#125 Sunsets in Prison (new)

April 2, 2010 at 4:16 am Leave a comment

Sunsets in Prison

I was pretty busy last night and today with these blogs. For those of you that read my blogs regularly, you notice I put up a ton of retro blogs, this was to try to help a number of new readers that emailed me about prison issues. It’s cool to see that I am gaining steam with my writings.

And several of the emails were asking me about my encouragement certificates and prison cards. Because many of those retro blogs were older, lots of you should know that I may have to redo all my projects, except my books.

I had numerous print projects on prison issues on my computer, but when I had to do a system recovery, because of a virus, I lost it all, and didn’t have a chance to save it to a disc. I lost a lot of original work, so now I have to start all over. It really sucks when that happens, but what can I do?

But in light of several people asking about my works and projects, I figured, why not start tonight? So I did. The first project I did was to create a kinda package for those with loved ones in prison. The first one is called my Sunset Package…let me explain:

When I was in prison, sunsets were very rare. This is because for most prisons, inmates are not allowed to be outside after dusk. The reason was obvious, you can’t have a yard full of inmates when it gets dark…some might try to escape. So most yards close before dusk. For this reason, it is extremely rare for inmates to be outside to see the sunset.

In reality I didn’t think much about sunsets anyway, since even when I was home I rarely saw it. Think about it, to actually see a nice sunset, you need to be in a place where you can see the horizon…this excludes most neighborhoods. But when I was in college, I remember seeing a few, and thinking how beautiful it was.

But in prison, many times you are in a location where there is a lot of flat land…and thus a horizon. Not every prison is like this I know but of the prisons I was at, one could see the sunset at Craven, Pasquotank, sometimes at Tyrrell and I think Dan River.

In fact, my first book of “Grades of Honor” mentions this on my very first day in prison. The sunset looked so nice, but in light of my current situation, I felt horrible. Over the course of my incarceration, I was able to see several sunsets, some very nice to behold, and I wondered at times about my life, and what was to become of it.

Maybe a lot of you think the same way for your loved ones. The idea of a sunset also has other meanings as well, some more negative. For some, the sunset might represent the end of something, not just a temporary thing, but a permanent one. Going to prison can certainly seem like the sunset of your life, whether you got a year or 30 years.

Believe me, I’ve been there.

A lot of you have been asking how to encourage a loved one in prison, and if I had saved all my previous print projects, I would be more than ready to help you. But since I lost all that, I am starting over, and I thought about doing something representing the sunset.

The idea was to try to turn something seemingly negative into something constructive. We have to find a way to create something positive to send to a loved one in prison, so I thought about some things I can do.

The first thing I did was create a new Prison Encouragement Certificate. Now, if you are new to my blogs, you may not know what this is. A prison encouragement certificate is simply a designed certificate or award based on positive construction. I make these to build up a person who needs a helping hand emotionally. In this case, tonight I made one called “Certificate of The Setting Sun”

Its not very hard to do, I used to make several of these a day, based on creativity and positive construction. I used a picture of a pretty sunset with mountains in the background as my backdrop, and tinted it light enough to put text over. The certificate is landscape size, not portrait. At the top I have in fancy fonts “Certificate Of The Setting Sun”.

The center of the certificate I try to use to write something original, to which I wrote”

“Awarded to you on this day to remind you that for every setting sun… there is a tomorrow. May you be encouraged that you have someone here who loves you so much.”

This is in bold text and as I said, in the center of the certificate. Below this I have a space for the date (to which the sender signs) and at the bottom left, I have “From” and space to sign, and on the bottom right I have “To” with space to sign.

Now, this all sounds pretty simple, but you’d have to see the actual design to understand what I am describing. The idea was to make it colorful, pretty and meaningful. The idea is to encourage that person to hang in there, that there is always hope for tomorrow.

After I finished that, I next made a prison card, with the same theme. Call it a matching set if you will. I created a half-fold card with the same theme of sunsets. On the front of the card I have the background in warm orange, kinda like a sunset. In the middle of the front of this card I have a picture of a different sunset, framed by a gold frame. The sunset is reflecting off a lake or body of water. Above this picture frame I wrote “A Picture…” and under the picture frame I wrote “Of Sunset”.

Inside the card I used a simple design of golden yellow as the background and put a small picture of a different sunset on the left hand corner, tilted. The rest of the inside of that card has text that I wrote, as the following:

“I wanted to send you a card with a sunset because lots of people think of a sunset as the end of something, and with you going through this tough time, it might seem like the end…but it’s not.

I can’t imagine how tough it might be for you while you are incarcerated, but I do know this, for every sunset, there is the hope for another day. I am hopeful that you will enjoy a better tomorrow, and a much better future. Don’t give up, sunsets are followed by sun rises. I believe in you.”

The first paragraph is on the left side of the card, the second paragraph is on the right side.

On the back I simply used a watermark design, with the words, “Be encouraged”, and in the middle of the back of this card I have yet another small picture of a sunset. Above this picture is the words, “Hang in there Sweetheart” in blue font, and beneath the picture of the sunset I also have, “I love you” in blue font with white outlines.

After I finished that, I also went to make a sunset flyer. I started out with a blank page, and made the background of yes…another sunset, then changed the tint light enough to put text on it. I titled the page, “Sunsets in Prison”, with a nice large font.

I wrote some things about sunsets, prison and hope on it, filling the page with as much as I could write. I won’t share it here, but you get the idea. The goal here was to put together some things that resemble a theme, and can be encouraging to someone in prison. I did so many of these a few years ago and it was fun to do.

So now I have my first set of projects finished, although I might go back and add a second card or something else. But I was able to create a prison encouragement certificate, a prison card and a flyer with the running theme of sunsets. Not bad for one day.

When I think back on my time in prison, I never really saw a sunset as a bad thing, in fact to me it was comforting. It was the end of another difficult day, one where maybe tomorrow things might change. The old day is put away, with all the troubles of prison, and I get to rest and hope that tomorrow is better. Kinda like hitting the reset button, although it’s not really like a do over.

So this is my first project, one of numerous I hope to make. At this moment I can’t print anything yet…gotta scrape some money to buy ink for the printer. But soon I hope this will be available. Keep asking me about it, and if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. And while you’re at it, remember what the sunsets are. They are reminders that as bad as today might have been…tomorrow can be much better. The end of a day always gives hope to the next day. Even with guys in prison, they have to have something to believe in. Give them that hope by staying strong for them. Tomorrow is always filled with hope, don’t lose that.

Until then….


Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#124 After you know you’re not alone (retro) #126 Trust and ex felons…again (new)

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