March 1, 2021, Update: My publisher posted this blog for me while I was held inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. Before writing it, I learned that the technical aspects (content) is what determines whether a publication is a magazine versus a book.
My concept of a book was based on physical characteristics (e.g., a compilation of text and or photos bound in a spine and cover, rather than text and or pictures on pages stapled together in the center).
I learned what constituted a magazine after Confrontation Magazine, the Literary Journal of Long Island University, published a submission of mine that the editor chose to publish as a Letter to the Editor, titled, Prison and Khordorkovsky.
The content, not the binding and cover or other physical characteristics, makes a publication a magazine. By combining genres, I unintentionally made Essays and More Straight from the Pen a magazine instead of a book. 🙂
Here is a modified version of what was originally posted before my release.
I own a magazine, two actually. Imagine that, having a personal magazine for the world to read. When I created ESSAYS AND MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN with Midnight Express Books, I did not think about it as a magazine, but that’s what it is, regardless of what I thought. All it takes to have a magazine these days is a website to post them on, or some system to publish it by putting it in print for everyone to read.
What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking that I had twelve superb essays to share with all who wanted to read about a variety of topics that involved the infamous “Me.”
ESSAYS ABOUT WHAT? Essays about survival against the odds; essays about love and pain; essays about the cost of crime on human lives from a personal perspective; essays to inspire, to shed light on life from a different perspective; essays that show life inside the American criminal justice system; essays that show the price I paid to become a better man; essays, poetry, and a short story that offers something unique to the reader.
FREE ESSAYS: I made three essays available for free, two of which are on this blog: “We Are the Cancer,” “No Sympathy,” and one from my author’s page at Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy), “A Prisoner and a Poem for a Princess.” The latter is more about the spiritual side of life, than it is about a strange romance. “We Are the Cancer” has an environmental theme. “No Sympathy” contains a combination of politics and slices of my life as a child and young adult. I grew up in the criminal justice system and now want to change the system that ruins the lives of millions of people who find themselves sitting inside a jail cell or trapped within prison walls.
[NO LONGER VALID] For your taking time to read this blog, I offer another free essay for your reading pleasure. Use Smashwords Coupon Code MQ86S to download a free copy of “An Airport Ate the Neighborhood,” from my author’s page (click on the link listed in the above paragraph). Enter the coupon code near the end of the process as if you are purchasing the essay. The free offer is only available at Smashwords.com, even though you may purchase the essay for $0.99 at several online outlets. For downloading on a personal computer, use the html format option.
WHAT’S THE “MORE” IN THE TITLE? I wanted to give my readers more for their money, so I added three select poems and one short story, which is what converted my essay collection into a magazine by definition. My personal magazine. I hope you start reading it today by downloading a copy from your favorite eBook retailer. If not that, at least order yourself a paperback from Amazon.comor from your favorite bookstore, which I will really appreciate.
A Federal Bureau of Prisons case manager read Essays and More Straight from the Pen and commented that it contained a lot of wisdom, has parts to make you laugh, and others that were touching; a well-written book and good read. He said he read in a couple of days. For that to come from a prison staff member, it’s a great compliment and one that made me proud of what me and Midnight Express Books put together.
Treat yourself by reading it today and then share it with others.* Many people have told me they found something to identify with in it and that it helped improve their outlook upon life.
I did a similar experiment with my first novel, UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D. Things haven’t worked out as I planned. When I created UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D., I accidentally turned it into a magazine, too. For more on that one, if you haven’t done so already, please read my other blog post, “PUBLISHING & UNKNOWN INNOCENCE.” So, I own two magazines. 🙂
EXPERIMENT IN PROGESS: I am experimenting with the design of this website in hope of increasing loading time and making it easier for visitors to navigate. Please consider that until August 28, 2018, I had never used a cellphone or been online. When arrested on August 18, 1988, the Internet did not exist as we know it today. Cellphones were rare and primitive. Smartphones did not exist, period.
I paid my former publisher at Midnight Express Books to create this website for me while I was still a federal prisoner. Within a couple of months after my release, I took control and have been learning as I go along, posting all content, taking and posting most photographs and videos used since October 2018, and redesigning the website, etc.
