Today I experimented with a new app to convert text-to-speech and didn’t succeed at what I planned on doing with it on my YouTube channel, @straightfromthepen, but I did learn how to use the program. I am sharing this audio clip I created from my personal magazine, Essays & More Straight from the Pen, which may be purchased on Amazon.com and from numerous other sources, in paperback or as an eBook. I will include the Amazon.com link after the audio clip I hope you enjoy.
Update: June 29, 2022: I’m adding podcasts to many of my blogs and when I do, the system may send it out as a new post. If so, please take a moment to listen to one of the podcasts and let me know what you think. Thank you!
My life after release includes the Bowl shown in the above photo. Just as that bowl traveled with me since I purchased it at the United States Federal Penitentiary (U.S.P.) in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1989, so do the memories associated with how I served decades of my life in a cage.
LIFE AFTER RELEASE
Two days ago, I made a Ramen Noodle soup in the bowl inside the comforts of the house in which I live, unlike how I did in the small prison cells of the huge federal prisons I lived (U.S.P. Leavenworth, KS; U.S.P. Atlanta, Atlanta, GA; U.S.P. Lompoc, Lompoc, CA; U.S.P. Pollock, Pollock, LA, and at the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, SC)
As Christmas 2021 approaches, I remain grateful for the life I live today as a free man who tries to make a difference in the lives of others. I’ve always been one to leave a lasting impression in the minds of those I came in contact with but not always in a positive way, the difference now is that I don’t leave a bad taste in the memory banks of those I meet.
An Attitude of Gratitude
When the world refuses to act according to Wayne, I must stop and remember that things work according to God’s will for my life and then be grateful for all I have instead of sad for all I don’t have but want.
PERSONALLY: Because I used to live the life of a dope fiend and a thug, I harmed many people, even those I loved. Today I do not live in the same way and do not harm others, even those I may not like. Regardless of how I feel, I treat people with love and kindness, at least, in most cases.
However, if angered my words may not be nice, but I still refrain from causing physical pain by walking away. On most occasions, I walk away before using words with the intention of causing emotional pain. I’m far from perfect.
ALONG SPIRITUAL LINES: Thus far I’ve failed to achieve spiritual perfection but have progressed along spiritual lines throughout the two and a half decades of my new life that allows me to sit in front of this computer typing this blog.
Now I am working on providing more content for Life After Release on Quora.com. Please check it out and subscribe. I will provide free access in requested.
Affiliate Marketing and Promotional Content
Disclaimer: At no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission for products and services purchased through this website. Paid commissions do not necessarily influence decisions to advertise or promote products or services. Nothing contained herein is intended to be financial advice, as I am not a financial adviser.
Another part of my life after release is trying to find a way to generate additional income. Unfortunately, my success with affiliate marketing is lacking.
One of the main reasons for my lack of success has been my failure to devote the necessary time and energy to succeed, as well as not using more advertising to get the word out about what I am promoting.
In the future I plan to get into flipping goods (buying and selling items on eBay, Poshmark, etc.), or to become an Amazon third party seller.
My main objective in anything I do is to remain focused on remaining a productive member of society instead of the cancer I was before I changed my life in 1995. If interested in learning more about the changes I made, please read The Price of Change, included in this book:
If you cannot afford to purchase a copy, send me a message through the info on the contact page and I will gladly provide so that you can download a free copy of the eBook.
To shop for any eBooks on Amazon, click Kindle
I will conclude with the following temporary promotion that I hope you will decide to accept before it expires, and a link to other blogs I have written as part of my Life After Release, uncaged and coming to you live as a free American citizen and proud to say so, even though I do not agree with American politics.
Don’t miss the following Webull promotion that expires on December 23, 2021. Creating an account gets you one free stock and depositing as little as $1.00 gets four more, and then you can do as I am doing: promoting to earn free stocks. 🙂
I found the inscription on the medallion shown above in the photo to be inspiring and true: “If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies.”
Several years ago, I was published in an international magazine and was quoted as having said something like, “I was antisocial until AA turned me into a social butterfly.”
Butterflies are free and so am I!
On April 5, 2021, a doctor called me on the phone and thanked me for a personal magazine/book that I gave her: Essays & More Straight from the Pen. She said it changed her life by allowing her to understand more about how one’s experiences in life shape the person they become (or something along those lines. I’m paraphrasing from memory).
For such a compliment to come from someone as prestigious and intelligent (and pretty) as her, I was moved deeply and more thankful for her call than she probably realized. Knowing how busy she is in her profession and that she was so thoughtful that she took the time from her busy schedule to call me, meant a lot.
