Monthly Archives: May 2015

BLOGGING FOR DOLLARS, HUH???

blogging for dollars 2

I am new to this blog thing and am faking it until I figure it out. I have never seen a blog spot or been online.

Now you may be wondering, if he has never seen a blog spot or been online, then how did he get this online? Read on to learn how, please.

HOW I DO IT: Perhaps you have noticed that I do have a blog and a website. I actually have two, one at straightfromthepen.com and another at waynedowdy.weebly.com. Now that may make you wonder how I have blogs and websites, without having been online? I pay for the luxury. Stay with me, please.

For seven weeks I focused on creating a place for my readers to find good content, something beneficial, useful, or entertaining to take their minds away from a busy day (please read ONLINE ARTICLES below).

My publisher (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS BOOKS) helped me to get the website and blog that I had sought since 2011. In the future I will write more on current affairs and voice my opinion on events in the news. MEB will help me to post what I write.

WHAT DO READERS WANT? Without anyone posting comments in response to what I write, and without me interacting with them, I rely on the marginal data I am provided to determine what readers like and what they do not. One gauge I have is to see how many people sign up to follow my blog posts. If I earned money from blogging, then that would be a real good indicator, but since I do not, perhaps I am doing something wrong, or otherwise failing to do something that I should be doing?

MY IMPEDIMENT: My blogging life differs from most who bang away on a keyboard to keep information flowing from their pages. I am not fortunate enough to have the luxury of direct access to the deep blue web to find the volumes of data available to those who can. I do have the technical knowledge to do so, but my “keepers” do not allow us prisoners to have electronic access to information, unless someone sends it in to me for them to inspect before delivery. It took over two decades before I was allowed to use a computer with a distant connection to the free society.

PMS: Because I am in prison and cannot access the Internet, I pay a small fee to my publisher to post my blogs that I send to them through Corrlinks.com. I pay Corrlinks five-cents per minute to access their Public Messaging System (PMS for real!), to read or type emails to send to those who can figure out how to accept my Email Request that many computer security systems detect as spam and send to the trash bin.

Corrlinks is a severely-limited, high-dollar, email system, due to all of the security restrictions used to monitor any content. The system I use does not permit anything other than a preset text type and style. I cannot receive any photos or symbols, cannot change font sizes or styles, nor can I underline, bold or use italics. Copying and pasting prohibited, since Corrlinks makes more money when I retype words that I deleted from one place and moved to another more suited for content. No anything other than the words I type, read, or delete. Should a correspondent send me a message with something other than text, the automated security system would strip it before it reached my delicate eyes.

ONLINE ARTICLES: Ironically, even though I have not been online, I have written articles such as “Social Media for Writers” and “From Where Do Writers Root,” both of which are good resource articles for those who like to research or want to create an online presence. I give thanks to the Long Ridge Writers Group and their associated publications for providing excellent resource material for me to use to share the wealth with those who can do what I cannot: go online.

INTERESTING ARTICLE: On April 9, 2015, I read an interesting ADVICE column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Daryn Kagan (“Social Media Drains the Life Out of Life”). She wrote about all of the social media forums that she used before going to a “Word Camp” seminar, where she learned that she was, “[s]upposed to be posting video from [her] iPad every day and [that] if [she] was really a good blogger, [her] site would’ve made $60.000 last month.” She continued with, “It didn’t. Shameful. I know.”

Well, Daryn, I can identify, I reckon, since my blogging has not earned me a nickel and instead cost me money. At least your blogging doesn’t cost you anything, except maybe what you could have earned doing something other than blogging. Hopefully, your social media pursuits have not made you have to get a mortgage on your home. Maybe next month the money will begin to flow into your bank account.

CONCLUSION: For me, the prospect of generating funds from my blog seems dismal. I am just happy to have the benefit of getting a few lines of my writing beyond the walls, bars, and fences, into the minds of those who take the time to read what I write. When I am released and can dive into the deep blue web, then I will surf until I come up with a legal way to make my writing skills earn an income. Until then, I will keep doing as I am doing, and will continue to remain grateful to each of you for spending your valuable time with me on the waves of the deep blue web that I can only dream about surfing in for now.

