Prison Pete

Sunday, August 22, 2004
  Writing is both pleasure and pain.
I have had more false starts starting to type these letters than I care to say, and I curse you daily as I work back and forth between the QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layouts!

I know we each have our own set of life’s toils and troubles to deal with, and although mine are certainly very limiting, that is no excuse. The problem is one of running in place. On the one hand, the act of having to put pen to paper sometimes merely increases the feelings of depression here at Club Fed. It does not make sense, but I suppose it is kind of like a good way of avoiding the reality one is living in.

Remember the excerpt from "Dark Horse" I sent to you? I hope you might understand what it is saying about HOPE. The words practically jumped off the page at me as I read the book. It relates to both why I take so long to write but at the same time what having your friendship at this time means to me. The concept of counter balance; writing is both pleasure and pain.

Taking the time to write is something that I have no specific monopoly on. I am forced to remember that even before my arrest I was not good at keeping in touch. We are part of the "me generation" and certainly one of the downsides is the lack of taking time to feed and nourish our souls with real human interaction.

Sorry about the spelling, handwriting, and general messiness, but it is a bitch to keep up with what my mind wants to communicate. Ah, a good old mind meld would do nicely.

I was listening to a one-hour show called "Wait, wait, don’t tell me!" They used a line from the Letterman show about telling the President that there were two "L’s" in Halliburton when it came to making out the check for the latest $$$ billion in aid.

I was breezing through a copy of the NY Daily News that one of the inmates gets mailed in. The difference between the News and the NY Times is that the Daily News still has all the NYC news in it. There was an article about a robbery at the subway stop I used all the time when I lived in Brooklyn.

I wanted to get my own subscription to the NY Times because I realize how hungry I am for "realer" news. Given the Times’ problems last year with fudged stories, who knows what is real these days, but certainly the Times is still ahead of the sanitized yet sensationalized "produced" stuff of CNN. The little things I have picked up from The Times do give me lots to think about.

Also enclosed are renewal requests for a couple of the free computer magazines you signed me up for. Please delete the job title from the address. That would help a little. The mailroom seems to get pissed off at that, because I am not supposed to be running a business, which I am not, so the job title thing confuses them, and we do not want to confuse the gatekeepers as far as any contact with the outside world goes, do we?

From the "You know you have no life" department, comes the joy we inmates are experiencing over the new items the commissary is stocking. They are going to have a four ounce chunk of Mozzarella cheese! They are also selling a whole dill pickle in its own plastic pouch. I am looking forward to nuking the cheese over the three ounce pack of pepperoni and then rolling it in a soft burrito shell.

Hmmm, maybe I will try it over the mackerel and pretend it is an anchovy pizza pie!
Damn, your ability to articulate your thoughts is amazing, especially considering America's perception of the common criminal. Being a college student, I'd expect that kind of stuff from my peers, but it's great to see that you've opened my eyes. College kids and graduates don't possess a monopoly on great writing.

You've asked in various words that the readers of your blog accept you as a person, beyond the criminal record that you have. In some sense, due to the Anonymous replier who stated that if we knew you in real life we'd stay far from you, I'm hit with that reality that could be true for me. However, I've always done my best to place everyone on level playing field, giving them the respect I expect back. So I raise my imaginary wine glass to you sir to say "Keep on keepin' on!" Take this encouragement and use it as a means to continue to better yourself beyond your mistakes. For without hope, where would we be?
Dude, don't you get a donation of a newspaper prescription somehow in jail? Your family could make a donation of it. Who knew something so simple could make a difference in people's life.
The trick is not to change between DVORAK and QWERTY, but just stick to one ... like learning one foreign language at a time.
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