Hey, Circle,

Well, it looks like we’re going to have a  pretty good winter after all.  Getting lots of snow now.  Haven’t seen any yeti running around, although some of the guys are large enough to qualify as yeti.  I guess we are going to get more snow this Wednesday and Thursday.  My New Years is going good.  Heck, no, I wouldn’t mind if anyone out there wanted to write me.

My sister is doing qiuite well.

Good night.

Kenneth McDonald

kenny

I am my own worst enemy.

For most of my life I have denied this and have been okay with not examining the reasons for my troubles.  Today I have decided that enough is enough, starting today I will be my best friend, I will love myself, an I will believe in myself.  I know, I know I am not saying anything new or unknown.  To quote the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” but this has not always been the case.  However, recent events in my life have made it abundantly clear that now is the time for change.

I have always looked down on people who have wanted to “recreate” or “reinvent” themselves.  In my mind if you didn’t like a part of who you are then you should have never let it become habit.  It is extremely ironic that I now find myself in situations where I must do the same.  For years I have allowed negative, damaging thoughts, emotions and actions in my life because I believed it was necessary to survive in the situations I found myself in.  Dr. Joe Dispenza has shown me how wrong I was.

“Your personality creates your personal reality.”

Dr. Dispenza says in his movie, Aligning your thoughts and feelings for a New Destiny.  The realization that my thoughts and feelings created my reality was something that I knew but have never explored.  Exploring this has forced me to remove the last of my blinders.  Now, more than ever, I can look around and see my present circumstances for what they are.

My present circumstances are the biggest and best opportunity I have even had to change.  I will no longer be who I think I have to be or who others want me to be.  I will become the man who I want to be.  Recognizing the truth in what Dr. Dispenza says has shown me that I have had and will always have the power to do better.  Dr. Dispenza also speaks about how in every case (that he studied) in which people made a miraculous recovery from a disease or illness, they surrendered themselves to a higher power.  This resonates with me because the idea of surrender has been the best and yet most difficult issue of my faith.

As a Muslim the idea of Allah being in control, wanting what is best for me, and not giving me more problems/pain than I can handle is a balm to my soul. Yet, I struggle with the concept that in order for Allah to be in control, I cannot be. The reality that he knows what is best for me and what is right for me stares me in the face every day.  I can no longer continue to fight it.  I have not demonstrated a love for myself or that I want what is best for myself, because who in their right mind would make the choices I have or want to be where I am?  Yet all of my thoughts have led me to this place.

I am now ready to embody the change that is  necessary for me to be who I should be.  Allah has blessed me with many talents and abilities that I have run from or misused for the majority of my life.  I am done with being somebody who has wasted potential; instead I will be somebody who has realized their potential.  I will not continue to be anything other than the best possible version of myself.  One of my favorite sayings is, “Our biggest fear is not the darkness, it is our light… for who are we to be beautiful?  Who are we to be powerful beyond all belief?”  I am paraphrasing a Nelson Mandela quote.  The events, conversations and lessons of this last year have led me to a point where I understand that without some serious painful introspection I will never stop makin the same mistakes.  It is not enough to not want to make them.  I have to understand why I am making them in the first place.

Starting this process has been eye-opening.  I will probably be doing it for the rest of my life, because once I started I do not wish to stop.. It has brought a clarity into my life that is much need.  I could wax poetically about all of the insights I have gained, but I won’t.  I will instead let them speak for themselves.  I am not the same person that I was last year, last month, last week or even yesterday.  It is my firm belief that these changes I have made and will continue to make will be apparent to all in my life.  It has been a long time coming but I am finally okay with being me.  As l as I am continually striving to be the best version of myself.  Some days I will make mistakes, fall or revert to old habits, but I will never stop picking myself up and trying for better.

As I am,

Prince

prince

Hey, Circle.

I want to thank you for keeping in touch with me all this time.  I love to get mail and to have people to write to and actually write back, you know?

The only reason I hear from my family is when I call or when something happens, you know, like people get hurt or hospitalized, yadda, yadda.  I call and talk to my son a few times a week and I write to him a few time a week also.  I keep a journal that I write to him everyday and sometimes even more than once a day.

I can honestly say that I haven’t heard from his (the victim’s family) at all.  I can bet that when the time comes for me to get released from here and if any of his family is still living I bet they will be here boycotting the release of a crazy murderer, you know.

You guys take care and I am going to write the paragraph that I would like for you to post on Craigslist for me.

Love,

Arline

Personal Ad

I want someone to love me for me, with all of my idiosyncrasies.  I don’t care what you have done as long as you don’t judge me for my past either.  I want people to accept that I have a child and I am in prison for a substantial amount of time.  I want someone to be able to come see me and even continue to see me after I get out and maybe, have a life with me and only God can judge.

