The journal of David Williams

1 January 2009

It’s the new year. It seems like ’08 went by way too fast. I’m starting these writings for a couple of reasons. I really wanted to actively participate in one of the CRESP programs because they all seem to be a source of growth. I guess I also wanted a way to chronicle my life instead of first looking back at spaces of empty pages in my life. I remember the highlights of course, but that is such a small part of the time that has passed. I’ve been locked up for about 14 and a half years now. It seems time to start seeing what the days are to me. I guess I’ll make mandatory weekly entries a new year’s resolution of sorts. Maybe it will help me to stick to the other resolutions I have. I want to get as close as I can to the fitness level I had when I was 21. I want to learn Spanish and I want to get more active and disciplined about my participation in correspondence. I really need to develop some self discipline again. I have let myself down in so many ways, it is a wonder that I consider myself to be so reliable and dependable. Just one more double standard in my inconsistent life. Got to get a handle on it. I hope this project will help. Not expecting any miracles but I hope. Sure need to do something to get my head on right

8 January 2009

I guess it is good I decided to start on the first and make these weekly entries. Thursdays are my off day from work. I am awake and all these other guys are asleep. It’s really kind of quiet and allows me to do this without any unwanted distractions. I work about twelve hours a day. I go in around 5 p.m. I walk around all night cleaning up after and feeding the men in close custody and admin seq. It’s an easy job but I hate being an unpaid janitor. All the filth, abuse, and being stuck back behind those walls without proper cleaning materials, training or way of safely dealing with officers or inmates that decide they don’t like you. No pay, no good time and no way to make a constructive change. It is really frustrating. I feel like it is just one more way to take away another level of freedom or the feeling of control in my own life. I know the system needs someone to do the work but I feel like they purposely assign people who don’t want to be there. Very aggravating. I started reading some Tim Dorsey books. They are smart and goofy. It’s pretty good therapy. Spend time thinking of silly stuff rather than the usual serious issues of prison life and job aggravations. Sometimes the time I spend in a novel or studying is the only thing that keeps me in the right lane. I work out some now and I watch a couple shows that air on my nights off but it’s not enough. I think this journal may help a little. We shall see.

15 January 2009

My head has been on crooked for three damned days. I can’t keep my lx out of my head. Some officer walked by during count and she was wearing the perfume Shannon wore. I swear I was right back out there holding her close and enjoying the fall of her hair over my arms, the smell of her perfume and the scent that was her underneath the perfume, the sharp taste of that perfume as I kissed her neck. The feel of the sunshine on us as we stood on the riverwalk. It came back so sharp and clear that I actually stopped my conversation and sat down quiet and remembering. I miss her so much. I’ve gotten over the heart ache of the love lost long ago. It doesn’t hurt any more but the memories of the good and smiling times are sweet and warm. I don’t often think of her and our rather horrible break up with me on my way to prison, but it came back very clear on the day that officer walked by. I still love her after all this time. Or rather I love the “her” that walks into my memory. I could not possible be friends with her after all the time and problems that have come and gone since I saw her last. But I still feel that warm friendly affection from when we were still “just friends”. I hope she is doing well wherever she is. I hope she is happy and has a good, solid man in her life. She certainly deserves it if her heart stayed close to who she was when I knew her. I certainly hurt her and caused her to change her openly trusting ways. I wish I could let her know how sorry I am for what I caused through immaturity, greed, jealousy, and insecurity. I was such a child. I still am in some ways I guess.