Until we meet again,
Wayne (waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com)

SNAKE vs POLITICS

Reprint permission granted by the author.
May 13, 2015

SNAKE VERSUS POLITICS
by
Wayne T. Dowdy

Whether to put more emphasis on the topic of Politics or Snakes was my dilemma. Snakes won by a landslide; however, I will also write on Political Promises and Incarceration.

To be specific, what changed my mind was a foot-long, reddish-brown, coppery-looking snake, with black patterns and a white underside. Several of us prisoners stood gathered around, some saying it was a poisonous copperhead because it had struck at the first person who reached his hand down toward it, and because the shape of its head resembled a diamond when it lay poised to strike at the terrorists who taunted it.

It was a lively little creature, which struck at a folder filled with paper that I held near its head; I examined its markings and physical characteristics to determine whether a deadly reptile lay before me, or a simple non-poisonous one here to do its job of ridding the world of pesky insects, and rats too, after it grows large enough to eat them. I determined the latter to be true, based upon my experience at dealing with snakes earlier in life.

The colorful snake was a juvenile in fear of its life from the world’s greatest predator: human beings; a human who held an object close to the nose of the serpent to see what type of response he got from the venomous creature. Okay, I confess. The snake was not mean and vicious; the harmless baby was just trying to survive in a world no one understands, its instincts telling it to strike to deter the enemy from harming it. Hey, snakes do what snakes do. No harm no foul.

After three futile strikes it turned docile, portraying the message that it wanted to be left alone so that it could continue its sunbathing. That’s what it was doing before we rudely interrupted it by towering above it to gawk, while it lay on the ground not bothering anyone, just being a harmless snake.

How did the snake change my mind about what to write? The term “snake” fits scandalous politicians who tell lies to get votes, so there is a correlation between both topics. On this occasion, the serpent reminded me of my youth, when I loved to ramble through the woods with any device capable of sending a projectile into the body of some innocent creature (I would not consider harming anything today); or to trudge around a body of water to see if I could find fish, frogs, snakes, crayfish, salamanders, or some beautiful formation of rocks, trees, or plants.

I loved nature, even though I lost touch with that aspect of my life and became a destructive person who harmed people and the environment in which we live. I allowed my life experiences to turn me into a cruel person by becoming a product of my environment. Now I focus on becoming the person God created me to be.

My essay collection* contains several essays and poems about my life and some of the experiences that shaped me. In response to my childhood experience of growing up in a neighborhood across the street from the world’s busiest airport, I wrote “REMEMBER,” a poem which coincides with what I wrote in “An Airport Ate the Neighborhood,” (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy) ($0.99).

REMEMBER

Remember walking through woods,
Playing in creeks, catching crawdads,
Watching for snakes, frogs, fish, turtles.

Remember roaring jets, planes,
Spewing toxins, shaking trees,
Poisoning streams with spent fuel.

Remember neighborhoods,
Poisoned by noise,
Structures cracked by sound.

Remember houses on the trucks,
Men on top, moving power lines,
Helping houses move on roads.

Remember walking with nature,
With thick woods protecting creatures,
Life thriving under its cover.

Remember where I once lived,
Nature near, full of pleasure,
Before Jets and Planes came.

I wrote another essay with an environmental theme, “We Are the Cancer,” first published by Surepleasurez Promotions. You may read it in the March 2015 Archives (https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com/). I write such essays with the hope of effecting a small change in the lives of those who read them, and as my way of trying to compensate for the damage I caused during my youth and the early years of adulthood.

Back to the snake that changed my mind. The snake reminded me of the first time I captured one when I was twelve-years-young. In elementary school and at home, I read books on insects, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. As a disruptive student, most teachers encouraged me to sit and read all I wanted as long as I did not cause trouble. I was not a good student (if interested in my education, read “Life from ‘F’s to ‘A’s,” (03/28/15); published by PrisonEducation.com on 09/18/14).

My family owned a nice collection of encyclopedias, World Books, and Science books that my parents bought for my older brother and two sisters to have for school assignments. Even before I could read, I enjoyed looking at pictures in the volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and any type of book or magazine about science or animals. All a book needed to entertain me was photos of things that walked (especially on four legs), crawled, flew, or swam, and looked different than humans. That’s how I learned to capture a snake.

