Sam sammed his way through life, samming out of a loving relationship with his dad, samming his studies in school hard, his teachers urging him to sam less for the sake his education, for the sake of others’ concentration levels, but samming was all he knew, samming was the sanctuary, he inhabited his samness like it was his pelt, a layer between the world and Sam, just a sliver, but enough to remain samintact, his mother suggested he sam in his mind, it was something people did the world over, he could sam all he liked there, samming was meant for there, it was called mindsamming, but Sam said no, he was Sam, and he was going to sam like he’d been samming all this time, Sams sammed, it was in their chemical makeup, kept them ticking, his mother didn’t know because she couldn’t sam, she’d lost the ability after her second pregnancy, the moment Sam became Sam, the moment the door slammed and out came Sam, gone, at least sam a little less, she said, at least look at me, Sam, but the problem with samming is the more you sam the more you want to sam, it’s a snowball of sam, it’s a never ending torrent of sam, it’s a samgrandslam.  


  1. sara lippmann

    HELL, Yes. This language. How you carry us through the grammar with clear logic, it’s absolutely exhilarating and refreshing and makes perfect intrinsic sense to this story — does not feel remotely forced or overlaid. I love the unfolding of sam, how it twists, the playfulness and the profundity, the emotion: “his teachers urging him to sam less for the sake his education — yet, samming was the sanctuary — I feel like this is a story is rally cry for every person who has ever been told they are too much, to tone it down, keep it together, etc.. you’ve gone and delivered a torrent of sam, the rhythm and language irresistible, the result riotous and brilliant.

    • Jonathan Cardew


      Thanks so much! Glad you mentioned that it didn’t feel forced or overly conceptual, which is often the worry when messing with language norms or structures.

      Thanks for giving us permission to play this weekend–so liberating to remember that language is PLAY and in flux all the time.


  2. Trent

    Cool use of seamless slipping into words, Jonathan –
    makes me think of “The Shining” a bit, as though Sam is a kind of otherworldly gift.

    Neat too, that the name is connected to Samhain with the first portion of the word….

    • Jonathan Cardew


      Ha, the Shining comparison is interesting, I really like that reading!

      Many thanks for your comments!


  3. Randal Houle

    Its a samgrandslam! This was great on so many levels. And Im not completely certain, but is this all one sentence, if so the comma splices I think worked their magic, because I would have to check, but my eyes this hour and my glasses more than an arm’s reach, at least there’s bourbon. Cheers!

    • Jonathan Cardew

      Cheers to Bourbon! Yes, comma splices all the way, baby (which I always shy away from, but felt liberating this time).

  4. David O'Connor

    Sam-i-licious–not only does turning this name into a verb work like an onomatopoeic charm but the story under the s(l)amming text tells a whole life. I’d love to hear this set to music. Sam-dunk!

    • Jonathan Cardew

      Ha, thanks David! Haven’t read this one out loud yet, but I think it’ll be a fun one to hear!


  5. Nancy Bauer-King

    Love this! I kept waiting for the word “slam” and there it was! I grinned throughout. Thank You.

    • Todd Clay Stuart

      Jonathan, this is so damn inventive! I love how you invent all these Sam-centric words, an entirely new language. And it all works, it all makes perfect sense. The samgrandslam might be a touch too cute and expected at the end, but, hey, that’s just nitpicking. I mean this is a godsam delight!

  6. April Bradley

    This is marvelous. I keep waiting for a very serious, Sam I am! Jonathan, this is an anthem. I love what you do here with language and grammar. It’s beautiful.

  7. Meg Tuite

    Jonathan! I laughed through the entire story! This is great. I love that Mom and others try to take some of the Samness out, but Sam is Sam! It’s all he knows. This is brilliant! I hope you send her out! LOVE!

  8. Jenn Rossmann

    I love this so much Jonathan! Love the samming and samplay and samalamadingdong, and love that you’re making us so joyful while describing something poignant — the poor Sams of the world who must tone down their samness for the sake of all the unsams. Thanks so much for this.

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