22 January 2009

Well not much of mate has changed in the last week. I was talking with one of my co-workers about these officers. I was really surprised to hear the same attitudes and ideas I used to have, coming from him. I used to really hate anyone wearing a uniform in any low enforcement capacity. Over the years I feel like I’ve grown up some. I look at these officers and I don’t just see them as the tools that the state uses to punish me and deny me freedom. Now I also see them as the tools that the state uses to keep all of these dangerous sociopathic and inhumane criminals (me?) from living next door to our daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends, grandparents. I know that keeping us locked up isn’t stopping the criminals out there, but I feel like it definitely improves the odds of them that we care about staying safe. Like in a game of Russian roulette. Each bullet (criminal) you add to the cylinder (neighborhood) increases the likelihood that you will get some sort traitor or I’m just stupid because I see the need for law, enforcement and penal systems. I’m not saying the system we have here in Texas is perfect but we need something and this is what we have. It offends me that I used to feel in complete control of my life and that it was my prerogative to do what I want when I wanted. It’s amazing that I had no regard for other people’s feelings or right to life and livelihood. Whatever caused that set of views, I am certainly glad I’ve gotten past that. I feel like I am doing something right. Everyone knows TDC isn’t about rehabilitation. It’s all about segregation and safety through deprivation. It’s up to each of us individually to rehab ourselves. I think I am doing a good job. 15 years or so from now, maybe I’ll get the chance to find out. We shall see. Still can’t get Shannon out of my head.

I guess maybe I need to think about her. I haven’t really thought about her this much in a very long time. I’ve probably thought about her more in the last two and one half weeks than I have in the last eight years. I need to shake her.

29 January 2009

I am getting paranoid about this stomach flu bug that is floating around. I guess about twenty people in this dorm alone have got it ore have had it. I’m running from it. Feels like the bad horror movie. You know the one where the victim is running wildly trying to escape the bad guy, looking over his shoulder, tripping over shit and struggling to keep his balance. We all know the bad guy catches the victim and does his thing. Well, I’m looking over my shoulder at this flu bug. People at work have got it, people around me in the housing area have it, it’s everywhere and it’s bad. I really wash a lot and try not to touch very many common areas or items. I think I can avoid it with diligence. They say it is running through the unit next door like wild fire. Officers who go over there for overtime are bringing back tales and probably the damn virus. I started another Tim Dorsey. Florida Roadkill. It’s pretty crazy really. Serge is a perfect anti-hero. Finally started reading my CRESP history packet. I’m really reading it for the sake of the knowledge. I am pretty much against Islam and I believe I’m pretty intelligent about it. I don’t have an irrational and/or uninformed hatred for Muslims. I first feel they are completely wrong: What they do over there or in their own homes and morgues is up to them. If they aren’t any direct effect on me or my ability to enjoy my rights, I don’t see whether them being Muslim matters. It bugs me how many people seem to equate religion with a man’s value. It seems to me that a man’s beliefs and relationships (or each thereof) with whatever god he believes in may cast a shadow on the character of the man, but not necessarily define it. But that’s me. I often run from the whole issue. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to deal with any possible eternal repercussion for behavior that meets my needs now. I am really not ready to deal with whether those behaviors are well thought or if they meet my needs over time. I’m still trying to deal with today. Worrying about tomorrow or even a week from now is future looking enough for me. Eternity is too big a question right now.

5 February 2009

Well, it happened, I got this damned flu. This is day three for me. It seems to be running two-to-five days in most people. It is really pretty bad. I really wasn’t going to do this entry. I would really rather be sleeping or just laying down listening to the radio. I know that if I make an excuse to put off this writing, I’ll start putting it off all the time. That’s not acceptable right now. I’m not doing very well in my other “salutations” and I feel I need to stick to it with something. This is the easiest so I’ll take the win with this and work on the rest as I go. Well, other than this stupid virus I guess I am doing well. I am not working out like I should or like I want to but that’s nothing new really. I just don’t have the self discipline it takes to stay in the gym over time anymore. It is so easy to find something else to do. It’s not so much that I am easily distracted, but I just don’t want the work out the way I used to. I used to look forward everyday to the exertion, soreness and growth potential of working out. Now days it’s really just a bother. It seems like working out isn’t for me anymore. I used to do it for health, self-confidence, and the personal enjoyment of my strength. Now it just seems like all the reasons are external. The way others see me or think of me based on my physique or my regimen. I need to bring it back to me, before it’s too late. That’s it, I’m tired and I can’t stop coughing.

