Category Archives: Writing life from inside prisons

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, CORRECTIONS & REENTRY

happy mothers dayby Wayne T. Dowdy

Each year I like to wish all the mothers of the world a Happy Mother’s Day and to add something different to my previous wishes.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful and deserving mothers of the world.  Each of you is special in your own right.  Perfect is a fantasy, so even if you made errors in your youth or child rearing practices, you deserve recognition and praise for the pain you endured and thus kept the human race going, popping out babies to face the challenges life presents; some of whom become technological geniuses, innovators, inventors, and the movers & shakers who changed the world.  Most of us simply become ordinary men and women, but all of us are of equal importance in this thing called life.  We are all connected: It takes each of us to make Life complete.

Should this not be posted before Sunday, May 13th, Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

CHANGES:  I must confess once again to writing less than perfect blogs.  In my defense, I present that I type on a system without the benefit of any editing features, outside of spell-checking; nothing to check grammar or style, nothing available to check punctuation, or for using special font features (italics, bold, underline, all prohibited).

Whatever I send through Corrlinks.com gets posted, as is, unless I request a change after sending it:  I hesitate doing so because I don’t want to burden the person gracious enough to assist me in my mission of getting my words outside the walls and barbwire fences that contain my body but not my mind or fingertips that fly across the pages.  However, my messages are limited to 13,000 characters that I often use to get you something of value to read, so that part of me is contained unless I want to do a multi-part series.  🙂

After clicking to send my most recent blog, “Changes,” I had to send a request to make four corrections, explaining that with a title like Changes, you might know I’d need to make a few.  Well …, then after she made them for me, I find others but chose to let ’em ride until I wrote this blog.  Darn it, I hate errors, especially, when I make them!

CORRECTIONS:  I listed the title of Ms. Sally Q. Yates as an Assistant United States Attorney.  She held a position much more prestigious than that: the former Deputy Attorney General under the Honorable Eric Holder, United States Attorney.  Sorry Sally.  Okay, I’ll do better.  I apologize Ms. Yates.

Then in the opening paragraph, I used “digression” in the first sentence (“Storms ravage the United States:  tornadoes, snow and ice storms, in April, along with the political and technological storms that drive the progression or digression of the nation.”)  The proper word is “regression,” because I meant it in the sense that some policies and practices drive us backward instead of forward.

I also improperly credited the Bureau of Prisons’ Psychology department as offering “Health & Wellness” classes (most of which are taught by someone from the medical or recreational departments), and “Job Applications & Resume Writing,” which is taught through the education department.  I benefited through my participation in both programs.

Other programs are also available at various institutions that benefit the inmate population that I do not mention.  I’ll share later about my personal experience with one such program conducted here on April 25, 2018 (the date my Unit Team requested for me to leave here to a halfway house that was changed to December 26, 2018, at the Residential Reentry Manager’s office in Atlanta, Georgia, because of the political BS and changes in the halfway house policy by the new BOP director).

CORECIVIC/CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA:  I recently learned that the correct name of the former CCA is not Correctional Corporation of America.  There is no “al” following Correction.  I learned the correct former name in the case I indirectly referred to in “Changes” Grae, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated v. Corrections Corporation of America, Damon T. Hininger, David M. Garfinkle, Todd J. Mullenger, and Harley G. Lappin, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207475; Fed. Sec. L. Rep. (CCH) P99, 936 (M.D., TN 12/18/17), where the Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, United States District Judge, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and refused to grant CCA’s motion to dismiss.

CLARITY:  Also of great importance is that I do not mean to come across as stereotyping all politicians, BOP employees or its prisoners, when I speak negatively about the political spectrum in America, the BOP or the system as a whole.  The system has more good men and women than bad (that goes for political parties, too).

Several staff and prisoners helped and, or supported my desire to change and gave me their time, and often shared their knowledge and wisdom that allowed me to advance to another level in life that I now use to help others.

REENTRY SIMULATION:   I went to jail for going to an NA meeting high, agreed to pay $40.00 to a bondsman, and then got evicted for not paying my rent on time, but I did go back and pay the bondsman when I got paid in the final quarter.  🙂

“Thank you,” he said.  “I pointed at you and told Ms. P (Reentry Coordinator) that you’d slide out of here and not pay me for getting you out of jail.”

The event took a lot of work to put together.  Over 50-visitors and 70-inmates attended.  To get the visitors inside the secured lines of the institution, required a lot of paperwork to check their backgrounds before they were approved to enter the visiting room, where the event was conducted.

Approximately 10-tables were set up around the perimeter of the visiting room, each of which represented various functions a newly released prisoner may have to deal with (e.g., Probation Office, Courthouse with a Jail next door; Social Services to apply for food stamps, etc.; a Health Department where we could sell blood for $25; Identification and housing departments; and an Employment Service where I needed to go to pick up my $320 pay check that no one had told me about.

In addition, one table was set up for the Church where Narcotics & Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were held, and another table representing a Treatment Center on the opposite side of town.

Institutional staff (correctional counselors, business office personnel, case managers, secretaries) and a few volunteers, manned the tables/departments.  Some volunteers participated in the event as if released from prison, while others coordinated the functions of the event.

OUT OF TIME:  The event was set up in four 15-minute segments.  At the end of each segment the coordinator blew a whistle for us to return to our seats.

Us participants were seated in seats where clear, plastic folders laid, with 5″ x 8.5″ card and other items, including Monopoly money to pay for services.  Each card contained a profile and role with a schedule we had to adopt and comply with to successfully complete the event.

We had to pay to go to any of the areas/services, the same as having to pay bus fares or processing fees for services.  I often stood in line only to learn I needed more money than I had, and by the time I made it back to where I needed to do whatever, the clock ran out and I failed to do what was required.

My profile was Whitney, a person with a drug problem who had served 10-years in prison for bank robbery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, the latter of which is a common charge in federal prison.

Before the event concluded, my schedule required that I report to my probation officer, who was not happy because I failed to attend the required treatment sessions, failed a Urine analysis, got evicted from my apartment, and had gotten put in jail.

My response:  “I promise I will do better.  I’m sorry for not making it to the treatment session.  I ran out of time and couldn’t make it, and then when I appeared, the therapist couldn’t work me into her schedule, but I did go to NA meetings and to work.”

“Are you clean now?” he asked.

“Yes, sir.  I can pass the UA.”  He gave me a break and another chance by not filing charges against me for violating the terms of my supervised release.

WHAT I LEARNED:  I get agitated not knowing where I need to go and standing in long lines only to be turned away for lack of funds or for being late for an appointment.  I need to be more prepared, allow for more travel time, and to learn the location of everywhere I must go, in advance.  Such problems I’ve not faced for thirty years and did not find it entertaining.  I did enjoy the experience, though.

OTHER EVENTS:  The next day I retook the WorkKeys test for Locating Information.  I wanted to try again for Platinum certification.  Gold is good but platinum is better.  The lady from the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation that I mentioned in my blog, “A Job Affair,” strongly suggested I retake the test to go for Platinum because I only missed it by one answer, and because only 6% of participants get Platinum Certification.

In the near future, I hope to write that I succeeded at obtaining Platinum Certification.  If not, then I’ll try it again.  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  I will do that until I achieve my goal.

In my next blog I will write more about bills pending in Congress, the BOP, and more misinformation presented by the BOP director before Congress during an Oversight Hearing.

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BLOGS and MORE

blogging for dollars 2

by Wayne T. Dowdy

Originally posted July 7, 2017

[Update April 8, 2019: I am taking two online courses now to learn how to generate an income from blogging.  What I’ve learned thus far is that it takes money to update my WordPress and Weebly blogs with all the tools I need to monetize the blogspots.  I am accepting all personal donations.  Contact me by email to contribute: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com, if interested.  Thanks!]

A friend read a few books and magazines on Positive Psychology and become a psychologist, at least, in his mind he did.  He does offer some periodic, beneficial advice.  In a conversation about my blogs and desire to increase the web traffic, he suggested I blog on more positive topics.

I learned a similar principle about writing when I took a writing course through the Long Ridge Writers Group, almost ten years ago.  Life contains enough pain and negativity for each of us; many read to escape the realities of life, or want to read things to make them feel good about themselves or their environment.

Doom and gloom feeds the news channels, so why doesn’t it work for bloggers?  Well, maybe it works for some.  Not me.  Actually, I don’t feel I write much doom and gloom in my blogs; however, I do confess that many are based on negativity.  Hey, to create lightning, it takes a negative charge.  Did I hear it thunder?

BLOG:  According to Mr. Google, a blog is a “regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

I write in an informal and conversational style.  I get a lot of local conversation based upon my blog content, unfortunately, my biggest audience cannot go online to click to “Like” or comment on my blog posts.  Hundreds of my readers can only read my blogs from the “inside view,” through TRULINCS, and cannot access the Internet because most prisons prohibit us from doing so.  (TRULINCS is the system Federal prisoners pay to use for emailing and phone services.)

HELP!  My fan base continues to grow but I need your help to make it grow enough to attract advertisers so the blog pays me instead of me having to pay to blog (I pay $0.05 per minute to type the blogs to send to my publisher/friend, who converts it into the proper format and posts it online for you to read).  Please share my link with others.  Thanks!

BLOGGING FOR DOLLARS:  In 2015 I wrote a blog titled the same.  I am still working on how to blog for dollars, but as stated, I do need your help to increase traffic/page views, because without the web traffic, advertisers will not want to pay to advertise on my sites.

