I’ve spent several hours today reading some of the guys’ work. During the last workshop we gave the following prompt to the guys: When I returned [to the ordinary world], everything was different. Or was it me?

One man gave me the short paragraph he wrote while in the workshop. It is one of those pieces that says so much in the fact that it says so little. In it he writes about growing up and living his life in one place. He lives (lived, prior to prison) in the house is father lived in. His son still lives in the same neighborhood now. He says he’s traveled little. So, his biggest “adventure” away from home, has been his journey to prison.

He will not be able to return to his home upon his release. So, he writes that he cannot answer the above question about what it will be like to return home. He writes that he doesn’t know if everything will be different because he cannot go there.

And I wonder if imagining what he will not be able to return home to is painful? I think it must be. We all like to assume we at least have the option to go back, return. We don’t always, but we like to hold onto the illusion. This man holds no illusion though. His crime took him away from his home, and his crime will keep him from his home. I wonder if he cares then if he is different? Who from his previous life will be there to notice? To comment?

To go to prison, change and then upon release not be able to go back and at least see if you still fit into the world you left behind (or ifyou can, in some way, make yourself fit again) is the story of many of these men. For many, there are good reasons why they should not return home. Reasons that will make it more possible for them to succeed on the outside and reasons that might be better for their families. And yet to know you can’t go back…

Even if you have changed, “resurrected” as Vogler calls this stage of the hero’s journey, does it do you as much good if you cannot prove it to those you love and who, at least once, also loved you?

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