This site is still a work-in-progress and is one of four websites I manage. Please feel free to voice any comments and suggestions for improvements.
At the end of this Blog Page insert, I post an embedded link to a formerly abandoned website, my first. Check out the turtle photo in Living in the Slow Lane. I walked out the door one morning to go to work and found the turtle on the driveway, uphill and hundreds of yards away from any body of water, I might add. 🙂
The content, not the binding and cover or other physical characteristics, makes a publication a magazine. By combining genres, I unintentionally made Essays and More Straight from the Pen a magazine instead of a book.
LIFE AFTER RELEASE My life after release continues to be in the present, as I have not become a recidivist who got out of prison only to return with a new charge(s) or for a technical violation on supervised release. For me it is easy since I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do: … Continue reading Life After Release-6→
Massive Change for me involves all my recent activities by trading in the stock market, as well as taking more time to work on my websites to create more traffic in hope of earning additional income. In this blog, I am dedicating most of it to promote Stock Moe, a great person who helps others. … Continue reading Massive Change by Wayne T. Dowdy→
My life after release continues to be in the present, as I have not become a recidivist who got out of prison only to return with a new charge(s) or for a technical violation on supervised release. For me it is easy since I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do: I don’t get high, don’t run the streets, get permission before going out of the area, and just do the right thing by living in harmony with the Universe on most days.
In these types of blogs, I write from my personal experience and perspective, more so than from a broader, more general perspective of life after incarceration, or about my life while inside.
However, issues affecting those of us released, as well as those left inside, remain important to me, as will be shown if you search this website for “recidivism,” “returning citizens,” “Federal Bureau of Prisons,” “Incarceration,” where I have written numerous blogs relating to those issues. I contribute the following paragraph as a great resource for information.
PRISON POLICY INITIATIVES
For those interested in a more technical aspect of issues relating to Returning Citizens and recidivism or other prison-related issues, the Prison Policy Initiative contains volumes of important research information. I am personally grateful for Peter Wagner who devotes time and energy towards making a difference in the lives of others.
Fairshake.net is one of the best, if not the best, resource for returning citizens who need a broad base of information to help them carve their way into a bright future.
The owner of Fairshake.net invited me to write a few sentences for the Fair Shake New Year’s Eve Edition. This is what I was published:
“‘Miracles happen every day but what I learned is that sometimes I must do my part to make a miracle happen. I do what I believe to be the right thing and then get out of the way. I refused to give up my fight for freedom and fought 14-years to get Good Conduct Time. My last victory allowed me to leave for a halfway house on 08/28/2018, instead of 12/26/2018. My hope for better days got me through the dark days spent inside the dungeons of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. Today, hope keeps me moving in a positive direction in pursuit of the many goals I remain focused on achieving. Never lose hope!'”
My popularity continues to climb on Quora.com, where I have written several articles/answers about my experiences relating to life in prison and other related topics. The bulleted list that follows this screenshot of my statistics, shows the most read and upvoted content. These days I don’t have much time to devote to writing on Quora, but if interested in any of the topics, visit my profile page on Quora.com to access my Answers (https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy).