Bloggers may use Google Adsense to attract advertisers.  If you are reading this on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com, you may see a periodic ad posted by different businesses.  I am not sure about the waynedowdy.weebly.com blog.

Maybe my publisher already listed the website with Google Adsense and I’m earning a few nickels to help pay the bills and I just don’t know it.  🙂

WHAT DOES BLOG MEAN?  The Internet Slang says, “BLOG means ‘Weblog, online diary.'”

A log of online posts/Web entries, I reckon it is, something burned into the memory of the deep blue web, where “WEblog.”

The Acronym Finder shows BLOG as an acronym for “Web Log,” “Better Listing on Google,” “Buy Locally Owned Group (Canada),” and my favorite, “Big Load of Gossip.”  Copyright 1988-2014, AcronymFinder.com.

With the help of one of my dear sisters, I investigated what a blog is because numerous people have asked me over the years.  I knew what a blog was and what it meant to me, since I have blogged for the last few years, but I was unaware of the actual meaning or if “BLOG” was an acronym for some mysterious online organization.

Now that we know the official definition for “Blog” (according to the referenced sources), I present a blog on my Independence Day at this facility (holiday events vary between prisons).

INDEPENDENCE DAY & GRATITUDE:  One blog a lot of people liked in the free society and on the inside, staff and inmates alike, is “Gratitude & More” (12/19/16).  I wrote it from a positive perspective, so maybe what my friend suggested is true?

I need to turn over a new leaf and let signs of a positive life flow from my fingertips.

Lightning flashes and then it thunders.

I began the day with instant coffee and watching videos on CMT and MTV-2.  I’d switch from Country music on CMT to Pop to Rap to Hip Hop, and whatever else MTV plays.

COUNT TIME:  at 10:00 AM, we were locked in our cells and then stood to be counted.  During the count, I listened to my antique Sony Walkman radio as I worked on math problems in preparation for the tests I’ll take to graduate WorkKeys next week.  Nineteen Eighty-two was the last time I worked on Advanced Math in college, and trying to relearn it has been a challenge, but one I have accepted and succeeded at handling.

After the count cleared and we were released from our cages, I stood around watching but not listening to any of the ten televisions, wondering why our unit hadn’t been released for chow.  Two and a half hours later, we got to go eat.

Any change in the regular routine creates drama in here.  The staff are “supposed to” follow a set schedule to let each cellblock out to eat.  The one I live in was supposed to get out fourth in the line of twelve listed on the Weekly Rotation.  The rotation ran awful slow or we didn’t get out in the scheduled order.  I had skipped breakfast and was ready to eat by the time the cellhouse officer yelled, “Main Line.”

CHOW TIME:  Over a hundred of us took off walking fast, like a bunch of hungry critters heading for the food trough, trying to outrun the others to get first choice.  I didn’t outrun everyone in this cellblock but I did outrun a few.  🙂

I stood in line for the noon meal and was happy to see peaches being served.  I love peaches, especially, Georgia Peaches, the two legged kind and the ones that stimulate the taste buds.

The serving line ran out of peaches with the person before me.  Peaches were replaced with watermelon.  I love watermelon!  I can eat half of a large watermelon by myself.  The Inmate Server put a tiny piece on my tray, one so small that the edible content would not fill a 12-ounce glass.  I did not feel grateful.

I still smiled and said thank you, as I customarily do, even when I don’t feel so thankful.  I try to be polite and treat people the way I want to be treated, not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated.

When I first arrived at this institution in 2004, I noticed ethnically-different, inmate servers, looking up to see who’s next in line.  And if the person was white, and not one who pays for larger portions, sort through the food to select a smaller piece while staff watched.  I experienced violent thoughts about using a serving tray as an assault weapon.  Not now, though.

I smile and say thank you and tell myself the person is trying to help me fight high-cholesterol I do not have, by finding a smaller piece of fried chicken or meat to give me and any other non-paying person.

THE HOLIDAY MEAL:  For lunch today, I had a chunk of beef so tough that a pit-bull would have struggled to chew it.  Tough or not, it tasted good and I am grateful to have had it to eat.

Too many people in the world, who are not in prison, did not have any food to eat yesterday and today.  Why haven’t we figured out how to feed everyone in the world or big cities in America?

I also had corn on the cob that I gave away, sour cream, baked potatoes, broccoli, and a tasty little apple pie, to go with the piece of beef and micro-watermelon slice.  Who but a whiny prisoner would complain about a meal like that?

Most people who paid for the meal would have wanted a refund on the terribly-tough, tasty beef.  Regardless of that, though, we got fed and filled our bellies, so I can’t rightfully complain, even though I did.

Prison is not supposed to be a pleasurable experience.  The meal we had was better than what millions of people around the globe ate that day.

GRATITUDE:  While sitting at a table eating, I suffered from Watermelon Envy as I eyed the peaches and slices of watermelon on the trays of my peers, their watermelon slices larger than mine.  A friend must have saw the look in my eyes and gave me his watermelon.  After eating it, I felt better before leaving, my belly full of gratitude for a moment.

Leaving the chow hall, I walked with a Mexican and African-American.  We were given a paper sack lunch for our evening meal: cold cut slices of various meat, a slice of cheese, four slices of bread, and pastries.

The African-American says, “I got two cinnamon rolls.  Did you get two?”

I peeked into my sack and only saw one.

The Mexican said, “Yeah, I got two of ’em too.”

I said, I only got one.  A cracker ain’t got nothing coming, I somewhat joked.

I returned to the cellblock and thought about the experiences during the meal and then remembered the premises I wrote about in Gratitude & More.  As I did so, I took everything out of the bag, then noticed I did have two cinnamon rolls.  The two packages were stuck together, which I didn’t notice when peeking into the bag.

GOD-SHOT:  I felt a God-Shot when I realized how things changed when I thought to be grateful for what I had, rather than complain about what I did not.  God gives me lessons each day.  I grow each time He does, if I learn what He wants me to learn.

It thunders when He speaks; oftentimes, it takes lightning to get my attention.

CONCLUSION:  I spent the latter part of the day studying more math and listening to music, periodically venturing out of my cell to look at the televisions.  Later in the evening, I went to the recreation department to walk the asphalt track and to print a draft copy of an earlier version of this blog.

Several of my peers ran the track, others screamed and shouted as they played basketball, softball, handball, and various other games.

Dark clouds filled the horizon and approached fast, pushed on by strong winds as a storm approached that caused the staff to close outside recreation.  Children cannot play outside when it storms; especially, those with a history of misbehavior and absconding from justice.  We rushed inside before it rained.

I did succeed at printing the draft and walking a few laps before returning to work more on this blog and read legal news on the electronic bulletin board.

While on the computer terminal, I watched the movie, Mr. Church, staring Eddie Murphy, in a much different cast.  After the computer kicked me off after 30-minutes, I watched the rest of the movie from my cell.  Some darn gnats or something kept getting in my eyes near the end of the movie when Mr. Church died.  I don’t know where those gnats came from.  🙂

My day concluded with a shower, talking with my cellmate, listening to the radio some more, and reading before counting off another day from the calendar.

All things considered, it was a good day.  I did something for the mind, body, and spirit.  What more can a person ask for in life?  Well, right now I can think of a few things I’d like to be different, but I will close without complaining.  We get what we need and things work according to God’s will, not Wayne’s.  Darn it!  However, the positive side is that if things went according to Wayne, I wouldn’t be “here” to entertain you with this blog.  Thanks for reading my writings!

______________________________

Note: I postponed writing the second eBook in the Fiction Crime Series, Guns, Drugs & Thugs.  Purchase Guns, Drugs & Thugs: Drug Store Spree in paperback or as an eBook at  https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Drugs-Thugs-Store-Spree/dp/1797068466/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=guns%2C+drugs+and+thugs&qid=1554732767&s=books&sr=1-1

Murder Slim Press also publised Guns, Drugs & Thugs: Drug Store Spree.  Another printed version is available in the magazine, Savage Kick # 9.

Purchase ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95 USD) and UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($12.95, USD) from your favorite bookseller; also available as eBooks from Smashwords.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.kindle, and many others.

Autographed copies available through the author.  Contact by eMail: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com

ROCKY ROAD TO PRISON

two men to a cell.jpgBy Wayne T. Dowdy

Prisoners do not have a choice about which prison authorities place them in, nor can they control who moves in a cell or dormitory where they live.  At least, legally they cannot, but sometimes do.  Those facts often led to prison violence and negative results.  Prison does not have to be negative as a whole.

DANGEROUS CHARACTER:  Five months before I was arrested, a woman gave birth to a child who grew up to be a tall, handsome, muscular, young man.  He moved into the cell with me on September 21, 2016.  I later learned that he was a paid hit man who severed limbs for a living.

He showed no mercy to the living or the dead as he wielded a chainsaw to accomplish his goals; a highly dangerous, Indiana Jones type of fellow.  He used a shovel and stepped outside the boundaries of the law when he chose to dig up remains left behind by people before him in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.

How can another man close his eyes to rest when knowing he is locked into a 8′ x 10′ x 12′ cell designed for one, housing two men in a bathroom, while knowing the other occupant is so dangerous that he dared to dig deep into the soil for artifacts left behind by Cherokee Native Americans?

HIS CRIME:  Arrowheads, that’s right, arrowheads, rocks; he’s in prison for digging up rocks, approximately thirty feet outside an authorized area.

