Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#184 Grades of Honor Book 3 (retro)

Grades of Honor, Book Three

If you have not done so, you may want to jump back to read the previous two blogs, since these three kinda go together. I get requests to talk about my books, so it seemed right to just blog about them individually so you can get some idea what I am talking about.

We’re talking about my “Grades of Honor” prison books, of which there are currently 3, but I am working on a fourth…but that is later.

I’ll get to that in a moment. I want to remind you guys to feel free to email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask about prison issues, or about my works. I am always looking for support so I can continue to write about prison issues.

And this isn’t easy, since I realize what I am up against. It is all to easy for anyone to point at a fallen man and blame him for all the problems of the world. Now, I know we all have to take blame in what we do, but that does not mean you discredit him or her from ever saying anything true.

Case in point, the NBA referees. Many of you know about how one ref got caught “fixing” games, and has said that he was not the only one. The Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, seems to be taking the “criminals can’t be right” avenue.

Reminds me of what a pastor said of me as I believe his quote was, “you can’t trust what a felon says”.

I am no sports writer (although I used to write sports on our college newspaper) but I really think Mr. Stern better be very, VERY careful in that kinda statement. It is very close to a borderline prejudice statement in that “there are no cheating in the NBA, only that convicted criminal was the only one, and you can’t believe anything he says”.

That…is VERY dangerous to think.

What he and the NBA seem to be doing it turning their back to this problem, hoping it goes away, and the “bad guys” just fade off. But even the “bad guys” can tell the truth once or twice.

Personally speaking, I strongly criticized why the San Antonio Spurs played the Lakers with a certain ref that was suspended the rest of last season for a VERY questionable technical foul on Tim Duncan (one of the calmest guys in the NBA) and tossing him out the game. The NBA looked at it, and found that the ref was gravely in error and kicked him out for the rest of the season. Now he comes back and officiates on what games…the Spurs vs. the Lakers?

You GOTTA be kidding me? And I am a Laker fan, but I wasn’t cool with that. We all know that the NBA wanted the Lakers in the finals because it gives them better ratings. The Spurs are a great team, but when they play in the finals, the ratings are at the lowest. Could this have been a set up?

Time will tell.

Anyway, David Stern should not play so ignorant and total in his words…they can come back to bite him. Just because the words came from a convicted felon, that does not mean he cannot speak the truth.

Ok, let’s talk about my third book.

The third book of “Grades of Honor” follow directly from the previous two. As you know, my first book covers the first 6 weeks in prison, and is about 77 pages long. It touches on the shock of prison, both mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The second book picks up immediately when I was transferred from the processing prison to my first “real” prison. I write about the next 3 months, and how after a fight with my heart and mind, things start to turn around for me.

The third book picks up on that. Remember, this takes place at a medium security prison in NC, actually in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. At the time of my third book, I had given up on a loving God; I still believed there was a God, but I certainly didn’t believe He loved me. Yet the great irony was that during this time, I was doing fairly well in prison, all things considered.

I don’t know what you may think on that, because it may be hard or you to understand what I mean. How can you feel ok while in prison? Most people think that every inmate at every prison is mad or stressed every hour of every day. Not exactly, although there is quite a bit of truth to that.

It is here, on my third book, that my strong desire to write starts to return. I had always loved writing, even during my 17 months in jail. But when I was sent to prison, I stopped writing. It was about this time, during my third book, that the urges to write were flooding back to me. And the reason why this was possible was because somehow, I was finding some peace while in prison. Otherwise I could not write.

It was here that I started writing a journal of my time in prison, allowing me to pull out some deep thoughts and put them on paper. It allowed me to kinda talk to myself and see where I stood. It also allowed me to question God on things I was not sure of. I mean, what’s it going to hurt? God knows my thoughts anyway, so why not write them down?

I want to share a part that is interesting to some of you. The following piece is actually a two part discussion, but I will try to cover both after you finish reading it. To start you off, this is about the prison library at Pasquotank Correctional:

The following is from “Grades of Honor” book 3:

Once inside you were patted down before checking out the books. I was on a time limit, so I had to be quick about anything I wanted to find. My first trip there I took the time to scan the area, looking for books of interest that I might be able to check into. My favorite section was the reference, because there was a wealth of knowledge sitting there. I was looking for addresses, any addresses so I could write to someone. Not pen pals, but professional addresses. Television stations, colleges and universities, government addresses, anything that gives me a chance to get information. Many of the inmates like looking for fiction books to read, which was ok, but with the time limit of about half an hour I had to scan fast. I usually took a sheet of paper with me, and a pen, so I could scribble any addresses I could find. I wasn’t that sure what I would use them for, but I wanted them handy. I would have loved to have found legal books, but such would not be the case in this prison. Surprisingly, this prison did have a pretty nice library, much better than I though I would find. I don’t think I noticed any guards in the library, but there were at least 2 or 3 people working in there who were not inmates. I saw one of the inmate librarians, who lived in our dorm. There were one, maybe two ladies that worked in the library, one was in charge of the prison circulation. When the time runs out for the inmates, we have to line up and have the officers pat us down before we leave. That touch by a female again was one of the highlights of the trip, although that was temporary; my greater goal was getting information that I might be able to use later.

Now in that short segment, there are actually more than two subjects that I can talk about, but I will just limit it to a couple. First, the library itself. It was important for me to share in this book about the library. I don’t know about many of you, but some of my early days as a kid were spent in a public library, and I have learned how much real information you can find in it. Not just fiction stuff, which is ok, but other things as well. As I said, I love writing, but during this time in my incarceration, I needed answers and I knew I was not going to get it from the prison. Most prisons no longer have law libraries which puts inmates at a terrible advantage of finding legal answers. States like NC abolished legal info in that venue and created a bogus organization that “supposedly” helps inmates in legal issues….

Uh…no. But that is another blog….

Anyway, the other issue is what happened at the end of that segment I shared with you…being patted down by a female. I read how so many women on prison support sites get all riled up about that. The fact of the matter is that women DO work in male prisons, and I am glad they do. Some of them do a good job, and can be more sympathetic to what an inmate needs. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some evil women working in prison, but that goes for guys too.

Lots of wives and girlfriends get that raised eyebrow when they hear about their man getting a pat down from a female officer or employee. They think it’s like some X-rated scene with the music and the blue lights and some scantily dressed woman running her fingers all down the inmate’s spine.

YOU’ve been watching too much tv.

Still, I also mentioned how some inmates feel about it. I could never see it any more than just a touch but to be honest, it was a good feeling. I don’t say that in a negative way, I say that as a human who just simply appreciated being touched by a person of the opposite sex. I read nothing more into it…although my flesh would have wanted to. But inside of 5 seconds or so it was over, and I was back to focusing on prison life.

Throughout my third book, I find myself slowly changing even more. I had found some level of peace and actually was feeling pretty good about where I was, even though I had the reoccurring problems of my failure in life. It is ironic that these good tidings were coming when I had distanced myself from God. I share a lot of this in my book, and started writing poems as well. One or two I share in the third book. The overall feeling in this book was one where I was perhaps blindly finding faith that things could get better.

That book is 107 pages long, and I have it bound like the previous two, as well as adding some free items. The price is the same too. The actual time of this book takes about 2 or 3 months, because some other issues were about to happen, and I could not start that near the end of the 3rd book. It meant I had to start a new book, Grades of Honor part 4.

Anyway, email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask about that and other things. Gotta fly.

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