The journal of Michael Henderson

Saturday Dec. 13, 2008

Where do I start? Where do I start? Hi, actually I've already started. I've been keeping a journal for the past 4 or 5 years but this is the 1st entry of this journal project so I may have to go over some things again just to catch you up to speed. Who are you? Maybe no one, maybe someone will read this so I'll put forth the best effort to fill you in on the things about me that seem important. Maybe a few goofy things too. The things I've wrote in the past were mostly daily events and pretty boring but every now and then I have something interesting or intelligent to say. You just have to dig through it. Sometimes I write an idea or goal down and sometimes I write memories of past events that I want to tell someone and I suppose that's all there is; past, present and future. I actually thought the things I write wouldn't be read until I was dead and then only if I turned out to be some genius or a totally crazy nut job. The jury is still out. Ha! So this may get interesting and maybe I can see something I write bear fruit by helping someone else by some experience I had. First let me introduce myself so you can put a size, shape and all that other vanity with my voice. The name is Michael Henderson. Some call me Mike, others Henderson. My family and closest friends call me Michael. My grandfather called me Hogan when I was a kid. He had a nickname for me, my brother (moose) and my sister (powderpuff). It was his thing! Anyways, you may actually see that word a lot (anways). It's usually how I change subjects or continue on when I'm writing. Anyways, my friend Slim, who was a college basketball player when he was younger and still has an awesome 3 point shot and can dunk the ball easy, gave me the nickname Icy Mike. Don't know why but I think it has to do with being good at basketball, though not as good as Slim. I always wanted to dunk the ball and actually got up to the rim but not above it. See I wasn't gifted with being tall. I can jump high but I'm only 5 foot 8 so it's tough. Plus now I'm older and gravity don't age. Yeh, see I'm 40 years old last July 7. That's the sign of Cancer for you astrologers out there. Anyways, there's that word again! Here I am in prison where I've been for the past 9 ¬" years. I still have 4 ¬" to go. Unless I make parole. Yeh right! Like that's going to happen. Hope you didn't run away when I said prison. Like the name of the website didn't give it away. So, yeh, I was going to describe myself. I'm 40, 5'8¬" tall, 175lbs of muscle. I'm getting sidetracked but I have to add that I've been lifting weights since I was 12 years old maybe even 11. Not the whole time but in my teenage years I was very dedicated. I figured I'd impress a girl or two with muscles and wouldn't get picked on at school if I was bigger. I was even shorter and skinny. Basically I was what was called a nerd. I was little and smart. Lifting weights actually worked to some extent. I didn't get picked on after 9th or 10th grade thought I did have to fight a couple times before I was left in peace. That's the way my world was. I even had 2 or 3 girlfriends in 12th grade. The muscles helped but I still had to get rid of all the zits, get a haircut, some new clothes and braces on my teeth. For 17 years I was in sad shape. Maybe that's why I was picked on; no style. Hold on, hold on! Let's get back on track. I have lifted weights for 9 ¬" years straight so I'm in shape. Plus I'm athletic. I'm no big dumb body builder who says, ¬'I lift weight. Ugh!' I play basketball, volleyball, run 3 or 4 miles for exercise. I even won a badminton tournament. In the free world, (outside prison). I played hockey, there's an entire story there, I played baseball 6 seasons as a kid, 2 seasons football, 3 seasons soccer (my favorite), boxed one fight in the Golden Gloves in 1985 (I lost), took Tai Kwon Do for 4 or 5 months when I was 18 and 19. I love competition. Don't always win but I love to try. Back to the description, 40, 5'8¬" tall, 175 lbs. of muscle, blue eyes, brown hair (Hair is weird. When I was a kid I was called cottontop because my hair was white but it gradually changed to brown and now there's a few grey ones in there too), I have a full head of hair, no baldness. I have a big head especially forehead. Not freakish big but a little large. I have think lips, most of my teeth. I'm missing 3 or 4 though only one is noticeable. I'll get that fixed when I get out of here. It's remarkable to have all your teeth in prison. My face is youthful and skin smooth except around the eyes wrinkles are forming. I have a few scars. I don't have any tattoos and don't want any. That is rare in prison too. In here I've seen men cover every inch of their body including their face. Scary! To each his own though. Woh, this is one long description. This journal is supposed to be a year long and if I keep going it's going to take you a year to read a simple description of me. So you have a basic idea of what I look like and a few things I've been through. Also that I like sports. I'm a Cowboys fan too. I'm from Fort Worth, Texas 20 minutes from Dallas so it's my home team. Anyways, let me fill you in on a little other than looks or sports. I am trying to work in stuff and make this interesting without going off on some dirt road surrounded by corn fields in Oklahoma. I am divorced and have 3 kids, actually 4 but that's another long story. 3 sons call me dad. The oldest is 18 and in the Air Force. They are great kids though unfortunately I barely know them. The 2 younger ones Thomas and Matthew live in Wisconsin. So far away. Michael, the oldest is training in Mississippi. Anyways, I'll get into those stories ore later. Besides being physically active I read a lot of books since coming to prison. I really enjoy classics. My favorites are Ayn Rand's ¬"The Fountainhead¬" Victor Hugo's ¬'Les Miserables' and Hemmingway's ¬'For Whom the Bell Tolls' just to name 3 off the top of my head. For adventures I like Sydney Sheldon, Wilbur Smith and Clive Cassler. Almost read all their books. There are plenty of other books I love.. I have a list of wanted to read and already read. Before coming to prison I never read. I knew how I was just lazy. Basically I was a lazy cottonbrained pothead that figured if they didn't make it into a movie it wasn't any good. Prison actually opened up a whole new world for me. I try to take the positive fromm the experience. I've met a lot of good people here who have been influential and inspiring. I've done things I never dreamed possible before coming here. Reading, I wrote a novel, several short stories, set up a goals program, found a philosophy (still working on it), and even learned Spanish (still not fluent but getting better). There's a lot of positive but the flip side is it's prison. I've been separated from my family for almost a decade, been taken advantage of by hustlers, been in 4 fights, witnessed violence as a norm, seen a dark side in people no one should be subjected to. Even been on the verge of a psychic meltdown myself. And then there's the regrets, the what ifs, the fears I go over in my mind thousands of times. The I'm sorry I've wrote to my kids dozens of times that doesn't bring me home or give them any comfort. They don't know me now and I don't know them. That hurts! My oldest son visited me last Christmas for the 1st time in 5 years and I didn't even recognize him. My other 2 sons it's been even longer so I couldn't recognize them if they even visit. These are the things I live with every day. It's my fault, no one else's and it's a burden only I can carry. After years and years you tell yourself it doesn't matter much. You can almost convince yourself but in the end you know you lost and it does matter. You get up the next day and breathe in and out, just keep going and hope for the best. I got a lot more to say so stay tuned for the next episode of Miguelitos Viaje!

