On one visit home from college, Hastings High School graduate Sam Shepherd found an old notebook with four poems written inside.
Over the course of a week, Shepherd supplemented the original four poems with 24 others, completing what became his second self-published book, “Breaking Point.”
Shepherd published his first book “Complex Mind” in August with his book of poetry coming roughly one month later.
A third-year student at University of Minnesota-Duluth, Shepherd began to realize his worldview had changed. There was no singular moment, he said, but as his experiences broadened, his mind went along for the ride.
"I just want to be able to create positive change and empower people to do, to be more positive and change as well,” he said. “I mean, that's something that's really important, especially in today's world where we aren't always making change for the better."
Shepherd said his books are focused on accepting one’s true self as well as accepting others.
"We can't all be ignorant to each other. That's not going to get us anywhere as a society, not just as a government matter, but in general."
He found that to be true for himself as well.
"This book was kind of that piece for me where I was just kind of trying to share my mind with other people," he said. "Just writing this book helped me believe in myself more."
At times, Shepherd said he got emotional while writing as he realized the lasting impact of past actions, both good and bad. At times, the words simply flowed.
"I think one thing with my writing is, for me, writing comes down to, comes to creativity and rhythm," Shepherd explained. "So, the rhythm aspect for me, once I'm in that mindset of being creative I can just write and think things differently and I can write those down."
The further he got into his writing the more Shepherd began to realize he was working to process the change happening within himself as much as anything.
"I think that's part of the process, too, was just being motivated to have other people understand me better," he said, but emphasized that his books are relatable regardless of whether you know him. "We're all human. We all have complexities and we all have simplicities and some people show them in one way or another."
Ultimately, Shepherd hopes the short, concise chapters in the 173-page “Complex Mind” along with the 28 poems in “Breaking Point” expand the minds of his readers.
“That’s what books are for in the first place, is to be eye-opening and I think this book especially does a good job with that,” he said of his first book.
Shepherd told a few friends he had a book in the works and told his family the night before he self-published on Amazon.
"I just wanted it to be out and then explain it," he said, adding he wanted to establish himself as an author before he talked about the book.
Shepherd is a double-major in political science and criminology at college. He said he doesn’t entirely know what he’ll do once he graduates, but he wants to serve others and gain a better understanding of people in general.
In the meantime, he said he has plans for more books and he has a book signing scheduled in Hastings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Hastings Golf Club, 2015 Westview Drive.