Sunday, June 8, 2008


Dateline: Thursday, June 5, 2008
Location: deep inside a prison cell in Florida


Greetings once more from the Land that Forgot Time. So much has been happening, mostly hostile and negative, that I don't even want to talk about it right now, it might drop me down a depression well. I will say I've been absorbing their best shots of harassment and retaliation, taken a few hits, but I'm still standing. One I call the Grand Dragon, or the Imperial Lizard, got my job changed to the kitchen - punitive action - six-day, 48 hour work week - very harsh, exhausting conditions, but I'm making the most of it. I'm the oldest person working in the chow hall and one of the few Caucasians. The crew I work with has now been organized, we work together, get the food served in record time and eat well.

The above title, "If I Only Had a Gun," refers to the title of my next play, a prison musical I'm outlining and blocking out. I'm going to need some outside research help with this, though, to make it work effectively. The play involves prisoners performing the Wizard of Oz, in a fractured way, with apologies to Judy Garland, a drag queen plays her part, a weird dude who thinks he's a dog plays Toto, and maniacs play the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow.

I'm going to parody the song lyrics, "Somewhere over the Barb Wire," and perhaps "If I only Had a Brain," turned into a gun. I need to find the actual lyrics - I remember most of them - how many times did we watch that movie growing up? - but to get it right, I'd like to review the correct originals. If you know how to find them (Google?) let me know by e-mail.

This will be a musical comedy. I've done other comedies, but not in musical format.

At least some things are going right. My friend and web guy, Dan, in Seattle, has been adding family photos and other things to the web site,, and I understand they look great, and have added much to the web site. Since I don't have a computer in my cell and can't access the internet, I have to get the news by word of mouth.

For those family photos, I had to conduct a telephone interview with my mother to get some first-hand memories of two photos, one made at Redwater High School when I was one year old, and the other at four, in my cowboy outfit, which she had some comment about that I never knew.

I've been very busy with words this past week. Hettie Jones of the PEN American Center in New York City, a very interesting woman, sent me a list of difficult, thought-provoking questions for one to answer an "e-mail interview," to put on their www.pen,org web site in July. Hettie would have been a good prosecutor, with her penetrating questions. I spent a lot of time writing out lengthy responses, which I sent to Libby to type and e-mail.

My friend, Dan, is making a Southern tour in less than two weeks, with stops in Tampa and Daytona Beach, and I had to write a list of some potential questions for him to ask a few people who might be able to help my case.

And I've been focusing a lot of attention on this "Anne Frank Center USA" prison diary project, rambling on and on about life in prison. I can't imagine anyone being interested in my life in prison accounts beyond Libby and a few friends, but the project has sparked my interest, and I am burning up pens and paper.

As I've read and re-read Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank's story, I am struck by what a great writer she was, how powerful her words, how I could never hope to emulate her. I can only tell my story, for what it's worth.

I appreciate your comments, observations, and feedback. Keep in touch.

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