Writing inside prison presents an interesting paradox. On the one hand, we want to provide meaningful experiences. The opportunity to go deep, to find new ways to approach old patterns of thought and response. The chance for what is good and strong in each of us to be validated; and for the damage we have suffered or imposed on others to be understood. We seek context and we receive a framework in which to rebuild. We seek tools so we can do the building with integrity and accountability.
On the other hand, weekly predictability and routine are highly valued in an otherwise chaotic environment. This is not to say each week is a repeat of the last. No one would ever want to take part in such a group! But it does mean that, within the familiar structure and sequence of a group, we change up the activities from time to time. We add in visual art as a way to access the depth of feeling sometimes unreachable in words. And we challenge the ways in which we write. Trying out different genres and formats, of course; but also working solo or in pairs or groups. Continue reading