Monday, June 23, 2008


Dateline: June 16, 2008
Location: deep inside a prison cell in Florida


I feel bad that it has been about six days since I wrote my daily blog, but sometimes it just can't be helped. Even in prison, often there's not enough time. Working in the chow hall is a six day-a-week, 48-hour chore that is more than exhausting. I come in, get out of my wet clothes, shower, and fall out. The mornings are so crazy that the time before work is complete chaos. Prison is bedlam.

I've been busy writing, at least, as fast as I can. I started and finished a new prison memoir, "They Kidnapped Thurgood!" about racist guards confiscating a sculpture I was working on, and I've been steadily making entries in the "Anne Frank Center USA" prison diary project. I'm really getting into it, and wanted to share an excerpt from the first entry, since it might be awhile before the project is unveiled.

"Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My friends call me Charlie. Others call me a convicted murderer,
but that is only half-true. I am convicted, but I am not a murderer.
I have been in jail and prison for over thirty years for a crime I did
not commit. If I do not get out soon, I am liable to die in here.

When I got the letter at mail call from the Anne Frank Center USA
asking me to write a prison diary, it affected me deeply. When I first
read the Diary of a Young Girl so many years ago, it had a great
impact on me. I was in the county jail in Tampa, Florida, facing a
murder charge, going through great emotional turmoil. I was drawn
to books about people who had suffered imprisonment. I read a couple
about American P.O.W.'s held captive by the North Vietnamese, and
one about Nelson Mandela. I couldn't imagine how long he'd been wrongly imprisoned in South Africa. Little did I know that I would surpass
the twenty-seven years he would spend in captivity."

Already, I've filled the little 90-page journal they sent me to write in, and I still have 2 1/2 months to go! Interesting dilemma.

on a more personal level, my sister-in-law, Sandy Norman, was stricken by a very serious stroke several weeks ago, and was not expected to survive. Many people prayed for her (thanks!), and she has been making a miraculous recovery. No paralysis, and she can speak a little.

I'm very excited about the prospective visit of my old friend, Dan Faulkner, from Seattle, this week. I haven't seen him in over 30 years. We went to the University of South Florida at the same time, and were involved in tae kwon do at Martial Arts Institute, Inc., in Tampa, in the mid-1970's. Dan has put a lot of time and expertise into the "FreeCharlieNow" web site, and has strived to help me on my ride toward freedom. Recently, he revamped the "photo exhibit," adding more family photos. Check it out.

Back to work. The chow hall beckons!

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