started. I had a blast and got a lot of great feedback. I asked them to write me letters at the end of each session. Many of them (get this!) agreed with me in that letters are more meaningful than careless texts or Facebook messages. Of course we’re all proponents of digital communication, but I think I convinced many of them to consider whipping out pen and paper once in a while. And they reminded me that teenagers are always the same (i.e. charming and endlessly amusing)—past, present, and future. Tomorrow I’ll be at Wausau East High all day—leaving at 7:15 a.m. Lord have mercy!

To break the ice with the kiddies today, I started each session by reading some of the notes that were passed to me in class when I was in high school. This one (a favorite) is from my friend Jordan:

Junior Yearish 1995

Samara,
Yes hello! How is the doll? I’m in English with Mrs. Lloyd.

Well, I have some good news, Jeff is in love with you. He told Jamie and she told me I could tell you if I wanted and I did! I think you should go for it. He’s really nice and he’s tall too.

I like Ed but I don’t think he’s into me that much. I think he’s just using me to have someone to make out with during the band season and when band’s over then so are we. I need someone to find out (hint, hint) you don’t have to though. I just figured since you talk to him maybe you’d be the right person.

Where the hell are my CD’s ya bitch! (just kidding) I miss Janis and Jim*. Well I better go. Write back!

Love always,
Jordan

*She’s talking about Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison.