Prison Pete

Sunday, August 05, 2007
  So What Did I Start to Write?
One constant problem is being able to move my thoughts and ideas from rattling around in this massive gray matter that is protected by a large skull and might occasionally be more useful than just a hat rack, out to paper. My usual choice is to spew my ideas out verbally. The usual result of this is a somewhat glazed look in the eyes of the listeners, if they are even bothering to actively listen.

While I am certainly blessed with this slightly upscale typewriter, I am still not actively using it to its full advantage. Today I will attempt to put the next eight hours or so to good use and type out all the things I have been attempting to send out to all you faithful blog readers using the old Vulcan mind meld. Based on the lack of any responses, I would have to guess that the mind meld thing does not work.

Here is an example of Plan 1, writing out my ideas in the old black and white marbled composition book.

On July 13, 2007, I wrote:

"Lisa Scottoline - Devils Corner -.Story wonderful but not perfect, love >> direct line.

Acknowledgments. 'Any fiction worth reading (or writing) comes from the imagination, and heart.'"

The first part of my notation was from the ending of the book where one of the characters who always were troubled by the relationship with her father is told that we end up loving people directly. It is a straight line, unconditional; if we allow their faults to impact our feelings of love, then we will never be satisfied. That no love relationship is perfect. As humans we all have our faults and to allow love to be tempered by these faults is a losing battle. In my mind this does not mean that if you love someone you allow them to constantly put you down or do physical harm.

I think we need to be able to look at the total picture. As a convicted felon, I find some comfort in this concept. I am not a dreamer. I do not expect anyone to ignore my past, but it does provide me with a modicum of hope that in the future I will be able to meet new people who will look at me as a total package. Will they be able to see a different person than the one who existed over ten years ago? Will they believe in the concept of rehabilitation and remorse? Can they see that I still have some value as an individual?

One of the major differences I will face once I am released, (and even now to some extent with the pen pal requests) is that anyone I meet can easily enter my name in Google and find out a bunch of information on me. True, any name can be Googled but luckily for most of you, you do not have the wheels of justice grinding out your life story. There have been numerous requests for me to discuss what crimes led my incarceration. While initially the blog was meant to be anonymous for a number of reasons, at one point I decided to give out my name and address to anyone who was willing to write to me.

Once this was posted, many requests were made for my name and address. Most of those requests never generated any letters. Obviously, duh, it did not take long for anyone to figure out if they wanted to find out my crimes, they could simply ask for my address. I receive copies of all comments to the blog from my editor, and would eagerly await the pen pal letters to come flowing in over the miles of razor wire that surrounds me. The razor wire is there to keep out the uninvited from partaking in all the good things us prisoners get.

Yes, several people have written. For some unknown reason, most of the responses I have received have come from Texas. In order to lessen the disappointment and lower my expectations, I asked the editor to not send me the comments that asked for my address. For some reason lately he has again been sending me the comments saying they would like to write to me.

One reason for not listing my crimes on the blog is to allow you, the reader, to decide how you would like to know me. I am surrounded twenty-four hours a day with the reality of incarceration. I hear more crime discussions every day than most people would hear in a year. I want the blog to provide a look at me in other areas besides being a convicted felon. How many people would like their entire life to be public knowledge?

I think that allowing those that want to know who I am to receive that information certainly proves I am not being sneaky or subversive in any way. I am not proud of my actions; I have accepted full responsibility for my actions.

It continues to amaze me that there are no right answers in life. As much as we would like to think otherwise, life comes at you, moving forward, like an escalator with no exit. A constantly changing smorgasbord of options. There are no "do-overs", no "wait a minute, I meant to take a left turn back there".

While several people have stated I should state my crimes, another who knows who I am says no. This "no do over" concept has been something I have worked very hard on to understand. Since you can not redo any of your actions, you better make sure what you do will be something that will stand the test of time.

One of my mantras while growing up was "It's not fair". This was usually said in a very whiny voice in response to some life event that left me feeling cheated. The response from my parents was to mimic this response back to me. I never heard, "Yes, life is unfair."

As a side note, I feel there is a big difference between what is said to a child by his or her parents and what he or she hears. That is why parents must be expert at two-way communications. They must be sure that the child understands what is being said. It is certainly not enough for a parent to feel comfortable that they have covered themselves and are able to say "I told you so" later on.

I have had some massive rehabilitation, in the form of six years of personal counseling with a psychologist. This therapy occurred while I was in Club Fed and only happened because the doctor was aggressive enough in justifying the time she spent with me.

Under normal circumstances, I would not have been eligible for the attention she was able to give me. That in itself should show that obviously I was fully participating in my counseling. I am certainly a very different person today than I was ten years ago.

I am in a place where my every action is subject to oversight and possible punishment. When I do start a pen pal relationship, I am taking a large leap of faith that the person I am writing to is who they say they are. I have no access to any type of verification. I have an address or maybe a post office box, but that is all.

In the meantime, if the person so chooses they can run Google on me and find out all there is to know about me. I do .not for one minute want to minimize anyone's pain and suffering at the hand of another human being. I feel that I not only understand that pain but may be able to offer some comfort and support too.

Letting go of past, painful occurrences is a powerful, yet frightful experience. I have learned that life is not fair, and although I might not always be on the good side of that unfairness, it is still something to be hoped for.

I do believe God gives us the opportunity daily to turn our life around. Jesus tells others, "You must forgive someone seven times seventy." He does not say you have to continue to feed yourself to the meat grinder once your hand is caught in the machine. Even if your religious beliefs (or lack thereof) do not match mine, just think of the awesomeness of someone forgiving you seven times seventy times. Then maybe you can become enabled to offer forgiveness to others.

I have let go of a whole bunch of painful memories. I have learned that life is worth living each and every day no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. Some days may be better than others; some days you might have to look harder for the blessings. Each day you are moving forward you can choose the direction, but it is always forward and that is a good thing.

It has been said that harboring hate only hurts the one who holds on to the hate. You can forgive someone of his or her actions and still not let them back into your life. That is okay. But holding on to hate does nothing to the person you direct the hate to. The act of forgiveness is more important to the one giving it. It frees your mind for happier moments in life that will come along.
Well said Pete. Forgiveness is key in being able to survive all kinds of relationships. It's good to see some posts again. (Thanks to the editor for putting them up as well.)
hey, read your convictions, wasn't too surprised, I had pretty much guessed beforehand. I can't imagine any one feeling so reluctant about disclosing any other nature of crime. I must say I'm glad you're serving as much time as you have.

You're incredibly lucky to have someone as helpful and supportive as the editor.

I hope you come out a reformed man.
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