Review: Pete’s Prison Blog

09/16/2005

Friday

Sorry I’m not commenting much here or elsewhere. Often I have a small window of time to upload an entry and then download the text of my favorite blogs. Then I put them on my flash memory and I can read and write at my leisure. While I can read comments at work, there is no posting entries or replies which is just as well, I suppose. And I haven’t been as disposed to spend a lot of time surfing at home, spending time with the kids and general fatigue. Work has been busy and stressful.

I also wanted to give everyone who had the urge to wish Jay the best. It wasn’t my intention to cause a ruckus with that post, but oh well! I’m ready to move on. Shall we?

I do have one blog on my roll that does sort of stick out. I collect blogs involving relationships, especially those that have turned into train wrecks. But anything is game along relationship lines. However Pete’s Prison Blog doesn’t fit that mold. Actually, my reading him coincided with some legal troubles of my own which have thankfully been resolved. However, the experience has left me with an appreciation of how frail our conditioon is, and how we often take our freedoms for granted. Pete’s blog allows a reader a unique opportunity to see life on the inside of a prison. He’s done time inside a federal prison and is currently serving time in the N.Y. State facilities. He painstakingly types his letters and posts on a typewriter, edits and retypes them, then sends them to his editor on the outside via snailmail who then scans them into a computer. The process is long and tedious, but Pete almost always prooduces decent material. He has a subscription to the N.Y. Times, and frequently comments on current events, as well as life on the inside. “Inside” sometimes being inside of his head. Survival in prison involves as much of a mindgame as a physical struggle. Pete’s rooutines involve walking, writing, reading books as well as the newspaper and cooking meals. They are allowed hotpots and can buy some things through the commissary. Snail mail letters represent probably his most important lifeline, which seems to hold true for almost all prisoners.

Pete rarely, if ever, really writes about what he did to end up in prison. I have read one or two other blogs that link to him who write to Pete directly, and they don’t say much more that it wasn’t very nice. I think he is serving something like 15 years and has about 9 to go in his sentence. He is presently working on an appeal.

Pete’s editor is a mysterious and shadowy character who has apparently known Pete since childhood. He sometimes interjects himself into the blog to explain about something Pete has written, but this is exceedingly rare. He does insert occasional appropriate links that Pete could never do using snailmail. As far as I know, copies of Pete’s blog or at least the comments, are sent to him with regular correspondence.

Occasionally we get glimpses into the life of the mysterious Editor through Pete’s side of the correspondence. For instance, Pete has occasionally given some relationship advice to his friend on how to deal with a wife seemingly uninterested in sex. You can imagine how this heightened my interest into the life of this supporting (but crucial) character in Pete’s story.

Pete’s blog does not fit into my more typical genre of readings, and this is the first I’ve referred to it on my blog proper. However he has earned his spot on my roll by consistently producing good, thoughtful and regular content. There might be times when a married man might refer to his marriage as a prison of a sort, but reading Pete proves otherwise. I still have many more options and choices than he does. I still have more opportunities to improve my situation. Pete’s struggle for control can be readily found in his writings. He often is trying to better his living situation by appealing to those who would help him (the Editor and Pete’s own parents mostly) as well as trying to keep his own mind and body in shape. He frequently expresses frustration at not being able to control the contents of his blog or when he’s low on typewriter ribbon or wants to do research for his appeal. He generally makes do with the resources he has, but may come off as whiny at times.

Sometimes his writings are tedious. Lots of writing about his frustrations over his typewriter, trying to get ribbons and parts, his cooking, prison food and a rundown of his reading and walking efforts. But this is the reality of prison life. Tedium, routine and frustration. This is probably where the institution of prison and the institution of marriage begin to share space.

D.

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3 Responses to Review: Pete’s Prison Blog

  1. Lizzie says:

    I picked up the link to Pete’s blog from your site. I’ve also found it interesting reading. It’s truly a rare view into an unknown world for most of us. I’m curious about the Editor as well. Perhaps a sibling? A childhood friend? Thanks for the interesting link.

  2. Denise Regan says:

    Digger, have you got email?

  3. Digger Jones says:

    The editor is actually a childhood friend, whose father helped Pete in his younger days in some capacity. I can’t remember how I got that, but it might have been another blog by someone writing to Pete.

    Yes, Denise, and it is now fully visible in my profile.

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