Friday, February 12, 2010

#22 Prison Writing Today

Prison Writing Today

Well, today is Friday, and the Winter Olympics begins, as well as the NBA All Star Break, and lots of other sports. Good time to be a sports fan I suppose….of which I am.

Today we are expecting snow, in fact about 2 to 4 inches today, and maybe another inch tomorrow, so I am kinda excited. But at it is just after 9:30, I am going to wait until 10am before I call the city to see why they can’t come pick up these tree parts that are in our yard. I told you guys about that situation in my last blog, how we moved a fallen pine tree out of the street, clearing it for any vehicles coming down our street. But the city picked up only the tree debris on the other side of the street because they say that they are not obligated to pick up debris if it is between trees, since their equipment can’t maneuver between them.

That sounds somewhat legit, but I have numerous problems with that. First, the trees they are talking about are about 10 feet apart from each other, and they line the front yard of our house. Second, we did not plant those trees, we are renting the home, and third, by city policy, any tree 1-3 feet from the curb of a street is considered city property and it is lawful to cut down any trees in such an area. To me, the city has an obligation to pick up the rest of that debris….or would they rather us just push it all back in the street?

Anyway, after I finish this blog, I will call the city to see what they will do.

I was checking my emails and blogs to see what caught the reader’s eye, and I noticed on one of my blogs that the blog about PTO was interesting. If you missed it, I shared a retro blog about people who have ungodly post counts on PTO, which I believe is plain silly. You go to a site like that and see people with 5 digit post counts, which is absolutely foolish.

I say these things because I used to write for PTO, or Prison Talk Online, and was once asked to become a moderator, of which I declined. But things have gotten quite bitter between me and the site, as so called moderators would read my blogs and make anonymous comments like cowards, and the owner of the site sending email with profanity. Its funny though, when I was writing for them back about 2002 to about 2005, my blogs were often the most read and commented on, because I spoke as a person with experience, not as somebody trying to drum up 100 post counts a day or trying to act like they knew everything.

Remember folks, when I started this blog, I pointed out 4 major angles for my prison writing. One was my angle of what prison was like while I was in it. The second was the genre of people with loved ones in prison. The third was my angle of life after prison, and how I am dealing with it. The fourth was the angle of prison support sites, and whether they are helping others or just “playing church”.

Do you know what I mean by that, “playing church”. It’s a comparison of people who on the outside seem to be trying to help others, but deep down, its about money, respect and authority. Many prison support sites do this, and about 5 years ago there were many different prison support sites, many have fallen away for one reason or another. I ought to know, I wrote for many of them.

As I mentioned in that blog about those post counts, I challenge anybody who is a member of such sites to go check on who is commenting on your posts, or who is on the site. For example, go to a post you wrote and see who commented. Look specifically at not just who, but HOW MANY posts those people have. When you find one that has over 10,000 posts, stop and think to yourself, “is this person sincere”?

There are ways you can check on this.

First, see when they joined the site. You can get a pretty accurate count by average of how many posts that person had to put up per day to get to that huge number. And I gotta tell ya, if it is more than 2 a day, that is a problem. Heck, I write a lot, but most times I put one blog post up a day.

Second, check that person’s posts to see what they are REALLY saying. If you find a bunch of one, two or 3 liner posts, that is a problem. If you find a lot of “hi and welcome to PTO”, that is a problem. Anybody can be heartless and share an empty thought, it takes no effort and you can rack up the numbers really fast.

Third, look to see how many posts they actually started. This is critical because it really tells you if this person has initiative, or just following the crowd. Anybody can jump on other people’s posts, but it takes sincerity to start your own. If you find that most if not all of these posts are tagged on somebody else’s post, that is a problem.

Fourth, look to see how many of those original posts are taken from other sites. Many people like to grab prison-related stories from another site and copy the link on their post. Folks, to me this takes no effort at all and is no different than stealing somebody else’s story. Now the exception is if the person shares the link but then follows up with a decent chat about the article. But if they are not doing that, then they are taking the cheap way out.

I guarantee you, if you check those four factors, you will find out that a lot of people with those ungodly post counts are not very sincere with your situation…or anybody else’s.

Also, I found that there are people that are curious about my past writings, I suppose there are new readers, which is exciting. People have tried to google “Nolaw97” to see what I have written. Cool. From what I understand, PTO changed my name on the site to “retired” because they didn’t want anybody to associate my writings with me. Kinda cowardly because they will keep the posts I wrote so that nobody loses any of their precious post counts.

But if you are curious about me, I won’t bite, I do welcome pleasant emails. As you know, I recently had to do a system recovery, so I lost a lot of original material that was on my computer, but I still have much that was stored. I am more than happy to share past blogs and posts if it will help you out.

I really want you to understand my sincerity here, I want a chance to win you over by what I write, give me a chance by reading my blogs and posts, and decide for yourself what I am about. I can’t make you like me, nor would I really want to do that. My goal through these blogs is to get you to trust me enough to read my sincerity. I mean, you came here looking for help, then let me try to help you. I’m not gonna email you asking you to send me money, but what I AM trying to do is generate an income by writing about prison issues. My goal is to earn some money to buy a new computer, then I can get back to printing cards, prison encouragement certificates and more. If I can generate a living doing that, then it works out where I can blog, help others, write on prison issues and have a life, while maybe saving someone else’s.

I don’t expect any first time reader to buy that, which is why I blog. When you read my works, you will see my ups and downs. I never said I could stay happy every day, sometimes life itself for an ex felon is pure hell…then it gets worse. But there are times where I am foolish enough to believe that sooner or later, things have just GOT to turn in my favor. It just has to, for no other reason than it just has to.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether on my blog or some other prison support site. I cannot guarantee that I can answer every question, and I certainly cannot speak for every ex felon or inmate, but I will do my best to try.

Well, anyway, I better go, it is 10am, time to see what the city will do about this broken tree. Until then…..

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