#171 Followups on prison blogs

May 5, 2010 at 4:57 am Leave a comment

Prison Blog follow ups

Hi folks, it is after midnight, so I won’t make this too long, but I had not been on the computer all Tuesday, and decided to check my emails before I went to bed. As you know, I recently posted a very long blog on Monday, and if you are from Xanga or WordPress, you likely only read half of that.

The length of that blog was 16 pages, and I only shared the complete blog on the Blogspot, since my best support comes from there. If you want to catch the second part of that, I’d be glad to point you in the direction of that blog, so you can get the entire blog I wrote.

I wanted to write tonight because I got a bunch of really cool messages from my blogs, and emails of people that liked some of the previous blogs I shared. One in particular was 3 people who ran across my “After you find out you’re not alone”. The odd thing about it was that they all pointed out some problems with some prison support sites, and how some people use their authority as “moderators” like a prison guard.

One person from a prison site said she remembered reading some of my blogs, and how so many people had made nice comments on it, but now that I am no longer a member, some of those people trash me for “prison bashing”. That is so interesting, me, an ex felon, BASHING prison…when I have spent about 8 years writing about prison issues.

Go figure.

But it is always cool to hear from readers and how I made a point, one that on most prison support sites, would have gotten me banned. The neat thing about blogs is that when I write, I can do follow ups, once I realize that a subject I am writing about has a lot of attention.

See, this is why I ask you guys to email me, because the thing that concerns you may well be a concern to 500 other people…but if nobody asks, then the problem continues to burn inside of you, hoping that somebody will answer the question you have not asked yet. It is critical that if you have a situation you need to understand, let somebody know.

And it does not have to be me in particular, it can be any site you are on. Too often I see on sites where somebody has a problem, but sits and reads everybody elses posts until they get the courage to post on the site, looking for an answer because they had yet to find it on the site. How many days did you lose sleep, worrying about a situation, when maybe you could have gotten closer to an answer or solution if you spoke about it earlier?

I said before, and I continue to say, I don’t claim to know it all, but what I have experienced I can share with you. I think my advantage is that one, I LOVE to write, so writing one page, or 21 pages is not a problem if I have something to say. Two, I don’t speak as somebody who heard from somebody who was in prison, I speak as one that was actually in there. Three, I am not here acting like I am some super guru on prison issues… now, if you take that opinion of me, that’s YOUR fault, not mine. I am just a guy doing his best to help those with loved ones in prison. I am trying to make a pro-active stance in this, rather than belittle your loved ones because they are in prison.

Solutions are there folks, but they are only there once you start making a positive movement, rather than a negative or passive one. Too often some people make negative comments or posts on blogs or sites, thinking they are adding their two cents worth, when actually it isn’t even that.

Every blue moon I get a moron who thinks they can spit on my blogs, but the cool thing about these blogs is I can delete any stupid comment, and most times, I never even read it. Sometimes you can tell when a person who makes a comment isn’t there to say anything positive.

It reminds me of a couple of years ago, after I was banned from Prison Talk Online, several of their members were making negative comments on my blog, to which I easily deleted. After awhile, I got an email from David Frisk, the owner of PTO. I remember looking at the email, and deciding whether to open it or not.

I am no longer a supporter of ANY kind to PTO, because I personally think the moderators (and some members) are not there for support, rather selfish pride and fake authority. But I had a decision to make with this email from the owner of PTO…read it, or discard it. If I read it, and found anything negative, I would have spent the next two weeks writing blogs about PTO. And it would not have been pretty.

But something inside of me told me not to read it, to discard it without looking at so much as one word. So I did, and deleted the message. Later I would get a rejection email from one of David Frisk’s sites, in which he used profanity in this email against me… oh yeah, still got that one, saved it as proof.

So I don’t deal with them, and I often get readers from PTO that ask me questions that they could not get answered at the other site. How can you claim to have so many members, but can’t answer basic prison questions…its because they are not supported by people who had actually BEEN in prison. Almost everyone there gets their info second or third hand. Not that this is bad, it is better than nothing, but until you start opening doors to what prison is like, you don’t conquer the fears of the unknown that so many people have.

I often get emails from people from other sites because they are looking for an honest opinion about prison issues. Now again, this does not mean I am right, it just means I can share something with you that might help.

The great thing about blogging is that I have control of how I want to do this. When I am (was) on other sites, I understood to not cause problems, to be kind and helpful when responding on others posts, and to try to keep it positive. But even under those conditions, sometimes prison support sites can be the worst place to share info. I stopped writing for Mothers With Sons In Prison because the owner of the site felt the need to criticize a blog I wrote about what happens after the visit. The said that she didn’t believe what I was writing was accurate, since her son, who is in prison, claimed the opposite of what I wrote. She also said that “unless you are a mother, you don’t know what we are going through”.

In fact, hold on a sec…

(goes to MWSIP and copies my response to her criticism)

I am sure I shared the blog “What Happens After The Visit” here, so I won’t repost it, but if I have not, email me to post it and I will. But I posted it, and this person criticized it, and in effect claims I didn’t know what I was talking about, and that I didn’t know what these mothers were going through. This is what I wrote in response:

“I am sorry that this blog seems to have been misinterpreted in a negative manner, but the purpose of the post was to encourage you to not fear the things that do happen in prison. I don’t claim to be an expert on prison issues, but I did do time there, and I have written over 3000 pages on prison issues. The truest fact that can be said is that prison IS a negative place, and as such we cannot turn our backs and minds on the problems that our loved ones would have.