How are new inmates treated when they first come to prison?·
If you’ve spent a long time in prison, what technology did you find hardest to adjust to when you were released?·
As someone who has been to prison, what are the most common inaccuracies about prison life portrayed in movies?·
How does serving time in federal prison compare to state prison?·
In prison, inmates yell “12” to alert other inmates when an officer is present. Why is the number 12 used when they alert each other (or does this only happen in Georgia prisons)?·
When does the day start for inmates in federal prison?·
What happens in prison if you don’t get along with your cellie and it is a dangerous situation? Can you request a new cellmate or a transfer to a different cell?·
Do all men in prison have sex with other men?·
If you were imprisoned, how comfortable would you be without any privacy?·
Is it true that people get sprayed with water in prison, when they first get there?·
What is a secret which you would not tell anybody in real life, but would on Quora using anonymity?·
What incentives do inmates have to behave well, especially those in for life? Do they care about their quality of life while on the inside knowing that they’re not ever getting out?·
People believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers. Is being in prison as good as people think it is or worse than people could imagine?·
Are jail/prison inmates treated differently based on the crime they committed?·
Did anyone attempt a prison escape while you were an inmate?·
Can you survive and stay healthy on food provided to you in prison? Is the food clean and nutritious enough, or do you need to order out like the rest of the inmates?·
How many people who attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings stay sober over 5 years?·
What were you in prison for?·
What is something you’ve seen that you wish you hadn’t seen?·
Does “giving yourself up or turning yourself in” really give you a lighter jail sentence?·
I have more to say but don’t have time to write it, so I will close by asking those who like or want to invest and trade stocks, to read Massive Change by Wayne T. Dowdy. Watch the two YouTube videos by Stock Moe to learn something you didn’t know. 🙂
Sign up for a Webull account and fund it with at least $100 to get an free stock ranging in value. That will help me to earn two free stocks, too. 🙂 I thank you in advance!
Massive Change for me involves all my recent activities by trading in the stock market, as well as taking more time to work on my websites to create more traffic in hope of earning additional income. In this blog, I am dedicating most of it to promote Stock Moe, a great person who helps others.
Stock Moe taught me to use the word “Massive” in a title for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is what bloggers and others use to make their website more visible to search engines, such as Google and Bing.
Stock Moe used Massive about YouTube videos but that doesn’t mean it only works for YouTubers. I am using a SEO technique in this blog by repeatedly using his name and placing his name in headings.
Stock Moe qualifies as my favorite YouTuber because his actions prove that he wants to help others and isn’t doing the YouTube videos strictly for profit.
Stock Moe does promote WEBULLto get free stocks to help support the channel, as will I if someone uses the link in this paragraph to go to Webull to create a stock trading/investing account, and then funds it with a minimum of $100.00.
Get free stocks by signing up now, and then if you also promote WeBull, you will get more free stocks when a referral opens and funds the account within the specified time range with $100 or more.
WEBULL Promotion Good Until March 1, 2021
In myWEBULL promotional case, I am assuming that I will reap a benefit if someone uses the above link (or that one) to create and fund an account. Because I just posted it for the first time and have never used it in this type of communication, I am not sure. Please leave a comment if you do sign up so I will know I am being credited for the referral. Thank you in advance!
NOTE: From my limited understanding, most Penny Stocks classified as so not because they sell for pennies, but because of their overall price or corporate value. Over the Counter (OTC) stocks, meaning that they aren’t listed on the NASDQ or other stock exchanges, are not available on Webull. Several trading platforms do not allow users to purchase OTC stocks. My personal favorite for buying OTC stocks is Charles Schwab.
STOCK MOE THE PRO
Watch and listen to this YouTube video by Stock Moe and then you will know why I used the heading, Stock Moe the Pro. He is someone who knows what he is talking about on the YouTube channel, as a former teacher, stock broker, etc. A very impressive person, him and his Tesla Cat!
To understand Tesla Cat, please watch Stock Moe’s YouTube presentations, then you will know what I mean. 🙂
Listening to the second video will reveal more about the Real Stock Moe who also hangs out on Twitter, where I, too, also post links to these blogs.
I am learning more tricks of the stock market trading and investing practices from Stock Moe and a few other people who do YouTube videos. In the near future I will promote some other favorites that I find reliable but Stock Moe does hold the title as The Best!
Stock Moe Teaches
Marketing and learning Search Engine Optimization is a big part of any successful website or social media platform used to make money. Stock Moe explains more about the processes in his teaching platform. Enjoy!
“Enjoy the special day celebrating life as a living, breathing, human being. No matter how screwed up things may seem, know that there are millions of others who’d love to trade places and to have your problems. That is something I have to remind myself of when disgruntled because the world isn’t working according to Wayne.”
The above quote comes from a previous post, two actually, because on February 13, 2019, I reposted the last Happy Valentine’s Day message that I sent out to my publisher in 2018 to post for me while still living in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. #Happy Valentine’s Day | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN.
