#179 Free time for writing (retro)

May 13, 2010 at 3:12 am Leave a comment

Free time for writing

Today I have some free time to do some more writing, with family now gone for now, I have my free time to write again… but it may be temporary. It appears that my nephew wanted to stay the whole summer, but since we had not really prepared for that, he will go back home and maybe return in a week or two to finish the summer…

So that means I have a calm in the storm to get some writing done, something I have not really had the last week or so. I did blog on the “Strengths of Prison Love” but that was under the pressure of having to have something blogged this week. Actually got a lot of responses from that from the different blog sites.

I got emails from two people that received my first blog book, and it actually got there faster than I thought. I was very relieved to hear that, but I am waiting to hear from a friend in Canada that I sent Grades of Honor parts 1 and 2 to. I sent it to her last Friday, so it has been over a week. I realize it would take longer to get there, so I am being patient to hear from her. The bad thing is that I don’t have her email (I clean my inbox every week or two) so what I may do is write her and see if she got it. It is really cool because I have another great reader from Canada that purchased one of my books, so it is nice to know that my blogs seem to be crossing borders.

There may be some new readers on my blogs now, since a couple of days ago I started contributing to “Daily Strength”, or “DS” for short. The odd thing is that I have an old post I submitted there many months ago, under “masonik4”. I had not been back since because it was likely during the time where I was running around trying to identify as many prison support sites as I could.

But I went back and decided to join under the Nolaw, and began making post. I shared some of my older posts and blogs and was getting numerous responses, which prompted me to start a journal there and share more posts.

Some of you might wonder why I am doing that, considering my unusual ability to get kicked out of prison support sites like a Laker fan at a Boston Celtic celebration. To be honest, I am kinda holding my breath on it myself. Every time I try to contribute, I usually get people who say they don’t mind me mentioning my books, but when I do, many of them get upset and start to warn me or ban me.

So I am trying not to share too much on Daily Strength, not right now. I guess I need the people there to see what I am about, rather than me trying to flood them with stuff about what I have written. I also only mention my books only as a point of information, not as any sales pitch. If anybody there wants to know more about my books, they can ask me by email or read my journal there.

In the past week, I have read a lot of emails from people about things that are each worthy of a blog, and I hope to get to those. One reader whom has supported me told me about her son, who was kinda concerned about some issues at the prison, which is currently on lockdown. Every prison has a “lockdown” status, but this is different where it is a continual lockdown.

See, technically every night is a lockdown, so all inmates should be used to it, but we’re talking about an entire lockdown, where NOBODY goes NOWHERE. Not even to chow, meaning the food is brought to the inmates. This creates a problem because that means meals are served much later than normal.

The mother told me how some of the inmates were banging on the doors, waiting to be fed. I read that and I wanted to touch on that just for a sec, because the novice reader that I say that to might think these guys are starving, and this lockdown is no more than cruel and unusual punishment.

I could side with that, but let me share with you some other angles if I may.

In the camps I have been on, the final meal was served about 5pm. After you get used to that over the course of weeks and months, and years, you stomach gets used to it. So what happens if you have to wait until 6:30? A mere 90 minutes might not be hard for you, but consider what that means to a body conditioned to eat at a certain time?

Right now, I could hold off from eating for 90 minutes if I wanted to… but I can go to the fridge and grab a sandwich if I really wanted to. Inmates don’t have that option. Some guys get frustrated that the normal routine of prison is no longer normal, and it causes frustration. Frustration and patience do NOT go hand in hand.

Yet, I think it is more than just being hungry. Many inmates don’t do well in isolation, I knew lots of guys that have to “get out”. By that I mean they don’t spend any more time in their cell than they have to, and every chance to get out will be taken. I’m not talking about trying to break out, I just mean getting more space. Some guys just can’t take their space being so restrictive. A lockdown on a camp will very likely increase tensions and stress until the prison can lift that lockdown. Until then, many guys may get that “cabin fever” and coupled with the normal routine being drastically changed, it can indeed be difficult. It can also be contagious. Even if I am handling it cool, the next guy could be climbing on the walls, making my space stressful.

Think about that, if you live in a quiet neighborhood, you may be content with the surroundings. But let’s say your next door neighbors decide to have a week long party, with noise and music. Or what if those neighbors are always arguing and yelling. Once or twice might be ok, but if done enough, it can disturb your peace of mind and bring stress to you, even if you have nothing to do with their problems.

So I understand what that guy is going through from that mother’s email and I certainly hope he can keep himself under control. No doubt it’s a stressful situation, so any encouragement his mom can give will certainly help him.

Another reader wrote to me about understanding a guy in prison and whether he can be trusted after he gets out. I won’t go into details of it because as I mentioned before, your personal stories are not for anyone else’s eyes but those you choose to share it with, so if you email me about a situation, I will not give the specifics about your loved one. I will keep it generic because that way, it actually addresses many others.

Anyway, the email reminded me of some blogs I wrote about prison relationships, and how sometimes it is wise to take the temperature of the situation. Granted there are many people who have loved ones in prison that work out ok, but many times the situation isn’t the same once their loved one gets out. It’s just very difficult to know whether your loved one in prison will be faithful to you or not.

Now, that isn’t for everyone, to be sure, but sometimes you have to look at the signs and take a temperature of the situation. If you have a loved one in prison and you are going through the “mood swings” with him, and with his release date not too far off, this could be a sign that you must address before he is released.