HIS SENTENCE:  one-year probation for a non-violent crime.  And then he violated the terms of probation and landed in a prison cell with a man serving thirty-five years for violent crimes, a man with a long history of committing crimes of violence.

SHARED HISTORIES:  Both of us have a history of substance abuse.  He still struggles.  I do not.  I have lived clean and sober for almost twenty-two years since he was about seven years old.

On August 1, 1985, I was released from the Georgia prison system.  I was twenty-eight years old, his age.  I read the tea leaves and saw him traveling down the same path that I did.  The path that led to me spending most of my life in prison for committing crimes to get high.

During the past five months, I strived to be a positive influence in his life by showing him parts of my life that lead me to “here.”  My life proves people can change.

My hope is for him to get out and stay out of prison.  He made the mistake of choosing the road of Bad Decisions.  That does not mean that he must continue to travel down that road.

Good people make bad mistakes, too!

MENTORING IN UNLIKELY PLACES:  He has stayed clean and sober while here.  I have mentored and tried to help him avoid making decisions with negative consequences.  He listened more often than not and will leave here next week to go back to the peaceful town at the foothills of the North Carolina mountains, where he has a loving family waiting to help him get on with his life.

WHAT IF:  What if he had been assigned to a cell with a practicing addict or knucklehead who thrived on drama?  Seeing or smelling drugs makes it more difficult for an addict to stay clean; especially, when that addict is trapped in a cage with demons he or she fights every day of their life.

In prison, it is common for peers to encourage violent responses when the actions of others are perceived as being disrespectful.  I encouraged him to think of getting back out to be with his family when dealing with perceived threats to the ego.

What if we had not gotten along and got into fights?  I would have probably got my old ass beat up, maybe even accidentally or intentionally killed, or otherwise have had to commit a serious act of violence to protect myself.

Historically, a lot of youngsters ended up in graveyards by messing with old folks.  Besides that, a person can’t win beating up elders:  they look bad if they beat them up and look bad if the older man or woman beats them up, so it’s best to just leave the old, cantankerous rascals alone with their muscle rub, Tylenol, and multiple medications to treat ailments.

What would have been my cellmate’s chance of using prison as an opportunity to change his life, if he had instead fallen into the darker side of prison life, where men prey upon each other to appease their self-interest, rather than to support changes that increase a prisoner’s chance of getting out to live a better life as a productive member of society?

Many men and women come to prison and never get out because of decisions made before or after incarceration.  Society loses when its citizens perish in prison.

ANOTHER LOST LIFE:  In “A Prisoner’s Story,” I began by writing about the murder of “Bandit.”  He battled with another prisoner inside a cell at U.S.P. Lompoc.  He lost.

I wrote, “I had known him for several years.  He and I were all right with each other, but I knew that by the warped sense of justice, silently written into the prison code by unknown authors, that he had it coming because of what he had done to others.  Bandit was a gangbanger who ran with his affiliates and extorted weaker prisoners so that they could buy heroin with the money.  He was also one of the many who I have seen get out of prison and return, a recidivist.  All he needed to walk out the door as a free man was to survive four more months.”

Based upon such experiences, I know how easy it is to make a fatal mistake or to make bad decisions with long consequences.  I made such a decision when I agreed to steal a car to commit a jewelry store robbery that never happened.  I got into the car with two people who became my codefendants in the bank robbery and associated crimes that I am in prison for committing.

It is easy to land in prison for decades or the rest of your life.

I conclude A Prisoner’s Story with, “I have seen many lives devastated by coming to prison for petty crimes and then learning new tricks from old and new prisoners alike, just as I did.  One thing the gullible prisoner fails to consider is the source of the information:  Someone sitting inside of a prison and bragging about how easy it is to get away with crime does not have impressive credentials, considering that they “are” in prison.  If crimes went as planned, then prisons would not be filled to capacity, as they are in the United States.  People have to wait in line to come to prison, because there is a long waiting list, especially for the mentally ill, dope fiends, alcoholics, illegal aliens.”

[Purchase “A Prisoner’s Story” as part of ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN by Wayne T. Dowdy at http://www.straightfromthepen.com or at your favorite online or offline bookseller.

For those who prefer to save trees, download the collection or the essay as a separate eBook (“Authority & A Prisoner’s Story”) at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy.  Read my February 13, 2017, blog “Apple & EBooks” for information about Smashwords.com.]

NOT A TYPICAL SIXTY YEAR OLD:  “You aren’t like other old people are.  You like the same music I do and I can talk to you about how I feel or anything else.”

That’s true.  I am not like a normal man approaching sixty.  Experts say that using drugs arrests a person’s emotional growth and development.  I started using drugs at the age of eleven, so I am really thirty-three going on sixty.

Because of that, we can laugh and joke, or engage in meaningful conversations to show the follies of our pasts that ultimately led us to be in a prison cell together.  By us being able to do so, helps him to see why those behaviors are not productive and give a good reason to avoid doing it again.

A GOD THING:  When he first arrived here, the staff at Receiving & Discharge told him to move to cell #409, which was the cell I had moved from that morning.  A prisoner who practiced Islam influenced the cell house officer to move him into cell #414, the cell where we now reside.

BLESSINGS:  He told his mother about the positive influence I was in his life.  “Mother said God knew I needed to be around an older person that I’d listen to,” he said.  God does work in mysterious ways.

God put him in the cell with me without asking my permission.  How dare He do that!  He gives me what I need, not what I want.  In this case, it turned out to be a rewarding and positive experience.  God answered my prayer.  Before he moved in, I prayed my next cellmate would be someone not into any of the things I do not do.

I am not into drugs, alcohol, weapons, or anything illegal.  I am almost a saint, Saint Wayne, I may be called one day.  I let all cellmates know from the start that I do not get high and do not want any BS around me.  When I told him that, he said, “That’s a blessing because I am trying to change my life.”

We knew God had put him right where he needed to be.  God also put him in the cell with me because he was the type of person I needed to be around because I love helping others who want to change their lives in a positive manner.

In my life, God has always worked in mysterious ways.  Who would think He lived in prisons, too?

TREE SURGEON:  Back to my chainsaw wielding cellmate.  He is a tree surgeon people pay to come cut or trim trees to improve the safety of their homes by removing threatening tree limbs, or to beautify their property by taking out unsightly trees and forage.  Trees hate to see him coming!

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Wayne T. Dowdy writes Straight from the Pen.  Visit http://www.straightfromthepen.com today.  Follow his blogs on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com or waynedowdy.weebly.com.

APPLE and EBOOKS by Wayne T. Dowdy

EBook sales of my published works surpassed paperback sales in 2016.  2017 looks to be the same for eBooks.  I have already sold more eBooks, so I delayed doing another paperback until I complete other short stories to combine into a collection.

April 11, 2019, Update: Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree now exclusively available from Amazon.com as a paperback and as an eBook.

FORMATS FOR ALL:  Smashwords is an eBook distributor that makes eBooks available in the following formats and applications:  epub (Apple iPad/Books, Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, most ereading apps, including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital editions, and tablets); mobi (Kindle), pdf (Desktop; best for technical, illustrated, or photographic works); irf (Older Sony readers), pdb (Older Palm devices), txt (Archival; contains no formatting), and html for reading online.

PERSONAL PERMISSION TO PRINT:  For those who prefer to hold the words in your hand, download “my” eBooks in the pdf. format to your PC and print.  (Smashwords Support Center FAQ contains instructions on how to download to various eReading devices.)

Two of the twenty-one eBook retailers that receive my eBooks from Smashwords, are the Apple iBookstore and Barnes & Noble.  Most downloads came from the Apple iBookstore.  I have no way of knowing if those downloads were for reading on iPhones, iPads, or other eReading devices.  Barnes & Noble placed second.  (Smashwords’ sales exceeded Amazon Kindle.)

UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Wayne T. Dowdy and my free essays picked up the majority of downloads from Apple.

FICTION CRIME SERIES IN PROCESS:  “Drug Store Spree” is the first of my GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS fiction crime series.  I’m working on the second short story now.  GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS:  PILLS & THRILLS begins with more violence than I normally write.  Some readers commented on the violence in UNKNOWN INNOCENCE.  This series will make it read like a love story in comparison.

[Postponed] The tentative completion date for “Pills & Thrills” is postponed until a later date.  Read on for a peek into both short stories.

I wrote Drug Store Spree based upon real life experiences.  Because of Son of Sam laws that prevents people from making a profit by selling a book or movie written about a crime they committed, I made a few minor changes to convert it into fiction.  The setting is in Georgia, 1978.

Most of what I write in the rest of the series will be fiction with truth woven through its fabric, whereas Drug Store Spree is truth containing fiction.

The following is an excerpt from my latest:

GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS:  DRUG STORE SPREE

“I wasn’t what some Americans called poor, white trash, but I never lived a lavish lifestyle.  I did stay in some nice Hotels fucking and getting high.  Anyway, my lack of funds prevented me from legally paying for what I wanted to shoot.  I tried selling drugs but became my best customer.  That’s how I justified taking them from drug stores, even at the risk of losing my life.  I thought of robbing banks but from the way I saw it, if I robbed a bank, I would buy drugs with the money, so I robbed drug stores to shorten the process.  I know that wasn’t good thinking.

