If I sell one book for every time I’ve heard: “Wow, you must’ve had so much time to write in prison, I mean, hey, gee, wow, talk about time . . .” with ‘time’ said almost wistfully, I’ll be, well, I’ll be pretty well off.
Time to write in prison – sure, that would be what’s left of the day after – working 8-10 hours to afford luxuries like tooth paste; playing basketball to maintain the all important image it wouldn’t be all that easy to hassle me; dealing with psychotic explosions from perennially unstable inmates and staff (left); reading court decisions from inmates fighting their sentences. (That would be all of them).
In the time left, I would try to find a corner, niche, tree, whatever was most remote from the maddening crowd, and write. Eventually, I would be found out by someone and it would go like this:
“Yo, [Red, Professor, Bird, Lawyer Dude, R0-dog, Hate-Monger, Hey-You, and a dozen other nicknames go here], watchya’ writing.”
“Takes place in the Civil War – but it’s diff – ”
“No, really, c’mon, you’re writin’ ’bout this place, right?”
“No, novel about – ”
“Ya’ gonna want to talk to me, I know stuff, been through it all.”
“That’d be great if I was writing about pris – ”
“Lemme tell ya [who’s selling cell phones/ smuggling tobacco/liquer/porn; how drugs come in; illicit sexual relationships between staff/inmate, inmate/staff, staff/staff; ripping off the DOC; using inmates to fix up house; crashed a state van and… ].”
Dozens and dozens of interruptions, exactly the same except for the information proffered. Guards, staff, inmates, equally responsible. The same in every prison, just slightly different accents, slightly different revelations. If I believed 10% of it I’d never sleep again.[I left at 9.9% – guess I was about ten stories sort of permanent sleep deprivation.]
Almost as bad as this: