#129 Grades of Honor, book 2 (retro)

April 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Grades of Honor, Book Two

If you have not done so, I strongly advice you to check out the previous blog, which is about my first book. These books go together because they allow me to continue the flow of talking about my incarceration.

If someone asked me what it was like in prison, these books are probably my best explanation of what I went through. Sure I talk about it a lot on my blogs, but the books allow me to concentrate more on what happened while I was in prison. Blogs allow me to mix that in with current feelings.

Anyway, please email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask me about prison issues, I don’t promise any right answers, I can only tell you what I can. I am always looking for support, so anyone that wants to support my writing I am very open to accept those gifts. Some people whine to me about that, criticizing me asking people to support my writing. These are the same people that have read tons of my writings, emailed me to help them when they were in trouble, and not once did they ever consider to say thank you, just looking to use me as a free advice board.

That is directly targeted at a couple of people, not everybody. There are a lot of people who have emailed me for help in understanding; I am not talking about them. I am talking about a certain couple of people that emailed me in some subjects and I answered them and/or blogged about it. Then when I talk about “support”, they email me saying crap like, “I think you talk too much about begging for money”.

You know, the ones who say stuff like that are the ones that never intended to help me anyway. And here’s another counter to that stupid statement… if you are uncomfortable about supporting me like that, then BUY my book. At least you get something tangible. Or buy a prison encouragement certificate. Heck, I was GIVING them away free this month, why didn’t you get in on that?

Sometimes it pisses me off how you can try to do something right, and there will always be some stupid idiot who wants to cheapen it by expecting the source to always have the funds to do their business. It does not work that way…

But I digress…let’s talk about my second book.

Again, I strongly encourage you to check out the previous blog, because it covers some of the basics of my books. I talked about book one, which covers my first 6 weeks in prison. That was time spent at a camp called Craven Correctional, which is a processing prison. Jump back a blog to catch up on that.

The second book of Grades of Honor picks up immediately after the end of the first. The first book was full of the soul of a defeated individual, a person who had lost faith in God. The second book continues with these feelings, but there is also a struggle that was going on inside of me. And you know, none of this I could have told you at the moment it was happening, but now as I look back, I can see what may have been going on.

My heart was fighting my mind.

Book two picks up with my transfer from Craven to Pasquotank Correctional, and the trip to Sandy Ridge. If you ever wanted to know what happens during that trip on the prison bus, this is a very good way to find out from one that took that trip. Believe me, it’s a long trip, even if you’re moving from a prison camp 20 miles away. There is a reason for that, and that is explained in the second book.

It is also here that I wanted to really pull on my heart a bit, and share some very emotional things with you. People don’t really understand the emotional stress an inmate has, most just don’t care because they believe that inmates get whatever they deserve. Still, I wrote a part in the second book that gives you some insight on how I really felt at that time.