This includes how inmate might feel after a visit. I made it very clear that not every inmate is like that, but I have been there and I know many do. In order to encourage one another, we must also face the negatives with the faith that we can overcome it. To say that my thoughts may be doubtful is no different from an inmate telling their mother only what they wanted them to hear, so that the mothers don’t panic…believe me, that is far more truer than a mother can know.

With all my heart, I do my very best to help encourage others, but the idea of “you don’t understand mothers” is highly unfair, because that would imply that a mother with a son in prison knows more about prison than a son that has been in prison. It also implies that I don’t have a mother, of whom suffered when I myself went to prison. When is suffering and pain any greater from one human being to another? This should never be about who suffers more, there is nothing gained by that. But what is should be about is finding strength to face the problem and overcome it.

I do not discredit what your son says, in fact I know that it can be true. Some guys come from vists feeling pretty good. But from my experience, I also know that some guys are torn up after a visit because they miss their loved ones. What I attempted to share was what an inmate can go through, but what I also made mention was that many get over it very quickly.

The encouragement here, which is the entire basis of what I tried to share, is that inmates adjust and overcome…which is what mothers must do. The pain in a mother’s heart is no greater than the pain of an inmate’s heart because God made them both, and we both suffer in these situation. But the encouragement I gave was the successful overcoming of an inmate through a difficult time, and how that in itself can encourage a mother to do the same.

What then is more positive than overcoming a problem? To ignore the negatives of what they are going through does not solve it, one cannot solve a problem until one faces it with determination and faith. So many mothers worry themselves sick about their sons, but never armor up to learn about how they can help encourage them. People only want to hear the best parts, but not the entire situation. It’s like hearing the scripture that now in this time you will recieve all these things…and people try to forget that it also says, “with persecutions”. It does not mean it will beat you, but clearly it will be there.

Encouragement is about overcoming problems, and what I tried to share was a post to encourage you. It was never my intention to DIScourage, rather to encourage. My apologies, and I will consider that if I ever post again. Again, my apologies.”

After that, I stopped writing for the site.

She had an opinion, of which I respected, but I don’t have to take a slap in the face just so she can appear more of an “expert” than me. Mind you folks, when I wrote the blog, I made it VERY clear that I do not speak for every inmate, and we all do our time differently. She totally ignored that and chose to attack my blog on points that were not validated. If I had responded in a negative manner, then I would have looked like the “mean ex con” that don’t know how to hold his tongue.

But it burns me up when people with second-hand knowledge think they know more than a person that has first hand experience. She actually believed that what her son was telling her made her more of an expert about prison than someone telling her what they went through. Both CAN be right, but she choose to discredit what I was trying to say, in an attempt to make herself look better.

And it comes down to pride, when we should be working together to help one another…isn’t that the idea of prison support? Yet often this is not the case, because we like to have 50,000 posts, or be the moderator so we can ban and warn other people when we feel like it, or pop around a site saying “Hi and welcome to PTO” 20,000 times a month.

I am very sure I am not the only ex felon writing to help others, that is for sure. And to be honest, as the Good Lord as witness, I never got into this stuff to have rank on anybody. When I wrote my first post for a prison ministry back about 2002, the reason I wrote it was simply because I thought I could help that person answer a question. I remember reading that post and saying to myself, “I can answer that!”. It was also how I got so many emails while at PTO, up until that time, so very, very few people were writing as ex felons, or even with “inside” info. I ended up writing for numerous prison support sites, being invited to this and that, from Yahoo prison sites, to many others.

One of the things I tried to pride myself in doing is following up on emails and comments…positive ones I mean. I treat negative comments like spam, they get trashed, and it actually excites me to write even more. I like it because when a person criticizes my post or blog, I don’t think they understand that you can’t out write a writer. Some people spend all their energy writing one or two long blogs, and they are spent…folks, I can do it every day.

But the better application is to use it to help those with loved ones in prison, or those looking for help, rather than talking about what somebody said about me. Now, I didn’t say I would NEVER address that…hey, I do bear fangs from time to time, but I spend most of my efforts helping those with loved ones in prison. You need look no further than the previous blog I shared, and the 16 pages I wrote on it.

And believe me folks, it is well worth it when I get an email from a person telling me how they got some hope reading my blogs, or how they missed me from a site I used to write for, or how they got a miracle in their situation because of what we discussed. It helps me to know I am doing something good, and it encourages me that the next person that asks will get the same determination from me.

And there are so many different ways to discuss prison issues, whether spiritually, or mentally or emotionally. There is so very much to cover, which is why I encourage you to contact me about an issue that bothers you. I am also very thankful for those who support my blogs, in fact I got 2 supporters this week, and I am very thankful for their gifts. People like that help me to continue to write, to continue to believe that if we can get you to a more positive situation, then maybe we can help you get through this, and maybe, if you are willing to believe, maybe we can even find a miracle for you.

Anyway, gotta go, its near 1am, until next 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.

#169 What is condemnation (part 1) #172 Lost posts on Prison talk: Anniversary

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