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Monday, February 25, 2008

Letter Writing 101.

At the beginning of the year, one of the things I said I'd like to do is get back to the lost art of sending actual letters. My friend, Melissa joined me on this venture and thus began the snail mail campaign.

A few weeks later and after I'd started my penpal relationship with my grandma B, I was in contact with Huffington Post contributor and author, Samara O'Shea. And she sent me a copy of her book; For The Love Of Letters: A 21st Century Guide to The Art of Letter Writing. (She also runs a letter writing business. Seriously. People pay her to write their letters. NEAT-O!)
It was a fantastic book and guide on letter writing and what a sometimes complicated communication process it can be at times.
"Emily Dickinson and I are here to remind you that there is nothing—not a text message, not an IM exchange, not a MySpace comment—that competes with the emotional connection made through a letter. Handwritten or typed, snail-mailed or handed over—doesn’t matter. It’s the time you take to choose your words carefully and write them down that becomes a tangible testament to how much the other person means to you." -The introduction to her website.
I received the book on a Thursday and was finished on a Friday afternoon. It was that insightful.
What was even more cool than reading an appropriate book for a goal I'd set was sharing the same first name.
How cool is that! A note to Samara and from Samara.

I don't have a common name and I don't typically (or ever) run into someone else named Samara. Even then there are a few different meanings of the name so I was doubly surprised that her name was pronounced the same and had the same meaning. We had similar experiences growing up having a different name, hearing it pronounced every which way and learning to love it now. As a child, I wished my name was Jenny, Stacy, Shelly, Kelly...I have heard my name pronounced every which way and sometimes get so tired of correcting people that as long as they call me something that starts with S, I go with it.

My name (and hers), Samara, is Hebrew. Because of that, it is sometimes assumed that I am Jewish. I'm not. My name means: Asked of God. Because I was asked of God. My mom had a very difficult time getting pregnant with me and then a very high risk pregnancy carrying me to term. Her and my dad prayed over me and my birth.

My name is pronounced: Sa-ma-ra or Some-Are-A. Like I said, I've heard every single possible pronounciation. It's not always pretty.

Because Samara is a unique name, if one doesn't assume I am Jewish they sometimes assume I am foreign. I have received compliments on the way I speak English, I have received flabbergasted looks when someone meets me for the first time after hearing or seeing my name. It's not uncommon for someone to assume I am not Caucasian.

It seems to be that we all grow into the names our parents choose for us as babes for one reason or another and we grow to love our name, whether it's common or uncommon. Regardless of any of our unique name quandries it was very fun to find that I'm not the only Samara out there.

It was also fun to read about letter writing and receive the info and encouragement the book had to offer, it's inspired me even more to continue the lost art, keep writing the notes and letters. And to also think about who might need a letter here and there.

Is there someone in your life you could write a letter to?


Blogger Kim said...

Samara, you know this was one of my goals this year as well. I did really well in January, and February was a bomb, not one letter written. Thanks for the reminder.

February 25, 2008 at 10:50 AM  
OpenID asecrettobluebamboo said...

I can't even remember the last time I received a letter in the mail, and I have a feeling that the Christmas card I got from my grandparents doesn't quite count.
I have a very different name as well-- my 'screen name' is kinda a mush of my first and last. It was interesting to be in elementary school with tons of Melissa's and Jennifer's. And you know exactly what I'm talking about, and that's so cool!

February 25, 2008 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger charish said...

Very cool. I am glad you found a name twin.

February 25, 2008 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

What a good idea to bring back some snail mail!

February 25, 2008 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

So glad you found a like-named partner in letter-writing crime! :) Looks like a really neat book!

February 26, 2008 at 11:52 AM  

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