Mon. Dec. 15, 2008

I'm back! Well the weekend came and went. I didn't do too much. I did run 4 miles on Saturday and hit the weights. Wrote 2 poems this morning. Oh so you want to see what I wrote. Okay! Why Not?

Moments in life fleeting fast 
Close my eyes see the past 
Nothing changes live for today 
Everything changes so they say 
Today is tomorrow forever more 
Listen close you hear the roar 
Fly through the ground walk on the sky 
Words have meaning I don't know why 
Lions the king mouse is the thief 
Man in his glory calls himself chief 
Find yourself have a purpose in life 
Leave the world winged on an endless flight 
No pain no sorrow nobody knows 
Aroma of death smells like a rose 
Humor in words thought they seem perverse 
Death rides with a smile in his fiery hearse 
Where's the light and angels, I'm supposed to see 
Darkness shrouds my eyes then there's only me 

Well that's it. Don't know what it means. Words just pop into my head sometimes. The first time I ever wrote a poem was in 1997 and I was under a lot of stress. I had been going to court for over a year and a half. Those lawyers love to drag things out. I was facing 40 years in prison and every time I went to court for about 2 weeks before the court date I couldn't sleep as I imagined being locked up and the key being thrown away. I imagined all the horrors of prison you see in the movies and woo was I scared. Anyways I had a girlfriend while I was out on bond. We were infatuated with each other and thought we were in love. We barely saw each other except at work and an occasional secret rendezvous. We'd sneak a few kisses at work in the dairy cooler or later when we could meet for an hour or so. That was part of the excitement I suppose. Sometimes I'd be sitting at home thinking of her and one night words popped into my head. I started writing them down and before long I had a poem about the way I felt. Everytime after that I would feel some serious stress I'd write and out popped poems. At that time they were all about love. I felt I'd never be loved again once I went to prison. Eventually I had wrote I'd say 30 poems or so then I went to jail even though I was sentenced to 10 years probation. I had to do 120 days in jail. Me and my girl broke up for that reason. She found her a new boyfriend the next week which was a better situation for her and I hope she found happiness. I heard she married him a couple years later. I thank her for keeping me going during that dark time in life. After I was on probation I didn't write anything because it was another type of stress. The fear of getting probation revoked and going to prison was more stress. Having something hanging over my head I felt paralyzed at times. That's a different story. I was on probation 2 years before coming to prison with a 14 year sentence. In prison with a predetermined end in sight and no one breathing down my neck I could breathe again. I started writing stories to my girlfriend to pass the time. This was a different girlfriend, long story. It started out as love stories as we were apart so it was all we had. I expanded to a plot in the stories to spice them up and then turned one into a novel. It's not that great as I'd never done anything like it but I did it. I wrote other stuff after that and maybe one poem. Years later now I've wrote a few more poems just to do it. I think because my oldest son wrote me a poem from the air force base and it made me cry. Also I signed up for Prisoner Express poetry project so I'm trying to get a head start on some poems. I don't have any of those earlier poems so I have to start fresh. So this morning I just did it. In here you grasp at anything that might possibly inspire you. Anywhere you're at being inspired is a wonderful experience. It pushes you to strive to do something better or be someone better than you already are. I don't think many people read poetry but it's fun writing them and then reading them. Mine all tell a little story. Anyways I'm reading Homer's ¬"The Odyssey¬" right now and it's 11pm so I'm gonna finish this up now and tell you something else in a few days. See ya!

