06 Nov 07
Parting Advice from T-Bone (2)
“I’m more likely to be hanging out at the library than at a club with women like that,” I said.
“You think people don’t do drugs at libraries?” T-Bone said. “At the Phoenix library these two guys started talking to me about Civil War history. We continued the discussion at a coffee shop. We were having an intense enlightening conversation. The next thing you know one of the guys goes, ‘I wanna do a line to wake up.’ So I leave 'em to it. I get in my truck and keep going. They weren’t my type of people. They were brainiacs like you. And if you are going back to university, so many people do drugs there, it’s unreal. It’s part of college life now to do glass to stay up.”
“You need to understand some simple things. All kinds of challenges are gonna come at you – bam! - ’cause you’re back out there again.”
“I’m not gonna worry about it. My mum’s more worried than I am.”
“That’s ’cause she loves you. You’re getting out, the weather’s gonna hit you, your mom’s face, your father’s face, your sister, the smell of the house, memories, memories good, memories bad, you’ll think about stuff that happened here – the American women – and your gonna miss that. There’s gonna be times when you feel bored, lonely, incomplete, and those are the moments when you’ve gotta make the right choices. In your little town there’s not gonna be a whole lotta things going on on the surface.”
“I know, but I intend to go back to university.”
“You’re an intelligent man, you don’t need a professor to teach you something you already know how to do.”
“I need refinement.”
“And practice will bring you that. Find some interesting characters to write about. You’ll be like Dickens.
I’ve come to realise, patience is the key when you first get out of prison. You have to develop things, build things slowly. There’s people who are positive and negative that are going to be coming into your life – some will be sneaky, some will be outright. If they catch you in certain moods and situations and you make a bad choice, you will fall. It doesn’t matter if they’re in a stretch limo or a Mini Cooper, you hafta be able to size them up and make the right choices in every situation you are in. When I first got out, I thought I’d changed from my old ways, but I went back to it in a different way. There’s levels of stupidity. You think, Well, I’ve changed. I’ll do it this way now. I’ll go to the clubs, but not get in the mix. I’ll just get a drink, say hello to a few people and leave. But then you fall right back into it.”
“My focus is on writing, not clubbing.”
“So you’ve made a conscious decision that that’s what you’re gonna focus on in your life?”
“If you’re set with that then you can’t deviate if things go south.”
“I won’t, I’ll persevere.”
“You never know what tomorrow will throw at you. There are levels of intensity you’ve gotta go through, like being a Royal Marine set on defending England. Or the guys with the bearskin caps that stand there without blinking. It takes a special man to be able to do that – English focus – and you have that in your blood. You have ability, just apply it. Apply the positive you’ve learned; the negative, get rid of it. Stay focussed on your objective. Don’t allow small-minded people to come along and bring you down. With a mind like yours, you’re gonna make money, but challenges will arise. And don’t forget to sit down with Mom and Pop.”
“I know you won’t go back to your old ways because if you do then you’re gonna have to deal with me.”
“I’m gonna miss ya, man.”
“I’m gonna miss you too. L ’n’ R, my friend.”
“L ’n’ R and God bless you.”
Through Yard 1’s perimeter fence, I shook one of the biggest hands I’ve ever seen - the hand of T-Bone.
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