“Truthfully, I know it was downright stupid for me to do what I did, and that doing so made me a predator, but I didn’t care about anything except getting high and playing god with guns.  Every time I picked one up, which I did everyday while living the thug life, I knew I risked being killed by cops or by someone being a hero.  On the other side of the equation, due to the life I lived, I risked being killed if I didn’t have a gun.  I was sick and dangerous because my mind was burnt out from weeks without sleep and food, along with being sizzled from doing so many drugs.  Most of my nutrition came from drinking chocolate milk because of only being able to eat a bite or two of a hamburger or other solid foods.  When I began playing chemist by mixing preludins with cocaine, I became more insane; not exactly a high point in my life, per se, though high was how I stayed.  Paranoia ran rampant inside my mind.  With me carrying loaded weapons, Preludins and Paranoia were not a good mix. I did not hesitate to pull a gun on anyone acting suspicious.  I stuck a gun in one man’s face for reaching in his pocket.  I thought he may be going for a knife to try robbing me.  He needed his cigarette lighter to cook pills.  I felt so embarrassed that I gave him a free shot of dope.  Paranoia saved me from harm, too.  I’ll show how later.”

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The following excerpt is a revised online version of the original manuscript. Please leave comment if you want to see this completed.

GUNS, DRUGS & THUGS:  PILLS & THRILLS

Salazar gripped the steering wheel to stop his hands from trembling.  The cargo meant life in prison if found.  They couldn’t stand a shakedown.  He whispered, “Don’t move.  Here he comes.”

Officer Barge shined his flashlight in the rear window of the minivan, rented on a stolen credit card, before he edged toward the front of the vehicle.  His right hand rested on the handle of a .40 caliber Glock.

Kager laid motionless in the fetal position to avoid detection; his finger rested on the trigger guard of his Desert Eagle .44 Auto mag.  The projectile of the chambered round would disfigure steel or destroy any living organism it contacted.  An old military tarpaulin covered his long-limbed, sinewy body and chiseled face.  His face tightened as he held his breath when the light illuminated the van.

Officer Barge stood five feet from the door on the driver’s side.  “Turn off the engine and roll down your window.”

Salazar obeyed.  “What did I do wrong, Officer?”

“You failed to use your turn signal at that last intersection.  I need to see your driver’s license and insurance card.”

“My wallet’s in the glove compartment.”

He moved closer to the window.  “Do you have any weapons, drugs, or anything in the vehicle that I should know about?”

“No, Sir.”  His heart pounded inside its cavity.

“Open it and get your wallet.”

Droplets of sweat gathered on Salazar’s forehead.  “Yes, Sir.”  His hands jittered when he reached to open the glove compartment.  He remembered leaving his wallet at home.  For a couple of seconds, he fumbled with the warranty and other papers.  “It’s not in here.  I must have left it at home.”

Kager wrapped his finger around the trigger.

“Step out of the vehicle, please.”

Before he could open the door, Kager slid from under the tarpaulin and fired through the window.  BOOM!  BOOM!

The first shot whizzed by Barge’s head.  The second one ripped through his left shoulder, obliterating bone, cartilage and muscle tissue.  The impact of the projective spun his body as he crashed to the ground.  Blood gushed from the gaping wound.  He grunted as he rolled over to un-holster his gun.

Salazar covered both ears with his hands.  The blasts had made them ring.  He whirled around to face Kager.  “What the f***, man, you–“

Kager sprang to the front seat and shoved him to the side.  “Move,” he said.

Salazar fell against the dash as more rounds from the Desert Eagle exploded in rapid succession.

BOOM!  BOOM!  BOOM!  All three projectiles ripped through Barge’s body before his gun cleared its holster; two struck him in the chest, the other in the stomach.

“Shot, a, a cop.  You shot a f****** cop.  We’re f***** for sure.”  Sweat poured from every sweat gland in his body.

Kager jumped out of the van to make sure the cop was dead.  Assured that he was, he turned to face his crime partner.  Damn, I gotta shoot him too.  He’ll tell on me if we get caught.  I’ve got to do it.  Not now, though.  I’ll do it later.  “Let’s go,” he said, as he climbed back into the van.  “We’ve got to get the hell out of here and ditch this van before someone identifies us or his backup arrives.  We can’t afford to loose all these pills.”

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I hope you enjoyed the clips and will purchase the eBooks.  More will be revealed.  Thanks for reading my writings!  Wayne

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GRATITUDE AND MORE

from Wayne T. Dowdy

PRISONERSLast year on December 23, 2015, I posted “Plot to Stop Santa by Mr. D.” to add a little humor to the holiday season (read it on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com or waynedowdy.weebly.com and check out Santa’s militarized sled). This year I am writing along personal lines and will share some previous messages I sent out to those on my Corrlinks contact list. My hope is to create a sense of gratitude.

12/25/2011: On Christmas Day, I sat in my cell reading my favorite magazine (THE SUN). “Chow time,” the guard shouted.

I rushed to the chow hall. Inside, I sat at a rectangular table of four with three of my peers. One person stood to leave. Each of us exchanged Christmas greetings, wishing him a Merry Christmas before a 27-year-old youngster sat down to take his place.

The one who sat to the right of the youngster had just complained how the Cornish game hen was small. I had previously tried to maintain the attitude of gratitude at the table by commenting how it was good, though, it was smaller than those we had had in the past. It was still tasty. I simply agreed with the other guy about it being smaller than usual. I labeled it as a “Cornish Game Chick.”

That’s when the youngster sat down. “There sure are a lot of complaining people at this prison,” he said.

His words filled me with guilt. He had once told me that both of his parents were still in state prison. I realized his parents were probably doing worse than all of us at the table.

The youngster’s comment helped redirect the nature of our conversations toward what we were grateful for.

I shared my favorite saying by an author whose name I do know to give him or her their credit due (“I complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”).

I continued to express gratitude for the well-prepared meal; knowing we were all fortunate to have what sat before us, as we compared our plight to others incarcerated in state and other federal prisons, who probably wished they could eat as good as we were.

This is what we had to complain about: a Cornish game hen, black-eyed peas, which were really good; collard greens, rolls or wheat bread (I chose wheat bread); an individually packaged cherry pie, chocolate cup cake, and some other stuff I probably forgot. I ate my fill.

Each of us walked away feeling more grateful for the meal we had been blessed with because we had stopped for a moment to remember the less fortunate in life.

Not only do I have two feet and nice shoes, I have a fat belly filled with gratitude. I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas meal and feel fortunate for the freedom you share in a less than perfect world.

Sincerely,
Wayne

**********
Along the same theme as above, I wrote this on America’s Turkey Day:

THANKSGIVING DAY 2016: Happy Thanksgiving Day to each of you. If you feel like you don’t have much to be thankful for because of the hardships life has thrown at you this year, stop to think of all you have to be grateful for; perhaps you have food to eat; two feet, two arms, shoes on your feet, and clothes to warm your body, a place to stay and be safe. Feel fortunate.

When I find myself disgruntled for having to wait for an hour in the commissary to purchase a few items, I try to stop and remember those who wish they had my problems, financially able to shop for a few items needed to maintain a decent level of living inside this prison. That makes me feel grateful for the opportunity, rather than disgruntled and agitated for having to wait as I listen to loud mouths shouting to the man next to them, disturbing the peace, killing the sound of silence.

Upon remembrance of the less fortunate, I find myself grateful for the simple things in life I often take for granted. Be thankful for those you have in your life who love and care for you. Happy Thanksgiving!

**********

For those of you who follow me through other means of social media, you may have read the message below that I wrote after losing one of my brothers, Larry. I once had a mother, father, three brothers and two sisters. I am now down to one brother and two sisters.

In 1978 I lost Stanley, my older brother. In 1982 I lost my father, and then in 2016 I lost my younger brother, Larry, after having lost my mother eight months before him.

The loss of two loved ones in the same year was why I wrote what I did about “the hardships life has thrown at you this year”; including myself in the equation. I write to show we still have things to be grateful for in light of the hardships we experience as the cost of our love for others.

Some people lost their whole family and suffered tragic loss of limbs and even more severe health issues. That makes me grateful to still have family members who remain in my life. I am also grateful for my less-than perfect health.

The families of some prisoners abandon them because they go to prison. My family has stood behind me, even though my actions were unacceptable to them; my actions that landed me in prison. I am fortunate!

**********
September 18, 2016: One of my two younger brothers moved on to the next phase of existence around 3:00 PM today. Larry was the most gentle and innocent of the four sons birthed by our Mother. Not that he was innocent; he wasn’t, but he was not driven by hate or anger and he never intentionally harmed anyone that I know of. Him and Jeff, the youngest of us, were never the rowdy type, whereas me and Stanley were hell raisers.

Larry was a kind and all around good person. It hurts like hell to know he is gone, but I do rejoice in knowing he no longer suffers from his illnesses. He lives without pain in some other place we all must go one day. Maybe he fishes from a rainbow, catching a few rays, as he surfs the ocean in pursuit of eternal peace. I hope he catches an abundance of love and happiness during his journey. No doubt, many here on earth loved and will miss him.

Ironically, he passed away on my ex-wife’s birthday. Our Mother passed away on the birthday of our son, Jonathon. For those of you who believe in God, please keep the family in prayer as we go through a difficult time. Thanks! Wayne

**********
December 18, 2016: Yesterday my remaining siblings came to visit me. We had a good visit. Though each of us are grateful to still have each other in our lives, I sensed the emptiness from the unspoken loss of our loved ones.

Loved ones fill a space in our hearts that no one else can replace. God made that spot just for them, whether our memories and feelings are good or bad, that space is theirs.

I am grateful to have been blessed with the love given to me by those, whom that power greater than myself, put into my life.

