Monday, February 22, 2010

#59 Creative Prison Writing

Creative Prison Writing

I will try to keep this blog a little short today, I currently have a headache…likely a migraine. Its kinda hard to really know the difference because I have had headaches since I was in the 4th or 5th grade. You kinda just learn to deal with it best you can. But I kinda felt it coming on last night and wondered if I should take something before I went to bed. I opted not, and this morning wish I had.

For that reason I will try not to blog too much today, but I wanted to talk for a minute about creative prison writing. I mentioned to you a few blogs back that I was writing a short story called “Defending Job”. This is one of many projects I will be doing on the blog, which allows me to write original short stories with prison themes, so that I can kinda put more “color” in what I talk about.

Its no problem for me to write a blog about prison canteen, or prison showers or prison food or the grievance procedure, anybody that asks me about it I will share. Its kinda funny sometimes because a lot of you reading this think that I might not answer your question, but I smile when I get an email from a person who says to me, “I never thought you would take the time to answer MY question, thank you so much”.

Folks, I can’t be more sincere than that. If you ask me to talk about something prison related, I will try my best to help you by talking about it. Its not like I got 100,000 people emailing me or asking questions (yet). I mean what I say, if you are troubled about a prison issue, and if I have the experience to answer it, I will give it my best shot. So again to those reading, don’t be afraid to ask me. For what it’s worth, I am here to help.

Now, as I said, I can easily write tons of blogs, or even go back and share past blogs, as you see in what I call “retro” blogs. These are blogs I wrote in the past that I am sharing again for new readers. I have hundreds of those folks. But I also take time to write short stories for some of my readers, because it allows me to be a little more creative in sharing what an inmate or ex felon goes through.

I have always loved writing, I think when I was in the 5th grade, I used to write short stories, and then make a cover with construction paper as the front and back, and share it with other students in the class. Now obviously a 5th grade story probably left a lot to be desired, but I enjoyed it. From then to college, I always wanted to write short stories or plays or movies, so I practiced it from time to time. While in college I started writing poems because so many contests in literary magazines were for poets (also note, a lot of SCAMS too). But overall I really wanted to write short stories.

When I went to prison, writing was perhaps the thing that helped me get through those tough times. When I was in jail, I remember writing a Halloween short story with a juvenile. I think I wrote over 100 pages of it, and it actually got passed around the jail. I remember going out on the yard once, and one guy I didn’t know asked if I wrote that story, and told me how much he enjoyed it.

When I was in prison, I wrote poems and a few short stories, because it kept my mind off the current condemnation. After I got out of prison, life was not as simple as getting back on track and getting on with life. With lots of let downs, much of which I have shared on older blogs in the past, I found that writing was a sort of therapy…maybe the reason I blog the way I do. But creative writing seemed to allow me to say more the things that I might have said in a blog…but in a more colorful way.

In the future, I will be sharing creating writing stories with prison themes on my blogspot page, and the first one I will share is a new one called “Defending Job”. This one is a short story where I want to explore questions an inmate might have about faith. As the title suggests, the story will do what a lot of people don’t do…take Job’s side in what happened. If you know the story of Job in the Bible, you know how his life was turned upside down and how at the end he was given double what he originally had. I have read in the past how there are at least two sides to this issue.

On one side, some theologians believe that this part of the Bible explains the Sovereign Right of God, to do what He pleases to anyone. Others say that it is an example of how fear gives the devil the ability to bring calamity in our lives, and that while it might appear that God was responsible, the ultimate responsibility was man’s decision.

My short story will take place in prison, and challenge the ideas from the eyes of society’s condemned people…inmates. I am not trying to say that it is award winning, but what it will allow me to do is speak through the genre of prison about what some inmates may believe. I’ve already been writing on it, and I may post it sometime this week.

Just the other day I was going through some of my older blogs…retro if you will, and I found another short story that I will be sharing in the future. I wrote it awhile back and it is a 17 page story about an ex felon trying to get his life back on track, and failing along the way. A lot of it is personally adapted, some of course is fictional, but if you know my blogs, you can guess which parts are real or not.

The short story addresses the hypocrisy of how society wants ex felons to be perfect in every way, but at the same time won’t support them in what they do. One of the perfect examples was based on my experiences from Prison Talk Online, and many other prison support sites. So many people want ex felons to help them solve their problems about their loved ones in prison, but when those same people try to do something such as even talk about a book they wrote, they are swept under the rug by the very people they just helped.

These short stories, and many others, are things I want to share with you in time, as I also want to continue to write more. If I can ever get a new computer, I want to start printing those and sending those out, along with many other things I have worked on in the past. So look for those, or email me about it. And again, feel free to ask me about prison issues…the next blog I write might be based on what you asked me. Until then…

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