Sat. Dec. 20, 2008

Here I am again. I'm sitting here wondering if I can think of anything to write. Here goes, when I get stuck for things to write about I just write what happened the past week. I received 3 letters and 3 christmas cards. My grandmother whom I call Dodo wrote me. She writes every week and has for all 9 years in here. It's nice to have someone stand by you and be supportive when you are in a tough situation. Dodo has gone above and beyond. She's done way more for me than I deserve and all I can do is say thank you. Another letter I received from my penpal Asha. She has written me for 8 years. I met her through the mail. Guys and girls in prison like receiving mail. It's uplifting! So after a few months or years when most of their family and friends have moved on without them they don't receive many letters. At this time prisoners will seek penpals. I met a guy in prison who had a list with women's names and addresses who wanted penpals and I wrote several. Sometimes I received a response, sometimes not. At that time we could write other prisoners so it was easy to find someone who wanted to write me. I made some good friends through the mail. Even with penpals some would quit writing after 2 or 3 letters. I suppose a lot of people write out of boredom. I've always tried to be sincere when I wrote a penpal. I take that back. One time I was dishonest and I didn't like how it made me feel so I never did that again. When I 1st wrote penpals it was all about how many I could get to write me but I soon learned it was better to have one or two good penpals who I could concentrate and devote my time to their letters. Soon after I started writing penpals they made a rule so we couldn't write other prisoners. My 2 best penpals at the time who were in prison and my other 2 were out of the country. Asha lives in Trinidad, an island off the coast of S. America. She's been there the entire time. She was one of the 1st penpals I ever wrote and has lasted through many other ones. It's hard to find a penpal who will write a prisoner. The only ones I've found are people living in other countries and even that is hit and miss. By luck I found Asha. I wrote dozens of others outside the country and received few responses- the few I heard from lasted one or two letters before falling off except one other. Hanlyn my other penpal is from Philippines, islands off the coast of China. She's wrote for 6 years. My 2 penpals who live on islands have something in common with me. It's the same isolation a prisoner experiences being cut off from travel. Their isolation is more vast because of poverty and lack of opportunity. We help each other by sharing our hopes and dreams. It's a way to bridge the miles. I know it makes prison more bearable. If ever I could do anything for either of these good hearted women I would because they've done so much for me. Upon release from prison I plan to start a penpal service to bring people together. There are any lonely people in the world searching for something or someone to devote theirself to, they just don't know where to start. For anyone who has everything and still has as emptiness inside I recommend a penpal. Especially one in an impoverished country or a sincere person in prison. You have to write many to find that sincere one but it's worth it. It's like a treasure hunt. You search and search until you find the gold. Me, I won't ever give to a recognized charity. I will only find a friend in need and help them. I would only give to an individual because I know where and for what my money is going. I'm sure not going to waste hard earned money by sending it to a televangelist or some rich preacher who has a private jet and thousand dollar suits when I can actually give it to my friend and see the benefits of him or her turning around a dire situation into an opportunity to be prosperous. If you want help feed the world then find someone in need and feed them don't depend on some charity that spends millions on advertising and then gives a nickel of every dollar to some hungry people. That program helps no one. The few people they feed need an opportunity not a one time feast. They need some seed and a plow to grow their own food. They need industry; education and materials. I'm off on my dirt road in Oklahoma again. I'm lost and all I see are corn fields all around anyways I have 2 penpals I love. They have been here with me when many others turned their backs. I don't hold it against anyone as I'm the one who screwed up. But I will say this, I know where I stand with you whoever you are. Those that have stood with me through thick and THIN are the ones I will devote myself to all my life. Anyways, I'm trying to get back on track. The 3 cards I received this week were from my grandmother, aunt and my mom. Thank you for remembering me and helping me through another Christmas here. It won't be lost on me. The past week I've been focused on my goals and have a clear cut schedule to keep me working in the right direction. It felt productive. I wrote an essay on theme writing of FENCES for prisoner express. It was one of my better writings. I wrote 2 or 3 more poems, studied Spanish, read more on the Odyssey and wrote a bunch of letters. All that besides my regular schedule of getting up at 2:30am for breakfast and working at 5am. It's almost Christmas and it gets me down in prison. The church came and gave us a snack pack as a present. That was nice of them. They wore regular clothes and drove regular cars. No thousand dollar suits or smooth talkers in their group or I wouldn't have accepted. One more thing before I go. Dreams are strange. I always dream of being free. Also I dream of places I've not been in 20 years or where I've never been. Also people I've never met. Well that's it for now. Tune in next time for my ultimate wisdom.

