A week at the beach

As most of you know I (Jen) type and post all of the blogs/art that goes on Joewriteshiswrongs due to the fact Joe is currently incarcerated and isn’t able to do so himself. We do make a great team. 🙂

With that being said, Joewriteshiswrongs is taking another week off from posting while I enjoy my vacation at the beach. 🙂 As much as I love reading and sharing his crazy stories with everyone about what he is forced to deal with while incarcerated, I am definitely going to enjoy my much needed time at the beach. Now, lets just hope this tropical storm I keep hearing about stays away and it does not rain half the time I am here.

I do look forward to hearing about some of these blogs he has been working on the past few days and sharing them with all of you. I also look forward to catching up on all of your blogs out there too. As Joewriteshiswrongs has certain regular followers, I have certain blogs I like to keep up with as well and share with Joe.

Hope all if you have a great week and a Happy 4th of July. Be safe!

Until next week…

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I took a week off…

This past week has been a bad one. Because of that I decided to take a little hiatus from the blog. I had figured that was better than the alternative, me bitching about a bunch of headiest stuff that prison life can confront you with and that I can’t change.

As this week winds down to an end, I can only hope that next week is a better one.

There are some things that I like to note about this past week, though.

I started a new gigantic mural in the gym.  It’s a piece for the young kids who come to visitation. They will enjoy it a lot as only they could recognize all the characters depicted in it. Once it is completed I will get a picture taken with it so I can show it to all of you. It should turn out to be a very impressive piece.

The world cup also started this past week. So no matter how aggravating life incarcerated can be, having the ability to watch soccer everyday of the week half way through July makes it fantastic.

Plus the US team just recently beat “Ghana” who had put them out twice in previous world cups. Today, USA plays Portugal and one of the best players in the world Cristiano Renaldo at 6pm on ESPN.  The US team has a good chance in this match and I am hoping they can pull off this win. Or, at least a tie. Both cases would help USA advance to the next round.

This next week, I will get back to the life. My main adjective is to keep the post as high quality as possible, also as entertaining as possible too. But I am curious to know what those of you who read this blog think. I want to know what you enjoy most on here.

I have created a poll for you to weigh in so I can have a better understanding of what you like most about Joewriteshiswrongs, so that I can know if I am heading in the right direction or not. The blog is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the bigger picture. Another story for another year… next year that is.

In the mean time please vote using the poll, and be on the lookout for new material to be posted this up coming week.

 

Tomorrow is a new day

One of the biggest things I love most about Joe is that he works so hard every day to better himself from his past. He wants nothing more than to show everyone as well as himself that he can find some kind of success either through his artwork, cartoons or writing. Each day he strives to better his life and his work, each day is a day closer he is to becoming a free man, each day he fights to not let that place destroy him.

When I met Joe he was the most positive person I had ever met. I mean here is the guy surrounded by so much negativity and constant chaos and yet he stays so positive and has such great determination. I mean he could have been like the majority of other prisoners and just waste his days away doing nothing waiting for his time to be up so he can go right back out on the streets and live the same lifestyle.

Not Joe, he refuses to go back to that lifestyle…plus I would never let him. He has been incarcerated for 6 years now and he has already had a few cartoons published in magazine/newspapers, he has a story and a cartoon that was published in one of the Chicken Soup books, he is on the mural crew at the prison, so he paints a bunch of murals all over the compound. Not to mention he is always being included in the art and resource fairs there (limited amount of people get to be included in that) he was even the one who they had designed the cover of the pamphlet for a previous resource fair. Not to mention he has had a number of people request for him to do some sort of artwork for them or donated to his page.

As you can see he has really worked hard to turn his life around for the better. I worry for him though because the added stress from that place daily on top of the stress from knowing he comes home next year and besides owing over $13,000 in fees and fines there are the questions of who is going to want to hire a convicted felon let alone one who doesn’t have a drivers license and so on. He tries so hard not to let it show that it all gets to him but I know him better then he thinks.

Right now he is not feeling the whole positive vibes which is why he hasn’t been posting a whole lot. That place has really taken a toll on him and each day is a fight to stay above water but I am always there to talk him through a bad day, let him vent or just remind him that he has made it through 6 years and I won’t let him and I know he won’t let himself give up the last year and a half.

He made the comment yesterday that he has wanted to post something the past couple days and has even wrote a few blogs but then he never posts them because with all the bullshit going on there he finds himself bitching about that place or something and nobody wants to read negative stuff. Well…at the same time nobody is positive 24-7 so he is entitled to have bad days or vent in a blog and get everything out.

