Tag Archives: Wayne T. Dowdy

Bank Robber Stories by Jeffrey P. Frye

by Jeffrey P. Frye

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.

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

UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D

The following excerpt comes from the second book written by Wayne T. Dowdy, under the pseudonym of Mr. D, which he self-published with assistance from Midnight Express Books, to inspire and motivate aspiring writers. The Story Behind the Novel contains links for writing tools to help other writers.

THE STORY BEHIND THE NOVEL

[Updated August 14, 2019: This novel was published while I was in prison and most content remains the same; however, on May 8, 2019, I was released from the custody and control of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. I removed some of the original content from “The Story Behind the Novel” because it became outdated.]

The story behind the novel may surprise you because I wrote it while serving a 420-month federal prison sentence. Mr. D.” is the pseudonym I used for my first book to avoid any confusion associated with my writings. I am a writer of many genres and am aware that some readers are “profanity-sensitive”; I don’t want anyone to be confused when purchasing my books, essays or short stories. Though not used frequently, profanity is often necessary to capture the personality of a character or to make a scene or setting more realistic; especially, when writing about prison life. A person allergic to profanity may safely read most of my personal essays (inspirational, political, creative nonfiction), but may break out into a rash or go into anaphylactic shock when reading what I write as “Mr. D,” a pseudonym I chose based upon the song, Dancing with Mr. D., by the Rolling Stones, and because my last name begins with “D” and some people call me Mr. D.

Why should the reader find motivation by reading this? It came from the confines of a prison. If I wrote this from inside, without an electronic data storage system, and without access to the Internet, someone “out there” with all of the available technology and resources can really work some magic. This is the story behind the novel:

I am a federal prisoner serving a lengthy prison sentence; to be precise, thirty-five-years, without parole, for armed bank robbery and associated charges. I started on August 18, 1988. I have never used the Internet or seen a cell phone, other than in magazines or on television. I’m somewhat prehistoric, a relic.

In prison, our movement and activities are limited. For instance, I only have until 7:45 pm, Monday through Thursday evenings, to type at the library, which does not begin until my living unit gets released for chow (usually by 6:00 pm). At the library, I use a dumbed-down, AlphaSmart, word processor to type with until the library closes [AlphaSmarts were removed from the library before my release and replaced with the worst typewriters available, with no memory recall capabilities].

Normally, a writer using an AlphaSmart would have an interface cord to connect to their PC to upload what they typed on the AlphaSmart, and would then make modifications to the text in their PC; e.g., change line spacing, font size or style, underline words, or adjust margins. I don’t have a PC to upload what I have typed and cannot modify what I have written, other than typical editing functions, such as copying and pasting, and using spellcheck to correct misspelled words (program does not check grammar or punctuation). Fortunately, the presets include double line spacing, one-inch top, left and right margins, and a 12-pt Times New Roman font. If I want to add an underline to a word or a case cite when doing legal work, I have to create a separate file, count spaces, and then use the underscore key to create an underline. Then I have to run the original document back through a low-quality printer to complete the process.

That gives you an idea of what limited capabilities are when writing and typing from inside a prison (and I am fortunate to be able to do what I do). Some prisons only have ancient typewriters, with no memory storage capabilities. (I authored Under Pressure on such a primitive device.) The only other day I have to work on my writing is on Saturday because the library does not open on Sunday or holidays. During the morning I skip going to eat to type from 7:30 am (or whenever the door opens), until 9:15 am. Then I have to return to the cellblock to be counted. Yes, all of us men must stand up and be counted at 10:00 am, 4:00 pm, and 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays. The 10:00 am Count is a special event: we don’t have one during the week. I often use the break for count to proofread what I’ve written, or to prepare for what I will write.

Once the count clears and the prison staff begin feeding the noon meal, I often skip chow to go type some more. I am usually typing by 11:30 am until I have to turn in the AlphaSmart at 3:15 pm. Fridays and Sundays are my days of forced rest from typing at the library: the only place I can type personal projects.

Where am I during the week when not at the library? Working. I work as the document control clerk in a textile factory of the Federal Prison Industries, Inc., trade name UNICOR. My meager MONTHLY salary averages near $200.00. I used that income to pay for my enrollment in the Long Ridge Writers Group on January 8, 2007. The course is outlined for completion within two years. On July 7, 2008, I graduated. During the same time that I was taking their writing course, I wrote the short story, “Under Pressure.” I attempted its publication by submitting my 6,158-word manuscript (typed on the ancient typewriter mentioned earlier), to various magazines, college literary journals, and entered it in PEN’s Prison Writing contest. It didn’t win. Then on January 1, 2012, my ambition was born to convert the short story into a novel, the hard way, almost five years from the date of when I enrolled in the Long Ridge Writers Group to learn how to write and market short stories and essays. One year after I decided to turn the short story into a novel, it was available worldwide.

My biggest problem in getting started with converting the short story into a novel came from not having any way to electronically store data. When I finished typing at the prison library to return to the cellblock, everything I had typed was deleted according to policy. I knew having memory storage would ease the pain of the revision process (some pages I retyped up to five times to correct a typo, verb tense, or to replace or to add “one” word). I solicited help from my family and friends to have my manuscript scanned and stored on a disk or CD as a word.doc format for the manipulation of data. One of my two sisters, who was not real computer savvy, did go to different places attempting to find what I needed, but the best she could find was someone to scan and save it as a pdf file, which I didn’t think would allow her to alter the text back then (now converters are available that allows a person to modify Portable Document Format files).

I began the conversion process in light of the troubled waters ahead before I learned about the publisher, Midnight Express Books (MEB). Approximately six months after I had surrendered the idea of finding an easier, softer way to write the novel, I discovered MEB through an ad in the Education Behind Bars Newsletter (EBBN). EBBN ran an ad in Prison Legal News and asked for submissions. I submitted an essay and began receiving complementary copies of the newsletter. In the last issue I received, I noticed an ad for MEB, whom works exclusively with prisoners seeking publication [the publisher retired].

At that point, I had decided to go the traditional publishing route, so I passed along the information to another aspiring writer. MEB sent him a brochure. He asked me to read it and asked that I give him my opinion. I was sold when I read about MEB’s optical character reader and computer program for scanning manuscripts, and then being able to digitally alter the text. I immediately added their contact information to the system provided for e-mailing and recording addresses (TRULINCS & http://www.corrlinks.com). Thus, began the correspondence that lead to MEB helping me publish my first novel.