She began the conversation by saying she hoped that it was a good time for her to call, and by acknowledging that she knew the day was a special one for me (the last day I used mind-altering substances in 1995). Then she thanked me for my very well written book and for writing openly and honestly about the sensitive content from my past.
When I promised to give her a copy, I asked that she please remember me as the person she met versus the person she reads about inside the book.
I felt honored that she had remembered me as the man she met and was so grateful that she called to thank me for the truthful content inside the pages, a lot of which I am not proud of having done decades before.
People can change the same as butterflies do when metamorphosing from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. Read about the man who did in Essays & More Straight from the Pen.
Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy
Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change, gives hope to readers wanting a different life.
The well-written essays take readers deep inside the life of the author who overcame circumstances and obstacles that kept him chained to a life of drugs and crime.
The stories inspire and motivate people to not give up or lose hope, and to fight for a new life.
Update: August 22, 2020: I write this to give hope to others about the power to change and to encourage people to not give up on life when the future doesn’t look too bright.
Yesterday seems so far away
Yesterday as in August 18, 1988, not 2020
Yesterday was the thirty-second anniversary of my last arrest
ON August 18, 1988, I sat in a jail cell not knowing if I’d live to see another day as a free man, even though I was sitting there under an alias and hoping I could find a way to get out on bond before my true identity was revealed.
I didn’t and that was a good thing!
I was a wanted man, wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and local authorities all over the United States because an All Points Bulletin had been circulated wanting to know my whereabouts.
Numerous FBI and GBI agents wanted to kill rather than to arrest me, or at least, so I was told.
I will expound more on the latter in a future blog because now I must get ready to go to work as a working man, who lives a lifestyle that does not mandate arrest or institutionalization.
LATER: In 1988, the FBI, GBI, and five local law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant for my arrest at the home of a known affiliate in Flowery Branch, Georgia, named Charles C.
Very few people knew my whereabouts because I knew better than to let it be known when a reward was publicized for anyone who assisted in my arrest and conviction. Back then, many of us used a Pager to contact others. When paged, I would provide a meeting location and used places I could observe before meeting anyone to make sure the person wasn’t followed.
During the wee hours of the morning, Charles’ wife, Donna, beeped me. One of my affiliates met and escorted her to the house where I was laying low, where she told me about the raid of her house, and the arrests of Charles and a co-defendant in the bank robbery.
I later learned from Charles, after he got out of jail, that an arresting officer who had slammed Charles’ head and face down on the hood of a truck, shouted, “Where’s Dowdy!”
Charles exercised his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refused to cooperate.
The arresting officer stated to Charles in reference to me, “I believe we’re going to have to kill that Boy. He’s gotten out of a lot of life sentences.”
Well, I thought that maybe Charles had just been geeked up on cocaine because I didn’t want to accept what he said.
A couple of days later, another friend, Harry S., who used to be the Chief of Police in a small town in Georgia, reported to me that the GBI had come to his house and questioned him about his and my affiliation.
He explained that I had always been a friend and a gentleman to him and his family. A GBI agent still asked him to lure me to his house so they could ambush me.
According to Harry, he said, “I told you that Wayne had always been a friend and a gentleman to me, and now you have the nerve to come in here and ask me to set him up to be killed? Get the fuck out of my house and don’t come back unless you have a warrant.”
After hearing that, I knew Charles hadn’t been geeking on cocaine, that some of the law enforcement officials did intend on killing me.
Fortunate for me, I was arrested in another jurisdiction and delivered to detectives from Gwinnett County Georgia in good health. Otherwise, I may not have survived the follies of my youth and been terminated before my life really began.
When I landed in jail and lost hope of getting out, I wanted to commit suicide but didn’t because I didn’t want to cause my family anymore grief than I already had. Today, I am grateful that I was able to get out of myself long enough to think about how my actions would affect others.
In considering my state of mind back then, that is truly evidence that miracles do happen, as is my existence after living the life I once lived.
RECIDIVISM NOT FOR ME: I refuse to become another unfavorable statistic for recidivism, and so now I live my life without committing crimes, without using drugs or alcohol, and in harmony with the universe on most days.
Life is wonderful when I accept that I am not in control and that my higher power, whom I choose to call God, has my back.
Miracles Happen! Never lose Hope!
An incarcerated person asked these questions for Wayne T. Dowdy. Because of privacy concerns, the name of the incarcerated person will remain anonymous. Straightfromthepen.com gives special thanks and will provide a complimentary copy of Essays and More Straight From the Pen.
Q: Since you have started using this blog, has the sales increased on your books?