I also know holidays are hard for him in there because I’m pretty much the only person he has in his life that gives a damn and even if he doesn’t always show it I know he wants nothing more than to have his family back in his life and give him another chance. I can tell this by how he talks about them and every great once in awhile he talks to his dad and I can tell in his voice and mood that he had a good talk. He knows he pushed them away and was an utter piece of shit as he says but that is not who he is anymore and I know he just wishes they could see he is trying. I don’t know his family, but they look like nice people and I do hope that one day they can all at least try to start over and put the past behind them all. I personally would love to meet his family; I really think they would like me and see that I am good for him as well. 🙂 Maybe in time…

I don’t doubt Joe is gonna do great things, I know he will!  Right now, he is just in a slump and he will pull himself out of it like he always does and come up with more great ideas for his road to success. 🙂

So, he hasn’t forgotten about his awesome readers/followers…after all you guys are part of what keeps him motivated to keep pushing harder.

-Jen (The other half of Joewriteshiswrongs)

 

I hope everyone has a great week and is enjoying the summer…I don’t know about where you all live but here in Virginia it has been 90’s-100 out.

A possible life sentence for a childhood friend

I think it was back in 2011 when I first learned of everything that was going on with this guy who I had considered my best friend for about 5 years when I was a kid.

Have you ever known someone in your life from your youth or childhood that you lost contact with and wondered whatever happen to them?

I’m sure all of us have, and that’s basically what this is all about. It’s crazy how life can turn out too. Especially when you learn something horrible about a person you once knew and wondered what the hell could have made them do the shit they did.

Back in 2011, I read a newspaper article about a guy that I used to play with and ride bikes with when I was a kid. The article said his wife or girlfriend had sold some stolen goods and when the cops came to their home, they search it.

Inside they found the couples young daughter who was being held captive inside of a pen of some sort that had been flipped upside down and weighed down with the child inside of it.  Like inside of a cage. The article also said it appeared this was how the child lived for quite some time. Held in captivity. Like a prisoner.

A child for God’s sake!

It gets worse too.

The child was about 6 or 7 at the time and she hasn’t even been taught how to talk yet. Plus she was all sorts of screwed up from the conditions she had to live in.

Upon further investigation, remains of another child were dug up from the backyard of the couple’s home.

These people were monsters. And one of which was a guy I considered my best friend as a child when we were kids.

Since all of this the couple has received 30 years for what they did to their daughter and are going to court right now for a murder charge for the remains of their other child.

I cannot see them receiving anything less than a life sentence for this horrible shit. And honestly, I feel they deserve that.

People make mistakes. Yes, I get that. That describes me to a “T”. But there is a line where that justification just can’t even begin to come close to explaining why someone did something bad or wrong.

Harm to a child is one of the biggest lines in the sand I have to draw, personally. A child needs the protection, guidance, nurturing and safety that is to be expected from his or her parent.

It is that parent or set of parents or guardians responsibility to care for the child or children.

When that fails to happen and harm is caused to the child by the parents own doing or negligence, how do you justify that?

To me, you just can’t.

If there is an upside to the story it is that the little girl is doing much better now. She has been adopted by a wonderful couple and is being well cared for. As the news reports they say she is making great progress as she recovers from such a traumatic ordeal. I’m sure that won’t be an easy thing for her to do. But I certainly wish the best for her.

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A Very Racist Friday

Its days like the one I am about to tell you about that really make me go crazy. Now, I know that sounds crazy in itself because I am in prison and everyday should make me go crazy. But years of this have made me immune to much of what goes on around here. So I am able to tolerate quite a bit.

But its days like the one in question that prove to be too much. Pushing me to the very verge of my breaking point and really testing my limits in terms of patience.

You know days like this, right? Those days in your life that sort of proves to be like the worst days in your life.

Then again, it’s days like this that provide the ammunition for great stories  of mental anguish, hell filled conditions and adventures that accompany me throughout this journey of incarceration.

All that I’m faced with.

All that I see and hear daily, and must put up with…all that I must turn the other cheek too…be the bigger man…all that I must deal with and process while trying to keep in mind that somehow all of this might make me stronger. Better.

Every day in prison is a battle on many different fronts. The biggest one seems to be a mental one. Sort of a proverbial one if you will.

Every day I struggle to stay afloat like a man lost at sea, battling hurricane type conditions.

Mountainous seas.

Gail force wind and rains.

All that I clutch to is a tattered life ring.

My sanity.

My dignity.

These seas that I battle, the current that tears at my being, trying mightily to pull me under; that is all that I face as a white-non-racist-prisoner trapped inside a despicable world of hatred and devils between the razor wire fences. This is a world of hatred and ignorance. Every color divided almost completely at the seam. Few bridge the divide, but many others invoke the separation further.