On January 14, 2013, CreateSpace.com released UNDER PRESSURE for sale to the public as a print-on-demand book. [Note:  Amazon closed CreateSpace, which was a self-publishing division for paperback books. Now authors must use Kindle Direct Publishing and pay Amazon twice the amount of commission for books sales.]

The following day Amazon.com posted UNDER PRESSURE. Now it is available worldwide upon demand through the following sources:

Amazon Books

(http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-Mr-D/dp/098576869X )

Amazon.com

(http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-ebook/dp/B00B1ZI00K/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1366854587&sr=8-1&keywords=under+pressure+Mr.+d )

and

Smashwords.com

(https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275053 )

Smashwords is an eBook distributor who distributes eBooks in various formats to eBook retailers for use on e-readers like the Barns & Noble Nook, and the various applications through Apple products and the Apple iBookstore. When I write other books, essays, or short stories, I will have them posted on my SmashWords’ Author’s page:

https://smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy

If the product in your hands (or before your eyes) came from inside a federal prison, with the assistance of MEB, imagine what you can do “out there” with all of the available technology. For example, Microsoft Word (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/word/cfq7ttc0k7c7?=&OCID=AID2000136_SEM_O2CceKEP&MarinID=sO2CceKEP%7c340719598991%7cmicrosoft+word%7ce%7cc%7c%7c64346372608%7caud-473968998633%3akwd-10582150&lnkd=Google_O365SMB_NI&gclid=Cj0KCQjwv8nqBRDGARIsAHfR9wAPF2bA3yAzCZsudqoAjxNPQjR62TD52dyGZH6AUYTJAhNWtpHglkgaAtpzEALw_wcB&activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab); 

Word Perfect X9 (www.corel.com ); and some writers’ tools: Character Writer 4.0 (http://www.characterpro.com/characterwriter/index.html); writing tools from Master Writer (https://masterwriter.com/creative_writers/); for screenplays: Power Structure and Power Writer for writing novels and screenplays (https://www.powerstructure.com/).

Maybe one day I will find out. For you, though, if you are an aspiring writer or just a reader with ambitions, apply yourself to the task and reach for your dreams: they may be closer than you imagine.

Perseverance Pays!

Best regards,

Wayne T. Dowdy aka, “Mr. D.”

I welcome all comments, and will respond to all questions as soon as possible, which may vary according to the number received, but I will respond.

Contact Info:

E-mail: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or wtdowdy57@gmail.com

Mailing Address: Wayne T. Dowdy, P.O. Box 2608, McDonough, GA 30253

Follow me on StaightfromthePen.com https://straightfromthepen.com

We Are The Cancer

This is an essay I wrote in 2010 in response to the Gulf Coast Disaster and my environmental concerns. Read more of my writings from my author’s page at Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy), or by searching online for “Wayne T. Dowdy.” Though this essay is more critical and much different than most of other essays about my beliefs and life experiences, I included We Are the Cancer in Essays & More Straight from the Pen because of the seriousness of the topic. I hope you enjoy it and find something meaningful in the words I write.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

WE ARE THE CANCER
by
Wayne T. Dowdy

Innumerable oil particles gushed into the emerald green waters of the Gulf Coast, after the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig catastrophe on April 20, 2010, where eleven men lost their lives working to extract oil from the bottom of the ocean for British Petroleum (BP). The tiny particles arrived in masses to penetrate the shores and seep into the marshes, killing living organisms along the way and upon arrival. Waves of the slippery substance overcome marine life, reptiles, amphibians, and mammal alike, by either depleting their oxygen supply, poisoning their systems, or causing them to die from malnutrition by poisoning their food supply. Some of the life forms that the oil didn’t kill, the Corexit did (Corexit is the chemical dispersant that BP used to hide oil beneath the surface).

In David Quammen’s essay, “Contagious Cancer – the Evolution of a Killer,” Harper’s Magazine, April 2008, he wrote about a “parasitic cancer” killing Australia’s Tasmanian Devils (cancer spreads through bites incurred during battles and mating rituals–the process for creating life ends it by spreading cancer). He defined parasites as “[a]ny organism that lives on or within another kind of organism, extracting benefit for itself and causing harm to the other.” And then on cancer, “Cancer differs also from heart disease and cirrhosis and the other lethal forms of physiological breakdown; uncontrolled reproduction, not organ dilapidation, is the problem.” Cancer cells divide and replicate until their mass overcomes their host.

We humans are the parasitic cancer of the Universe: not a pleasant thought or concept to endure, but the facts support my hypothesis. With Earth hosting the human organism, it is our rapid reproduction, along with our desires to prosper and enjoy the luxuries and comforts of life that results in damage to our host. Our rapid replication creates the need for more oil and other natural resources, which leads to our robbing Mother Earth of what we need to be pleased. On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Prince William Sound, AK. It lost 10,080,000 gallons of oil that devastated the marine and wildlife of the affected areas in Alaska. If the Earth was human, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill an injury, the injury would have been akin to a slashed finger that leaked a little blood compared to the Gulf Coast Disaster. The Gulf Coast Disaster, caused by BP’s failure to adhere to safety standards, was more like a freshly amputated limb that gushed blood for months. Estimates of the amount of oil spilled have varied, and with tactics used that appeared to obstruct the measureable amount of oil, who knows how much oil flooded those emerald green waters. The long-term effect on the environment is yet to be seen: predictions are not very promising; devastation to coastal life; more deaths and reduced births of wildlife; damage or death to the deepwater corals, crustaceans, snails, bacterial filaments, and tubeworms in the deep Gulf of Mexico waters, which may affect those further up the food chain. The disaster upset the Earth’s delicate balance of life.

Oil extraction and related accidents are only one example of humans “extracting benefits for [themselves] and causing harm to [earth].” The by-products resulting from processed oil is another example: Green House Gas Effects, water and air pollution, and the destruction of natural resources by companies driven by corporate greed, which capitalize on human desires at the expense of the environment. According to Woody Tash, Founder and Chairperson of the Slow Money Alliance, “[i]ndustrial agriculture is one of the most polluting activities on the planet.” [The Sun magazine, June 2010] The more we eat mass produced vegetables, commercially processed fish and meats, the more we assist in the contamination of the air and land by the spread of poisonous pesticides and toxic substances. It takes oil to operate the machinery and equipment (cultivation and transportation vehicles, pumps, generators, etc.).