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

I don’t know how long I laid in that bed, but after a period of time I noticed all the doors closing and locking; must be lockdown. I also noticed that the lights over the sink dimmed and a smaller nightlight was on. This made the room a bit darker, which actually was a greater comfort to me. I knew then I could sleep better, although I was already tired, very tired. But I was more in sorrow than exhausted. With the cover of darkness I was now free to do something I have not done in many weeks. As I laid there in the bed, tears began to well in my eyes.
Why is my life so screwed up?
Questions about righteousness, damnation, faith and hope all came up in my head and heart. Where was God in all this? Why weren’t MY prayers answered? Am I so evil that God Himself chose not to honor my request? Am I so hated by Heaven that my words on bended knee with tears dripping from my eyes not enough? Will God bless a man who won’t acknowledge God with riches and fame, while a person who needs help goes unnoticed? I am no perfect person, but surely God had seen what I have done for many in my life. It wasn’t like I was asking for some reward, but surely if there is a God, then there has to be a level of righteousness in that if a person humbles himself before the Lord, He will hear him and answer his prayer. But here I lay in a prison bed, condemned. To the rest of society, I had no worth; if I died tonight someone would have said, “that’s what he gets; inmates don’t deserve mercy”. And then they would go to church on Sunday and pray to God for their own soul.
Life wasn’t making sense to me anymore, not that I fully understood it. I started thinking about times in my life where I thought I was doing the right thing. After all, God rewards those who do good things. I remembered as a kid living in Los Angeles, when we had a field trip and were told to bring a lunch. Mom made me a couple of peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, my favorite. While on the field trip in the park, we all had lunch but one of the other kids didn’t have anything to eat. I knew the guy, and even though it was my favorite food, I split my lunch with him. He didn’t ask, I just thought it was the right thing to do. I was about 6 years old, maybe 7. I remembered while in the third grade I was scolding with another guy, and said some things about how poor he was. I meant it just in fun; it wasn’t like I came to school in a Rolls Royce. But after we had finished, I noticed the guy put his head down on his desk. I thought he was going to sleep, but I heard sniffing…as if he was crying. I never realized that I had hurt his feelings and it made me feel terrible. I apologized to him and thought to myself that scolding wasn’t as cool as I thought. These thoughts, and many more, started running in my head, and I started wondering where I went wrong, where did God determine that I was not worth saving.
But I was a kid, for Heaven’s sake!

Sometimes when you are in very difficult situation, sometimes we start looking back to see where we went wrong. I was lying in that prison bed, wondering how my life went so south. And you know, I didn’t think about it too much when I was at the previous camp, because that camp was dormitory living. By that I mean you slept in bunks in a huge room with dozens of other inmates. You had to keep your feelings in check since you were in the open like that.

But at this camp, I had a cell with only one guy, meaning I had much more privacy. It also seemed that this same privacy came at a cost of my soul bring back my sorrows. I could prevent them in the open, but in private, at night, I could not.

Grades of Honor, book two, allows me to share with you the struggle I was having in trying to understand myself in all this. It’s easy for anyone to just say, “you did the crime, now you have to do the time”. That’s a cute phrase, but grossly overplayed, since most people are too quick to condemn folks anyway.

Yet in this book, something starts to happen. In the midst of these difficult times, things start changing in my favor. I won’t call it fate or luck, because I believe it was more than random happenings or some form of chance. But in my second book, I explain how things start to turn better for me, and how I was able to deal with it.

The second book is 97 pages long, and actually covers only about 3 months or so of the continuation of my sentence, as started in book one. I actually could have written more about this camp, which actually posed a problem.

In my writing, I had to try to keep my books at about 100 pages per book. This is important because when I print up the books by request, the number of pages you have has a direct effect on the cost of getting a book bound. The more pages, the more expensive it can be. But even greater, it makes a profound impact on mailing. We all know that mailing a letter of 1 page is much cheaper than mailing one with 15 pages. Weight changes the cost of mailing. No different in my books.

Even with my first book, which is 77 pages (two-sided printing) it costs about $2.50 or so to mail it. The second book costs about $2.85 to send, give or take some quarters. If I tried to do one big book, the costs to ship it would probably be more than I can ask.

So when I was writing book two, the original idea was to use it to write all about Pasquotank…but I realized I had too much info and didn’t want to cut anything out. So I decided to break it into segments of about 100 pages. That way, it also allows me to have completed works so I could create some revenue to do other things. So the second book is 97 pages long, but I also add free items with that as well, many of you that have my books know that already.

The price of each book is the same, and that includes $3 for shipping. I think in the future I will have to change that, especially if stamps keep going up. But for now, I am holding that price steady, and using that opportunity to send you a prison card or prison encouragement certificate. If you like what I send, you may be willing to either support me or purchase another book, or some cards or something.

Anyway, that is my second book of “Grades of Honor”. Email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask how you can support my writing, or to ask about my books or even ask about some other prison issues. I got an ear to listen if you have the time.


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.

#128 Grades of Honor, book ONE (retro) #130 Prison talking: define GOOD

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