If you have a loved one that is less than 6 months from his release, but seems to be upset one day, apologetic the next, this could be a sign of a couple of things. One could be that he is very anxious about his release, and unsure of how he is going to get his life back together. I mean, let’s face it, if you have been in prison for more than a couple of years, you have to rethink your life. That’s not easy to do, and after spending a few years under DOC with the basics of life provided, you have to wonder how you are going to make it in a free society.

Guys, that can be a very scary thought. I went through that myself, almost afraid of LEAVING prison (imagine that!) I remember telling my mom on the phone that I would rather stay in prison the next 3 years than get out under probation.

And in retrospect, I still agree with that.

Prisons don’t help inmates get their lives back, they just throw them out to “sink or swim”. Imagine being in prison 5 years or longer and getting close to your release date. Where are you going to live? How are you going to pay bills? Who is going to hire an ex con? How will you make money to buy food or clothes? What if you get sick? When you are in prison, those things are taken care of. Sure you don’t get everything you want, but the basics are met. Now take those away and add the condemnation of a felon, and you might be able to understand why an inmate might feel so stressed. It can cause him to snap at his loved one, not really intending to say what he says.

But there is another side too. One that isn’t as innocent as a stressed out man. One that is more opportunistic. Sometimes a guy who is unstable in his words is a word of caution to a person who is looking to embrace him in total when he gets out. This folks, could be a mistake.

Remember, this is not for everyone, just for some. You know that I don’t know your loved one nearly as much as you do, so take what I say as a grain of salt. But consider this:

Some guys in prison look for a “soft touch”, someone who will look for a sweet, kind, compassionate woman that he can manipulate to give him everything from money to her personal attention. And the thing about it is this….it IS possible that it could have been genuine.

“What do you mean”?

Well, follow me here folks. When a man goes to prison, he misses a huge part of life, and a big part of that is the comfort of a relationship with a person of the opposite sex. In short, men miss the attention of a woman (or women….).

I did my time surrounded by all kinds of guys, and to be honest I made some pretty good friends with some. But I wonder how my time would have been if I had a pen pal from a female. I told you guys before that I actually had a couple of letters from them, but since I never asked for any, I was highly suspicious about it. But many guys do need that attention from women, and to get it can really be a light in their hearts.

“So where does it go wrong? Or was it wrong from the start?”

Well, to be sure, it can start off wrong if the inmate in question KNEW he was trying to use the person for what he can get. You need not go any further than to look at what you provided for him. If a guy keeps asking for stuff, then there is a good possibility he is using you for his gain.

But is that ALWAYS true? No.

If I had a person who took the time to mail me and we had a pretty decent relationship by correspondence, and if she offers to GIVE me something, I would certainly accept. Now, what if she asks if I could use $10 every couple of weeks. If I accept, it would be with great joy and gratitude. But if she does that over the course of a year, I might get spoiled. Is it wrong for me to continue to expect her to give me money, YES, but my heart won’t let me admit that, not while I am in prison and maybe because that money meant so much to me.

I realize this is kinda complex, and maybe if you are confused with that I might be able to blog another time on it, but trust me, there is some truth there. So in some cases, maybe it was not wrong from the start, but there are guys that look for women to give them stuff. So why to guys get those “mood swings” so close to the end of their sentence?

Other than the idea of anxiety, it could also be that the reality of the relationship is showing itself… maybe he realizes that he was never that much in love with the person, only for what he got from her. Sometimes guys start to get excited about the “free life” they are about to step back into. The life of going to the club or the bar, the idea of hanging out with the guys and doing whatever you want (ironic thought isn’t it). Some guys don’t like the idea of being “tied down” to someone because their freedom is a chance to catch up on lost time.

Is this fair to you? Not at all. Some of you wonder if he ever loved you. To some, the inmate might have only wanted a short time affair where he got stuff from you. But there is also another possibility. Maybe he DID love you, under prison circumstances.

Now, this could be confusing because some think that prison love is exactly like the love you have for a person that has never been incarcerated. I beg to differ. If you have a loved one in prison that you met while he was incarcerated, be mindful that the relationship is based on every characteristic, not just his name, his time and his looks and his letters. It is also based on a prison atmosphere, which is about condemnation, stress, being lonely and restricted freedom.

When a man is released from prison, that same relationship changes because the scene changes. Don’t underestimate how much the scene impacts a situation. Don’t believe me? Then test it out:

Make yourself your favorite sandwich (for me it would be peanut butter and jelly) and go eat it outside when it’s nice sunny with a gentle breeze, under a shaded tree. Try it again in the middle of summer, in the sunshine…and about 103 degrees. Try it again in the middle of a shower and see how different each experience is. It’s still your favorite sandwich, right? But the scenes changed, so your entire experience is changed either for the better or worse.

A relationship with an inmate can go the same way. Not always, because some guys in prison find women that they would not part with, because they stuck by him in his darkest hours. There ARE guys like that. But there are also guys who may really and truly love someone under the prison scenario. But with a free life returned, they are no longer limited to what they have in their hand, since the whole world is now open to them again.

Gosh, we could really get deep into this, because there is MUCH to discuss, but I have to go back and check my emails and stuff. I just wanted to blog some things out since this is my first blog back with minimal interruptions. I don’t have to blog with half of me trying to write, but the other half answering how to play a certain video game, or whether somebody can have a soda…not that I mind so much, it was cool.

Anyway I gotta jet, email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask how you can support my writings, or ask me about my books… I told somebody I would talk more about my Grades of Honor books, so maybe next time I will.

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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.

#177 Fighting through negatives (retro) #180 Goals in prison blogging (retro)

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