I believe that everyone’s life story is worth telling. I help you tell yours in a way that honors, encourages, and inspires you as a writer, and your readers.
From birth, I was destined for a path of listening to and preserving stories. For as far back as I can remember, I sat at the feet of wise and witty elders. My parents revealed my path to me in different ways. My mother often took me to the nursing home where she worked, and I’d toddle into the rooms and wait for people to tell me stories. I heard some doozies!
My father taught me by example that showing genuine curiosity in others got them talking about the things that mattered most to them. He may have had only an elementary education, but Dad knew the hearts of men and women. Everyone adored him for his generous friendship.
My parents were older, and I was privy to the banter of their many visiting friends. Their voices filled my childhood with captivating tales of adventure, heartache, and inspiration. During dinner and cocktail parties in our home I witnessed the importance of sharing one’s own story with caring others, and what it felt like to be accepted despite your shortcomings. I was an observant and empathetic child; a perfect skillset for a budding guide and memoirist.
Why I do what I do
I love to see the light go on inside a person when they share their story out loud, or hold their memoir book in their hands for the first time.
I call this experience memoir magic and I am privileged to see it all the time.
What it’s like to work with me
Some people say I’m like a glass of Prosecco: Full of bubbly cheer and able to draw out your best stories. We’ll chat like old friends, even if we met just moments ago.
No matter how we work together, one-on-one in my writing workshops or retreats, or as I bring your manuscript to the world through my publishing imprint, I will be your partner in giving voice to your life story. I help make the process less overwhelming than trying to write alone.
If your story has some difficult aspects, I help wrangle your fear.
If you lack confidence, I am your cheerleader.
Not everyone needs the same kind of support through their writing journey, but it’s likely I’ve got experience with whatever you need. I’ve got your back. I'm not a therapist but I am a healer of the soul through writing and my students find working with me to be meaningful and deeply curative.
I am also a great secret-keeper. When we work together, confidentiality is paramount for me and everyone on my team. What happens at The Cheerful Word stays at The Cheerful Word.
Why do I write?
I love the freedom writing gives me. Freedom to heal from the cacophony of the world within and without. Freedom to express my silly or serious take on what I see around me, or reflecting on things I care deeply about.
I couldn’t always write, so I cherish the gift that it is for me today.
As a child, I attended classes for “special children” through third or fourth grade because I could not read or write at the same pace as my peers. I was removed from my regular classroom for about half the school year and placed with others who were also “slow” or “mentally retarded.” I had no idea what that meant then, I only knew I was getting the remedial help I needed. I continued to be a slow reader and writer throughout my elementary education, though writing felt expressive and personal to me. My scholastic confidence took a real beating in my freshman year of college when my creative writing teacher failed me in the only course I loved.
While on probation for failing grades across the board, in my sophomore year I took a public speaking course in desperate hopes of changing my major and staying in school. Through that course, I not only overcame the fear of hearing my own voice (I was pee-your-pants shy my whole life), but learned to write and speak persuasively, from the heart. That one teacher lit a fire in me that has never gone out.
It is my intent to light that same fire of courage and possibility in you.
Writing was therapy I could rely upon anytime. And hilarious memories, had I not written them down, might have been lost to the folds of my gray matter, pressed together and forgotten like so many linens at the bottom of a cedar chest.
Today, I harness my love for words and the lessons I learned to help you write and share your life stories, to honor, encourage, adn inspire not only yourself, but maybe someone else.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know a bit about me. Drop me a line, I’m here for you.
Sam is author of How to Survive Dying, A Journal of Hope for Family Caregivers. Her writing also appears in the book From Surviving to Thriving by Dr. Amy D’Aprix, an author known for her numerous articles on elders and caregiving. Sam’s career has included managing a staff of medical editors, serving as a consultant designing and managing training and development departments, and co-owning a successful technical writing and public relations firm in Buffalo, NY. She maintains a home in Hendersonville, North Carolina with her husband, Fred. She is enjoying the Bavarian countryside of Germany while he works as a civilian for the United States Army.
The mission of The Cheerful Word is to honor, encourage, and inspire individuals and their families by preserving their legacies and connecting their stories across the generations.