To make the machinery, equipment, and a variety of apparatuses used for processing, storing, and transporting the goods generated to appease our needs and desires, is another matter; no less harmful to the environment because it divests the earth of natural resources, such as iron, copper, aluminum, and many other metals and minerals. Mining causes water and air pollution, soil erosion, and as often happens, the death of humans who must work for oppressive companies in order to survive. The same processes are required to appease our inquisitive side, which contributes to our damaging effect expanding into space: our space junk (satellites, rocket parts, and a variety of other things we leave behind) litters the Universe; exhaust emissions from space vehicles eat holes in the ozone layer, the same as all other exhaust emissions from carbon producing engines. Besides that, when humans remove all of those substances from the earth, especially oil, what becomes of the space previously occupied by those substances? It seems to me that it would have to affect something. Could that possibly increase the risk of earth quakes? In my unprofessional opinion, I say it does, even though I am far from a specialist in the field.

As the oil escaped Mother Earth, I wonder if BP officials were more concerned about the loss of profits, or about the “Little People” (as I seem to recall one BP official referring to those who do the jobs necessary to get the oil from the ground), who lost their lives while generating profits for them. From what I understand, Oil companies are fined based upon the amount of oil that escapes from accidents, and the estimated cost of cleaning up the damage caused by the accident. Maybe that explains why BP officials used the Corexit in the Gulf of Mexico to sink the oil, with no regard for the marine life and environment. The experience with Corexit at the Exxon Valdez oil spill had provided evidence of its damaging effect on life forms and the environment. If not for wanting to protect profits, why else would BP officials have ordered tons of Corexit to be spread over the Gulf Coast to sink the mass of oil seeping to the surface from the manmade hole in the ocean floor, which resulted from the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig? Let us hope that the eleven lives lost were not in vain. Maybe their sacrifices will lead to changes that will prevent reoccurrences of such catastrophes, and lessen our damaging effect on the environment.

Perhaps we will go into voluntary remission before we annihilate ourselves by critically damaging our host in our struggle to survive and enjoy life. For those fortunate enough to do so, maybe we can walk or cycle more instead of driving vehicles; eat less commercially produced food; buy more locally produced products, and grow more food in gardens; live modestly on necessities, instead of lavishly on luxuries. Mother Earth may bless us and our future generations with longer life spans and better health. Our grandchildren and their children may one day thank us.

[Since I wrote the original version of this essay, the movie AVATAR came out and became my favorite, even though I do not watch a lot of movies these days, especially those from the fantasy category. (I have watched AVATAR several times because I love the visual effects, the characters, and the correlation between its plot and what happened with the early European settlers and Native Americans.) One of the things I really liked was when the Marine in the AVATAR body prayed to the Tree of Souls and asked for help. The Tree of Souls was a spiritual source for the natives because it connected them with their ancestors. As the pending battle loomed on with the alien invaders, he said something like, “They killed their planet and they will kill this one, too.” In the end, Mother sent all of the creatures to help defend their planet from the alien invaders, who came to take one of their natural resources-a precious metal, located under their Mother Tree, which is where many natives had lived before the aliens blasted it with missles to destroy it. Essentially, the alien invaders made the natives their enemy to justify killing or massacring all life forms to take the precious metal they wanted, much as we have done to others, because we are the cancer.]

Special Acknowledgements

1) Special thanks to David Quammen and Harper’s Magazine for allowing me to use the quotes from “Contagious Cancer – the Evolution of a Killer,” copyright 2008 by Harper’s Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduced for the April issue by special permission.
2) The Sun magazine, and Woody Tash of the Slow Money Alliance, for more insight.
3) Julie Whitty, Environment Correspondent, Mother Jones, September/October 2010, in writing the informative “BP’s Deep Secrets.”
4) Tom Junod, Esquire, September 2010, in writing “11 Lives,” for giving a face to the eleven men who died on April 20, 2010, aboard the Deepwater Horizon: Donald Clark, Gordon Jones, Adam Weise, Roy Kemp, Dewey Revette, Jason Anderson, Blair Manuel, Shane Roshto, Stephen Curtis, Dale Burkeen, and Karl Kleepinger.

Order your copy today and be inspired. A great gift to share with those in jail or prison or who struggle with making changes to overcome obstacles.

Cellmates by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

Thankfulness and Gratitude from Inside

I Could Be Sleeping in the Woods

Thanksgiving Day in America always reminds me to be thankful for all I have in life today, which often involves remembering the not-so-good times in my life. That makes me grateful for today.

Today I am okay, even if life is not the way I imagined it would be for me by this time, when I sat in prison thinking of the day I would walk out the prison doors and into my new life, doing all I could to build a better one, as I started life over at the age of sixty-one.

One part of life I chose not to forget is the decades I spent behind bars and how much I disliked the prison experience. Because of that, I choose not to forget those who are held inside jails and prisons and other forms of detainment, all across America and abroad, whose situation helps me remember where I’ve been and will not return because I live a different lifestyle than I did before I went to prison in 1988.

WORKING MAN

When I am at work and feel disgruntled about the pay I receive versus what I feel I should receive for the hard work I do, I stop to remember the days I helped dozens of other Georgia prisoners dig lakes/ponds by using shovels, picks, and wheelbarrows, while a Dragline excavator* (heavy duty equipment) sat on a hill, unoccupied, and not used until the Health Department was coming to perform an inspection.

Health Department officials and auditors always give Prison administrators an advance warning of upcoming inspections.

During the last several years of my incarceration, I wanted to improve my education by going to college, but Congress had suspended the PELL grant for prisoners, and I could not afford to pay for a college correspondence course, while paying for having my books published, website built, and blogs posted.

The other day, I received a message from a Corrlinks client that helped me to remember what it was like on the Inside and how important it had been for me to continue my interpersonal-development by staying focused on doing positive things, such as continuing to learn; paying for a professional writing course that an education supervisor claimed was not educational (really), and thus refused to sign off on a grant approved by all other approving officials in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR).

I made sacrifices to pay for the writing course, with my inmate pay of $0.76-$1.45 per hour for doing various tasks; in later years, performing tasks a free citizen would earn six figures for doing. Anyways, ….

