Raised in the outskirts of Boston, Sam discovered solace in the profound words of Henry David Thoreau. Sam’s life was enriched by the philosophical musings of Thoreau and those whom he influenced, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. Guided by Thoreau’s perspectives on civil disobedience, Sam was inspired to resist glaring and significant injustices, but only as a final recourse and without disrupting the entire legal system. Even in the modern era, Sam appreciates the enduring relevance of Thoreau’s insights on freedom.
In his adulthood, Sam reconnected with Walt Whitman’s poetry, finding comfort and joy within his verses. The saying, “Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won,” from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, brightened Sam’s darker days. Whitman’s passion for freedom, individuality, divinity, and nature resonated with Sam throughout his existence. The unexpected publishing of Life and Adventures of Jack Engle by the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review in 2017 was a delightful surprise that Sam relished.
While residing in Florida, Sam reacquainted himself with the mesmerizing prose of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s quote, “In order to write about life first you must live it,” encapsulates his life, one filled with unending exploits. To Sam, living a comparatively “ordinary” life, Hemingway’s narratives infused his daily existence with a sense of adventure. From The Sun Also Rises to The Dangerous Summer, Hemingway’s works provided Sam an escapade in print.
Ever since participating in an elementary school staging of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Sam was intrigued and wished to delve deeper into the author’s life and works. Even over a century post his death, Twain’s influence is palpable in American literature and culture. Hemingway once said, “All modern American literature comes from a book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” which illustrates Twain’s relaxed style’s deep impact on American writers. Twain’s timeless humor continues to tickle even today’s most skeptical readers. Quotes like, “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest,” provide Sam guidance in his personal and professional endeavors.