Thursday, February 25, 2010

#63 New readers to my prison blog

New readers to my prison blog

Right now I am kinda filled with a little bit of optimism, based on a couple of emails I got just recently. I have been trying to do everything I can to encourage readers to email me, make a nice comment or ask me about my works, and it has been very slow sailing. But the last hour or two has been a bit enlightening.

I got three emails, oddly inside of the last 4 hours or so, from a few people interested in what I am trying to do. One of them came from a reader that has been following my blogs over the last 4 years, and it had been awhile since I heard from her. She has a husband in prison, and she contacted me years ago about a situation where her loved one was having trouble getting a transfer. Since then she had been a pretty cool follower of my blogs, and a couple of times supported me when I was down.

She told me she still goes to Prison Talk Online, but she said that it just isn’t the same without people that has been behind the walls. Most of what she reads is from people getting second hand info, or people validating their comments by saying, ‘my boyfriend told me” or something to that effect.

She told me she wanted to save all my blogs, because there are many, but she found that I had pulled them all offline. I seem to do that often folks, when I get frustrated and things just ain’t going nowhere, I stop blogging and I pull every post offline. She asked how many blogs would I be reposting.

I’ll post as much as I can, although I like the challenge of writing new blogs instead of reposting older ones. The reason why I am doing it now is because since I have restarted my blogs, I need to give new readers something to follow. I think at this moment, I am have just over 60 blogs out here, but many are retro blogs. I am trying to get YOU, the reader, to participate by getting in touch with me, so I can write new blogs based on what YOU need to hear.

I am glad this lady is reading my blogs again, she has been very nice to be in the past. I had blogged once about a problem I had, and a week or so later she sent me a nice card with $10 in it, and a note, “don’t give up, we need you to keep blogging”. You cannot know how moving it was to hear that what you try to do is important.

Life is a lot like that folks, when you try to do your best to help, there might be 99 people that take for granted what you do, but its that one person who thought more of you to encourage you. Consider folks, how many guys that have done time just since 2001, when I got out? How many are blogging or sharing prison experiences for others to learn from? Not too many, not that I am implying myself any better than them. I suppose if I had my life back and in control, I might not be blogging either.

A second email came from a new reader, of about 2 weeks, and she is a mother of a son doing life. She said she found my blog by doing a search and wound up checking out my blog. She said she was trying to find out what to do when her son may never set foot outside of a prison again. She explained some of what happened, but I never want to know the details of a man’s sin. Not my place to know because it tempts a person to judge. Lots of people will never learn that, because it seems to be some kinda demonic nature of man to look for weak spots in a fellow human, and exploit them. Lots of times I feel like my freedom from prison only opened the door to daily persecution for my past. I know what it is like to be continually judged, regardless of what you do, so I don’t ask people to tell me the story of why their loved one is in prison. Let’s just skip all that, and start from how you feel about him or her being in prison, and work from there.

That’s not in insult to her or anyone else, I think sometimes when a person emails me in great sorrow, fear or stress, it is natural to try to spell out the details of their situation. I understand that, so I don’t argue against it. But if you email me, please don’t tell me any private info about you or your loved one. You can certainly share general info, stuff that the average person in prison genre would know, but don’t tell me his whole name, his prison number, and stuff like that. And PLEASE, don’t tell me his charge, again it is not my place to judge anyone because I have been there.

Anyway, this nice lady asked me how I made it through prison, and what kinda advice I could give her to give him. The trick here is that in all honesty, she can’t give him any tips, even if I told her. In his situation, he has to live it as he goes, kinda like on the job training. She can’t see what he is going through, so she can’t tell him how to live it. That’s tough, but get this…that does not mean she can’t encourage him.

I wrote her back telling her some things about how she, as a mother, can stay in faith, stay in health and stay encouraged. No doubt she is in for a long journey, and she asked if I would be blogging long enough for her to get her strength back. She said she spent a night reading my older blogs, and wondered what else I had to share…

Well now, are you truly ready for all the stuff I have written? I mean, we’re not talking about a couple hundred pages. I write a LOT! I actually wrote that with a smile back to her, because I know what I can do, she is not fully aware of how much I am willing to write. But when she emailed me back, she told me she was more than ready to follow my blogs as best she can, and I encouraged her to ask questions if she had them, because although I love writing, it makes me feel better if I know I am writing a blog that specifically answers a reader’s question.

The third blog I got was from another mom who asked me about my prison cards and prison encouragement certificates. She asked if I had any to send her, so she could send to her son. Sadly, I told her that at the moment I didn’t, because my computer’s cd drive is broken, and because of that I can’t use my print software to create anything. And to make it worse, because I did a system recovery two weeks ago, I have to…in some way, reinstall those programs to even get started again. Until I get a new computer, it might take awhile.

She emailed me back and asked how much would a computer would cost, one that I could use. I have not gone window shopping for a computer, since to me its as much a dream as getting a free trip to Hawaii, but I mentioned to her that I suppose if one goes to Staples or Wal-Mart, one could get a decent computer for maybe $400.

I wrote that back to her while thinking, “would she buy me one?” I mean, I used to get donations from readers, but would she really consider buying me a computer? Stranger things have happened through my blogs. I know she is reading this, so I say that with a smile….

If she does, great, if not, that is cool, hopefully I can get enough support to buy a new one, and get back on track to where I was about 2 years ago. But it was most encouraging that little by little, people are starting to come out and ask me things, to encourage me, and to ask about issues I can blog about.

So again I say to you, if you are curious about it, email me, get in touch, ask me to talk about a prison issue. If you want to support me, feel free to do so only after I have convinced you that I am really trying to do my best to help. The next blog I write could be based directly on what YOU asked me. Until then…

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