That first snake taught me a lesson. I did not adhere to what I knew on how to catch one by grabbing it behind its head, at the rear of its jaws to prevent it from turning to take a bite. It was a harmless green snake, with its head stuck in some weeds, its body stretched across a trail me and a friend walked on while playing “hooky” from school that morning. Since the head was not visible, I reached down and grabbed it at the portion of its body closest to the weeds. It turned and bit me on my hand to remind me of the proper way to handle a snake. The bite only hurt my pride.

POLITICAL PROMISES & INCARCERATION

Reading proved valuable for me in many facets of life. I sympathize for those who cannot read due to issues beyond their control, and those who may never have an opportunity to learn how to read due to their social, geographical, or economic status. Maybe American politicians will focus more on funding education, and less on making laws to incarcerate its citizens for more crimes than any human has the capacity to comprehend. For several years, governments spent millions more on incarceration than on education at state and federal levels in the United States.

Read my essay, “Education, the Prisoner, and Recidivism” (03/28/15, first published in May of 2013 by PrisonEducation.com), to see where statistics prove education reduces recidivism (the return to old habits or behaviors). Politicians still continued to vote on Mass Incarceration policies until recent years. I show reasons for that in “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” (04/05/15), where I address the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and private prison companies on high incarceration rates.

Prisoners became a commodity due to the rise of Prisons-for-Profit, whose owners and representatives gave politicians hefty financial incentives to continue “Tough-On-Crime” policies. That trend changed because the operation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and state prisons began to consume the largest portion of criminal justice budgets. Too many prisoners became too expensive to house with rising costs of incarceration.

On a positive note, Daniel Malloy reported in the May 3, 2015, edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the “South Leads Push to Reduce Prison Populations.” In a well-written article about changes in the political spectrum on incarceration in America, he reported that several states changed policies and practices: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, and others across the South, as did New York. All have shown favorable results at reducing state deficits and incarceration rates. Most importantly, some of those states began providing better substance abuse and mental health treatment for their prisoners, as well as implementing re-entry initiatives. Those states and politicians deserve praise, even if most of those policies and votes were likely based on financial concerns, instead of any moral convictions for decades of wrongs inflicted upon their citizens by previous policies.

According to a quote in Malloy’s article from an ALEC spokesperson, former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, started spending more money on diversion programs in place of prison beds in 2007. I respect him and Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, for creating diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration for juveniles and other offenders. Gov. Deal implemented different phases to change Georgia’s failed criminal justice system (CJS). I am a Georgia native who spent numerous years of his life in their CJS. Last year, Gov. Deal focused “[o]n improving ways to rehabilitate inmates who are serving prison sentences and ease their transition as they re-enter society. He’s poured millions into education programs at the state prisons.” AJ&C, 05/03/15, under sub-heading of “Tide Swells Across the South.” That was an honorable act. Politicians such as Governor Deal and Rick Perry, are a rare breed who take a stand for what is right that may not be politically correct.

CONCLUSION

As a general matter, Politics are depressing. No wonder I chose to focus more on snakes that crawl over those who walk. Who wants to read about immigration, legalization of marijuana, or the politicians who deceive voters by campaigning on issues and then promising to vote a particular way if elected, who then votes contrary to their promises, after their voters put them in office? Not me. The Snake lying on a prison yard has more appeal to me than a politician lying when making campaign promises.

With statistics proving the over-incarceration of American citizens, and the cost of keeping them in prison for decades, the 2016 presidential candidates and other politicians are campaigning to reduce prison populations. The future will reveal which ones chose to be honorable by voting according to promises made and introducing bills to support the words flowing from their mouths, as well as those who engaged in political pandering to get votes, who are more slimy than any reptile crawling on the face of the earth.

Respectfully, I say to those who win the seats, represent the office upon which you are elected by being honorable men and women, whose words mean something. As I write, I have spent almost twenty-seven-years in prison for my role in crimes no where near as harmful to the nation as the policies that put me here for decades. Countless taxpaying victims have struggled to pay the cost of my incarceration, shelling out more than a million dollars for me to stay in prison for driving a second getaway vehicle in a serious crime.