After reading his email, I wrote to request his permission to share it with the world. To me it is important for those on the “Outside” to know that many of those on the “Inside” seek programs to help increase their chance of success upon release from prison, so, here is one who does, Mr. Carter:

“On Friday, November 22, 2019, two days shy of the twenty-eighth-year anniversary of the day I was arrested and never saw freedom again, I got the second most exciting news of my life. I am beginning my journey through college for the first time. The Second Chance Pell Grant program being offered through UW-Milwaukee Area Technical College has accepted me as an eligible student to work toward a two-year associates degree in sciences or arts. For me, a man who has been locked up since he was 19 years old, this opportunity is next door to getting released. During my incarceration one thing is obvious to me; education is the foundation of change. People who know better, usually do better; usually. I have always wanted to better with myself since I was a little kid, but I never felt as though I had a real opportunity to do so. There were many opportunities when I was younger, I just never saw them through the storms in my life. Now that I have done everything possible to be a better person, better father, better son, better brother, better man, the storms in my life have subsided and I see life much clearer. I not only know who I am as a person, but what my passions are and what I want do with my life; higher learning is a key part to all that. This is an opportunity I will make the best of and enjoy doing. I just wanted to share this with all the important people in my life. Thank you all for being supportive, motivational, and inspirational. In one form or another you helped me get here. “

“Ivy Carter, @ Redgranite C.I.”

My best wishes for a bright future go out to Mr. Carter as he continues his pursuit of a better life and success upon release.

Throughout the years I learned that gratitude and happiness were an inside job. Today I keep that in mind and continue to be grateful for all things, even pain because the pain reminds me that I am alive. My faith helps me to believe that the pain will go away one day and that all will be well as I rejoice in the absence of pain as I drift into the next dimension.

Today I will relax and be thankful that I no longer have to dig in the dirt and mud while a shotgun boss stands guard waiting for someone with rabbit in their blood to take off into the woods and blast them.

Today, I do not have to sleep in the woods or try to outrun hound dogs in hot pursuit of me as I run for my life to escape the indignities of prison life, as I once did (I escaped from a Georgia prison in 1981, which I have written about **).

And so today, I am grateful that I don’t have to live like that anymore, and can enjoy life, even when the world isn’t working according to Wayne.

________________________________________________

* Dragline excavator

Description

“A dragline excavator is a piece of heavy equipment used in civil engineering and Surface mining. Draglines fall into two broad categories: those that are based on standard, lifting cranes, and the heavy units which have to be built on-site.”  Wikipedia

** Fence Rows and The Price of Change, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TG2WGFA https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/518476

“Fence Rows and The Price of Change” come from the writing collection, Essays & More Straight from the Pen, available in print and as an eBook. These essays captivate the readers attention to carry them through movie-worthy-events.

“Fence Rows” first appeared in the ICONOCLAST magazine, as did “Fences,” included as part of the essays in Essays & More Straight from the Pen.

Inside of “The Price of Change,” read about the event published by the ICONOCLAST, which concerns exciting scenes from a prison escape and other events behind the walls of prisons. Parts of this gripping essay may help the reader to see the devastation of addiction and yet give one hope of living to see a better day. The change came many years later at a heavy price.

Available ebook formats: epub mobi pdf rtf lrf pdb txt html

Purchase your copy today https://www.amazon.com/Essays-More-Straight-Wayne-Dowdy/dp/1502767503/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Afraid of Hell by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

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.

A great gift to inspire others who struggle with change!

UNDER PRESSURE–MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by MR. D.

UNKNOWN INNOCENCE consumed my first novel, UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D, and part of my second book published by Midnight Express Books (UNDER PRESSURE–MOTIVATIONAL VERSION). What separated the second novel from the first was the addition of “The Story Behind the Novel” and the addition of the first two chapters of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE.

After writing the sequel, I decided to give readers a better value by allowing the sequel to consume the original novel.

For this blog post, I’m providing a peek into the most important part of the Motivational Version (The Story Behind the Novel ), and one randomly selected chapter that shows one aspect of prison life in some of the more dangerous prison settings, Chapter #6, Let It Go.

Warning: Not Politically Correct! Contains Violence, Profanity

Let It Go

Months later, on a cool spring morning, Stan and Bobby returned from the yard and took their showers before being counted at 10 A.M. Shortly thereafter, they went to eat Spanish omelets, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy for brunch. That afternoon, Stan sat near the center of the TV room watching VH1. The TV room was on the walkway at the rear of the cellblock that joined the tiers. Terry, Jake, and three of Jake’s friends were huddled in the back corner. Two Jamaicans, who were acquaintances of Stan, sat closest to the only door, talking. Stan lowered the volume on his Walkman to hear Jake and Terry’s conversation. A few minutes later his suspicion was confirmed: Terry still planned to involve Wendy.

“She’s coming over the holiday weekend in July and I’ll talk her into bringing in the package,” Terry said.

Stan stood and turned to face all five in the corner. “Keep my sister’s name out of your mouth,” he said.

“Keep out of my business, boy,” Jake said. Him and his three friends stood. Terry stayed seated.

“Don’t try fucking with this boy!” Stan said.

Terry stood. “I won’t let anything happen to her, dude,” he said, his voice a high-pitched tone, almost a shrill.

Rastaman stepped out the door and cleared the corner of the tier to get Big Bobby. At the same moment, Bobby walked out of his cell to go get some hot water. Rastaman saw him and yelled in his Jamaican accent. “Yo, mon, Stan need you.” Bobby slung the cup in his cell.

One of Jake’s partners positioned himself near the door by the other Jamaican, who sat looking toward the television with a know-nothing stare on his face.

“You’re damn right you’re not because you’re not going to pull her into your shit,” Stan said. “Find another way to feed your habit.”

Jake’s other partners tried to position themselves behind Stan, who turned to put the wall behind him. Jake moved closer to him and said, “What’s up? You want to get this out of the way, right now?”

“Smash that punk!” the one by the door said.

Terry edged closer to the door. “Y’all cut this bullshit out, dudes,” he said. “We’ll all go to the hole.”

Jake moved within arm’s reach. Stan shoved him in the chest with both palms. “Get off me, punk,” he said.

Jake stumbled backward. He regained his balance and rushed back to get in Stan’s face. “Want some of this,” he said, and pushed him back.

“Don’t take that from that cunt,” another yelled. “Hit him!”

The one by the door pulled a shank from his waistband. “Let’s stick this bitch,” he said, his back a foot from the door.

Everything changed fast: Big Bobby barged into the room. The door smacked the doorman holding the shank, knocked him into Terry, who shot to the wall near Bobby.

“Hey,” the doorman shouted, as he turned to see who had hit him with the door. His face paled when he saw Bobby. He hurried beside Jake, faced Bobby.