When I posted the other blogs and wished everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day, I would not have believed that on Valentine’s Day in 2021 that I would be single and without a Special Someone to spend precious time with, celebrating each day filled with gratitude for having her in my life.
Well, the world just won’t work according to Wayne on most days, and that is okay with me today, because even though things don’t always turn out the way I hoped, the main thing is that I have continued to do the right thing and have succeeded at doing many good things throughout my life.
I do feel blessed for having people in my life who love and care for me and who are always willing to help me to accomplish some of my goals.
Okay, maybe that’s not completely true because I still cannot get friends and loved ones to use links for Amazon.com from WonderfulThingsDone to begin their search for gifts or product so that I get paid a small commission as an Amazon affiliate, if they order within twenty-four hours. But if I was in serious need of something, I know that I can count on most of them to help if possible.
Before ending this blog, I must confess that I don’t have a Sweetheart by choice to a certain extent, as I have resisted the urge to get involved with quite a few women interested in me.
Right now I am focused on trying to become financially secure and have a long way to go. And even though some of the women interested in me could have helped in many respects, I feel that my love and attraction to someone would make it more difficult for me to stay focused on doing what I need to do to leave behind a legacy.
If I could get Google to pay me just one dollar for each of my magnificent photos and reviews (7.4 million views), I could retire and ride off into the sunset with that Special Someone I know awaits me. Pay Up Google!
I reckon I need to be grateful for being in a position to help others, and for being a free man, because I know of millions of others would love to trade places with me.
Yep, it happened again. The Hand of the Censor closed the door of communications between the Freedom of the Press and a captive held inside the mighty United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.
I send in the same content to over one hundred federal captives held in several institutions, without an issue. And then on occasion, at least one incompetent screener who cannot comprehend the context of my blogs or messages, decides that what I write or do is a threat to institutional security.
Maybe it was due to me offering to build him a website in another message. I don’t know.
In this case, the Censor at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, Florida seemed to have stopped one of my blogs that I sent in to a high-profile captive who is a subscriber whom I have published articles for, even though he is of a different faith and belief than me.
I do not believe or feel the same as this particular person on many issues but that is irrelevant. What is important, is that I believe in treating others with the same respect and in giving the same consideration that I would want from someone who didn’t agree with my position on an issue or event.
It is not about me and what I believe in regards to religion or politics: it is about him having a right to believe as he wishes and for me to give him and others a voice to shout out from behind the walls, bars and fences that holds the body but cannot control the mind.
That is, unless the administration pumps the person full of anti-psychotic medication, which actors within the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons and other prison systems have been known to do to control captives who fail to conform. At least, so I have heard and seen the results of when a person begins to walk and talk different because of the heavy dosing of medication.
At any rate, I will end this post with the Message from the Censor:
This message informs you that you have been blocked from communicating with the above-named federal prisoner because the Bureau has determined that such communication is detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the facility, or might facilitate criminal activity. The prisoner with whom you were communicating is being informed of this block. You may appeal this block within 15 days of the date of this message by submitting a written request to the Warden of the prison where the prisoner is located. You should include a copy of this notice, an explanation ofyour appeal request, and any additional documents or information you wish to be considered.
Este mensaje le informa de que ha sido bloqueado de comunicarse con los citados presos federales porque laAgencia de Administraci?n federal de prisiones ha determinado que dicha comunicaci?n es perjudicial para laseguridad, buen orden, o la disciplina de la instituci?n, o podr?a facilitar actividad delictiva. El recluso con quienusted se ha estado comunicando ser? informado de este bloqueo.Usted puede apelar este bloque dentro de los siguientes 15 d?as de la fecha de este mensaje mediante lapresentaci?n de una solicitud por escrito al alcalde de la prisi?n donde el recluso se encuentra. Usted debeincluir una copia de este aviso, una explicaci?n de su solicitud de apelaci?n, y cualquier otro documento oinformaci?n que usted desea sea considerado.
