26 July 07

Pyschotherapy with Dr. T. (4)

“How are you feeling?”
“Last time you saw me, I was on an upswing. That peaked in a manic spurt of short-story writing that lasted three weeks. It was so intense I went through all my pens and paper and had to borrow some. Last year I wrote two short stories, not even two thousand words long. Just now, in three weeks, I wrote seven stories of average length four thousand words. But then I hit a funk. I don’t feel depressed. I’m still happy, but a little spacey.”
“And how much of what you wrote was gibberish?”
“Well, I’ve forwarded the first of my rewrites to my critique partner, and he thinks it’s the best short-story work I’ve done so far. I’m slowly learning to filter the gibberish out. Concentrating on dialogue helps.”
“Are you still worried about your release?”
“Not like I was, but it still weighs on my mind. I imagine there’ll be delays. I’m making allowances for those in my mind.”
“Most prisoners don’t get out exactly when they think they will.”
“I’ve noticed a lot of people on Yard 1 haven’t got their TRs [temporary releases] or have had the dates changed.”
“Paperwork takes time to get processed and mistakes are made. I’d allow yourself a good four to six weeks after you expect to be released.”
“I’ll be happy to get home by Christmas.”
“What else is new?”
“I’m reading Current Psychotherapies. I’m on the chapter about Adlerian psychotherapy. I like how Adler urges us to give meaning to our lives.”
“How is that influencing you?”
“I believe I’m putting constructive meaning into my life via the friendships I’m building with people, including people I write to around the world. Also, I derive meaning from my creative attempts, mostly my writing. I feel there’s a good purpose to it, and it’s a form of self-medication. Studying and writing make me feel that this prison time isn’t being wasted. My dad used to call me a nihilist, and he was right. Breaking the law is easier when you believe life is meaningless. But reading Nietzsche, the existentialists, and now Adler, has helped me learn that although it seems life is meaningless it's up to me to infuse my life with meaning. Adler acknowledges that life is bigger than us, but instead of being crushed by its weight, we have to have the courage and will to make the most of it.”
“And it’s important to remind yourself these things when you start to worry.”
“Yes. Learning these things is one step, but being able to apply them when things get stressful is another.”
“Well, keep studying, it’s fortifying your cognitive techniques. Any when you need to see me again, just put in a HNR.”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

Hi Jon,
I have been reading your blog with some interest and note the deplorable conditions that you describe. You writing is clear, concise and amusing.
You blokes really do hard time over in the states compared to my experiences in Queensland Australia. Our prisons seem like holiday camps in comparison.
The only time food was in short supply was during my 5 day stint in the watch house (the first place all arrested people go), but once at the prison itself, it was not too bad.
Chapters 29 -32 of my online novel (http://themeeningoflife.blogspot.com/) describe my experiences over a two month period incarcerated in a variety of Australian correctional facilities.
Anyway good luck with your writing and I'll check your site regularly for updates.
PS_ - How are things going for you at the moment and when do you get out?
GR Klein

Sue said...

Jon, I hate to piss on your bonfire because I love your blog, and can't wait for the day you are released.
I just hope you're aware that USCIS (INS) can be utter twunts and may keep you longer than you expect.
Just my 2 cents, I'll be there myself real soon.........

Love Kpop said...

There are things I can not understand but I will learn it. I think nothing is too late. Then I realized that I had improved a lot.