A: I haven’t noticed much of an increase in sales since I began writing the blogs. But since my release from prison, I have increased the number of views on the blogs, and the circulation of eBooks on Smashwords.com by making certain eBooks free.
Q: Since you began using this blog, have you talked about your books?
A: Yes, during the first two years I did (I paid to get a website and blog created in 2015), but I haven’t written promotional content in several months.
I got involved with the prison reform movement in 2016, and then later began writing blogs relating to prison reform, but also to help fight my way out of prison. I became an outspoken critic of the former BOP Director (Mark S. Inch), who changed halfway house policies (reducing available placement period from up to one-year to “up to four months”).
On prison reform, I wanted to do my part in creating positive change, so I put my personal writing and sales promotions on the side until I could get out of prison and put things in action. Now I am back. Look out!
Q: How many books have you written?
A: I’ve written four books but only have two I’m marketing. I had a special purpose for UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D (I added sections to the original UNDER PRESSURE to inspire the aspiring writers). To make it a better value for my readers, I combined the original novel with the sequel and produced UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Wayne T. Dowdy, with the help of Midnight Express Books when originally published.
The other book is technically a personal magazine because it combines genres. ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN has 11-essays, 1-short story, and 3-poems, which I’ve discounted the price of at $8.95.
My case manager read it and commented, “Parts of it make you want to laugh, others make you want to cry. There’s a lot of wisdom in it.”
Q: Have you written any novels?
A: UNKNOWN INNOCENCE and UNDER PRESSURE are fiction.
Q: When did you start writing?
A: I wrote for decades in personal journals. At the age of twenty-five, while serving a state sentence, I wrote drafts for a series of pornographic literature. I gave my collection to a married woman I was having an affair with and asked her to keep them for me until I got out.
She was jealous. Everything I wrote did not include her. When I got out and wanted my writings, she said they got lost or her husband threw them away, either way, my perverted writings conveniently disappeared.
Maybe I’ll return to that genre if sales don’t improve on what I’m writing now. 🙂 With the success of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, there’s a large market for that type of writing.
Q: Did you go to college to learn to write?
A: Yes, and No. In 1981 I did take Creative Writing in college. In 2006-2008, I took a professional writing course through the Long Ridge Writers Group to learn how to write essays and short stories for magazine publication.
Q: Were you published in any magazines?
A: Yes, but I was published before taking the course. In 2003 I was first published in the A.A. Grapevine under a pseudonym. I’ve been published several times since then; however, none of the publications satisfy my ego, which always wants more.
These are my magazine writing credits:
The Sun (Chapel Hill, NC);
Confrontation magazine, the literary journal of Long Island University;
Savage Kick magazine;
and many others under a pseudonym related to recovery from drugs and alcohol.
Q: How has writing changed your life?
A: Writing, in general, has not changed my life except on an interpersonal level. But writing does help me to formulate ideas and allows me to express myself without interruption. That means a lot to me when I feel the issue is important and needs addressed, whether it’s what people want to hear or not.
One day I hope to answer that question by saying my writing changed the quality of life by making me rich and famous, but in the meantime, I must say it keeps me constructively occupied and that I take pride in knowing my writing impacts the lives of others, as many have said to me throughout the years.
Q: Are you writing another book now?
A: No, but I do have ideas for one coming soon and I am plotting on writing query letters and articles I want to see in print, something my ego loves (seeing my name in print).
Purchase writings by Wayne T. Dowdy from your favorite eStore or bookseller. Get the best value on eBooks at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy
Purchase today Click Here
Jeffrey P. Frye never fails to deliver well-written and entertaining stories from his life. His unique background in the legal and illegal professions gives him writing credibility that keeps readers wanting to see what he produces next.
Bank Robber Stories contains humor and a variety of mixed-emotional avenues for readers to experience. A great read for the curious minded about life on the inside of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons and what might lead a person to change professions from the legal to illegal.
Mr. Frye is now in the process of returning to his natural state before his fall from grace. He will confess to “Not Thinking” if asked, “What was you thinking?” Reading this book proves it!
~ Wayne T. Dowdy, author of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, and ESSAYS AND MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN.
Click here to buy now
INTRODUCTION by Jeffrey P. Frye
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 seek 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.
In UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, Dowdy takes the reader into the lives of his protagonists, Bobby and Nicole, and tells the story of how it all went terribly wrong. How the forces of bad luck, helped along by a crooked FBI agent and attorney, conspired to take Bobby behind the walls of the United States Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas. Using a pen along with a vivid and epic imagination, Dowdy draws upon his life in the free world, as well as his nearly three decades of walking the line in some of the roughest federal pens in America.
