After earning Journalism and Creative Writing degrees from San Francisco State University I worked construction and only returned to writing in retirement. It seemed a sensible life plan, to use the body while young and the mind when older.
In August 2017 my one-page story “Cats With Benefits” arrived in bookstores nationwide in an anthology called The Cat Really Did That? The publisher is Chicken Soup for the Soul, a company that encourages pet adoptions and markets a line of pet foods. I was pleased to learn it donates a portion of book profits to American-Humane.
More from Sam
Rumi advised, “Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah; it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.” So for two years I sent two things a month to major, national magazines. It was time now in retirement to see if various jottings I had done all my life were indeed publishable. This meant polishing rough drafts and learning what type of story different magazines wanted. Each month I got back little notes called rejection slips that basically said, “Not quite what we want.” These rejection slips stung of course, but I kept rewriting and submitting twice a month per my schedule. What joy, then, when one little story was finally accepted, and I was paid two hundred dollars and ten author copies of the book it appeared in. Finally I felt like a real writer and professional author, and tax collectors agree.
My poem titled “Sylvia Plath” has upset some Plath fans unaware of its origin and intent. It felt dictated by her in voice and sly wit when arriving right after I read her Collected Poems during a flight to China. Sylvia mocked her periodic suicide attempts until she succeeded, marking her a poor role model in life however admirable in writing, akin to Hemingway. My poem’s aim is to offset the guilt and confusion that usually burdens survivors — What more should we have done? — by blaming the suicides as quitters. First bold printing was by Wingless Dreamer in Diversity: There’s a beauty in that too.
cooked her book
in the oven
nook poor lass
but what a gas!
I’m white toast!
from the bake
in that ode to not explode
maybe as Jew
anew or Peggy
Sue with screw you
Hope she recalls
each birthday candle
and you’re snuffed
Title: Holes in Our Hearts: An Anthology of New Mexican Military Related Stories and Poetry
Publisher: Independently published (May 29, 2023)
This collection of prose and poetry was gathered and created by SouthWest Writers and funded through a grant from the State of New Mexico Arts Agency. These stories were written and contributed by New Mexican Veterans, their family members and caregivers including: Rosa Armijo-Pemble, Joseph Badal, Rebecca Black, Steve Borbas, E. Joe Brown, Laurel Burnett, Sherri Burr, Ivan Calhoun, John J. Candelaria, Judy Castleberry, Brenda Cole, Brinn Colenda, Joshua Colenda, Mark Fleisher, Paul David Gonzales, Linda G. Harris, M. Elder Hays, A. Michael Hibner, Carl Hitchens, KE Hopkins, James Houston and Molly Houston, Carol Kreis, Caroline A. LeBlanc, Jacqueline Murray Loring, Butch Maki, Elaine Carson Montague, Sam Moorman, Evelyn Neil, Thomas Neiman, C.L. Nemeth, Paula Nixon, Harper O’Connor, Jeffrey Otis, Donna Pedace, W. Howard Plunkett, Léonie Rosenstiel, Earl W. Rugen, Lynne Sebastian, Barb Simmons, Ted Spitzmiller, Dale Swetnam, Jasmine Tritten, Jim Tritten, Lawrence Trujillo, Vicki Turpen, KL Wagoner, Regina Washington, Dan Wetmore, Ben White, Josephine White, J. Allen Whitt, Circe Olson Woessner, Norbert Wood, Kay Yoest.
Available for Sale
Title: Diversity: There’s a beauty in that too
Published: January 5, 2021
Unity lies in diversity as seen through this poetry collection by Wingless Dreamer. We have selected the best poems by modern poets from countries all around the world such as Maldives, India, the USA, UK, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Russia, Germany, Canada, and South Africa among others. With the help of this book, Wingless Dreamer wants to promote and celebrate different cultures and their differences and encourage unity, compassion and understanding.
Available for Sale
“Cats With Benefits”
Title: The Cat Really Did That?
Sub-title: 101 Stories of Miracles, Mischief, and Magical Moments
Publisher: Chicken Soup for the Soul (2017)
Our cats make us smile every day, but some days they really outdo themselves! This book is full of those hilarious and heartwarming stories about the many ways our mischievous feline friends surprise us, make us laugh, and touch our hearts.
With a focus on rescue cats, these 101 true, personal stories will make you laugh, nod your head in recognition, and sometimes tear up a little. Royalties from the book go to American Humane, one of the organizations that Chicken Soup for the Soul supports in its broad program to help care for shelter animals and promote adoption.