Tues. Dec. 23, 2008

Things are looking up for me personally. I received 7 Christmas cards and there are still 2 days to go. Actually 8 cards and a post card so it was 9 total. I sent out 12 so it was good hearing from everyone. My brother even wrote me and he has renewed hope when he was at the end of his rope after divorce. My Philippines penpal had a friend write him and it lifted his spirits. Who knows what might happen there. I am grateful for the U.S. Postal Service. It's a miracle the way it can bring everyone who is far away from me right here to me, almost like we are spending time together. All weekend I did very little except watch a bunch of TV, mostly football games. I'm back on track now and fulfilling a simple goals program. I did finish reading Homer's ¬"The Odyssey¬" yesterday and had read during the weekend. Before being in prison I never read and now I'll read anything, especially classics. Hey, I told you that on an earlier entry. Premature senility! Worked out today and it made me feel pretty good. When I'm stressed and I work out real hard it turns off the stress and I can breathe again. One minute I feel I'm going crazy then I'll work out and it puts my brainwaves back in rhythm or something. Anyways I heard the government is loaning money to 2 failing companies that both have track records of incompetence. They are 2 unprofitable companies and there are thousands of companies that use second business practices to turn a small profit and if they screw up they go bankrupt. Basically I'm pissed off. Ford, a great American company doesn't want a hand out and if the 2 mooching, whiny ass companies get their way then you are actually penalizing the other sound companies by propping up 2 worthless selfish looters with tax payer money. I don't support government interference into the economy and will never buy a G.M. or Chrysler now that the government has their hands on them. It's like a spoiled kid. They whine and get their way until they are rotten to the core, yet the good kid has to bear responsibility for the chores and gets punished for a mistake. People who are for these so called bailouts and want government intervention into everything aren't going to like the results when the government goes bankrupt and raises taxes on everyone, inflation shoots through the roof and the so called greatest country in the world because just another totalitarian state where the government runs everything including your entire life. I'm for working for something and earning my own way. Handouts destroy ambition. It's a fact! I believe in fair opportunity to succeed and if I fail it's on me no one else. No one owes anyone anything except fair treatment. Anyways, I got sidetracked. I could rant about the direction I see the country going for pages and pages but really it's up to each individual to take care of theirself. I don't believe in sacrifice and compromise which are the propaganda being blasted in the media. Standing up for what you believe in is a value not a sacrifice. Taking responsibility for yourself, each and every person is the change we need. I'm in prison taking responsibility for my actions and I know when I am released I'll pull my own weight. I ask that everyone else does the same. Well tonight I hit the jackpot. My sister sent a card and my girlfriend from 9 years back wrote me a letter. Things are looking pretty good. I'm glad to be alive. Woo ha! Guess I said enough for now. Be good and Merry Christmas!

Thurs. Dec. 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ate a big meal then passed out. Gotta love it. I'm loving life. Wanted to come back to the charity opinion. I'm against altruism. I'm against sacrifice. I'm not against you or myself donating time or money to something we value. If you value a cure for cancer and want to give money to the foundation then go ahead. I don't think money has cured anything that I can recollect but maybe it has led to advances in treatment. Personally I believe the advances have come from the high cost of treatment but I'm no genius. Going back to my original statement is I am a man of values. I value the individual. Each individual has to use their own retional mind to decide their values. I'm still not ever buying a G.M. or Chrysler. I don't value them. That's one charity no one should support. Support someone who's earning their own way. I'll buy a Ford to support an American company. Anyways, that's enough about politics or philosophy. I sat down on the benches in the dayroom yesterday before breakfast at 2:30am. My friend Knight and I were talking like always and here comes a new guy sitting down and rudely interrupting our conversation. I'm all for meeting new people even rudely but it took me all of 3 minutes to consider this man a psychic vampire. They give themselves away so easy. This one started talking about how sorry this unit was. Let me describe this prison. It's minimum security, there are no visible gangs, no extortion, no sexual assaults, no booze or drugs, very few fights, recreation 3 times a day, work is only for a few hours, you don't have to carry a weapon or sleep with one eye open because basically most of the inmates are older mature men who don't like their situation but believe in making the best of it. So this P.V. calls this a ho ass unit and wishes to be where it's going on. So me, when I hear this from a P.V. I know it's a front. They are glad to be here and want someone to think they are tough. They talk about who they would beat up or how many fights they've been in. They go on about how they got in prison like they are proud of it. Let me tell you something; there's nothing to be proud of about being in prison. I don't care what you did to get here. I'm not impressed. Word to the wise. The good guys aren't the ones they put in prison. It's the bad guys. So change your ways while you're here. Either that or stay a fool. Here's a saying in prison I hate. ¬"You weren't scared in the world.¬" They say that when you are reluctant to break rules in prison. Another word; I wasn't scared in the world but I should've been then I wouldn't be here. So I'm going to follow the rules. Anyways this P.V. talks of all the things he could do at some other prison, all things illegal. He's just perpetuating his life of crime. I'm in total disagreement with his views and there's no changing them. I just put my opinion in here for whoever believes in right. Psychic vampires probably won't ever read this as they are more concerned with spreading their B.S. by word of mouth than reading whoever may read this check your values and what you're doing in life. I'm checking myself everyday and feel I'm making positive progress towards being the man I know I'm capable of being. Avoiding the vampires isn't that hard. They are aggravating at times but in prison you have to deal with these things and move on.

Sat. Dec. 27, 2008

I woke up this morning at 10am. It's been nice being able to sleep in over the holidays. I have a lot more energy. Anyways it snowed today for the 1st time this winter. That was nice. I went to chow just so I could feel the snow on my face. It felt exhilarating. I love the snow. I also went to chow to get some bread so I could make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I love peanut butter. Yesterday I went to recreation and ran 4 miles then lifted weights. Today, I'm tore up from the feet up! That's what we say when we're sore from working out hard. I've been reading Gulliver's Travels. It's a fun book. Been writing some letters, finished an essay I was working on, did some typing and even wrote a poem. Guess I've been pretty busy the past 2 days. I've stuck to my goals list all week and it's paying off big dividends. It's amazing how much I get done when I make a list of things to do. You know when I started writing I read some advice on how to be interesting and it said ¬"show don't tell¬". I can't figure it out. I write down the words in my head and that's what you get. You know sometimes I wish in life there was someone to ask what the right thing is in different situations. But I probably wouldn't listen to them. I have something on my mind about relationships and what direction I should go and there's just no one to ask or tell me. It goes back to values. It's hard when the values are almost equal.