You know my name, NOT MY STORY!!!!!!

arline-lawless-7

Hey Circle,

I was glad to hear from you guys.  I guess you could say it was nice to hear from you for yes, you guys are the only ones I hear from.

I want to thank you for the letter from Arline, for she sounds cool.  I hope she likes my letter.  I did try to call you guys, but the heartline was disconnected when I tried.  I guess you could say I need to find a way to break it to Arline that I’m in Prison.  I could still work it out for her to call me for as long as I have money and she had money I could set it up – she calls my Mom the same time as me.  God bless speaker phones.  You know how it is.  I guess the best way to let Arline know where I am is you would have to tell her where I am, after that, I can tell he anything she’d like to know.  I’ll send you another picture for her.

I still await my letter from Crystal, but I don’t hold my breath, for if I did I might die first. (LOL.)  I guess I will let you guys go for now.  Stay safe and I will keep you in my prayers.

Your brother,

Father Joel Dudley, ULC

joel

Hey,

Well, I thought I would send you a new idea for Dungeons and Dragons.  It’s a dwarven race called “the Overdwarves.”

Going to be watching the Superbowl this afternoon.  Hope New England does win.

So how are things going with you guys?  I am still in contact with my sister and she and her husband are doing well, although their dog has diabetes and has to take medication for it.  Brady the labradoodle turned twelve years old this year.

So how are the cats anyway?  Do they try to wake Rage up at three in the morning?

Yes, the Patriots won.

Good night.

Kenneth McDonald

kenny

Hey,

How are you?  I guess you could say that I am doing okay.  I thought I would write, for I have not heard from you guys in a bit.  I hope all is well.  I don’t have all that much going on here these days.  I still don’t hear from Lori anymore.

I guess you could say that I have thought about what Santos said about writing a book and I just might I don’t know just what I should write about.  I thought I would write about who I am, but fuck, I live a pretty fucked up life as we all know.

I still speak to my mom and Cherokee, they are doing good, of course.  I can’t wait to be back in Maine, even though I feel there is nothing there for me anymore.  I already know that  Lori is going to fight to keep the kids from me.  I guess you could say my friends are my only reason for coming back even though you guys are my only friends, at least the only ones that stuck by me through all of this.  I don’t really care what people think of me out there, for I live my life for me and not for anyone else.

So how is everything working out?  I hope good for you guys, for yes, I know just how much you guys like to fight for rights (LOL.)  How is the Project going?  I hope you guys have not fallen back in a dark hole, but if you have, see the light and come back to us.  I know just how hard it is to keep from the shit.  Yes, I mean shit.

How is Bella.  I would say she must be getting big, but  then again she can’t get any bigger (LOL.)  Yes, I am still working on the new letter; the next one is coming out soon.  I just have to wait to get a few more things for it.  I guess you could say you know how that is, right?

I guess I will close for  now and write you guys more another day for I should be getting ready to head back to my unit for the morning (LOL.) Yes, I should have said that I am not in my unit right now, I am in education writing this, for I had to help a friend with something up here.  I will let you guys go.

God bless you and be well,

Your friend and brother,

Joel R. Dudley

father.dudley

“He will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.” – Plato

After reading just the first sentence of Plato’s’ “the Allegory of the Cave” I was interested. As someone who is currently immersed in a long, hard campaign of self-improvement, words like enlightened or unenlightened automatically catch my eye. However, Plato doesn’t’ make it easy. After three pages I was doubting whether I had the mental fortitude to finish the story. I wonder if this is because I was coming out of the darkness and entering into the light. The crux of Plato’s story is the battle between light and darkness and where we stand in it. As a result of the choices I have made in my life I have a unique viewpoint on this struggle, and have had a lot of time for self-reflection. Plato’s opinions and beliefs as expressed so poignantly match the beliefs that I have come to call my own.

The first time I read the story I struggled and it wasn’t until I reached the end that I gained any understanding of what Plato meant to say. At this time in my life I was not read to “leave the darkness and comfort of the cave.” I walked away, literally and figuratively from the story and what it represented. When Professor Vail assigned “the Allegory of the Cave” for reading I did not immediately remember that I had already read it. However, upon reading Plato’s words I felt the same confusion that assailed me on the first reading. Once I realized the cave and the darkness were just analogies I was able to break the story down into manageable bite-sized hunks. My first reading of the “Allegory of the Cave” left me with a headache, partly because of the weightiness of the ideas expressed and partly because of the avalanche of memories that bombarded me with examples of my part in the spread of “darkness.” I almost put the book down, but refrained for several reasons. Once reason is that a very good friend of mine had asked if I wanted to discuss it the next morning. This friend and I have always had open and often brutally honest conversations with each other, so I knew that I could express to him my confusion, doubts and questions. It also helped that I have been working hard to be the best man that I can be and that I am not the same person who read and ran from the light the first time. So, I picked up the book again and took another step away from the darkness.