I am also grateful for my eyes* and other physical features that I use to write and send my words beyond the walls and barbwire fences that surround me at this juncture of my life.

Prison only confines my body: I refuse to allow it to consume my sense of being, or to rob me of my dignity and integrity. I am a man first and a prisoner second.

My mind and spirit are freer today than when I roamed the streets in 1988 before my arrest. God gave me a life worth living.

Better days are on the horizon. When I walk out of these prison doors, Straight From the Pen will come alive, more like straight from the keyboard.

In an upcoming blog, I will share a former prisoner’s inspiring story. Brandon Sample is one who proves people can leave prison and succeed in life, by beginning to build the path toward a better life while inside doing their time.

Miracles happen. Have faith and never loose hope. Hope keeps the world going.

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* I have an essay titled “Eyes” that I wrote in gratitude of my eyesight that I am fortunate to still have. It is an inspirational story available in ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN.

Purchase UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($12.95 USD) and ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95 USD) while the prices are low. Available in paperback at Amazon.com and other eStores, and as eBooks at Smashwords.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.Kindle, and other eBook retailers.

Visit my Smashwords authors page today https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy.

​POLITICS, DEATH AND LOVE

by Wayne T. Dowdy

 

November 26, 2016:  Cuban immigrants party in the streets of Little Havana in Miami, Florida;

 

November 9, 2016:  Protests in America over the election of President-elect, Donald Trump;

 

November 8, 2016:  Television Privileges Restored & Gone Again.

 

CELEBRATING THE DEATH OF A DICTATOR:  On November 25, 2016, at 10:30 PM, EST, Raul Castro announced the death of his older brother.  Fidel Castro died at the age of ninety from natural causes, rather than as some would have preferred, by some excruciating means in compensation for the pain and misery he imposed upon the people of Cuba.

Cuban immigrants and Cuban Americans partied in the streets of Little Havana to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro, whose regime tortured and murdered thousands of men and women; especially, his political opponents.  His henchmen cut off a testicle of one man, an atrocious act of cruelty, but not the worst he committed against Cuban peoples, only one that portrays the nature and evils of Castro’s torture techniques.

 

PRISONER RETURNS:  In 1993 a prison guard at the United States Penitentiary (U.S.P.) in Leavenworth, Kansas, claimed to have assisted the U.S. Marshal Service in the return of Cuban exiles to Cuba.  What happened shocks the senses on one level, but does not when considering that it occurred in the regime of a dictator.

Cuban soldiers directed the plane to an area where stood a tall, concrete wall.  U.S. Marshals escorted the bound and chained prisoners into the hands of the soldiers.

The soldiers committed the return of the hardware and then lead the load of prisoners behind the wall.  A barrage of gunfire erupted moments later.

The guard said, “When the soldiers returned the leg shackles and handcuffs, there was blood all over them.  Then they said for us to bring them more prisoners.”

I am not aware of America returning any others to Cuba for execution by firing squad.

Perhaps Castro’s treatment of returned Cuban citizens influenced a prison riot at U.S.P. Atlanta in 1986.  Cuban prisoners took hostages at the prison and then burned buildings, including the factory owned and operated by the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR), a UNIque CORPoration.

 

TRUMP ON CASTRO & CUBA:  CNN reported on November 27, 2016, that President-elect Trump spoke out against the atrocities of Castro committed against Cubans.  Castro has been out of power for ten years.

President-elect Trump expressed a desire to have better relations with Cuba.  His message gave me hope that he will not unravel what President Obama started–a campaign to restore U.S. and Cuban relations.  Afterwards, the Rolling Stones performed a concert and recorded an album in Havana.

 

TELEVISIONS & THE ELECTION:  In “Politics & Prisons,” I predicted the Presidential Election would be over before my blog posted, and that we would not be allowed to watch the election because some prisoners had had the nerve to violate prison rules.  I erred, twice.

My publisher/friend posted the blog the day before the Election.   Then the Criminal Keeper restored television privileges in time for everyone to watch the controversial election of Donald Trump.

 

November 28, 2016:  Now all television are on the same Black & Beautiful channel again.  Another scoundrel broke the darn rules.  Surprisingly, no one reported him to authorities.  People do confess the sins of others to avoid confessing their own.

I suspect some prisoners expect him to “do the right thing” by owning up to his evil, wicked ways.  Someone will most likely assist him before it’s over.  No one confessed to the crime of stashed homemade wine; no one confessed on his behalf.  In prison and life in general, the right thing to do is a matter of perspective.

Taking a bullet for a cause may be the right thing:  dodging the bullet may be a better option.  Bullets hurt like hell.

Personally, I went over 3 1/2-years at U.S.P. Atlanta without watching T.V. more than three or four times, and then for only brief periods, so I am not concerned with televisions.  I am concerned with laws and matters that “really” affect the lives of others.

I change programs when my options change.  Maybe we all need a moment of meditation to reflect on what we have in life.

 

PEACEFUL TRANSITION:  On November 10, 2016, CNN covered the first meeting between President Obama and President-elect Trump.  After a surprising one and a half hour meeting, both men appeared in good spirits and indicated a positive transformation of power and the unification of our Nation.  A unified nation is a wonderful concept!

Mr. Trump commented that President Obama was a good man and that he would be speaking with him and seeking his advice a lot during the transition of power.  I hope he spoke his true feelings and not just something that sounds good.

 

VOTES THAT AFFECTED PRISONERS

The following clears prisoner misconceptions about political events that restricted or abolished certain rights and privileges.  Source:  2009 WORLD ALMANAC & BOOK OF FACTS.

 

98th Congress (1983-1985)

Under Republican President Ronald Reagan, Republicans controlled the Senate and Democrats controlled the House of Representatives.  Republicans and Democrats alike passed the Sentence Reform Act of 1984 (SRA) that abolished federal parole and required federal prisoners to serve 85% of their sentences.  The federal government forced the same measure on states by withholding federal funding if states refused to require prisoners to serve 85% of their sentences.

Ronald Reagan did not sign the bill.  The SRA was attached as a Rider to a Senate Appropriations Bill that automatically went into effect after ten days.

 

104th Congress (1995-97)

Under Democratic President Bill Clinton, a Republican Senate and House majority passed the Anti-terrorism, Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), which restricted post-conviction relief for federal and state prisoners.  The bill passed in a hurry after the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Timothy McVeigh pulled a truck in front of the Federal building.  He allegedly killed 168-people after he parked the rental truck and detonated the explosives in retaliation of the United States’ raid of the Branch Dravidian compound near Waco, Texas.

Under the guidance of former Attorney General, Janet Reno, military weapons were used against American citizens on April 19, 1993.  More than seventy members of the Branch Dravidian compound perished when two Army tanks crashed into opposite sides of a building before firing combustible gas canisters that exploded when the gases mixed.  The building caught afire and burned men, women, and children to death.  Those were sad days in American history.

Bill Clinton signed the AEDPA into law; however, even if he had not, a three-quarters majority vote would have overrode a presidential veto.

 

PROTESTS IN AMERICA:  After the results of the 2016 Presidential Election flooded the news channels, thousands of citizens protested in American cities; most protests were peaceful, but some did erupt into violence that caused damage to property.   Police tear-gassed crowds but did not shoot anyone.  Miracles happen!

 

In the paraphrased words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

 

On April 29, 1992, fifty-three people died during a major riot in Los Angeles, California, after a jury acquitted four L.A. Police officers on all but one count.  Video footage showed the police beating motorist Rodney King.  The violent protest caused millions of dollars in damage, a lot of which was due to some rioters using the event as an opportunity to loot stores and other businesses.  At least the Trump Protest did not spark such violence and destruction.

 

RED NATION:  The Red now reign in America.  Not Native American red, whose plight still continues in North Dakota as they fight to keep and protect land from contamination by an oil pipeline.  The Government gave their land back and forced them to live on the reservation, and now some corporation wants to use the land for profit.

 

History repeats itself.  Pale Face spoke with forked tongue again if the intrusion upon Native American land prevents the people from keeping their water free from contamination.

The nation is Republican Red.  Republicans control the House, Senate and Presidency.  Perhaps the Do-Nothing-Congress will do something positive.  Rebuilding the infrastructure seems to be what most Americans want.  That will help the economy grow and provide more jobs.  Huh, I seem to recall that President Obama wanted to do the same thing?  Congress would not cooperate with him for some reason.  I bet they will cooperate with President-elect Trump.

Prison Reform will likely happen.  Sentencing Reform will probably stall.  Maybe not.  If those For-Profit-Prisons would just stop bribing politicians to vote against it, it might pass.

The Election results made private prison stocks soar the following day:  stock in the largest for-profit-prison, Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), jumped forty-three percent; the second largest, GEO Group, jumped twenty-four percent.  GEO Group contributed $45,000 to Donald Trumps’ campaign as I wrote in “Reentering Reality,” October 6, 2016.

To understand why the stocks jumped, read “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” by Wayne T. Dowdy that shows the influence of For-Profit-Prisons on mass incarceration rates and “Tough-on-Crime” policies and practices.

CCA announced plans to invest in halfway houses.  Maybe their legislative bribes will lead to the reinstatement of federal parole to boost their halfway house division profits.  The immigration division is booming with Republicans dominating the government.

 

LOVE:  The only short story in ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN is “The Lonely Spirit.”  One reader commented that he thought that the word play I used was my best.