This is not just caused by prisoners either as you will soon learn.

I fear that if I am pulled under the proverbial current, I won’t emerge from this storm better.

I’ll come out of this worse.

More vindictive. More Bitter.

Every day is a constant battle to not let that come reality. But its days like the one I am about to tell you about that really test my strength, and here is why…

This day was a Friday, and all that I had hoped for was a decent send off to the weekend. I had a pretty laid back day as far as work goes (or at least I thought). I was to paint “chemical signs” on the cleaning supply closet doors in all the housing units. So it was my hope to have an easy day knocking out all of these doors.

Well half of that went according to plan. I did get all the doors done but it certainly wasn’t easy. My nerves and patience were completely shot in the process.

Each housing unit has its own set of C.O’s working in it. So with each housing unit I had to go to, came a whole different set of personalities, bullshit and aggravations I had to deal with.

By the time I went back to my housing unit for the pre-lunch count, I had gotten 3 of the 6 cleaning supply closet doors completed. And though my nerves and patience were already frayed by this point, the REAL kicker came as I walked back to my building. It was then that I passed a female officer who was being approached by a male counselor. Both of which were African-American. 

The counselor must have said something to the officer because the next thing I hear was the officer respond, or almost announce, “OH…YOU KNOW. THIS IS AN ARYAN NATION. THEY DON’T LIKE US ANYWAYS.”

This absolutely shocked me. I mean, I felt like this was almost directed at me. I was the only white guy around. And what’s this “THEY” shit! I’m pretty much a “Yo-Boy.”

I’m a rapper for God’s sake! (Another blog for another day…)

I’m like the most culturally diverse dude could ever meet!

Don’t ever try to make me feel like I might have a problem with someone just because of their race. And that’s exactly what it felt like with “THEY” don’t like us anyways.

What was I to do hearing this?

I mean, what COULD I do?

This chick was a C.O. I certainly had no win in this. So, needless to say, I just had to try my best to brush this little incident off.

This was the first of a few things that totally FUCKED my Friday.

After lunch, I went back to work with a sense of dread. I knew this day was going to turn out horrible. And God, sometimes I hate when I am right.

The first of the final three buildings I had left to complete was going to be a madhouse. I just knew it was. I’ll be damned if I wasn’t RIGHT again!

Out of all 6 housing units I had to paint chemical signs in, this one particular building had 2 of the most unprofessional c.o.’s I’ve ever had to deal with working in it.

I went in and said “hey, I’m a mural painter…here to paint the cleaning supply closet door.”

The response I got, verbatim, “DON’T TALK TO ME! DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO ME!! DON’T ASK ME FOR ANYTHING!”

“Oh, this is nice” I thought. “What a fun little adventure I’m going to have in here.”

It took me 20 minutes just to get through the door where the closet was at. Thanks to this miserable c.o. bitch that controlled the opening of these doors. The way I figure it though, that is their power in life. To feel like maybe for once they control something in their pitiful little lives. It’s not much. It’s just a door. But damn it, it’s their door!

So they take EMMENSE pleasure in that power.

As I worked in this building, I noticed that it wasn’t just the prisoners who were burdened by the lack of job performance, or “button-pushing” professionalism this officer displayed.

Staff was too.

The entire time I worked, I couldn’t help but think “how does someone like this even HAVE a job… Let alone KEEP a job?”

This was baffling to me!

I mean, when your job is simply to press a button to open a door and you can’t even do THAT right, or in a timely manner, you should be fired.

Point blank. That’s it.

Somehow, I maintained my grip to the proverbial “Life-ring” of sanity I spoke on earlier through this building and finally, eventually, I was done in there.

It only took another 20 minutes so I could be let out so that I could move on to the next building.

The rest of the work day went on pretty much uneventful. I finished the signs and thought that would be it.

With my day pretty much already in shambles, I didn’t think it could get much worse.

But, I guess that’s what I get for thinkin’.

The last thing that really sealed the deal for this day didn’t happen until evening count. And boy, was it a real doozy.

This was BY-FAR the REAL kicker.

During count, things were quiet. That was until this out-spoken piece-of-shit officer who is always LOUD and obnoxious blurts out “something” about a white prisoner who allegedly “burped” in his face. Now, I say allegedly only because I did not witness the “burping” first hand and I know that this piece-of-shit fat-fuck officer has a tendency of blowing shit WAY out of proportion almost to the point of making shit up… Sorry if I sound a little biased here, but I’m at my wits end with this racist shit, and this officer was dead wrong in this case.

