As most of my friends both online and off know, my late partner was in prison for most of our relationship. for the years he was incarcerated, I wrote daily. It cheered him up, and he passed my letters around to his celly. Somewhere along the line he told me about a website, writeaprisoner.com, where inmates post ads looking for penpals. I thought, well that’s nice, and didn’t give it another thought. I was active on a couple of support group forums for the loved ones of prisoners, a lot of whom had met through personal ads.
I was feeling kind of glum today, a bit of a pity party I guess. The job situation is bleak, money is bleak, the stress of my family and watching out for my Mom, left me feeling, I don’t know, useless. So, I went to this website, and spent a couple of hours looking through the ads. I remember Damon talking about how a lot-maybe a majority-of the ads were just there to get money out of people, and I had no doubt about that. Going through the ads, I had no doubt that what he said was true. Still, I narrowed it down, and came up with two, I thought sounded a bit more genuine than the rest. I wrote them both letters, and stuck them in the mail before I lost my nerve.
Both were in for drug charges. I eliminated those who were in for rape, child crimes, theft, etc. That eliminated 90 percent. Then I eliminated the straight ads. And then the gay ads, that I thought were written by straight men. And finally by age. I remember not only what Damon said about mail in prison, but what my ex before him said when he went to jail (if you see a pattern, let me say they were the only two guys who had been locked up). Having spent some time myself in jail, I wished I’d had letters at mail call.
It made me feel good; that maybe my letter will brighten someone’s day. Maybe it’s selfish to want to feel better, but I can think of worse ways to do that. I’m also not saying anyone else should do it either, but I think I made a couple of good choices, and time will tell on that.