The story is an usual love story.  I will give you a peek into its opening.  Purchase it as part of the collection in paperback or eBook (http://www.straightfromthepen.com), or as an individual essay from my Smashwords author’s page (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy) or at Amazon.kindle.

Taser lost his true love and went on a mission to find her, after his death.  This is where it begins:  THE LONELY SPIRIT by Wayne T. Dowdy

“Lana and I looked over the edge at the wave crashing against the rocks, two hundred feet below.  My right hand rested on the curve of her delicate waist and adorable hips.  The July sun scorched our skin as an ocean breeze brought the salty smell of seaweed and dead fish to our nostrils.  Several seagulls and pelicans rode the waves; some of the pelicans dived for fish, while other seagulls squawked as they soared above and surfed the convection currents.  I stepped away from her and began a journey into another life.

Lana looked lovelier than ever in her golden string bikini.  “Don’t do it Taser,” she said.

I gave her my cross-eyed look, then gulped the contents of my last beer before I smashed its emerald green bottle on the rocks ten feet away.  Lana arched her eyebrows and glared at me as she usually did when I frustrated her with my false bravado.  I burped, smiled, jumped.  The water below was hard and merciless when I hit, arms stretched forward.  Soaring through the stream of bubbles created by the crashing waves, my arms gave into the pressure before my head struck a sharp rock.  I floated to the top, unconscious; only for a moment, though.  The two hundred foot fall was too far, the water too shallow, the waves too rough, my life too short.  My body sank beneath the waves and was smashed against the rocks and covered in seaweed.  I watched as the wind carried me away to some other phase of existence.  Where I went, I do not know.  It’s a place where only spirits can go.  I saw the Earth, foreign stars, unknown galaxies, different universes, beauty beyond imagination, the true paradise visited only in dreams and fantasies.  I left to look for lovely Lana, my life, my dream, my love.”

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Wayne T. Dowdy writes Straight From the Pen.  Visit and click to “Like” his blogs on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com.  Purchase his books online or at your favorite bookstore.  Order by mail from Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616 (email:  MEBooks1@yahoo.com).

RESCUED


This blog is a reprint of my essay published in the Prisoner Express Monthly Writing Themes, June-July 2016. Prisoner Express comes from Cornell University’s CTA/Durland Alternatives Library, 127 Anabel Taylor Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-1001 (www.prisonerexpress.org). Prisoners may receive the “Prisoner Express Newsletter” free.

The program is important and deserves public support through donations from those in a position to do so; whether financially, politically, or socially, please show your support.

The program offers the following projects for prisoners: “Poetry Projects”; “Telling Your Story”; “Grammar Studies”; “Journal Project”; “Chemistry of Climate Change”; “Artknow”; “Buddhist Studies and Meditation Newsletter”; “Exploring the Ocean,” and “Songwriting Instructions.”

“Prisoner Express provides rehabilitation by providing information, education, and opportunities for creative self-expression to incarcerated individuals throughout the United States. … The Durland Alternatives Library which sponsors PE is a project partner of the Center for Transformative Action. Additional support comes from the Cornell Public Service center and the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI).” Prisoner Express Newsletter, Summer 2016.

This is a copy of the original essay submitted for publication, not the edited version, as published.

RESCUED by Wayne T. Dowdy

Sad to say but it is true. Yes, I was rescued. God saved me from myself by allowing me to go to prison to serve a thirty-five year federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. What is best, to live in prison or to not live at all? That’s a debatable question, no doubt. In 1988 when I began serving this sentence, my answer was different than today. Now that I am near the end of it, I’m pleased to have survived long enough to discover my journey to recovery.

RECOVERY is the process of returning to the “Being” God created, in contrast to the one I become based upon life experiences. To recover, reclaim something lost. Rescue innocence. Innocence lost as a child. A child whose path lead to crime, drugs, and incarceration.

RESCUED: For me to admit that the government rescued me is growth, since my pride often denied the truth. I humble myself and am honest when I confess my imperfections because doing so tramples on the Ego.

My pride and ego have been my worst enemies. The two are running partners–one does not act without the other. My first sponsor in a Twelve Step program said that his head was the type that thought it could kill the body and keep on living. Mine, too.

RENEWED: Living in a renewed state of mind enables me to see life as it is, even when it is not how I planned for it to be, instead of painting a distorted picture of reality inside my head to make me feel okay when I am not.

God doesn’t ask my advice on how I want life to happen. As a human, if God did ask my advice, I’d mess things up by allowing my character defects of pride, lust, anger, greed and gluttony to influence my decisions, or by letting emotions drive action instead of intellect.

FANTASY: In prison and life in general, a common behavior is creating fanciful scenarios of past experiences and personal histories. The reporting of a fantasy life on the outside is common inside prison. Some prisoners bum commodities and claim to have been millionaires on the streets; others claim to have been “Scarface” style drug kingpins, when in truth, they may have been a homeless, street hustler, dope fiend, or prostitute.

TRUTH: The truths of my life contain a mixture of success and failure, a mediocre existence, nothing fancy or extravagant to report. I experienced success by working for two reputable companies in Atlanta, Georgia, where I climbed the ranks and did well, until my worst enemy appeared–Mr. Ego, demanding more than life was giving.

I quit good jobs and forfeited lucrative careers because of Mr. Ego, who drove pride with a distorted view of reality. The drugs I used altered my perception of truth. I told myself I deserved more money than I was earning. The companies weren’t paying me what I was worth. Those thoughts justified my struggle to survive with my unhealthy habits.

The truth was that I mismanaged my earnings and made unsound business decisions. I spent more money on shooting and smoking drugs than I did on rent, car payments, insurance, utilities, and groceries, which explains why a repo man chased me for months to take my car. I shot more drugs in a day than I could work and pay for in a week. I reverted to crime to cover the cost. When I landed in jail with multiple felonies, facing the rest of my life in prison, the truth set in and I wanted to commit suicide to end the pain caused by my past. I’m glad I didn’t chose to end my life.

LOVE AND PAIN: Things change. Love and resentment kept me alive. I loved my family and knew they loved me. I didn’t want to hurt them by killing myself, even though I did sometimes feel their lives would be better without the pains I caused by living a self-centered life.

The resentment originated from my interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I refused to cooperate. The lead F.B.I. agent said, “I’m going to put you in prison for the rest of your life.”

“I will kill myself before I let you do that,” I said.

His response: “Do it!”

That made me want to live to avoid satisfying him, and to live to see the day I could make him regret saying it. Today I am thankful for him. God used him to rescue me from an abyss filled with anger and self-hatred.

THUG LIFE: From a thug point of view, I lived a life filled with danger and excitement by using guns to rob drug stores and other businesses to take what I wanted, using violence to accomplish my goals. Even inside prison I lived the thug life by playing the drug game, running gambling operations, and making decisions that affected the lives of others through prison politics. In my youth I did several things that gave me clout as a prisoner. For instance, kept my mouth shut when arrested; in the Georgia prison system, I assaulted two guards and later escaped with ten others by taking over a control room; made homemade wine and moonshine, sold drugs, and was later falsely accused of murdering another prisoner. I still held strong and did not rat on anyone. Those things happened many years ago when I was young and dumb, a phase most people seem to go through.

RETIRED: Seven years into this sentence, I retired from all the above because I tired of the associated drama. I was killing myself and acting insane by staying involved in dangerous situations to stay high and in control.

If God had not saved me from myself, my life of crime would have lead me to death row or the graveyard. I’m glad I was rescued, even though I do wish the path hadn’t been so rough.

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Wayne T. Dowdy writes straight from the pen. Visit his website at http://www.straightfromthepen.com to purchase his most recent novel, UNKNOWN INNOCENCE (over 80,000-words for $10.95 USD); and a collection of his writings in ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95 USD). Also available in print from your favorite bookstore, or from Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616. Purchase the eBooks from all major eBook distributors, including Amazon.kindle, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy).

Sign up to follow his blogs at https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and http://waynedowdy.weebly.com/blog. To voice comments, post them on this site, or email him at waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com. Write to Wayne T. Dowdy, #39311-019, Federal Correctional Institution, P.O. Box 725, Edgefield, SC 29824-0725.

BLOGS, BOOKS & GOOGLE

By Wayne T. Dowdy

I have a beef with Google for damaging my reputation with inaccurate information. I will explain.

Please do not judge UNKNOWN INNOCENCE based upon what I write in this blog, because the novel is about much more than prison and these repulsive characters.

DESPICABLE CHARACTERS: In one blog I included an excerpt from a chapter about one of my despicable characters: “Zachariah Zambroski, Attorney at Law,” November 13, 2015.

Another despicable character I wrote about was Jake (keep reading for more on him).

Zach was not as bad as Jake, but he was despicable for selling out his client, and thus putting an innocent man in prison to avoid going there himself.

A corrupt agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, coerced Zambroski into throwing Big Bobby’s case, who was framed and went to prison for the murder of a famous senator’s son.

In my January 21, 2016, blog (“Despicable Characters”), I wrote about my most despicable character: Jake, a pedophile and necrophiliac who ends up in prison to meet his fate.

A SICK ONE: The following is part of an excerpt from the chapter, “Jake.” He raped and murdered his niece before going to prison on another charge.

“He had stashed her in the bushes three counties away. At night he’d go back to her until the stench of rotting flesh kept him from having her again. Then he buried her in a shallow grave and went on to find four more victims during the next five-months, before law enforcement officials sent him to prison on an unrelated charge.”