One of the many things I do is to provide information to those inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, whom I know have limited access to information from the outside, as well as what is going on inside the system. Most of the information I send in comes from http://www.bop.gov, including updates about the Coronavirus and other important issues.
One of my clients suggested I let everyone know about the court ruling that permits the incarcerated to receive the Stimulus payment from the Cares Act. At that time, another client had requested an IRS form to file his claim.
I questioned the legitimacy based upon my experience on the inside and prisoner filings for tax refunds. And then today (10/21/2020), another client requested that I check on his filing status and informed me about the publication of an article in the Washington Post.
Yes, though controversial and challenged by the Trump administration, the incarcerated may file a claim to receive a stimulus payment, as reported in the Washington Post by Personal Finance columnist, Michelle Singletary on Oct. 19, 2020,
IRS is forced to extend to Nov. 4 a deadline to allow local, state and federal prisoners to claim tens of millions in stimulus money
For those with loved ones in American prisons, you may want to let them know about being allowed to file a claim for a stimulus payment but remember, there is a deadline for filing.
If you can send in an IRS 1040 form, it may help; however, I know some people inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons who were provided the proper form and a memorandum by prison officials to notify them of the court’s decision.
Politically Incorrect I may be, but I have a right in America to be however I choose, regardless of what public opinion may dictate as proper or improper, offensive to a particular group or party, providing I do not physically harm someone; or what supports their agenda and makes me a dedicated supporter, worthy of praise.
To be clear, at one time in my life, I may have wanted to burn down the White House, but not anymore. I prefer to live in peace and to treat others the way I want to be treated, no matter who they are or what their occupation is in life. We are all in this together.
I do not support and was saddened to see what happened at the White House on January 6, 2021; nor the events that led to the attack, which, in my opinion, may be legally attributed to outgoing President Donald Trump, based upon what he said to the crowd gathered near the White House before the attack began. (I will not go into all of that because only a caveman wouldn’t know what I am referring to and cavemen can’t read anyway.)
As someone who has been censored, I am censor-sensitive and feel a lot like Patrick Henry, whom I have written about in previous blogs, but I am not willing to die to defend your right (or President Trump’s) right to say anything. That is just asking a little bit much: I will speak out, though, and fight to prevent our words from being silenced by censors.
On one level, nothing going on in the political arena matters to me, but I do feel obligated to express my opinion and view of what I see happening.
What I don’t feel is right is all the politically driven censorship by Facebook and Twitter, which I am sure was influenced by the recent Congressional actions against Facebook, Amazon, Google, and other technology companies dominating the market.
More recently, Facebook removed ads for guns and weapons because of more political interference. Click Here
The new controlling party doesn’t like guns, so how strange that Facebook suddenly makes a decision to stop advertising the sale of items frowned upon by the Democrats in particular.
At what point does the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protect Freedom of Speech? With today’s political environment, it doesn’t in most circumstances, as can be shown by Facebook and Twitter shutting down President Trump’s accounts.
Though private companies and not really protected under the provisions of the First Amendment, I see the situation as the beginning of the disappearance of another of the Writings on the Wall. To understand that statement, read Animal Farm by George Orwell (buy from this link and I earn a commission).
Most people in modern society fall within the Sheep category written about in Animal Farm, who supported and could not accept that the controlling party (Pigs) were removing the Writings on the Wall; illustrative of the disappearance of what was voted on during the revolution (animals taking over the farm and running off the farmers who killed and used animals and their parts). Also reflective of what would be the Constitution or controlling documents agreed upon by the Animals/People.
Would Patrick Henry have defended President Trump’s right to say all of the controversial statements and claims? As a writer and one who has written many words that some found offensive and decided to not follow my blog because I supported issues different from their beliefs, I think of who will be the one to decide what you may read?
The power of the media was shown when its false allegations of the Spanish attacking one of the American ships started the Spanish-American war (see below for link to History).
If Freedom of Speech does not matter, go to China and Russia where the governments exhibit total control and have a history of making people disappear who speak out against the establishments.
Freedom of the Press
Is the news media responsible for what happened at the White House, because the news outlets provided the platform for the inciteful speeches made by President Trump? No.
