For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writingby Samara O'Shea
Have you ever wanted to write a thank-you note and suffered writer's block? Considered penning a passionate letter to your beloved, but had no idea where to begin? Needed to send a sympathy message, but couldn't find the right words? Fear not. Professional letter writer Samara O'Shea is here to spark your creativity and answer all your letter-writing questions in
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Have you ever wanted to write a thank-you note and suffered writer's block? Considered penning a passionate letter to your beloved, but had no idea where to begin? Needed to send a sympathy message, but couldn't find the right words? Fear not. Professional letter writer Samara O'Shea is here to spark your creativity and answer all your letter-writing questions in this charming guide.
For the Love of Letters is an anecdotal primer on letter writing, with tips on how to write all types of notes: love letters, break-up letters, apology letters, thank-you letters, erotic letters (oh yes!), and more. It's filled with moving, funny, and embarrassing stories about letters Samara has written and received, including an apology from a guy who addressed her by the wrong name, a good-riddance e-mail to a capricious boyfriend, and multiple apology letters after getting fired from an internship at O: The Oprah Magazine. With a fresh, contemporary approach, Samara weighs in on appropriate methods for every situation—for example, when to handwrite, type, or e-mail (yes, e-mail) your letter. There is also a fascinating collection of engaging personal letters written by historical and literary icons such as Marie Antoinette, Beethoven, Edgar Allan Poe, Susan B. Anthony, and Emily Post.
For the Love of Letters will show anyone who has ever shuddered at the idea of sitting down and putting pen to paper—or fingertips to keyboard—how to craft persuasive, interesting, and memorable letters.
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Read an Excerpt
For the Love of Letters
A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing
Letters as Gifts
Treasure these few words till we're together.
Keep all my love forever.
P.S. I Love You
—Lennon & McCartney
We are taught as children that the best gifts are homemade—that's a lesson we should never unlearn. What comes with a handmade gift is not only the gift itself but, more important, the invaluable time the other person put into it. All relationships need positive reinforcement on a regular basis, and priceless gifts are much more effective in accomplishing this than expensive ones. Letters fit the priceless bill perfectly not only because of the time but also the raw emotion and thought they require. If we take it to an extreme, I can say with certainty that a relationship where nothing but diamond bracelets and gold watches are exchanged would pale in comparison to a relationship where nothing but letters and roses stolen from the neighbor's yard are exchanged. Not that you shouldn't be grateful for a diamond bracelet—you know what I mean.
This isn't true of just romantic relationships either. Since the people who love us the most—mom, dad, sister Sue, and aunt Veronica—tend to be the people we take for granted the most, it never hurts to send an unexpected reminder that you think the world of them. It will be more cherished than the NASCAR tie you bought your father for his birthday. I promise.
I am pleased to announce that of all the letter requests I've received on my Web site, love letters are the highest indemand. I expected apology letters to be number one or even breakup letters, but no, love letters conquer all. Admittedly, I was surprised yet ecstatic because it made me feel that all is well with the universe. There are plenty of people walking around in love and looking for new ways of saying old things.
When I first launched LetterLover.net I received an immediate outpouring of support from my family and friends. Though I think most of them thought, What is she doing? The first two considerate acknowledgements came from my cousin Jennifer and her husband, Graham. Thoughtful gestures come naturally to these two and they both touched base with me unaware that the other was doing so. Jennifer sent my Web link to her friends and colleagues and gave me their feedback. Meanwhile, Graham took on the much-appreciated responsibility of being my first customer by requesting an eighth-anniversary letter for his lovely wife.
Practicing on people I know was an ideal way for me to get my feet wet. It also helped that Jennifer is an easy person to write a love letter for, since she gives people no choice but to admire her. She attended Boston College with the intention of being an English teacher but changed her mind and made getting an MBA from Harvard Business School appear effortless. She then went on to be a full-force woman in Manhattan's old-boys-club financial world and somehow found time to bear three children (all boys!). On top of this she happens to be a knockout—a blue-eyed, wide smile, she-couldn't-possibly-have-three-children knockout. Upon receipt, Jennifer obviously knew I wrote the following letter. But she also knew that Graham wouldn't dispute any of it and appreciated, no doubt, his motion of support toward me.
The Love Letter
We went into this eight years ago knowing to expect the unexpected, and we certainly haven't been disappointed. As far as life's surprises go, I'm still amazed at the way you balance our marriage, your career, and loving our boys with beauty and grace. You've accomplished so much since we first met, and I'm so proud to have participated in your three greatest accomplishments with you. I'm even prouder to know that our sons are being raised by a bright, ambitious, and faithful woman who continues to set exceptional examples for them—mothering three kings is no small task.
On a more selfish note, being seen with a slender, beautiful woman on my arm never ever gets old. Thank you for embodying all things wonderful, and thank you for taking such good care of me. In other words, I love you. And, believe it or not, I love you more than I did when we first got married.
There's still so much left for us to do, but I thought you might like to know (or be reminded anyway) that I'm your biggest fan. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Happy Anniversary.
Your-not-so-secret admirer, husband, and friend, Graham
Imagine, if you will, a room—a gathering—of all your old flames. I mean all of them—Gina from the fourth grade, Chris the sophomore soccer player, and hot, handsome Joe from last night. Now, let the sheer terror of this situation roll off your back—it's just a daydream. Let's say that at some point you wrote love letters to all of them, and they are now going to stand in a circle and, one by one, read your letters aloud. My question is: Do your letters all say the same thing? Do you jump from relationship to relationship carrying with you the same compliments, same romantic turns of phrase, the same run-of-the-mill repertoire?
If you do, then don't. You've got a new and exciting person in front of you and they deserve new and exciting tokens of appreciation as unique as they are. Grant each person a version of your love that no one else will ever have access to. Even though things won't always work out, each relationship is significant and special in its own right and should be treated as such. Let this be reflected in your letters. So that if you ever did end up in the scary circle scenario it wouldn't be as awkward. With every letter read it would be clear that you noted and highlighted everyone's individual eccentricities. It would flatter them all to know they possess affections from you that no one else has ever or will ever receive.For the Love of Letters
A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing. Copyright © by Samara O'Shea. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
Samara O'Shea is the author of For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing as well as a blogger for The Huffington Post.
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I saw For The Love Of Letters by Samara O'Shea on a bookshelf from across the room and was immediately drawn to it, by the beauty of its cover design. Imagine my delight, when I discovered that the inside, equally beautiful, was also very entertaining! If you love history--if you write letters--or if you long to write letters but don't know how to start or what to say-- this book is for you. It's inviting and inclusive. Samara ¿chats¿ with you on the page as if you were sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. I am a life-long, letter writer and I find her straightforward steps refreshing and a great reminder for what to say when I am at a loss for words. It's warm, witty, charming, funny and most especially useful. I give this book my highest recommendation. Note: This book is not for the under 18 crowd. Chapter 1 contains a wonderfully sexy, section on erotic letters.
i enjoyed reading your book. very interesting, intellectually and emotionally absorbing, very well written, and nicely designed.
for me personally, it was very important, as i value the written word, and many times (past, present), i am criticized for this. so it gave me support.
i am looking forward to read your second book.
best wishes, opher