There were certain points that Plato “illuminated” that play o0ver and over again in my mind. The first point is how we all start out in the darkness (ignorance and the evils that it brings) and become so accustomed to it that it becomes our world. We are able to navigate it and find ourselves so comfortable in the darkness tat, when we are exposed to something new, i.e. knowledge and education in the form of light, it is extremely uncomfortable. In fact, it hurts because in the harsh light of reality we are forced to confront ourselves. In the dark we don’t see the results of our actions; the pain of our victims and loved ones. In fact, we are so used to the dark that we don’t even realize that what we are seeing and experiencing is not real. For all intents and purposes our lives are lies. We do not recognize this because who wants to admit being trapped in a lie. Instead, we, like Plato says, convince ourselves that “the truth is literally nothing but the shadows of the images.” When any of us are liberated from this shadow existence and shown the light, the first glimpse of this light will hurt our eyes, and it will be easier for us to turn back to the shadows than to continue to face this new pain. “When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled and he will not be able to see anything at all of 3hat are now called realities.” I have experience this first hand. In fact, it still happens to me every time I re-adjust my thinking, values and goals. I am constantly running into situations where my old criminal mentality is exposed as completely at odds with how the average citizen thinks. These moments result in pain and embarrassment for all involved. Thankfully these situations happen less and less often as I continue my journey back from the darkness of the criminal world and into the light of civilization.

“And when he remembers his old habituation and the wisdom o the den and his fellow prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change and pity them? Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.”

Now that I am journeying towards the light, I have found that I also agree with Plato when he says, “my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all and is see only with an effort and when seen that this is the power upon which he would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.” Or, as one of my older friends told me, “If you know better than you have to show better.” This is the most challenging aspect of gaining knowledge, and why everybody that knows me will say I am smart, but now many will say I am wise. Gaining knowledge for the simple sake of learning is a waste of time. I now have to apply what I have learned.

As I am,

Prince

prince

On Monday, President Obama granted clemency to 231 prisoners—the most individual acts of clemency granted in a single day by any president in U.S. history. Obama pardoned 78 people and shortened the sentence of 153 others convicted of federal crimes. Obama has now pardoned a total of 148 people during his presidency and has shortened the sentences of 1,176 people, including 395 serving life sentences, as part of a push to reduce the number of people serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. But he still hasn’t offered clemency or pardons to some high-profile political prisoners, including Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning or Native American activist Leonard Peltier.

I’ve been a little depressed as of late, myself.  You know how guys in jail can get.  I had some guy tell me I should have killed myself after Zina, “She went out gangsta.”

I was thinking, “Yeah, and she left our son and me here.”  as I walked away.  This guy is obviously not the brightest bulb in the box.  Still, it left me angry at Zina again.

Once guy tried to convince me she may still be alive, “You don’t know.  She could be in protective custody.”  I  swear.  I’m surrounded by lawyers and psychologists in here.  Luckily, I”m a little too bright to fall for this shit.

Still… my grieving for Zina is a manic call back.  some days, I’m fine.  Other days it’s a relentless roller coaster.

Just when I had given up on talking to anyone, I had a guy I didn’t recognize call me “Dirty.(my tag name.)”  We started talking and I  asked him if he knew Zina.  He said yes, “She was a beautiful girl.”

When he said that all these images of her, the really good times came flooding back.  That’s when I realized that that’s how I want to remember her.. as beautiful.

I can’t tell you why or how I endure this.  I do believe there’s a reason I’m still alive.  I don’t know why, but I plan on finding out.

I’d enjoy mail from anyone.  My address is:

Michael McQuade / Somerset County Jail / 132 East Madison Road / Madison, Maine 04950.

Tell everyone that I said “hi!”

God bless,

Dirty

Dirty

 

Circle, what’s going on with you?

I’m alright. Two weeks into Ramadan and it’s going great. I’m growing and struggling and it’s wonderful. So last week I got to watch Leo and Lake and my man L.A. Graduate from college with their associates. It was bittersweet.

Bitter because it should have been me up there with them. Sing them walk made my heart hurt. But, it served as a reminder that all of my actions have consequences and I need to keep that in mind. No more act now and deal with it later shit. 99% of the time I’m the biggest loser in that scenario and I’m too old to keep making these mistakes.

It was sweet because I was watching people I care about achieving one of their goals. I have shared a bond with them that you don’t share unless it comes behind blood, years and tears. I was so happy for them; they handled their business. Some of their family members came up. One of my mans hadn’t seen his mom in fifteen years. That kinda energy is amazing. Alright, though, I’ma tell you that in two years I’m going to be graduating and not just with my associates if they allow the to get their bachelors thenhen. Insha Allah, I’m going to get that as well.

As I am,

Prince

prince

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

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