Tues. Dec. 30,2008

Damn, this journal project is starting to seem like work. It seems I'm writing in this every freaking day. I was really proud of myself last week and the week before. I have been making a goals list each week and so far I made 76% and 82% for each week. That's a lot more than what I was doing without a goals list. So if you have trouble getting things done then write them down and follow the list. It works for me. Enough about that though. I wrote a couple letters the past couple days. One to my mom and one to Bethany. She's the girlfriend from 1999. hat's when I wasn't in prison. She helped me so much the 1st 3 or 4 years in here. She'd write regular and visited a few times. Eventually she moved on with her life and found someone new. I started writing penpals to help make it through my time once Beth quit writing. I told you about them. In the 3 years since Beth last wrote she had a baby. Oh, he just turned 3 so that means it's almost 4 years since she wrote. She split up with her husband. They never actually got married but she had to get a divorce because of common law. Anyways, I don't know how to feel about her writing me. I actually wrote her 1st to see how she was but she wrote back and it was awkward to me. I wrote her a long letter and I couldn't seem to make a coherent thought. I come up for parole in July but I have 4 ¬" years more so it shouldn't be a big deal as whatever happens happens. I'm feeling rather anxious. There's a lto of fear about being released even this far out. I have all these ideas but will any of them work. I ran 4 miles today and yesterday. It felt great. The weather has been nice and going outside running is my escape. That and laying in my bunk and tripping as I called it. I lay there and daydream about how things could be. It's awesome because everything works out on my trips. I'm like a superhero and everybody loves me. I only do that once in awhile thought because reality is much more a challenge. I always want to say something genius but it comes out like ¬"duh¬". That's kind of funny. In my last essay I said I wished I inherited my grandfather's brain. He is a genius! For real! This man takes apart broken watches with all those little sprockets, gears and springs. Then he puts it back together and it works. He can take anything apart and just figure it out. That doesn't make him a genius but he tested at a genius I.Q. Just call me scarecrow. If I only had a brain. All I or anyone else can do is whatever our ability allows us. I want to open a Laundromat one day. I don't think I have to be a genius for that. It's a good business and I'm going to do it. It's a dream now but a real future. Everyone has to have a dream. What's your dream?

Tues. Jan. 6, 2009

Wow! Another year in my life gone by. You know a lot of people in prison look forward to the year being over because they are closer to the year they are released. That is fine and everything in a way but the way I look at it is this: prison is not my preferred choice of living arrangement but it is where I'm living my life at present. You only have so many years in life and no guarantees of a tomorrow so make each day, month, or year even in prison as rewarding and positive as possible. Enjoy as much of the things in life as you can. So I'm like darn another year of my life is gone that I can't get back. That being said I haven't written in my journal in a week. Last week I was all bragging on myself for getting so many goals accomplished. Now I was hyped up from all the holidays and receiving correspondence from so many people. Then after Christmas I was still going good for about 5 days actually all the way to New Year's Day. I completed all my goals and even went to rec. 3 days in a row running 4 miles each day. I was feeling great until new Year's morning at breakfast. The Psychic Vampire came out and said something in his negative way that only a P.V. can. It put one of their thoughts in my head and it ate at me for 2 or 3 days draining my energy and motivation. I completely lost focus and completed none of my goals. This is the 1st things I've done since that fateful morning except going to rec once which quickened my recovery by easing the pressure off my brain. This P.V. is one of those types that acts like they're your friend but is always putting down people who aren't his type of criminal. He's nosy about why someone is in prison like anyone wants to dredge up their past screwups. And as I said before, there are no good crimes. But to a P.V. some are better than others and he believes it. I just shake my head and sigh when one of these is fishing around for information. For one it's none of your business why anyone else is here. Two no one cares why you are here so don't think you're something special going around bragging about it. Anyways, I've dealt with this before but it sneaks up on you when you last expect it. This was very distracting this time. I'm already fighting a life long habit of starting things and fizzling out after a few weeks. I'm learning how to be a finisher of projects so I definitely don't need another reason to quit working on things that are important to me. I'm grateful I live in a country that has rational people making the laws (for the most part) and not some P.V. Anyways, let's see in the next few days and weeks if I'm going to get on track and stay on it. It'll show in my journal. Last week I dropped to 56% of goals completed. Time to kick it in high gear.

