The objective is a voice in direct contact with emotional impulse,
shaped by the intellect but not inhibited by it. – Kristin Linklater
No one can imitate when you write of the particular, because no others have experience exactly the same thing. – Goethe
Voice is called forth by resonance … – Carol Gilligan
I believe in the strength of one voice to save another’s life. – Marcella Allison
A woman needs to tell her own story, to tell the bloody version of the fairy tale. – Louise Erdrich
When it comes to prison, there are ways in and there are ways out. The former seems obvious and, mostly, so does the latter. But despite the political popularity of prison issues, there are still those that say, You do the crime, you do the time. But there is nothing obvious about either.
When we come together to write, it quickly becomes clear that the path the prison is a complex confluence of events. Any sense of freedom a single writer experiences is her path out. He or she doesn’t have to leave in order to leave, in order to make sense of his or her story and free herself from it even if that story is how he or she got to prison.
Below, you will hear the stories of several writers: how they got to prison and how they are slowly working toward get out of their own “concrete forest.”
My first, you might ask why. Here’s why.
Lost, insecure vulnerable. I was a little girl with a big mind, a curious mind too large to fill my shoes. It started out as a thought and it grew. The more I fed it, the bigger it got until it started showing. I could not hide it any longer. I had to admit defeat. Take hold of the constant nag and put an end to it at once. And then it began. I took a drag of a cigarette. I coughed, choked, and hacked and thought, Why? Why do people smoke these things? But I looked so cool. It wasn’t long before I spiraled. I opened up that can of worms. And then it was Bacardi. Bacardi silver to be exact. I wanted to get drunk. And I did. It was a total mess. I got sick and belligerent. But I could gain my bragging rights. It did not stop there. The peer pressure was unbearable. What is pot? What does it do? How do you feel? Well, I found out. All because I wasn’t scared. That led to pulls. Once a week turned into once a day and that led to my first stay in rehab. Two failed attempts led to a stay in jail and here I am six years. One domino knocks the rest.
What little girl doesn’t love a wolf? It seems out of the norm to ask anyone but the wolf to be your protector, doesn’t it? What if they can’t? Where does that leave me? I’ll tell you where it left me…alone and beside myself with more questions than I had answers. Without the love and protection, I so needed and desired. The wolf in this instance wasn’t there for my well being, it was there to bear his teeth and show his claws whenever I whimpered a cry. Nothing more than scared, nothing less than numb. A constant fear or fearless child? That is to be determined. If you thirst for blood, eventually, it is what you will wear, eventually it is what will be shed. A fight to the death is what it always seemed with you when all I ever wanted was a few words spoken true, something like I love you and I’ll always be here, could have been a start. Don’t wolves for a pack? Where was ours? Where was the bond that syncs two of the same together? Maybe, just maybe, I was never a wolf at all – not your pup – just a girl on my own.
The Wake Up
It feels like I’m finally waking up. My mind is clearing. I’m not feeling so downside up. I’ve still got a long way to go. Every days seems to be going so slow. Putting everything in order once again. I’ve finally found a starting point of a way to begin. Slowly, I start remembering my past. So I keep moving forward, keep pushing on. Fighting the past, but still moving on. Even though I am tired. I can’t, I won’t stop now. I’ve got a plan. I believe I can, yes. I do know how.
Out of the Woods
Out of this concrete forest, I enter a whole new world. One where there’s love, laughter, and hopefully a happily ever after, just enough sobriety to keep these wolves away from me and my soul headed toward recovery. Out of this damp dark cesspool of a forest. I’ll finally regain my freedom. I no longer want to hide behind these brick walls I’m going to re-shine my halo and expose my soul -wounds, scars, and all – just embrace my freedom and my newfound love, try to live life right and with meaning. And stay far away from these big, bad, gray wolves, that want to restrain me because all they call do is bite me.