Jake had moved to the corner when Bobby rushed into the room. “What’s up?” Bobby said, his voice coarse.

The two who had surrounded Stan moved with Jake. Terry stood against the wall with his arms crossed. Bobby moved within striking distance of the doorman.

“Let it go, man,” he said. Rastaman had followed him into the room. The other Jamaican stood and positioned himself beside his partner and Bobby.

Stan eyed the two who tried getting behind him, and then he moved near Bobby and the Jamaicans. He looked at the one with the shank. “Put that up before I stick it up your ass,” he said.

“You got the easy part done,” the doorman said.

“Cut the bullshit,” Terry said.

Still winded from rushing down the tier, Bobby said, “All of you need to put this on ice. Nothing good’s going to come from us going to war over whatever the hell y’all got going on in here.”

Jake took a step closer to them. “Tell your boy to keep out of my business, big guy.”

Bobby started to speak. Stan pointed at Terry. “I’ve done told that idiot I didn’t want him involving my sister in your business, buddy,” he said. “If you can’t respect that, we’ve got big problems.”

“You’ve got big problems with all that mouth,” the doorman said. Seconds earlier, he had slipped the blade of the shank in the front pocket of his pants and covered its handle with his hand.

“Look, man, my problem’s not with you but we can make it that way if you don’t back off,” Stan said. He moved closer to him. “I don’t give a damn about you having a shank.”

Bobby stepped between Stan, Jake, and the doorman. The Jamaicans stayed in the background, propped against the wall by the door where Terry stood. The doorman jerked out the shank. Before Bobby could stop him, Stan maneuvered around him and grabbed the doorman’s wrist holding the shank. In a continuous motion, he twisted it behind the man’s back and yanked it to the base of the neck, as he forced him against the rear wall. “What you want to do now, bitch?” Stan growled, keeping the pressure on the back of his prey.

Jake advanced toward Stan. Bobby grabbed him by the shoulders and slung him against the wall, and then turned his head to glance at the other two, making sure they weren’t getting involved. “Stay out of it!” he said.

The Jamaicans, who were much larger than either of the two they faced, had moved between them and Bobby. Both Jamaicans had their arms spread, angled toward the floor, palms opened, inviting war or peace. “We don’t want no trouble,” one of the other two said.

After he had failed to free himself from Stan’s hold, the doorman dropped the shank. It clanged as it struck the floor. “All right, man. You got it,” he said, his voice strained from stress.

Jake stayed still against the wall; fear written on his forehead: Bobby’s massive chest six inches from his nose.

Stan used his foot to slide the shank to the far side of the room. Then he released his hold and stepped away from the doorman. “Let’s all let this shit go and get the fuck out of here before the hacks come and slam us in the hole,” he said.

Everyone exited the television room; their eyes darting one from another, sweat dotting their foreheads. Stan waited until last to leave, motioning for the doorman to get his shank and go. He did so silently, his head held low.

Five minutes after leaving the TV room, Stan had told Bobby all that had gone down before he walked into the drama. They sat in Stan’s cell with their arms crossed, sodas sitting on the floor by each of their legs. Neither one uncrossed their arms except to take a sip from their sodas.

“What you think about it?” Stan said. “You think they’re going to let it go or what?”

Bobby cleared his throat and repositioned himself on the toilet bowl where he sat. “I’d like to think they’ll let it go and leave us alone, but you know how things go in these places. They may claim a truce only to gain an edge for an attack. I’m going to keep an eye on ‘em, for sure.”

“You know I’ll keep an eye on them. And if Terry and Jake don’t leave Wendy out of their plans, they’d better keep an eye on me,” Stan said, and then got up from the edge of his bed. “I’m telling you, man, if they don’t, it’s going to be bad. Wendy may become a widow before it’s over with if they don’t.”

“Well, … we’ll just have to play the cards dealt and play the game well. Let it go if you can,” Bobby said. Then he rose and patted Stan on the back. “Gotta go, Pal. Keep your eyes open. Yell if you need me, okay?”

“Okay, man. I’m sorry I got you into this bullshit.”

“Don’t sweat it. It’ll all work itself out however the hell it’s supposed to turn out.” Then he ducked to leave the cell. He stopped on the tier.

“See you later,” he said and threw up his hand before walking back to his cell.

The Story Behind the Novel

[Updated August 14, 2019: This novel was published while I was in prison and most content remains the same; however, on May 8, 2019, I was released from the custody and control of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. I removed some of the original content from “The Story Behind the Novel” because it became outdated.]

The story behind the novel may surprise you because I wrote it while serving a 420-month federal prison sentence. Mr. D.” is the pseudonym I used for my first book to avoid any confusion associated with my writings. I am a writer of many genres and am aware that some readers are “profanity-sensitive”; I don’t want anyone to be confused when purchasing my books, essays or short stories. Though not used frequently, profanity is often necessary to capture the personality of a character or to make a scene or setting more realistic; especially, when writing about prison life. A person allergic to profanity may safely read most of my personal essays (inspirational, political, creative nonfiction), but may break out into a rash or go into anaphylactic shock when reading what I write as “Mr. D,” a pseudonym I chose based upon the song, Dancing with Mr. D., by the Rolling Stones, and because my last name begins with “D” and some people call me Mr. D.

Why should the reader find motivation by reading this? It came from the confines of a prison. If I wrote this from inside, without an electronic data storage system, and without access to the Internet, someone “out there” with all of the available technology and resources can really work some magic. This is the story behind the novel:

I am a federal prisoner serving a lengthy prison sentence; to be precise, thirty-five-years, without parole, for armed bank robbery and associated charges. I started on August 18, 1988. I have never used the Internet or seen a cell phone, other than in magazines or on television. I’m somewhat prehistoric, a relic.

In prison, our movement and activities are limited. For instance, I only have until 7:45 pm, Monday through Thursday evenings, to type at the library, which does not begin until my living unit gets released for chow (usually by 6:00 pm). At the library, I use a dumbed-down, AlphaSmart, word processor to type with until the library closes [AlphaSmarts were removed from the library before my release and replaced with the worst typewriters available, with no memory recall capabilities].

Normally, a writer using an AlphaSmart would have an interface cord to connect to their PC to upload what they typed on the AlphaSmart, and would then make modifications to the text in their PC; e.g., change line spacing, font size or style, underline words or adjust margins. I don’t have a PC to upload what I have typed and cannot modify what I have written, other than typical editing functions, such as copying and pasting and using spellcheck to correct misspelled words (program does not check grammar or punctuation). Fortunately, the presets include double line spacing, one-inch top, left and right margins, and a 12-pt Times New Roman font. If I want to add an underline to a word or a case cite when doing legal work, I have to create a separate file, count spaces, and then use the underscore key to create an underline. Then I have to run the original document back through a low-quality printer to complete the process.