As I explained in the opening paragraph of Despicable Characters, “UNKNOWN INNOCENCE contains a variety of characters with various traits and characteristics. When I wrote UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D., now at the core of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, I needed to create a character everyone would hate so that when Karma delivered its blow, the reader would rejoice or feel he got what he deserved. I thought of two degenerate, despicable, sick and evil serial killers, executed for their repulsive crimes: Ted Bundy, a necrophiliac (performed sex on deceased victims); and John Wayne Gacey, who raped, tortured, and murdered children before burying them under his house.”

(That paragraph is behind my beef with Google’s search engine.) After I explained my objective to those who read my draft, each person said I had succeeded at making them hate Jake.

THE PROBLEM: My sister googled “Unknown Innocence by Wayne Dowdy” (she left out the “T” in my name). One search result showed an inflammatory association with my name:

“The draft contained ‘Wayne T. Dowdy’ and ‘UNKNOWN INNOCENCE … (performed sex on deceased victims); and John Wayne … Wayne T. Dowdy is such a person and UNKNOWN …”

APPALLED BY INACCURACY: I was appalled when I read that and wanted to somehow correct the search engine, which seemed to suggest I did what Jake did, but then I thought, maybe the absurdity will make someone want to click to learn more about someone who performed sex on deceased victims. Reading on would vindicate me from the inferred search engine accusation.

Wayne T. Dowdy is innocent. Mr. Google falsely accused him. Jake performed sex on deceased victims, not Wayne T. Dowdy, Mr. Google! Read the book, Sicko!

Dumb Google, do better research next time before you assassinate my fine name and character with inaccurate information!

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM: The phrase, “Wayne T. Dowdy is such a person and UNKNOWN …” came from the Introduction to UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Jeffrey P. Frye, who wrote the following:

“It takes a special kind of person to turn their adversities into success, their sadness into joy that’s used to entertain others.

And it takes a person with tenacity and depth to continue to see the sunshine when all you’ve ever known is the rain. And it takes a person with natural talent to be able to write a story under these conditions that’s captivating and that you don’t want to put down.

Wayne T. Dowdy is such a person, and UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is such a story. ….”

Mr. Frye did such a good job on the Introduction that I chose to include an excerpt from it on the synopsis. He wrote:

“UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is a riveting tale that transcends genres. It’s a mystery and a thriller, with a love story woven through its fabric.”

He described the novel accurately, and in a way I would not have considered if asked to describe what it was about. Read “An Introduction to UNKNOWN INNOCENCE” on this blogspot (June 21, 2015), or by going to my author’s page at Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy), or preferable, by buying the 85,000-word book for $14.95 from your favorite online or offline bookstore, or by ordering it from the publisher:
Midnight Express Books
P.O. Box 69
Berryville, AR 72616
(E-mail: MEBooks1@yahoo.com). The eBook is priced at $0.99 for a limited time offer so download it now to save $$$.

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Wayne T. Dowdy writes straight from the pen. Follow his blogs on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com. Purchase his books, essays, and short stories from StraightFromthePen.com. Click on the link of your favorite book and it goes to secure sites on Smashwords.com for eBooks, or CreateSpace.com for paperbacks. Industry discounts available for multiple book purchases over $200.00.

REENTERING SOCIETY

by Wayne T. Dowdy

When my day comes in the near future, I will be approaching the free society like the Columbia Space Shuttle reentering the atmosphere without all of its protective tiles, or like a meteor heading straight for a collision course with the earth:  I will burn up because of the friction created in the atmosphere of society, caused by my reentry into a distant world of free citizens, unless I proceed with caution and the protection of knowledge, draped in a determination to succeed against the odds.

I must remain constantly aware of the transitional aspect of my journey and how I am affected by all that has changed since my departure three decades ago.  Upon my reentry into a time-warp-zone, I will fail to become a productive member of society if I do not take advantage of the available help now available to prisoners, which will help me ease into a normal life, whatever a normal life may be “out there.”

After my release, death will be inevitable but I will have a choice on whether it will come to me while I am a free man, or as a recidivist who returns to prison because of his thug lifestyle, or as a drug addict who dies because of his addiction and lifestyle, or as a man who fought to change and succeed at changing his life.  My choice is the latter.

COVER.inddIn “No Sympathy” I wrote about my transition into society after serving seven years in the State of Georgia’s prison system and my eventual return to prison (recidivism).  I use my experience to show others that it did not have to be that way:  I did not have to return to prison.  I made choices that led me to where I now write.  I use my story to promote change in a broken criminal justice system and am pleased to see that some of the issues I pushed for over the years have come into existence.

In May 2015, I had my publisher to send Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, an email for me and an electronic copy of my blog (“Snake vs. Politics,” 03/13/15).  In my blog, in the section subtitled, “Political Promises & Incarceration,” I praised Governor Deal for what he had done and planned to do in the Georgia Criminal Justice system and its prison system.  I know his action will lead to favorable results; e.g., his creating re-entry programs for those released from prison and juvenile diversion programs to stop the flow of juveniles becoming career offenders.

In another essay I wrote and then posted on my blogs (The Truth About Incarceration, Part II); in a subtitled section, “Reentry & Recidivism,” I wrote about the Honorable Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General and President Obama for creating reentry initiatives to help ex-offenders find employment, treatment for drug, alcohol problems and mental health issues.

Those reentry initiatives are more of what I pushed for and know will have a positive impact on the lives of those released from prison, as well as for American society as a whole.  (We are all a part of “one,” whether we want to be or not.)  I cried out for all of that in “No Sympathy” when I revised it in June 2014 before I put it in my personal magazine (ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN) and posted it online as an eBook and then on my blog for everyone to read for free.

I have written other blogs that mention recidivism rates and my experiences over the years that will increase my chances of getting out and staying out when released.  Some blogs contain humorous parts but still draw attention to important issues.

In “Rain, Blogs, Frogs & Politics” (November 3, 2015), and in “Vacation in Prison” (April 8, 2015), I wrote about my position in the Federal Prison Industries (trade name UNICOR).  My experiences and skills learned in the organization will help me to secure employment upon release.  I have been fortunate to have obtained legal skills foreign to most prisoners.

Then in “Teaching Cons New Tricks–Creative Writing and Q.A. Apprenticeship Program” (April 15, 2015), I did the same (wrote about skills learned to help me reintegrate into society).

UNICOR is a non-profit organization set up by Congress in the mid-thirties to make various cotton duck cloth items, originally strictly for the military and other government agencies.  The business structure of UNICOR operates similar to the United States Postal Service by generating its own funding, rather than depending on Congressional budgets.

I show in my essays that UNICOR reduces recidivism by teaching inmates marketable job skills.  Even though in recent years, UNICOR seems to have lost focus of the fact that Congress created the organization as a work program for inmates; not as a conglomerate to become a good-ole-boys fraternity or undercover, profit-generating organization, where profits must disappear into staff bonuses and purchases of elaborate office furnishings or maybe into expense paid trips justified as business necessities.

By their Program Statement, UNICOR has an Inmate Scholarship Award where UNICOR contributes funds to assist inmate employees in paying for college courses; however, the budget for the Inmate Scholarship Awards disappeared, probably into some lavish furniture or extra large bonus for Washington Officials who stripped the funding from the program.  Imagine that, misuse of government funding:  Spend funding on unnecessary items rather than on maintaining a program known to reduce recidivism.

Programs that allow inmates to learn new skills, improve their education, and to learn a new way of life benefit inmates and society:  It is a cost-effective way to reduce recidivism and to help create more productive and constructive members of society.  In “Snake vs. Politics,” I challenged all politicians to read “No Sympathy” when deciding on what is needed to reduce recidivism rates in America.  Maybe some of them actually took me up on the offer.  I feel reasonably assured that Governor Nathan Deal accepted the challenge.  He continues to strive toward making prisons do what society needs done to shut the well-known “revolving door” of recidivist that plague the nation.

CONCLUSION

I will write a more technical blog on Reentry and Recidivism next time I have time to write.  Most of my time has been going toward legal work to help other prisoners file post-conviction relief motions, in an effort to help them obtain their freedom.  I won two out of the last five and hope to go five and O.  🙂  Now, due to a long-shot chance I have at obtaining my own freedom, I must rush to seek permission to file a motion to challenge my own conviction before the June 26, 2015, deadline.  Recent changes in law due to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (June 26, 2015) is what has changed.  As I wrote in “Violent Crime Misconception,” Johnson invalidated a provision of the Armed Career Criminal statute, known as the “Residual Clause.”  Some courts are rightfully applying it to other similar provisions in various statutes, such as Title 18, Section 924(c)(2)(B), which is where “crime of violence” is defined and contains similar language, as does the statute for immigration (18 U.S.C., Section 16(b)).  I have to show armed bank robbery is not “categorically” a crime of violence because a person can commit the crime without rising to the level of violence required to show it is a violent crime. A lot of legal jargon with lots of meaning for those fighting to live another day as free men and women.

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09012015002004Purchase “No Sympathy” as one of eleven essays in the collection, ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN by Wayne T. Dowdy, $8.95 USD, available from all major bookstores and eBook retailers.  Read No Sympathy for free online or by downloading the individual essay from Smashwords.com and other eBook retailers.

Due to technical issues, the release of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE was postponed.  The pagination was reduced and the book reformatted.  The tentative plan for release is June 15, 2016.  The listed price is $14.95, USD.  At 85,000-words, that is a deal:  Two books in one.  Those without Internet access may purchase it from Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616 (email:  MEBooks1@yahoo.com).  All others may buy it from their favorite bookstores or eBook retailers, including the AppleiBookstore.