Fri. Jan. 9, 2009

Wow! Where do I start. It's been a busy few days since I last wrote. I wrote a long essay that turned into a 18 page short story. I've gone to rec. and ran 4 miles the past 3 days and lifted weights. I've wrote 2 letters, a poem and now I have to copy all my past 2 weeks of journal to send in for this project. That's a lot of writing. Lately I've been going through pens fast. Been studying Spanish and working on this memory book that teaches memory systems. Finished reading Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. There was some other writings by him in the book along with his poems. His other writings sucked and were totally lame though I liked his poems. Gulliver's Travels was great. Every writer is like that. Some of their writing is good and some not. If I can ever write one thing good I'll be satisfied that it was worth it. So far I'm still trying to write one entertaining sentence to no avail. I'm only 40 so hopefully I still have time. I also read a book called Running a Business the Buddhist Way. I'm not a Buddhist but I am an entrepreneur or want to be one. Lately with staying busy all day I've been extra tired and can't get enough rest. As a matter of fact I'm going to lay down right now. What do you think of that? I'm back! I rested a little but it was commissary day everyone in the dorm is wired on ice cream, cokes, candy and coffee. I could hear hysterical voices the whole time my eyes were closed. I was going to type some on my book but now it's late and some of the wired guys are coming off their caffeine, sugar induced buzz and sleeping. My grandmother wrote me as well as Asha and Hanlyn. They are my 2 penpals in Trinidad and Philippines. I never told you but I have these fits of anger sometimes. Don't know what triggers them but I just want silence and to get away from people when they occur. They haven't been bad when I run. It's like being cooped up all the time I end up having too much energy and it makes me crazy. During the week when I get up at 2:30 to start the day I'm tired so nothing bothers me as the edge is dulled. But on Friday, today I was able to sleep several extra hours and I was at store so I couldn't work out. Now I'm half crazy. After all the productive things I do and all my intentions, this flaw in my design is a major stumbling block for me. The running has helped because it used to be much worse. I remember months at a time in here when I was constantly angry. Anyways I gotta copy all this so I can send it in. See ya!

4 March 2009

Another month in the books. It was a hot one today. Went out, played basketball and got burned up like a lobster. The past couple days I went and ran and hit the weights real good. Been staying on schedule on my goals even though I've been tired as hell. Worked on my motivational manual yesterday. Today went to the library and checked out 2 novels just to enjoy. Gotta have amusement in life. The only thing interesting I discovered in the past few days was when my thoughts wander off on their own and I think of women. I've never been good with women, so my mind thinks of all the missed opportunities of relationships that might have been. Sometimes my mind goes in detail to live an event or whole life with one of these women I knew but was never close to. I have had a few, very few relationships with women. I was married to Kelly for 4 years and we were together for 7 years. Then after Kelly, there was Linda who I lived with for a year and a half. And of course there was my ever lovely Bethany. We were together for 7 or 8 months. She went to college in California and I went to prison. Our relationship was the only one where I wasn't addicted to drugs and it was the most satisfying. There was a ten year period where my mind was dead, so thinking of what could have been, should start not with not being a cotton brained pot head. I would say speed freak and crack head too, but those were shorter yet disastrous addictions to my ability to function. I remember being so paranoid that someone would know I was high I couldn't make any friends especially girlfriends. I was just a scared little boy trying to fit in, and the harder I tried, the less I fit in. I had been a big time nerd all the way through high school with talking funny, wearing trashy clothes, zit faced, crooked teeth to name a few self conscious inferiority complex issues I had. I was scared of people, especially girls. I didn't know what to say to them. I cleaned myself up as a senior and had a couple of girlfriends but they didn't last long due to my immaturity. I was so against drugs until I broke up with one of my girlfriends. I thought I was so in love with Sherry. She liked hopping from guy to guy so when she dumped me I was depressed and started smoking weed with my friends. Later I started smoking crack and I met Kelly. I was 19 and after Sherry, I was screwed up in the head. No matter how wrong Kelly and I were for each other, after we'd break up and I felt lonely I'd go back with her. Being on drugs I felt like a reject and stayed in this situation all the way to having a loveless marriage and 3 kids. It wasn't either of our fault. We just weren't compatible and drugs blinded us both, me more than her as my thoughts became twisted. Mostly from crack, but even from when I only smoked weed, those old demons of inferiority were there. So I ask myself is it because I'm in prison with all men that I think of women constantly? In my daydreams every relationship I have with these woman I always say the right thing, we get along good, I'm funny, sexy and basically a freaking Don Juan, Romeo, Suave Smooth all rolled into one. Everybody loves me and I say can it be just one that it's really like that with. Where's the laughter, where's the love? Isn't that everyone's desire? I don't even know how to talk to a woman and I'm 40 years old. I mean I can talk to them but as soon as romance and intimacy are involved, I'm a complete fool. After 10 years of prison I'm probably a complete moronic buffoon when it comes to a romantic relationship with a woman. All my relationships even with male friends are limited by the prison routine. There just aren't enough variety to keep conversations interesting with but 2 or 3 people and even those are here and there. But maybe that's life. Maybe I think too much. I'm so cynical and standoffish, not many people approach me and I don't approach for fear of putting myself out there. That's why I say I'm empty half the time.

7 March 2009

Been to rec. every day and getting in good shape. Ran 4 miles today then got a call for a visit. My dad and aunt Kerri came to see me. We sat and talked for 4 hours. It was refreshing seeing some friendly faces. I got stuffed on food and drunk on rootbeer. After the visit, I came down hard and hard to crash for a couple of hours. Now I'm in a daze. I read "A Clockwork Orange" the past few days. It was okay. Received no mail all week so I saved on stamps. That's the positive side of it. With the visit, I'm not totally forgotten. Really the past 3 days I've done my written schedule except working on my motivational manual. Kinda just coasting but that's what it feels like when you stick to a plan. Seems easy to achieve. Maybe I'll have something more exciting next time.