That gives you an idea of what limited capabilities are when writing and typing from inside a prison (and I am fortunate to be able to do what I do). Some prisons only have ancient typewriters, with no memory storage capabilities. (I authored Under Pressure on such a primitive device.) The only other day I have to work on my writing is on Saturday because the library does not open on Sunday or holidays. During the morning I skip going to eat to type from 7:30 am (or whenever the door opens) until 9:15 am. Then I have to return to the cellblock to be counted. Yes, all of us men must stand up and be counted at 10:00 am, 4:00 pm, and 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays. The 10:00 am Count is a special event: we don’t have one during the week. I often use the break for the count to proofread what I’ve written, or to prepare for what I will write.

Once the count clears and the prison staff begins feeding the noon meal, I often skip chow to go type some more. I am usually typing by 11:30 am until I have to turn in the AlphaSmart at 3:15 pm. Fridays and Sundays are my days of forced rest from typing at the library: the only place I can type personal projects.

Where am I during the week when not at the library? Working. I work as the document control clerk in a textile factory of the Federal Prison Industries, Inc., trade name UNICOR. My meager MONTHLY salary averages near $200.00. I used that income to pay for my enrollment in the Long Ridge Writers Group on January 8, 2007. The course is outlined for completion within two years. On July 7, 2008, I graduated. During the same time that I was taking their writing course, I wrote the short story, “Under Pressure.” I attempted its publication by submitting my 6,158-word manuscript (typed on the ancient typewriter mentioned earlier), to various magazines, college literary journals, and entered it in PEN’s Prison Writing Contest. It didn’t win. Then on January 1, 2012, my ambition was born to convert the short story into a novel, the hard way, almost five years from the date of when I enrolled in the Long Ridge Writers Group to learn how to write and market short stories and essays. One year after I decided to turn the short story into a novel, it was available worldwide.

My biggest problem in getting started with converting the short story into a novel came from not having any way to electronically store data. When I finished typing at the prison library to return to the cellblock, everything I had typed was deleted according to policy. I knew having memory storage would ease the pain of the revision process (some pages I retyped up to five times to correct a typo, verb tense, or to replace or to add “one” word). I solicited help from my family and friends to have my manuscript scanned and stored on a disk or CD as a word.doc format for the manipulation of data. One of my two sisters, who was not real computer savvy, did go to different places attempting to find what I needed, but the best she could find was someone to scan and save it as a pdf file, which I didn’t think would allow her to alter the text back then (now converters are available that allows a person to modify Portable Document Format files).

I began the conversion process in light of the troubled waters ahead before I learned about the publisher, Midnight Express Books (MEB). Approximately six months after I had surrendered the idea of finding an easier, softer way to write the novel, I discovered MEB through an ad in the Education Behind Bars Newsletter (EBBN). EBBN ran an ad in Prison Legal News and asked for submissions. I submitted an essay and began receiving complimentary copies of the newsletter. In the last issue I received, I noticed an ad for MEB, who works exclusively with prisoners seeking publication [the publisher retired].

At that point, I had decided to go the traditional publishing route, so I passed along the information to another aspiring writer. MEB sent him a brochure. He asked me to read it and asked that I give him my opinion. I was sold when I read about MEB’s optical character reader and computer program for scanning manuscripts, and then being able to digitally alter the text. I immediately added their contact information to the system provided for e-mailing and recording addresses (TRULINCS & http://www.corrlinks.com). Thus, began the correspondence that lead to MEB helping me publish my first novel.

On January 14, 2013, CreateSpace.com released UNDER PRESSURE for sale to the public as a print-on-demand book. [Note:  Amazon closed CreateSpace, which was a self-publishing division for paperback books. Now authors must use Kindle Direct Publishing and pay Amazon twice the amount of commission for books sales.]

The following day Amazon.com posted UNDER PRESSURE. Now it is available worldwide upon demand through the following sources:

Amazon Books

(http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-Mr-D/dp/098576869X )

Amazon.com

(http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-ebook/dp/B00B1ZI00K/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1366854587&sr=8-1&keywords=under+pressure+Mr.+d )

And as an eBook on Smashwords.com (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275053)

Smashwords is an eBook distributor who distributes eBooks in various formats to eBook retailers for use on e-readers like the Barns & Noble Nook, and the various applications through Apple products and the Apple iBookstore. When I write other books, essays, or short stories, I will have them posted on my Smashwords’ Author’s page:

https://smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy

[THE POINT IS] If the product in your hands (or before your eyes) came from inside a federal prison, with the assistance of MEB, imagine what you can do “out there” with all of the available technology.

For example, Microsoft Word (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/word/cfq7ttc0k7c7?=&OCID=AID2000136_SEM_O2CceKEP&MarinID=sO2CceKEP%7c340719598991%7cmicrosoft+word%7ce%7cc%7c%7c64346372608%7caud-473968998633%3akwd-10582150&lnkd=Google_O365SMB_NI&gclid=Cj0KCQjwv8nqBRDGARIsAHfR9wAPF2bA3yAzCZsudqoAjxNPQjR62TD52dyGZH6AUYTJAhNWtpHglkgaAtpzEALw_wcB&activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab); 

Word Perfect X9 (www.corel.com ); and some writers’ tools: Character Writer 4.0 (http://www.characterpro.com/characterwriter/index.html); writing tools from Master Writer (https://masterwriter.com/creative_writers/); for screenplays: Power Structure and Power Writer for writing novels and screenplays (https://www.powerstructure.com/).

Maybe one day I will find out. For you, though, if you are an aspiring writer or just a reader with ambitions, apply yourself to the task and reach for your dreams: they may be closer than you imagine.

Perseverance Pays!

Best regards,

Wayne T. Dowdy aka, “Mr. D.”

I welcome all comments and will respond to all questions as soon as possible, which may vary according to the number received, but I will respond.

Contact Info: E-mail: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or wtdowdy57@gmail.com

Mailing Address: Wayne T. Dowdy, P.O. Box 2608, McDonough, Georgia 30253

Follow me on StaightfromthePen.com https://straightfromthepen.com

UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Wayne T. Dowdy, $10.95 USD at Amazon.com

Labor Day and A Personal Memorial Day

Beautiful Flowers for Bob P. from his Children

IF you prefer to read more about Labor Day, select the link/URL below. I write this blog to honor a loved one and to share my first experience at a memorial service in over thirty years, as a free citizen since my release from federal prison on August 28, 2018.