Some politicians are wanting to hold Facebook, Twitter, and other private companies responsible for hateful content that leads to violence, so what it the difference? There isn’t.
Starting with control over the private sector is only the start for the erosion of America’s Freedom of Speech protections.
Next in line of attack will be the news media outlets or reporters who report on issues that result in violence or political upheaval.
Real Fake News helped start the Spanish American War in 1898 by falsely reporting the Spanish attacked the USS Maine in Cuba. A lie that fed the mass frenzy to attack the Spanish and to defend the Nation!
More Fake News led to the attack on the Capitol when the Commander in Chief encouraged his followers to take a stand, promising to be there with them when they did. He lied.
Yep, I am making progress on many levels now. To begin, in 2020 I became one of Google’s Top Photographers for Google Maps, with Six Million views of the photos I took with two Motorola cellphones that I own.
Since my release from the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons on August 28, 2018, I first struggled with finding a job because of my age, more so than my felony convictions. In Year One of New Life, I wrote about recidivism and my succeeding in light of the odds against me as a man who spent over thirty consecutive years in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
When Goodwill of North Georgia gave me a chance to prove myself by giving me a job on July 18, 2019, I become the October 2019, Employee of the Month for the McDonough Store and Donation Center. The following month I was selected for Goodwill’s Employee Spotlight.
Then in January of 2020, a loved one gave me a vehicle to help me in all of my endeavors to succeed as a free man. Until then, I depended on my family to get me to and from work, or to the bus stop 20-minutes away from Small Town USA, kind of, even though it is near the Big City of Atlanta, or I walked and loved walking around as a free man.
I am Blessed by the Best and fortunate to have people who love and care for me, and who helped me to successfully reintegrate into society after I walked out of the prison gates feeling like a caveman entering the Modern World in which we live.
2021 Coming Up!
My hope for 2021 involves sitting in front of the fireplace in the above photo, as I am awaiting for the loan approval as I type. Whether I purchase this particular home that I have signed the contract for, or some other house if the loan doesn’t go through because of contract-price issues, I will be living in a new place of residence in 2021 to focus more on developing my business(s).
Stars Continue to Shine!
In January 2017 I wrote the following and am thrilled and happy to now be living in the starlight with success since my release:
“My opportunity to reenter society approaches faster than additional studies can be produced to predict the likelihood of success for released prisoners. I am prepared for successful reentry. Failure is not an option.
“Without thinking of that particular day, I have worked toward it for almost three decades. Even when my release date seemed more distant than the stars that glittered in the night (too far away to see without a telescope), I moved forward on faith of better days.” Successfully Reentering Society
My faith in a Higher Power I call God, and my life of sobriety got me where I am today.
Had I not stopped using the drugs and alcohol that helped get me to prison, I would not be alive and would not have been blessed by getting to walk out of the prison doors to begin a new life.
I never dreamed I’d become a Top Photographer with a Smartphone, a device I had never used until August 28, 2018, the day my new life began. And for that I am grateful.
I close with More from My Motorola to Spread Christmas Joy
When the year 2020 began, I believed it was going to be a wonderful year, and as in other things, it is a matter of perception of whether it has or has not been a wonderful year. For me, I lived to fight many more days and continue to be thrilled and happy to be “here,” with here meaning Alive, alive and still Kickin’ after all these years, which is a miracle, indeed. For that I am grateful. Some things I wished to have been different but … I am not in control of life. I am happy to be a part of it.
I am Blessed by the Best!
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the holiday, and to all of those who do or do not, please take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of life today. Personally, I begin with the obvious, my health, including all body parts that remain intact and fully functional; especially, my Eyes to See and Ears to Hear, as well as my mouth and fingertips to express what I want the world to hear and read.
The most import is Love
Of all things I am grateful for, the most important is LOVE, love from above and love from my many friends and the few loved ones who remain alive and in my life. Should I list all things for which I am grateful, this blog would take more time to write than I have before posting it in time for people to read before Thanksgiving celebrations begin in America.