11 March 2009

The second half of my visit on Sunday was good, then the festivities were over and I went back to my cell alone. That's a pretty depressing feeling. Been uninspired ever since. All I want to do is sleep all the time. Last week I completed 94% of my goals plan and so far I'm hovering at 50% this week. Feeling apathetic. Did go to rec. yesterday and even worked on my motivational manual. My penpal Ianlyn wrote me a nice letter last night. Sometimes I just want to crawl in a hole and fade away. I'll snap out of it in a couple of days. I want to be motivated ad energetic all the time, but even the best get wore down.

15 March 2009

Since Wed. I haven't been back to my old ways of doing very little. I had to work over on Thursday and Friday due to a shake up at the plant. So now I'm having to adapt myself to a different routine. I did rec. Thursday at night and then today I recreated even though it was my day off. It had snowed on Friday so they cancelled rec., then yesterday I said blah. I slept 12 hours then vegetated in front of the T.V. for the rest of the day. Felt pretty damn good. Have read a lot also. Today I'm trying to make up for my laziness. Well one of my friends is leaving the unit on a transfer. I have mixed emotions about it. He's been in 18 years on a 45 year sentence and has a chance at parole on the other unit so that's good for him. He set a good example for me on being structured in my goals and in here you never want to get too attached to your friend as they get out or get transferred. It's part of the routine. Sad but true. It's difficult but that's life. Good luck brother. Got a lot to still do so I'll leave it at that.

18 March 2009

This has started good. I've accomplished all my goals so far. I've also gotten sunburned out at rec. for the past 3 days. Received the theme writing from Prisoner Express. That gave me a pick me up seeing my writing in print. Some interesting writing from others too. Yesterday I thought how this journal started out with a bang but has become boring daily necessities lately. Inspiration comes in spurts for me. In an earlier entry, I said I could create inspiration out of thin air but I was mistaken. I have a million stories but none that stand out as worth telling. It's like those pictures that are just a blob and after staring a minute it turns into another universe in 3D, and when you blink, it's gone. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don't. Here's a picture of that blob. I blinked. So now I'm staring again to get the other universe to open up and reveal something. I'm awesome and I know it but showing anyone else is the hard part.

21 March 2009

I've been off track since yesterday. A friend talked about making parole and several people he knew who had made parole. It reminded me of when I was on probation and all the years in here. I looked down the road of the future and it was dark and lonely like a horror movie where you never know what is ahead but it terrifies you none the less. I remember when I was a kid how I was always frightened of those movies but I still watches them. They gave me nightmares and waking fantasies of someone coming for me. I supposed the road is lonely in my minds eye because I've always been a loner. I stand out form the crowd for a good or bad reason. It froze me yesterday upon realizing all the doors that are closed and locked for me for all time. I didn't do anything since then including all night and today except watch TV and go outside and play basketball. I already knew things would be tough after getting out of here but I just took a defeatist attitude and for no reason. Nothing had changed. I can still succeed and I will. These spells of depression and negativism pass. I fight though them. They set me back a step on my goals but I don't give up. Can't give up. It's hot and stuffy today. Basketball was fun. Part of my downturn of attitude has been a lack of correspondence from the outside. No one wrote me last week. That's not unusual. Also I read ‚ÄúOne Flew over the Cuckoos Nest‚ÄĚ and it depressed me as I related to some of the characters in different ways.

25 March 2009

The prison experience gets to me sometimes when prison officials get stupid. The last 2 days I've been dog tired. I feel like sleeping now. Monday I slept one hour then worked until noon. Went to rec at 1pm then came back, showered then slept til 8pm. Went to sleep again at 11pm and felt good today. Picked up 2 good books at the library. Worked my ass off at work. The problem with the officials is they change things for the sake of change and causes unnecessary restriction. Their current theme of these sadists is to force us to put every possession in our locker. Sounds reasonable except the locker is a one foot by 2 foot by 2 foot square. All your reading, writing, hygiene and food has to fit. They let you buy food only in 2 week increments. If everything doesn't fit, you either throw it away or get a disciplinary case. It's all the little nitpicky things they do. It sounds reasonable when I write it down, but when I live it, it's crazy. They have us walk a quarter mile out of the way to the chow hall. For 6 years we walked straight to it but they decided everyone needed to walk on one side of the sidewalk so they turned a 15 foot wide sidewalk into a single file one way street which forced us to walk in the opposite direction, actually away from the chow hall when we are mere feet from it. Sounds crazy. It is crazy. Of course it doesn't help that I feel government worker are just welfare recipients wearing a uniform. ‚ÄúGovernment workers‚ÄĚ is an oxymoron. I didn't always feel this way until I saw 90% of the inbreds working in Texas prisons. Add these 2 inconveniences to the dozens of other senseless life draining mental torture devices prison entails and you want to go crazy; embrace the madness. I love it.

Today I have 116 months in prison and 52 more left. That's 14 years. This is interesting to me that I received 14 years as did the Count of Monte Cristo, Jean Val Dean in Les Miserables, and guys in 2 or 3 other novels I've read. Even Paul wrote the Galatians that he'd been away preaching 14 years. Maybe this number is coincidence. Too bad I don't believe in coincidences. Everyone who had 14 years had a great mission when it was over. I'm going to have a mission. Just for the record. That's a good thing. The Count and Jean Val Jean are my heroes. Those old timely French bastards wrote interesting characters.