What is the meaning of Labor Day?

“Do you get weekends off work? Lunch breaks? Paid vacation? An eight-hour workday? Social security? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you can thank labor unions and the U.S. labor movement for it. Years of hard-fought battles (and the ensuing legislation they inspired) resulted in many of the most basic benefits we enjoy at our jobs today. On the first Monday in September, we take the day off to celebrate Labor Day and reflect on the American worker’s contributions to our country.” https://nationaltoday.com/labor-day-2019/ [errors corrected by this author]

America celebrates Labor Day in honor of the working men and women who make America great. I will work today at a Goodwill of North Georgia store in McDonough, Georgia.

The work I do does not compare to work done by those who serve in the military, in America and abroad, as well as the emergency responders and all others who serve and protect the public. Pro-war, anti-war, anti-government, or whatever, in my opinion, those brave men and women deserve praise and to be honored; especially, the fallen men and women we celebrate on Memorial Day who gave their lives.

Georgia National Cemetery, Canton, Georgia

My personal Memorial Day began on August 17, 2019, when a loved one took that flight to a special place in the sky, high above the clouds. I had awakened during the early hours and knew his day had come, so I sent him a text message and one on Messenger to say my farewell to Bob, my brother-in-law, and friend of over fifty years.

He moved on to another life within twelve hours.

Bob P., Proudly Represented the United States Air Force

Bob P. served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam Era. He left the United States en route to Vietnam, and then a miracle happened: President Richard Nixon began the de-escalation of troops in Vietnam to end the war, so Bob went to Korea and, then later, to Japan instead of Vietnam.

He fought many health battles after his return, many illnesses which were caused by exposure to chemicals used during that period. He survived cancer and then had his first heart attack at the age of thirty-nine, likely caused by drugs used to treat cancer developed from exposure to the chemicals.

Photo provided courtesy of the family.

The Air Force honored Bob at the Memorial Service. I fought tears and lost several battles during the service, but when the soldier began playing the Taps, the streams began to flow.

Final Resting Place for Cremains of some of those who served our Country
The Same Pastor Conducted the Funeral Services of My Other Loved Ones

Many men and women trapped inside prison walls cannot attend funeral services. Some can but many cannot. I was one who could not because I was viewed as a security risk.

While in prison, I lost my mother and one of my younger brothers. From inside prison, though difficult to deal with the loss of loved ones, whose funerals I could not attend because of my security level, I was somewhat shielded from the emotional effects of death. I wanted to go to their funerals and to be there for them, but couldn’t because of the mistakes I had made decades before.

I had never attended a military funeral but suspect Bob’s won’t be my last. Military or not, I do not like attending such an event; however, I love the survivors enough to deal with my personal discomfort to be there to support them with love and compassion.

The ones I loved and cared for, whose services I attend, have left the body or remains and may be watching and wondering, “Why are they crying, don’t they know I am free and at peace?”

To all who gave their lives!

Adventures of Wayne, Monday, August 12, 2019

Life on the outside sometimes feels as if I am walking through a tunnel, deep into another time zone, right into another life. Well, I reckon that’s what I am doing, straight from the prehistoric era into modern society, acting civilized, not like a pimpin’ caveman.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

 Since my release and learning how to capture images with the camera (cellphone), I enjoy walking around and taking photos of anything that catches my eye. Some things I do resist, of course, as it’s not nice to snap a photo of an unsuspecting person, especially as she walks down the street. 🙂 I do respect privacy and am considerate of others on most days.

I have developed a nice collection on my View Bug profile page and have won some awards, even if I do have duplicates because I don’t know how to delete photos I upload, but hey, I’m still in the learning curve for technology. Here’s the link for ViewBug: https://www.viewbug.com/member/WTD4U

Imagine what I could have done if I had had a nice camera to use during those adventures. My favorite shots are often of tall buildings and structures or nature. I love insects, animals, flowers and trees, and not having to get film developed!

 For all of you youngsters, once upon a time people had to carry a roll of camera film to Kodak or Fuji to have it developed or otherwise use a Polaroid camera, something else from the prehistoric era. 

Fighting to be Free by Wayne T. Dowdy

Pastor Eric Payne with Family and Friend

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The fight continues to free Pastor Eric Payne from the Georgia Department of Corrections. I initially wrote about this situation in Criminal Injustice and Pastor Eric Payne. https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/07/10/criminal-injustice-and-pastor-eric-payne/ This blog is a follow-up that includes correspondence from Pastor Eric Payne and his loving and carring wife, who continues to fight for the freedom of her husband.

Please pay attention to the minute amount of cocaine used to sentence him to 15-years. I wrote about a similar situation in Freedom for Another Friend, where a friend was serving life without parole, in part, due to a prior conviction for small amount of cocaine, used to enhance his federal sentence. https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/08/09/freedom-for-another-friend/

Pastor Eric Payne

By now you’re aware of what my attorney did to us in taking our money, NOT doing a thing, at the last minute dropping my case. Further, I’m sure you know about the “cruel, unusual, unjust, unfair, and sadistic punishment and game” the parole chief and State recently played on me and my family.

But I DO have some things to say about receiving 15 years for the victimless and nonviolent crime of Felony Possession of Cocaine (.001 gram/residue).

It was a bad decision, but I went back to “hustling” after a series of unfortunate financial struggles in my personal life, businesses, and church. I felt that I was suffocating and everywhere I turned I received no monetary assistance.

Once arrested I received “no bond” for the first 90 days and then a “$190,000.00 bond” afterwards. My Public Defender consistently expressed that he could not understand why the Chief Asst. District Attorney who handled murders, robberies, sex crimes, and all violent crimes was assigned to prosecute. I couldn’t understand it either especially since prior to this case (2013) I had not been in trouble with the law since 2002 in another state. In fact, I had not even had so much as a “Pedestrian Warning” or traffic ticket in GA!

My Public Defender even tried the slick move of claiming I had a drug problem. I paid to be interviewed by two separate residential drug rehabilitation programs and was accepted. Yet the prosecutor refused to agree with the recommendation. Thus, the judge would not consent to me being sent there in conjunction with long-term probation.