Follow my blogs at straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and waynedowdy.weebly.com.  Send comments to waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com.  I will respond when my publisher forwards them to me, when a response is permissible.

 

 

WORD USE & PRISON LIFE

by Wayne T. Dowdy

prison mail“Words pack a punch, whether written or spoken, words have the power to change or destroy lives. I choose my words carefully and hope the ones I select affect a positive change.” Teaching Cons New Tricks–Creative Writing & Q.A. Apprenticeship Program. (April 15, 2015) straightfromthepen.wordpress.com.

In my March 8, 2016, blog post (“Manuscripts Worth Stealing”), I wrote about two of my manuscripts that I suspect a corrupt federal employee stole or destroyed. Readers who know me commented on my unusual display of anger in what I wrote. One friend in particular, Jeff B., commented about my statements concerning what I felt the culprit deserved if caught; how I started off in an aggressive tone and went on and on, and that it made him feel like I wanted to do to the culprit what I said he or she deserved, going by what he read.

I clarified that I did not say I would do those things. I let him reread my statement in the third paragraph:

“I do feel sorry for the idiot who gets caught for doing it. Risking five-years in prison for stealing a manuscript in the mail takes a real devious person, or someone who is just downright ignorant or stupid. However, if the person does get caught and goes to prison, I would not weep if he or she experiences extreme levels of physical and sexual abuse by prisoner predators. Tampering with someone’s mail is a killing offense for some of those confined inside American prisons. For a person convicted of committing such a crime, to be raped and brutalized would be letting them off easy. I do not approve or endorse predatory behaviors, but in this case, Karma seems to demand an exception.”

PRISON LIFE: The above quote was only a comment. I know that many in society think of prison life completely different than its reality. When discussing what to blog about to get more followers, a staff member shared how her friends thought it necessary for her to have armed guards sitting in a classroom to protect her as she taught prisoners. She laughed in telling me that, because such thoughts are so common, and yet indicate something so far away from the truth about prison life that it is comical for those who live or work inside and know the truth.

Given that line of thinking, a common misconception about prisoners and prison life is the caliber of people inside. (Read “The Truth About Incarceration, Part I” for a realistic view of what prison life is really like for MOST prisoners.) Everyone in prison is not violent and we do not typically run around raping and robbing each other, or battling over food in the chow hall. In the more violent prisons, some prisoners may rob, rape, or take food or commissary items from weaker prisoners, but those things do not happen on a regular basis.

NOT ME: Back to the missing manuscript and my word choice. I do like to entertain my readers, but this blog is not the place to read about wild adventures. My censors would disconnect me from the outside world if I got carried away with content. Maybe later, once I am released, I will post more on the wilder side of prison life, but just for the record, I am not into raping and brutalizing men, women or animals. Sorry, that’s just not me.

NON-VIOLENT: I avoid committing violent acts and would only do so to protect myself from physical harm. I used to view myself as a violent person living a non-violent lifestyle, until I shared my feeling in a twelve-step meeting. One of my sponsees said, “I don’t see you that way. I see you as a gentle, kind, and compassionate person who is capable of being violent.”

His words changed my self-image. He spoke the truth.

Even offenses against my delicate ego do not warrant violent reactions or responses to something as trivial as someone stealing or destroying a manuscript in the mail; however, I do understand and know what some of my peers would do to someone for doing similar things. That is why I wrote what I did, not because it was what I would do if given the opportunity. If I did anything violent in response to their action, the most it would be is a bitch slap to get their attention. Years ago I would have done that and more without hesitation before I decided to change my evil, wicked ways.

WORD POWER: As for what I wrote, okay, I confess, empathy and compassion escaped me. My words did not suggest sympathetic feelings or forgiveness for the villain. I used coarse statements and calloused words for literary and personal reasons. I hoped the perpetrator would read what I wrote and think about the severity of his or her actions.

One of my sisters agreed and commented that my blog may change the life of the person who stole the manuscript by making him more aware of the potential consequences of what he did.

I hope so. That would turn a negative into a positive. I like doing that; especially, if I can do it with words alone.

In “Manuscripts Worth Stealing,” my powerful words painted graphic images to deter the offensive behavior of mail theft; however, I did not indicate, suggest, or imply that I would commit those acts if given the opportunity to execute revenge against the one(s) who took my manuscript(s), providing what I suspect did happen. I am convinced by the facts that it did. I put it in the hands of the United States Postmaster General to determine what happened.

FIGHTING FOR MY PEERS: I did not want to file a complaint with the Postmaster General, but I had to think about the risks to my peers if someone lacking morals is left in charge of their mail. Those who put legal documents in the mail to fight for their freedom deserve protection.*

One of my friends mailed his post-conviction relief motion on Friday, March 18, 2016. Mailroom officials weighed his package and told him the amount of postage needed.

He paid over $9.00 to send it by certified mail. A family member checked on Monday and the post office said it could not be tracked by the tracking number. The receiving stamp provided by local post office was not legible.

On March 24, 2016, he went to the mailroom and discovered that it was returned for $0.84 postage. A staff member who works in the mailroom, had went to the local post office to enquire about his missing mail. The local post office had it laying around. It took six days to learn something that he should have known by Monday (03/21/16). The incident shows the level of incompetence of those who work in the mailing system that we deal with in prison. Sometimes the problem occurs at the institutional level; other times at the United States Postal Service.

RESENTMENT: The manuscript issue is not one for me to waste away my time dwelling on ways to retaliate for wrongs done to me by anyone. I am not a religious person, per se. I do believe in spirituality, which to me, is accepting that every human is flawed and that it is okay; not putting everyone in a box that requires them to think and believe the same. In the book I mention below, as I recall, it essentially said that spirituality is more open-ended, rather than compartmentalized (to be one of us, you must believe, think and act as we do). Spirituality allows us to accept each other in light of our differences.

With that established, when I am angered or struggling with an issue, I let go and turn the matter over to my higher power, whom I choose to call God.

I refuse to harbor resentment. I express my anger, take appropriate action or do not do anything, and then move on with my life. I always had to pay for my dirty deeds and I know everyone else will have to do the same. I am not God’s executioner and cannot control other people. The world’s best selling books says, “We reap what we sow,” and to “judge not lest we be judged by the same token.”

With my history, I need all the leniency I can get, so I try to avoid using a magnifying glass to examine the wrongs of others in hope of one not being used to examine me. I focus on my actions, not theirs, because it is what I do that creates my problems or rewards.

I pray to forgive. I do not have the power to forgive anyone. That is not my department. All I can do is let go and get out of the way to let nature take its course.

Spiritual principles work like math formulas. Add three plus four and you get seven; add four plus three and you still get seven. Subtract three from seven and you get four, or subtract four from seven and you get three. No matter how it is added or subtracted, we get the same result: It works out according to the principles and formulas applied. I receive what I put out.

POWERFUL STORY: In 2004 I read a powerful story in THE SPIRITUALITY OF IMPERFECTION by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum about resentment and forgiveness that went something like this:
Two former Nazi prisoners sat around talking.
One asks the other, “Do you ever think about the Nazis?”
“Yes, I think about them every day of my life,” he said.
“Then they still have you in prison.”

Let it go. Stop dwelling on past transgressions. The same book described a resentment as pain wrapped in anger.

For me to heal, I deal with the pain and get to the anger to let it go.

Do not be a prisoner of those who offend you or do you wrong. With forgiveness comes freedom from the past and the pain of resentment.

LOVE NOT WAR: Karma takes care of those who commit acts that deserve retribution. Personally, I prefer love not war. My fantasy is a fat butt girl with a pecan tan and a Mercedes Benz, to love, hug and hold, not someone to take out aggressive feelings on.

A lot of what I wrote in that sentence is just word play to paint a picture with words. I do not set requirements on finding love. Wealth, fame, economic status, ethnicity or a person’s skin tone does not concern me, if love thrives within our hearts. But I do not need a woman who needs abuse to make her feel wanted. I’m not into that either. I want to cuddle and love, not wrestle and fight.

HONEST JUDGE: In my last blog (“Agape Love”), where I wrote about love, I lost two followers after my publisher posted it. I reckon there are those who want to read hate or anger driven blogs instead of those about love. That is not the first time something negative happened after I did something positive.

In 1986, a friend of the family asked me to be a judge in a Beauty Pageant. I agreed. No one mentioned that I was there to rig the votes. One of the sponsors did point out who their relative was in the toddler division. I voted according to my version of truth about who was the best. My vote cost the relative’s toddler to come in second place.

I never got invited to judge again.

So much for moral rewards when displaying good work ethics and honesty. I’d do the same thing again. Fire me for doing the right thing? All right. That is okay with me. So much is life.

CONCLUSION: My hope is that my words written above will affect a positive change in the life of someone who reads them. The power of words is undeniable.
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* I wrote about a similar issue in “Fighting for Rights to Write,” posted on March 03, 2015, on my blogs at straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and waynedowdy.weebly.com (first published by PrisonEducation.com in February 2014). By the way, I won that battle and others where our right to write was concerned.

Wayne T. Dowdy writes Straight From the Pen. Purchase his writings from your favorite book or eBook retailers, or from straightfromthepen.com or Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616. Look for UNKNOWN INNOCENCE within weeks. The release was delayed due to the stolen draft copy of the manuscript written about in “Manuscripts Worth Stealing.”