I’m late according to my schedule but on time spiritually.
FROM THE INSIDE
Two days ago, I received a Corrlinks email from a person who shared his feelings on the holiday. Here is what Chuck wrote, who is serving an excessive federal prison sentence:
“I wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving, and to remind everyone that this time of year is an excellent time to reflect on family & friends, as well as community and the world. We are in challenging times now and can often not see the beauty in others around us because of our situations. To be thankful for what we have, as well as what we have learned about those closest to us are experiences that should not be overlooked. To see the trivial things that we otherwise might have missed because of the daily hustle and bustle of our hectic lives is reason enough to give thanks during this holiday. Those smiles and conversations that arise out of the extra time that we spend because of our closeness are opportunities that may only come once. So, embrace them and cherish them … give thanks for them and the people that they originate from.
Note: if you would like to correspond with the author, his address is as follows:
CHARLES R DENNING, # 21317-045
USP TERRE HAUTE
P.O. BOX 33
TERRE HAUTE, IN 47808
In the original draft of Too Late for Torrick, I began by using the dictate function in latest update for Microsoft Word 2016. Two reasons kept me from including a section titled, Positive Note; the first being something that a friend once said about using the talk-to-text function for sending emails.
He wrote, “I can’t get it to understand Southern.”
The second reason related to the amount of time it would take for me to decipher the convoluted dictation, and my deciding that it would be best to wait to include the positive perspective of the Corrlinks correspondence in a separate blog and that proved to be a better idea because of the events that followed.
My plan was to include the convoluted dictation as humor; however, I will spare my readers and conclude with the blog my friend sent and authorized me to post on his behalf. I also sent his blog into the prison system and received several favorable comments from those Inside who needed to read good news.
The devastation caused by COVID-19 from inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons did have a positive side, in that the courts intervened and ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners that the prison officials refused to release on their own initiative after given authorization to do so by the United States Attorney General.
A person who I have known for years and who wrote an Introduction to Unknown Innocence, recently wrote that he was granted his release because of the Court’s intervention related to his request for Compassionate Release because of the threat of COVID-19.
He sent me an email and wrote, “Thank you for all you have done for me recently. The daily stats helped me present my case.” That made me feel great and assured me that the time I take from my schedule to provide information and meaningful content to those on an approved Corrlinks contact list, is a worthy cause, for which I am grateful for being able to do.
On Monday, November 30, 2020, Jeffrey P. Frye, will be released because of his having a competent public defender who assisted him, and a federal judge who granted his motion and ordered his release.
Miracles happen! Never lose hope.
Leaving Shawshank (last blog from prison)
Jeffrey P. Frye
In June 2020, two months into the national lockdown in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I made a strong cup of coffee and took 10 sheets of paper and I sat in my cell and penned a Motion for Compassionate release to the court in Charleston, South Carolina. I cited the COVID-19 epidemic and its devastating effects on the inmate population, especially for people with my medical conditions of COPD, asthma, and hypertension… However, for somebody with my history, and given the fact that I was given 20 years for robbing seven banks (w/out wearing a mask), and given the fact that Judge Norton had actually whacked me with 7-20 yr. sentences (one for each bank), I figured it a stretch. But time and pressure sometimes make a jailhouse lawyer…so I fired off the motion anyway. And in what has turned out to be the smartest move I made, I sent a copy to the Federal Public Defender in Charleston, Ms. Ann W., to ask her if she would represent me on this filing.
After about a month I had still heard nothing back from the court or the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) on my case. Nor had I heard from the public defender’s office. I found this to be odd, because usually at least the AUSA would deny my filings in short shrift. I waited, all while the outbreak back here for worse and people started dropping like flies. I have a friend named Wayne T. Dowdy who had started sending me daily reports from the BOP’s website (bop.gov) of which institutions had cases and how many people had died. When we came out for our hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would write these down. It was sobering. The numbers were climbing all while the BOP told Congress and the media that it was getting better.
Enter Ms. Ann W, Esq.