After 10 1/2 months sitting in jail working on various details, never receiving any discipline referrals (write-ups), being a role model inmate, and speaking to youths brought in for speeches, I pled to the mercy of the court.

I had a host of letters, pictures of me doing community service through my church, certifications, my pastor’s license and ordination papers, my church charter certificate, and everything needed to validate the launch of my own church presented to the courts yet it wasn’t enough to sway the judge’s (an African-American who preaches in south GA and who has a son with a history of criminal activity, drug involvement and drug addiction) decision to sentence me to 15 years in prison.

Even after the judge’s decision over 30 Detention Officers signed a petition asking the judge to reconsider because I had worked for them for nearly a year and they witnessed first-hand my character, behavior, and work ethic. The judge ignored their request, turned the petition over to the Sheriff, and all 30 officers were suspended and some prevented from advancing or becoming a deputy.

I was wrong for selling drugs and being in possession of the .001 gram (residue) of cocaine. But I felt then, as I feel now, that my charge was ridiculous, and my sentence was/is excessive. I’ve seen men who were in possession of WAY more drugs than myself and who were actually caught selling or trafficking drugs receive much less jail or prison time (including house arrest and/or probation) than myself.

I had (and STILL have) a valid, proven, and verifiable history of being an asset and positive contribution to my family, church, community, and society. Whether through personal contact or through Social Media, I’ve been a “plus” in the lives of those I’ve come in contact with.

Daily my wife, 4 minor children, family, friends, and church pray that someone will finally “listen” to us and begin the process of releasing me. At worst, we hope and pray that someone will listen and bring attention to the changes that need to be made on behalf of those in Sates custody and not just Federal custody (where it’s obvious that all of the “breaks” and opportunities go).

My family and I hope someone will help us.

Thank you for listening.

Pastor Eric

Theresa Payne Speaks Out

My husband was paroled to Palm Beach County FL (by approved Interstate Compact) in October 2018 then snatched from our family in February 2018 due to a “clerical error” between the GDOC and Parole system. He worked hard, was active in our community, and committed no new crimes, had not old/active warrants, and violated no conditions of his parole. 

Me and my children have suffered due to this unfairness, injustice, and cruel and unusual punishment. My husband has suffered as well.

On July 23, 2019 I received a call from Chief Hawkins (Albany/Dougherty County) stating my husband had a TPM (Tentative Parole Month) of July 31, 2019. From July 23rd thru July 25th I had several conversations with chief Hawkins and he repeatedly stated and confirmed via his computer that my husband’s TPM was set for July 31, 2019. Again, Chief Hawkins initiated the call to me with the news of my husband’s TPM.

I notified my husband, shared the fantastic news with our four minor children, told many family members (including my husband’s 95 year old mother), church members, and friends and proceeded to make plans and arrangements for my husband’s return home to West Palm Beach, FL.

I confirmed through the GDOC website and through Counselor Palmer (Montgomery State Prison staff member) that my husband did NOT have a TPM – only a PED for July 2020. Further, my husband personally spoke to Senior Counselor Youmans a (MSP) and Counselor Palmer (MSP) whom both confirmed that my husband did NOT have a TPM whatsoever. Yet, Chief Hawkins persisted and remained adamant in saying my Husband’s TPM was July 31, 2019.

On the afternoon of Thursday, July 25, 2019 I spoke with Chief Hawkins who then changed his statement now saying my husband in fact did NOT have a TPM at all and that, all along, my husband on had a PED for July, 2020.

Chief Hawkins has added additional stress, pain, and suffering to our family’s already sad and horrible situation. How can I fully explain this to our children? How do I share this devastating news to our family and friends? How is my husband expected to deal with yet another unwarranted shock and letdown? We did not ask for this unjust treatment.

It’s clear that Chief Hawkins actions have treated me, my children, and my husband with even greater cruel and unusual punishment than we’ve already been experiencing since February 27, 2019. Again, we did not ask for any of this emotional roller-coaster, mental anguish, harsh treatment, nor, frankly, this cruel “game” being played on us at every point in our travesty.

We also had 2 lawyers that advised us that they could help us and within a matter of months, both have dropped the case leaving my husband without any legal representation. 

Who is left who has any type of compassion?

[Mrs. Payne attached a character reference letter from the Mayor of their town that I cannot post until receiving his consent.]

Theresa A. Payne

Co-Founder at New Zion Assembly – The New Church

Founder at Focused On Purpose

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClYHWKWiOjR4T_ZTV3vYZCQ?view_as=subscriber

LOVE by Johnnie Burns

Writings Straight from the Pen

Love Makes the World Smile” Wayne T. Dowdy

I remember, back when I was a young impetuous adolescent. Me and my girlfriend were arguing at each other. Then I angrily shoved her by her face. I had instantly regretted putting my hands on her and thought how foul that would be if the females of my family would have seen that, and on top of that her response to my action was so profound and disturbing. I would never forget it! She said, “Nigga, don’t put your hands on me, you don’t love me!”

Now that I am grown, I see other grown men and women alike with that same mind frame, as that impetuous adolescent had all those years ago. Grown people being controlled by their emotions. As opposed to acting like they are grown and controlling their emotions! Yeah, I know that is a radical idea. But, bear with me? As kids and small children, we lack the mental tools of working out problems, and/or being self-reliant. So, they cry and throw tantrums! Any way to act out, because they need the love and guidance of adults (grown people)! And I find it very disturbing to see grown people acting as if they are kids and small children.

So, ‘we’ as grown people are unable to understand the simplest and purest aspects of love. So, we distort it, control, and abuse it. We become dictators and place every imaginable condition on love, until it is unrecognizable. No wonder we believe that there’s a thin line between love and hate. Please think about it for a moment. If love was supposed to hurt, trap you emotionally, mentally scar you, or to take advantage of you then why would you need enemies?

On the contrary, love is supposed to make you fly! It releases your greatest potentials. There’s not a thin line between love and hate, there is an ocean between the two. You cannot stifle love by placing conditions on it! Because love is supposed to breathe and flourish. Love is simply this, in its truest form, giving and asking for nothing in return. So, when our hearts and minds allow this then we have truly found that ever-elusive LOVE! Then and only then would we stop acting as kids – allowing our emotions to control us – by throwing violent tantrums in a fit of jealous rage! All in an effort of controlling our significant other. As if we had the authority to control and bully others.

Yes, we must grow up and release that impetuous adolescent that’s within. Then we can start to release the true power of love.

Peace, love, and blessings,

Johnnie Burns