Endings and beginnings, part 2

Posted: August 3, 2009 in prison, general, prisoner writing, The Hero's Journey Workshop, writing
Tags: , , ,

Something ought to be said about moving our program to the Washington State Reformatory. Sometimes I think this move, more than anything else I might have written in the last posting, is the main reason I haven’t written here in so long. I do not like to write about goodbyes. Well, that is not true—my collection of short stories in fact titled, Leaving—so maybe it’s more that I’m tired of writing about goodbyes. Or maybe it is that I find this particular goodbye particularly difficult.

The last meeting we had with our group at TRU was to tell them we were thinking about moving the program after our short summer break. Our reasons for moving the program are valid enough. We’ve done a year of the program with the same group of men. Attendance is dropping as we cycle back through the material, and when a new guy does show up it is difficult to bring him into the fold when all of the other men are so far ahead. As program leaders we are growing anxious for new faces, new voices, new men to teach.

But regardless of the validity of any of our reasons, the simple fact is this: the men at TRU do not want us to go. And they told us as much. Remember, these men are nothing if not honest.

Even more difficult for me is now that we have made this decision there is no final meeting with the group at TRU. When we go back to Monroe in the fall we will begin our program at WSR. There is no final meeting with our original group of guys. No final goodbye. They simply won’t see our program advertised on their bulletin boards and they will know we are not coming back. It seems cruel to me. For there to be no real closure for any us.

The guys are used to this. Volunteers coming and going. Programs coming and going. Forming relationships with people from the outside and then never seeing them again. They are used to this, but I still am not. Maybe the longer I do this work, the easier it will get, these endings and beginnings on the inside. But for so many reasons I doubt it.

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