The judge appointed her to investigate the validity of my claims. I kept piping her info through snail mail, and filing addendums to my original brief, and asked her to amend these to my pro se filing if she thought it relevant. In America, a lot of defendants have an incorrect assumption about public defenders. They assume that they are the bottom of the barrel or lawyers who are just on their way to something better. They also mistakenly believe (at least in federal court) that if they hire a high-priced lawyer that they’ll get a better deal. Maybe these opinions have at least a little validity in state court but not in federal court. In the feds, the public defender’s office is the best one to have because all they do is federal law, day in and day out. Subsequently, they are the smartest lawyers in the pack; the best to have.
Ms. Ann W. is the cream of the federal crop.
After sending her a second addendum telling her how bad things were, she filed an amazingly excellent 20 page brief that used recent reports from the Department of Justice’s Office of The Inspector General (OIG), and from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that refuted the BOP’s claims. She blended this with my medical history, my new-found career as a writer, and a couple of character letters the info on the place I would live if the motion were granted (this is paramount). Then after she’d threw all these things into the pot, she stirred it using her own narrative of me and my life. I have often commented that writing is like making sauce in that you throw in a bunch of different things and stir, hoping that the reader loves your creation. And much like feeding people and the ones you love; you hope that the reader likes your sauce. We, I am here to tell you that Ann W. makes a damn good sauce. She also included something else that I found to be pretty cool.
She included you guys. My blog readers for the last eight years and the people who have purchased my books. How cool is that? She also attached letters penned by the two people who have been great friends to me and that have been instrumental in my career to this point. Steve Hussy, Owner of Murder Slim Press and Jonathan J. (a.k.a., Alexius Rex), creator and pilot of my website bankblogger.weebly.com. Two people who have been very kind to me over the last eight years, and who, strangely enough, that I have never seen in person or even spoke to on the phone during these years. At the end of The Love Fest section of her sauce, Ms. W. listed my transition from the genre of “Hey look at the dumb criminal,” to the mainstream by mentioning The Life of Riley Book 1 (now available and seriously underpriced on Amazon). But in spite of her awesome brief (I’m almost out of stupendous adjectives to describe her work), there was still no word from the judge. Until two days ago.
I was standing on the inside of my cell door staring out into the abyss of abject criminal nothingness while practicing what I refer to as “Anti-social distancing.” This involves me strapping on my MP3 and ear buds and pretending that the music is playing, even though it’s not. This tactic prevents me from having to talk to my psycho cellie, the one whose face, head and neck are completely tattooed; the one that I have had to fight at 5am three frigging times in the last three months.
As I stood in my door feeling every bit the Nowhere Man living in my nowhere land, staring into nothing, while listening to absolutely nothing, I spied the back area of the staff offices open up and watched as my case manager hustled towards my cell with a sheaf of papers in his right hand. I found this to be extremely odd because most days, I couldn’t find this dude with a search warrant. He walked up to my house and opened my cell door, and said, “The judge has granted your compassionate release and commuted your sentence to Time Served. We have up to 14 days to get you out of here and on a flight to Chicago, all we’re waiting on is Probation in Illinois to verify your release residence, then you’re out of here.”
And just like that…this 12-year nightmare is over. I’m going free.
Now it’s two days later and what should be extended joy and elation is only fear. I have no money to speak of; No clothes; and until I can get to the food stamp office like a good liberal, I don’t even have any food. At least here at Shawshank I had Cheeseburger Day to look forward to every Wednesday. I was the guy who could write about Cheeseburger Day. Now I don’t even have that anymore. But in a few short days, you know what I will have?
Freedom. A brand-new beautiful life. A chance not to die here.
So, very soon I will be sitting in a terminal at Orlando International waiting to catch a flight To Chicago, where I will be met by my sister and brother in law with love. I will have on my lap all of my possessions; a mesh bag with the hand-written copy of The Life of Riley Books 1-4, and two other books I have penned and not decided what to do with yet. Ironically, I will be wearing a mask. Go figure.
I am not sure where my cool new beautiful life will take me in the coming years, but I do know one place that it will not. To a bank. Ever. From now on, I will be doing all my banking online.