28 March 2009

We've been locked down since Friday morning when a blizzard hit the Texas Pan handle. I've never seen anything like it. The wind blew the snow sideways, When it was over, the snow was piled in stacks 2 to 6 ft tall while some parts of the ground were bare. Wind is strange. Of course up north this morning I got a call for a visit. I thought who would drive here in a blizzard. My son and aunt were waiting. My son in his air force dress blues from graduating Tech school in Wichita Falls. Missed another milestone in his life. It was good seeing him. The 2 hours went by in a flash. Kind of like life. Michael said they have a motto in the air force that is integrity. It made me take a step back thinking how little integrity I have. It's all pretenses. Everything wants to create the illusion of integrity if they don't have it. I thought of all the weak minded choices I've made in life and was almost sick. My youngest son is going through emotional problems because he has never known me. Then my daughter who my wife and I gave up for adoption contacted my ex-wife. Just 2 of the choices in my past that haunt me when I'm reminded of them. When the world seems to crash in around me, I'm all alone. I've learned the front of calm and serenity perfect. I'm dying inside but keep a straight face. You learn that in prison, never show emotion; this keeps you safe. Pretty soon, you don't know how to feel anymore. Romans 7:19, ‚ÄúFor what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep doing.‚ÄĚ That's my life.

23 June 2009

Not much going on. Finished the weekend writing letters to Dodo and Lyn. Also copying my journal. Went to store yesterday and was tired all day but I did go out at night and play volleyball. Some days I wonder where the time goes. I try getting something done then the next thing I know the day is over. Many times its not for lack of effort. Some things just take more time than you think they will. I fell like a schmuck sometimes. I'm smart but dumb. Brave but scared. Confident but full of doubt. I'm just a man. I accept that. I'm a success but failure. I'm the best, I'm the worst. I'm first, I'm last. You get it, don't you? I am.

27 June 2009

Everyday's working for the weekend. Its here. Its not. Been writing, reading, studying and recreating everyday so far this week. The writing everyday is paying dividends as far as quantity but lately my quality seems to be slipping. Of course that's no reason to give up. I started the college guild creative language course and that sucks is hard but I like it. Been 100% successful on my goals program this week. I though the heat would cause me to slack but the opposite is true as to forget about how miserably hot is continue working at my goals. Pretty neat huh? Its like when your back hurts and you stub your toe you forget about the pain in you back. Disassociation or some other psycho-babble term is what the professional head shrinkers call it.

I've been on this journal project over 6 months and I'm glad I signed up. I've accomplished a lot in 6 months; read 44 book, wrote several short stories, over 40 poems, studied spanish, helped change the world into a better place (I hope) and I'm still breathing in and out. I know those are small accomplishments compared to you super heroes out there but for a simple mortal like myself its something to be proud of. Even so, I always think I can do more but we are who we are. My mind gets sidetracked and bogged down on meaningless nonsense half the time or I just get by. I'm loving life most of the time.

30 June 2009

Its been an annoying week. I had accomplished 100% of my goals for the week 33 straight until I started reading last night and quit after 5 pages because I was tired. I worked a whole unit for College Guild Creating Language course, studied spanish 6 times, read almost an entire book of Shakespeare plays, wrote 2 theme essays for Prison Express, went to rec. 5 times, wrote 2 poems, one How to Information pack, wrote in my journal twice, and still found time to sleep, eat and shower. Also my quality of what I write went up in the last few sessions. Haven't been sleeping good but what's new. Pretty excited about being back on track and focused. Learning another language is difficult. Its hard to tell if I'm making any progress but I have to believe I am.

4 July 2009

It was some day. My son Michael visited me and told me he's getting married. That was exciting. I've had a nice little visit. This morning I woke at 8am, and ran 3 miles and hit the weights. I'm felling good now. So far this week I've slacking big time of my goals so I thought what is the different in being successful and failing. It's the determination, desire and perseverance in success. And apathy, laziness and procrastination in failure. Life is being lived every day. If you're waiting for it, it will never arrive. I did get my 2 essay copied this week and studied spanish a couple times. My dad wrote me a couple days ago. Says its super hot at home. Him and Kerri are coming to visit next week. Guess I don't have much to say except I'm proud of my son. He's doing read good in the Air Force and in life.

6 July 2009

The day was pretty good until I worked a full shift at work then took a nap. After that I was fine for awhile but as the day turned to night my calm demeanor has turned to rage. The world in general has pissed me off for no specific reason. Just the trapped feeling I can't escape. It doesn't even make sense but its who I am. I noticed it when I didn't get any mail or lay-in. That was the trigger. 41 years old and I still have remnants of a bad attitude. Just looking at people or hearing them talk. Just shut up for once. I can't get away.

7 July 2009

Well I turned 41 today. Happy B-day! The day has been laid back. I did go to rec. and lifted weights, then walked around. Now I'm trying to get some other goals done.

Another week of life gone by and it had its ups and downs. My mom and my grandma sent me a card. My grandma sent pictures of TJ and Matthew. That was an up. Its been over 100 degrees the past couple of days. That's a down. I ran 5 miles yesterday. That was an up. I have a visit tomorrow. That's an up. My friend Bethany's B-day was yesterday and I wasn't there. That was a down. Prison Express sent copies of theme essays out. That was an up. Some guy got mad over the TV earlier today and got me riled up. That was a down. Made store yesterday. Up! Kept up with my goals mostly this week. I ain't got anything exciting to write so I'll go so I can copy this journal and send it out.