 So… back to this burping incident. First, if a prisoner did burp in his face, I’m pretty sure there could have been a better way to handle the situation instead of the way fat fuck piece of shit decided to handle it.

How did he handle it? You might wonder.

He went on this INDIRECT rant about “whiteboys” and he said some pretty bad stuff about “all you white boys.”

At that moment, the housing unit reached defcom 4. Shit got real crazy, real fast. A black officer has just over reached to say the least. Which, you can imagine if a white officer had done the same… I hate to even use that type of reverse logic, but I feel I must to prove a point.

Instantly, the housing unit began to divide by who was right… who was wrong… or, most apparent, by color.

Shit got so hectic so quick that the officer realized immediately the error his judgment had caused. He ran out and not even two minutes later a higher up came in and said that he’s not going to tolerate any racism directed at his officers.

At first everyone was like “What the hell…?”” But then it clearly became evident.

The officer had ran out and told a lie in an effort to save himself and minimize the damage this was sure to cause.

This was unbelievable! It was obvious this officer realized the severity of his stupid comment and in an effort to save himself he ran out and told a lie.

Damage control…cowering…same difference, right?

The housing unit was still in an uproar during this time. But like the realization I had earlier in the day with what the equally racist female officer had said, it now seemed the entire housing unit was having the same realization…

What the hell could we do?

The officer had obviously told a lie to save his own ass. Fuck the fact that an inmate race war almost broke out behind that. Do you think that fat fuck officer cared?

Luckily, and thankfully the prisoners had more responsibility about themselves than this officer did.

More dignity and respect about themselves to let the ignorance of what this officer said “die-down.” At least, in a sense of violence that is.

About 10 prisoners wrote this officer up. So who knows. Maybe he’ll get fired.

But I doubt it.

Race has no place in the workplace. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Especially in an environment, such as this where race is such a touchy subject.

Here are (2) things I learned from this seriously jacked-up racist Friday.

1.) Prisoners get way too bad of a rap. I mean, I get it. We fucked up and we deserve to be here. But some of the officers here…They’re some real pieces of shit, too.

2.) I can think of two instances where people are most likely to tell the truth… When they’re drunk and when they’re mad.

In both instances, the truth tends to come out because people tend to speak how they truly feel.

“A Self Proclaimed Smart Guy Sounds Kind Of Dumb…”

As I was waiting to leave my housing unit to go paint something, I overheard this guy talking to another guy.

The guy said “I should get the tutor job available in the prison GED class. I’m the most qualified guy on the compound to be a tutor. Therefore, I should have no problem getting the job.”

Being as I wasn’t a part of this conversation to start with, I didn’t interject. Hell, part of me even thought he was probably right. I mean, this guy was the editor of the newsletter here at the prison for a short time.

Maybe he was the most qualified guy to become a tutor. It would only take a few short days before I realized just how wrong that assumption was.

Fast forward a couple of days, and there I am sitting in group besides Bobby Fisher himself.

This child prodigy. This tutor-to-be was sitting in group writing a letter.

Out of nowhere, he turned to me and asked “hey, on all words that end in ‘E’ do you drop the ‘E’ before adding ‘ing?”

Before I could even muster up a response, he added quickly, “I know, I know, this is coming from a guy who used to be the editor of the newsletter.” He said this like he used to be the editor of The New York Times.

Yeah, that WAS a little crazy, all right. But so many other thoughts flooded my mind at that exact moment. I actually thought this guy was REALLY intelligent! I even knick-named him Charles Scwab and Merrill Lynch at one point because I thought this guy was so smart. For the longest time I had thought that. But in reality, he had been pulling the wool over my eyes the entire time.

This guy wasn’t smart, at all. He was actually quite dumb.

I searched long and hard for the proper response to this elementary question. Certainly this ex-ambassador to a fortune 500 company was NOT smarter than a 5th grader after all.

As clarity came to fruition, the words flowed freely.

“You might be reaching a little.” I said. “Going after the tutor job, and all.”

“Maybe your talents would be better suited scrubbing duck shit off the walkway here around the prison.”

My response certainly did not answer his question about grammar. But it quite surely gave him a better understanding of how I now viewed him.

It’s ok to not be the smartest. Hell, by no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself the smartest.

But don’t act like you’re all this and that when clearly your really not.

That’s the point here.

Oh and by the way, there really is a job here where the sole responsibility is scrubbing duck shit off the sidewalk.

Who knows…

Maybe this fallen-from-grace “Merrill Lynch” would make the finest damn duck scrubber this compound has ever seen!

 

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