Samara O'Shea

Archive for April, 2009

Yours truly, Ron

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Ron wrote me back! He’s the first person to respond via hand written (supper sloppy) letter. He’s also the first person (ever!) to write me a letter on a record sleeve. That’s the thin piece of paper you put the record in before putting it in the album cover. Ron and I both have record players and an assortment of records. I told him he’d have to read his missive aloud to me because I can’t make out everything. He said he knew he’d have to do that very thing.

I got home yesterday (another miserable, rainy day), and there was my letter—and with it came the sun. It caught me totally off guard—as letters always do. Even when you think (hope) someone might reply you never know if or when. . .

Other responses I’ve gotten: Heddy sent an e-mail saying she’s got a letter in the works and Blake sent me a text message saying he loved the letter.

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with

Dear Charlotte

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I was visiting A Passion for Letters today and came across an opportunity to write a letter to a total stranger. Charlotte seems like someone with a kind heart and lust for life. She was in an accident recently and her friends are asking for hope to be sent to her via letter. I’m going to write her and tell her I’m so sorry for her circumstance, and that I’m sure that she’ll come out on the other side with more energy than ever. Thank you Wendy for calling this to everyone attention!

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with

More Musingsings About Twitter

Monday, April 13th, 2009

I just came across another excellent article about Twitter (which I’m still not joining) on Here’s my favorite part:

Much of what we do online has obvious analogues in the past: E-mail and IM replace letters and face-to-face chatting. Blogging is personal pamphleteering. Skype is the new landline. Social networks let us map our real-life connections to the Web. It’s not surprising, then, that these new tools deliver obvious social utility—Facebook is the best way to get in touch with old friends, and instant messaging is the quickest way to collaborate with your colleagues across the country. Twitter is different. It’s not a faster or easier way of doing something you did in the past, unless you were one of those people who wrote short “quips” on bathroom stalls. It’s a totally alien form of communication. Microblogging mixes up features of e-mail, IM, blogs, and social networks to create something not just novel but also confusing, and doing it well takes time and patience. That’s not to say it isn’t useful; to some people in some situations, Twitter is irreplaceable. But it is not—or, at least, not yet—a necessary way to stay socially relevant in the information age.

Thanks for the Memories

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Today, I’m going to write thank you notes to Dan and Andrew. The two gentlemen from First Person Arts who made my appearance possible. The reading went very well—better than I expected. We taped it, so I’m hoping to have some clips to post here very soon.

Two thank you notes counts as one letter . . . right?

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with

Picking Up Where I Left Off

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Before I say anything, I want to announce and relish in what a gorgeous day it is here in southeastern Pennsylvania. I have not seen an Easter Sunday like this in years. Happy Easter everyone!

And now for my confession: I missed two days of writing letters. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if this happened, and the answer is come clean and pick right back up where I was. I had off from work on Friday (I’ve never had a Good Friday off). I spent the day with Ron and stayed away from my computer for 24 solid hours. Bliss.

On Saturday, I planned to write two letters / blog / do some other writing. Then I remembered I had to do my taxes. It took three hours and totally bummed me out. I thought I’d get money back and, as it turns out, I owe money that I don’t have. It’s disheartening. I’m frustrated with myself for not managing my money better. And I’m mad at the universe in general for not being kinder to people trying to live as artists. Basically I spent the afternoon feeling sorry for myself. In the wee hours of Easter Sunday morning I wrote a letter . . . to God. It felt like the thing to do. Anne Lamott tells this totally inspiring story in her book Operating Instructions (I had to buy a copy for myself after I got one for Jenee). She was living as a single mom and poor as can be (and this is after she had published five books). She wrote a letter to God explaining her financial struggles, and handed it all over to him. A few weeks later she received a call from the now defunct Mademoiselle magazine, and they offered her a monthly book review for $2,000 a month. I’d take it! I don’t expect the same thing to happen to me. I’m just hoping that something will come. Whether it’s extra work or even a master plan for managing my money more efficiently. And so on Easter Sunday I wrote a letter to God, which feels very appropriate. Tomorrow, I will pick right back up where I left off with my letters.

Now, everyone walk away from your computers and enjoy the day. Happy Easter!

Dear Andrew

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

I met Andrew last summer in the Hamptons. We were at a party that we didn’t have high expectations for—meaning we assumed the crowd didn’t have much substance. Perhaps that assumption made us as snotty as the people we thought were around, but we assumed it nonetheless. We ended up meeting and spent a good portion of the evening talking about the difference between jealousy and envy. It was an insightful conversation that, again, caught us both off guard.

Now I try to see Andrew every so often when I’m in New York. He work(ed) on Wall Street and is kind enough to answer my many questions about the financial crisis. He breaks it down for me like I’m a five-year-old. It’s very thoughtful! Last time I saw him we had brunch followed by tea at his amazing apartment on Mercer Street. He didn’t really have any tea that I liked so I shrugged my shoulders and went with Earl Grey. I hadn’t had that stuff in years, and in my mind I thought it was gross. It’s not. At all. I do this every so often when I retry something I once hated. I’ve done it with asparagus, root beer, avocados, and now Earl Grey. It’s such a rich and flavorful tea. I would really be missing out if Andrew had had green tea. I would have went with that and been none the wiser. Sometimes the Universe knows better than we do!

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with

Dear Jenée

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

This is marks my eighth year of knowing Jenée. We met in the fashion closet as interns at Harper’s Bazaar in late 2001. She’s a very good friend and an accomplished foot and leg model. We lived in New York together for six years, then I moved to Philly, and just this past winter I lost her to her hometown of Chicago. Shortly after her move she found out she was pregnant—due over the summer. I’m so happy for her and bummed out that I won’t be able to pop over and see the baby whenever I want.

Along with a letter, I am sending Jenée a copy of the book Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. It’s a book about Anne’s first year of motherhood. There are some drastic differences between Anne and Jenée. Anne is a single mother and a recovering alcoholic. Jenée is neither, but Anne’s writing is so honest and hilarious that it’s enjoyable for everyone, and I’m sure there are some universal truths that all mothers uncover regardless of their situation. I recommend another one of Anne’s book’s Bird by Bird—which is a book about how to write a book—to everyone I know whether they want to write a book or not. Her books, regardless of subject, are about life. The joys and sorrows. And I think (hope) Jenée will like what I send.

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with