Saturday, March 22, 2008

March 19, 2008

Tomorrow is the spring equinox, a time of renewal, with Easter Sunday right behind it. It's hard to believe that this year is about to enter the second quarter. The older I get the faster the years fly by, a commonly shared observation I know, but curious nonetheless...
About 10 days ago when I was out in the rec cages, we saw a dozen deer just outside the fences, along the edge of the woods; they were totally unafraid, just grazing on the long grass, unconcerned with us prisoners in our cages as we watched them mosey along. They were young deer (certainly small ones, as whitetails go) and rather frisky, occasionally kicking up their heels and skipping around, happy to be alive under a gloriously blue sky and radiant sun. Two young bucks squared off with each other, rearing up on their hind feet and briefly battering each other with their front hoofs. All of us stood silently, raptly watching this rare & unexpected display of nature, until the deer finally trotted off, leaping one by one over a low wire fence behind a guard tower disappearing back into the woods. These deer were smart enough to know that they were in no danger, even with humans just 100 feet away, that this was safe territory (being state property they are not at risk of being hunted here). Now each November, when deer season opens, I hear the dogs baying and the guns booming not far off, just over the tree lines, every day for weeks on end, yet the deer somehow know that they are safe if they stay right up against the prison grounds. Our deer never appear skittish even when the guns are banging a few hundred yards away...
Today, all the news programs marked the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq and President Bush gave a speech where he confidently declared that the war had been a great success and that he'd do it all over again if he was given a chance. He specifically said that "the sacrifices have been worth it," said by man who does not know the meaning of sacrifice. (you can bet none of his friends or family are dying in Iraq). This is the same president who announced that America is not in a recession. ("It's just a rough patch") and that the government has "a strong dollar policy". It's sad how clueless our fearless leader is.
Tonight I received notice that one of my short stories, The Man From Far Away won third place (short fiction category) in the 2008 PEN Prison Writing Contest. I usually enter a story in this contest (I've won before, a couple of times in past years). The PEN American Center is a prestigious association of well-known writers and poets and one of the neat benefits of winning is that they allow you to participate in a mentoring program where an established writer/author will critique some of your work. Some of these writers/playwrights/poets are very famous and it's a unique opportunity to have one of them give you advice & critique your writing...well, time to go, Sis. Give the doggies a hug for me!
Love, Bill

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