Moving along at a steady pace, UNKNOWN INNOCENCE tells the story of Bobby’s wrongful conviction. Sent up the river for life without parole, Big Bobby never gives up hope though. The one thing that has eluded him for most of his life is the very thing that turns out to be his salvation. Love. UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is a riveting tale that transcends genres. It’s a mystery and a thriller, with a love story woven through its fabric.
Wayne T. Dowdy is a writer for the masses whose voice has purpose. It tells the World, “No matter what happens to me, I will not give up.” This voice takes the broken pieces of a life and combines it with raw talent to bring forth a beautiful mosaic. It’s a voice that says, no matter how guilty I may be, there is still unknown innocence in each and every one of us.
Jeffrey P. Frye
September 9, 2015
Edgefield, South Carolina
One of my answers on Quora.com recently received a lot of attention, not a record breaker, but 17.6 thousand views is not insignificant. (What happens in prison if you don’t get along with your cellie and it is a dangerous situation? Can you request a new cellmate or a transfer to a different cell?)
There are many other answers to the above question and to following question that people may want to read at Quora.com.
In response to a comment written about my answer to the question, Are Jail-Prison Inmates Treated Differently Based on the Crime they Committed, I wrote:
Thanks for the comment, Annie. Nature drives curiosity, and I am sure that leads to many prison staff doing what is forbidden by policy, in the case of investigating criminal histories of inmates. For case managers, though, it’s necessary to know the criminal offenses of an inmate on their caseload. I am sure that the criminal histories of some prisoners are so terrible that most case managers feel the need to discuss what he or she saw in a case file (jacket).
For me, when I lived a different life, I sometimes suggested to prison staff (and my peers) who offended or challenged me, to “Read my jacket”; MR EGO at large, like, “Don’t you know who you’re messing with,” as if I were a notorious criminal, when in truth I was not, even though my “jacket” didn’t look so nice because of several violent crimes (armed robberies, mutiny in a penal institution, escape, assault on staff, etc.).
Federal prisoners were once allowed to keep their Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) that listed criminal histories and personal characteristics used by the court to determine a defendant’s sentencing range.
In about 2003, the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons made a rule that prohibited prisoners from having their PSR because of sensitive information contained therein, such as financial information and criminal histories and whether that person testified against someone else for a sentence reduction. The prohibition was due to some inmates being assaulted, murdered, and or extorted because of PSR information.
After I changed my life, during a scheduled review, a case manager placed her hand on my extensive file and said, “The person I see in here is not the person I see sitting before me.”
I smiled and said, “Yeah, I changed a little.” 🙂
Since my conversion, I have written about my life and many parts of my criminal history, a lot of which I am not proud of, but write about to show the power of change. People who know me now would never guess that I once lived the Thug life because I am a different man.
Before my release, I gave my case manager a copy of Essays & More Straight from the Penby Wayne T. Dowdy. He, too, had seen my file and knew from years of being my case manager, that the man who sat before him no longer behaved the way he did before. In response to reading my book, he said, “Part of it makes you laugh, and some of the stories make you want to cry. There’s a lot of wisdom in it. It was a great book to read.” And then he thanked me for letting him read it.
In my case, my previous behaviors and history kept me safer in prison than most. I was not an informant, did not testify or cooperate with authorities, and had shown to be someone who would stand up and fight. For most people entering the prison systems across America, that is not the case and their histories or personal characteristics may make them targets for abuse. In rare cases, staff members will manipulate prisoners to retaliate against another prisoner who offended him or her or is just someone they do not like. Though rare, it does happen.
What happens in prison if you don’t get along with your cellie and it is a dangerous situation? Can you request a new cellmate or a transfer to a different cell?
In the federal system, on most occasions, a person could request to be moved to another cell and usually was, but not always. Some staff would just say, “Work it out.”
In critical situations, a cellmate refuses to go back in the cell and seeks protective custody or does something stupid to be removed from the situation, may even stab or use a combination lock or weapon to assault the cellmate.
In 2002, at the United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana, an older white man who the whites had run off the yard at the U.S.P. Lompoc, because he was in prison for crimes against children, was given a choice to leave the yard at Pollock or suffer the consequences.
He went to the Segregated Housing Unit (SHU) seeking protection by the staff. No whites allowed him in the cell with them inside the SHU.
A friend who was in the cell next to a black man, who the guards were forcing the older white man into the cell with, told me he heard the black man tell the guards, “If you put him in here with me I am going to kill him.”
The guards opened the door and pushed the older white man into the cell.
The older white man was carried out of the cell on a gurney the next morning. He had been beaten and strangled to death.
