Samuel O. Campbell, 35, has had an upbringing in Jersey City that many raised in its disenfranchised areas can relate to. It’s rare to read about in the words of someone who lived it.
As Campbell writes of his youth in his book “Psalms of Samuel,” which he recently self-published:
… Even with the city’s help and support, my mother continued to struggle to keep food on the table, clothes on our back or maintain the bills. The apartments we always moved into was filled junkies and alcoholics and I was exposed to that lifestyle daily. Coming from school, the park or bible study; having to walk past people drinking beer, alcohol, cigarettes etc. You can only wonder how long before I fall into the lifestyle if not strong enough to overcome it.
In 2015, Campbell became a licensed contractor and started his own business.
For Campbell, whose other creative pursuits also include music, “Psalms of Samuel” began with a dream he had about writing the book in 2006. He started work on “Psalms of Samuel” in 2008 but stopped a while afterward.
“Next thing you know years done past without me even thinking about it,” Campbell said.
Campbell’s book, which describes how he and the people in the book got through some very hard times, was important enough that he got to work again this year – the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
That timing is coincidental.
In many places, hard times not helped by economic instability and a lack of infrastructure have sprung up, again and again, well before the current climate.
When it comes to the events Campbell portrays in his book, he’s not trying to be judgmental.
“The book is an inspirational book because … it gives you a better understanding of how you view things in people,” Campbell said. “… You can get to a stage and know things. You never know how things are going to turn out. You can be very well (not) the same person (you once were, but, you had) to go through what you had to go through to become that person.”
Campbell has been working on someone else’s payroll since he had a child. But he’s looking forward to restarting his own business again, all the while nurturing high hopes for “Psalms of Samuel.”
“I’m trying to turn it into a movie,” Campbell said. “I want people to see exactly what’s going on, because things that I have experienced – there are a lot of people that dealt with the same thing. And I want to always encourage people. You still have to fight that good fight, even though things may come your way and it might not seem like things won’t work out for you. Just never give up.”
“Psalms of Samuel” is $20 for the paperback copy and $12.99 for the electronic copy. It can be purchased at www.weprintbook.com, where a link to a song Campbell created based on his book can also be listened to. People with questions can connect with Campbell at https://www.facebook.com/PsamlsofSamuel.
In honor of his late older brother, Lamar F. Campbell, a generous portion of the proceeds of “Psalms of Samuel” will go to the Hackensack University Cancer Research Center, Campbell said.