12 February 2009

Well, the flu got so widespread that a free world doctor came in and ordered the unit locked down for quarantine. Not much of a quarantine, really. There are still some inmates moving around, officers coming and going, staff members moving all around. If they were aiming for positive P.R. I guess they are doing well but they certainly aren’t trying to contain this thing. They are going around with a crew, bleaching down most of the hard surfaces, but not all and no effort to clean the soft porous surfaces. Good news, I seem to have gotten over this bout with this monovirus. I really hated this thing. Horrible symptoms. I did become much more aware of how much I touch other people and common surfaces. That’s a pretty good thing though. I guess I needed to learn that now anyway. It’s really weird how much I shake hands with people. I am way more socially open to physical contact than I ever thought. I’ve always seen myself as pretty well closed-off and almost anti-social. I now think that I may have been but I seem to be becoming more open, (or really less selective) in my choice of social interaction. I am not quite sure how I feel about that. There are a lot of negatives in the practice of first socializing with anyone who comes your way. Maybe there really does need to be a filter or a pretty well defined criteria of judgment. A set of “if/or’s” that must be met or avoided before I open myself to possible friendships or even acquaintances. I guess I have always done this without really thinking about it or even knowing I was doing it. Maybe having conscious control over the process can be positive but I fear there is real potential for negative impact. Like most of my inconsistencies, it doesn’t really make sense to me.

19 February 2009

This last week has been a perfect example of why I wish I could have the power to change policy. I know every convict/inmate/offender says that and usually follows with fantasy and begins to go on about this person paradise dream. I’m not like that, (I don’t think I am) I would like to change it in meaningful ways that are proven to work in other systems or are believed to be potentially effective in the rehabilitation of hard heads like me. We are sentenced to confinement in the penal system here. Texas doesn’t sentence to labor. The system wants the inmates to work various jobs in order to keep each unit up and running without having to pay additional free world staff. The state doesn’t pay the inmates for their labor, choosing instead to reward good behavior (meaning no disciplinary and working) with days off the end of the sentence. However, anyone with an aggravated sentence can’t even begin to benefit from the “good time/work time” credit until they have served a minimum of half their sentence. So basically I am expected to work, (with my life sentence) a minimum of thirty years of free labor. Then I get sick, feel like crap and miss one day of work. I am then written a disciplinary case and will likely be restricted or moved to less desirable housing just because I missed one night of work that isn’t even logically required. Other systems “pay” working inmates meaningful wages or give them credit to sentences that mean something. This “payment” is then withheld from the offender for work not done. Other systems have entirely voluntary work forces and still have plenty of help. I live on a unit of about 4,000. I am pretty sure there are plenty of people who want to work and don’t really care about recompence. I really don’t care about that either because I’ve pretty much come to terms with not getting out in time to enjoy a meaningful and/or prosperous life, but it kind of pisses me off that there is no pay and they can discipline me for missing a single day. It’s not funny at all. Nothing about prison really is but it is frustrating. Then on top of that, the guys locked up in seg have been flooding and burning and generally creating all kinds of extra work for janitors and creating nothing but amusement for the officer’s they are mad at and supposedly punishing. Then, those same guys want you to go out of your way to help them. Stupidity is seriously frustrating.

26 February 2009

Well, last week was damn frustrating but it has passed. I really knew it would, it always does. In the last fifteen years, I’ve had good jobs and bad jobs. This one falls in the middle so I suppose there will be good and bad times in the cards for it. This last week has been pretty good though. Work was pretty laid back, some troublesome people in the housing area have moved around and gotten themselves reassigned, we’ve had pretty good affairs out here and they have been letting us get some pretty regular outside recreation. It isn’t that hard to treat the population decently without getting to the point of “catering” to the offenders. Looking forward to March Madness. I had decided to send in my journal entries every two months, so this will be the last one before I mail it off. Looking back at these entries has not been an eye opening experience or particularly edifying. I guess it just takes time to tell. We will see.