The black man said to the guards, “I told y’all I was going to kill him if you put him in here with me.”
Typically, though, that’s not the way it works. Most men work out the issues or a counselor or lieutenant approve for one of the cellmates to move, rather than to force them into living with each other.
There are always exceptions to the rule. Sometimes cellmates just have to fight and go to the hole (SHU) to resolve the issue which doesn’t always end there: it may result in the death or severe injury of one or the other when he arrives at another prison. That’s life inside. 17.6k views
What happens in prison if you don’t get along with your cellie and it is a dangerous situation? Can you request a new cellmate or a transfer to a different cell? Wayne T. Dowdy, Lived inside American Prisons for Decades Answered June 15, 2019
Excerpt from ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN.
Suicide seemed the solution to end the torment ravaging my soul when I was thirteen years old.
A quarrel between my mother and brother triggered the episode of depression that made me want to die. I don’t remember what the argument was about, only that it ended with my brother slamming the door after he and his wife stormed out of the house, vowing never to return. The incident pushed me over an already frazzled edge.
At the age of eleven, I had begun doing LSD (a hallucinogenic drug), and then started selling it and other drugs to stay high, including phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP. I had been doing a lot of it for a couple of weeks when the above incident occurred. The particular batch that I had been using and selling was extremely potent. As a drug addict; I took advantage of people without giving it much thought. It wasn’t anything personal, just what I had to do to stay high, which I did on a daily basis, whether from alcohol (the oldest drug known to man), or some other drug.
From shaving pills with a razor blade and storing it in a pill bottle, I had accumulated the equivalent of maybe fifty pills. I was in the living room when my brother and his wife left the house. As soon as they were gone, I began to cry and then ran to my bedroom where I kept my drugs and syringes hidden in a coat pocket. I prepared a large shot and injected it into my arm, and then ate the remainder of the PCP in the spoon and pill bottle. Numerous people had died from far less than what I had taken.
My parents had raised me as a Southern Baptist, so I had a concept of heaven and hell in my mind, and I did not want to go to hell for sure, which is where I was afraid that I was heading just as soon as I died.
Well, I went to school with a girl named Sherry, whose father was the pastor of the Riverdale Church of God. They lived three blocks down the road from my parent’s house.
As I recall, as soon as I had eaten the remainder of the PCP, I jogged down the road to their house. I jogged so that I could get there in a hurry, because I believed that I would die when all of the PCP that I had swallowed was absorbed into my system. Since I did not want to go to hell and was afraid that I was going to die quickly, I had to get there fast. I made it to their house and banged on their storm door. The preacher’s wife opened their heavy oak door and looked at me through the safety of the storm door.
“What do you want?” she asked. (I was the neighborhood hoodlum, and she probably thought that I was there to rob or steal something.)
“I want Brother Price to pray for me, because I have taken drugs to commit suicide, and I don’t want to go to hell,” I said. I believed that his prayer would stop me from going to hell, where I had been told that I would be going for the last few years.
“Bingham, someone’s here to see you,” she yelled.
All I remember after she called for him and he came to the door, was repeating what I had told her, and then him opening the door to invite me into his home. I lost consciousness when I walked across the threshold.
When I came back around, Sherry was sitting across from me at a foldout table with a Monopoly game between us. “Are you going to play?” she asked.
“No,” I said, and shook my head.
“Well, you said that you wanted to play,” she said. Then she asked if I wanted to go outside and sit in the swing, which is what we did. I remember telling her that I thought I had damaged my brain, because everything was moving so slow inside my head. Trying to formulate a sentence was difficult for me.
It took some time, but I eventually recovered and went right back to my insane ways for the next twenty-four years. In 1995, I finally stopped using drugs and alcohol by going through three years of therapy to address the personal issues that made me want to drink and use, and then by getting involved with twelve-step programs to learn the spiritual approach. Today, I do service work at the meetings and by sponsoring people. I remain willing to do God’s will in my life by helping others recover. I feel that I am blessed with each day that I wake up, and especially when I see the lives of others transformed through God’s love and power, as was mine.
I am grateful to have survived my suicidal tendencies. I hope and pray that if someone thinking of suicide reads this article, that they change their mind, because suicide is not the solution. Feelings come and go, good and bad ones alike, and if God was able to save me and give me a life worth living, then He will do it for them too.
I realize that it is only by the grace of God that I am still alive and
have a brain that works.
I am thankful that the prayers of Brother Price and his family were more powerful than the mega dose of PCP that I had done. Today, I am glad that I was afraid of hell because if I hadn’t been, I would have stayed in my bedroom and waited for the inevitable.