I challenge all politicians to read my essay, “No Sympathy” (first published in my essay collection,* and then posted 04/09/15, to let people read it free to see the true cost of failed Criminal Justice policies. Read it and look at the facts to determine whether the damage caused by “Tough-On-Crime” bills have been worth the price paid by American citizens. Now “YOU” have the power to change what was done for the sake of a vote that came with the expensive price tag of human lives. Please vote to correct the policies that lead to mass incarceration rates.

Oh, BTW, a prison guard arrested the snake for posing a threat to the safety and security of the institution and for it being in an unauthorized area. We pled for him to have mercy and not execute the poor little snake for its crimes. The guard promised to help the snake escape the confines of the prison by carrying it home in his pocket. I hope he did.

The guard really did say he was going to carry it home with him and that it was a juvenile garter or king snake. The tiny one wrapped itself around his fingers as he walked away to end the terrorism of the snake.

Stay posted. I plan to write more on politics based upon the AJ&C article. I thank those of you who follow my blog posts.

[This section updated January 29, 2019]

Wayne T. Dowdy
Email: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or wtdowdy57@gmail.com

*ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN, $8.95, Midnight Express Books (http://www.straightfromthepen.com). For those willing to do a book review, contact me at waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com and I will provide a free Smashwords coupon code to download the eBook; otherwise, download it as “Reader Sets Price” from https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy and pay what you like.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mothers’ Day to all you wonderful women out there who gave your blood and suffered unbearable amounts of pain to give life to the children you brought forth into this thing we call life. Not to mention all you gave of yourself to raise your children the best way you could by giving them what you had been given. May those close to you show the same amount of love on your special day.

Have a great day!
Wayne
E-mail: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com Continue reading Happy Mother’s Day!

FAQs about author Wayne T. Dowdy

Thanks for inquiring about my writing.  Most people want to know answers to several personal questions.  ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN contains answers to many questions.  Purchase it at http://www.straightfromthepen.com or from your favorite online and offline distributors.   Purchase eBooks at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy.

(FAQs)

1) How many books have you written?

A) Four: 1-UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D; 2-UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D; 3-UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($12.95), and 4-ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95) by Wayne T. Dowdy.

2) What is the difference between UNDER PRESSURE and the Motivational Version?

A) The Motivational Version contains “The Story Behind the Novel” and two chapters from the sequel (UNKNOWN INNOCENCE). I added “The Story Behind the Novel” to inspire and assist the aspiring writer by showing how I managed to put the book in his or her hands, and by listing several writer’s tools available for those fortunate enough to purchase them.

The setting for UNDER PRESSURE is the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, and even though the plot concerns the murder of a prisoner and other violence, the novel offers the reader much more than prison scenes and events.  It shows the life of the main protagonist before and after prison, and also enlightens the public about some of the draconian conspiracy laws and shows how easy it is for someone to end up in prison for a drug conspiracy.

3) Have you been published in magazines?

A) Yes. In print, THE SUN magazine published several clips I wrote in response to various topics, as well as an essay I wrote for their “Readers Write” column. In August of 2008 they published what I wrote for the topic of “Up All Night.” The ICONOCLAST magazine published two essays: “Fences” and “Fence Rows,” both of which I included in the essay collection. CONFRONTATION magazine published my essay, “State of Affairs” as a Letter to the Editor.

In 2018, the Savage Kick published “Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree” in Savage Kick #9.

I’ve been published several times under the pseudonym Wayne D.

Online, PrisonLawBlog.com and PrisonEducation.com published several things I have written to educate and inform my readers. Those publications may now be read on my blog (https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com).

4) Were you a politician?

A) No. When researching who I am, if you add the “T” for my middle name, volumes of things will come up that I have had published.  I was in a state prison when I first heard about the Honorable Wayne Dowdy, who is a politician from Mississippi.  By adding “Wayne T. Dowdy” to your favorite search engine, it will allow you to yield numerous results.

Reading ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN will tell you a lot about my interest, beliefs, and convictions.  Most who have read it commented that it contained a lot of wisdom, and some stories that make you laugh, others that are sad, but well written.  It contains events that show the damage of incarceration on society and individuals trapped in the vicious cycle of imprisonment and recidivism.