Apr 5, 2009 – Fare Thee Well

Sunday, April 5, 2009 – Fare Thee Well

My last full day in prison. I’ve said different levels of “goodbye” to most of the inmates I know. Some I’ll see again tomorrow before I leave, so we’ve only exchanged nods and winks that are understood as “it’s not ‘goodbye’ yet”. Some I won’t see tomorrow. Those have spoken their last sentiments, written their last letters, and hugged me one last time. And some, I’ve said goodbye to a hundred times over and it still doesn’t seem like enough. It’s odd to think about prisoners being emotional or emotionally attached. But prison, like politics, “makes strange bedfellows” because we live in the same environment and in such close quarters with each other day after day. It’s definitely a community all its own. And like any community, there are constructive people and destructive people. Who you choose to hang out with determines how you will be seen in the community. And to be honest, how you will be. I choose to be constructive. Therefore, the men I’m saying goodbye to are also constructive. I will miss them greatly. They want me to go and enjoy my freedom, yet they want to do something to get me in trouble so I’ll have to stay longer. 🙂 Friends. I found friends in prison. I found good men in prison. How about that?

  1. Amica B says:

    I just finished reading through all of “Better Man’s” posts. Beyond inspiring! I hope all is well with him.

    • islandwriter says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read his work, Amica. He is doing amazing. One of the few ex-prisoners who was able to find support, keep his promises to himself and others upon his release, and he has put together a good life for himself to date. Not without struggles and challenges, for sure, but he is proof that if given a real second chance some of these guys make good citizens and continue to be good people. I will pass along your kind words to him. It will mean a lot.

    • islandwriter says:

      Hi again Amica. I was able to be in touch with “Better Man” and he wrote this back to me to pass along to you:

      The Better Man has become The Greater Man
      “Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.” – Mark Twain

      This journey has led me to become heavily involved in social purpose. I am doing what I can to help inspire other offenders to NOT re-offend. Working closely with several agencies including those from law enforcement and victim advocacy, I feel it is my lot to work with the men that no one else wants to work with. If they can learn to live healthier lives and make healthier decisions, we as a society just might make the goal of “zero new victims”. Wouldn’t that be something to blog about?

      I’m glad my journal is still being read and is still effective. Thank you for reading it. I have read it myself again a few times to remind myself what it’s like, because I must be able to sympathize with the men I now try to help. And thank you to the writer of this blog for posting it and for believing in the good of others when no one else will.

  2. Amica B says:

    Hi Erika,

    I was both surprised and delighted (!) to read Greater Man’s response, as well as yours. Thank you both!

    His integrity and character impress me deeply. Is there any chance Greater Man would consider blogging again?

    With all my respect for Greater Man,

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