From Warrior (Letter 1)
I hope all is well as you receive this letter. I hope your spirits are thriving as you embrace a newfound perspective on freedom and enjoying life in its entirity. You’ve earned it.
Two Tonys mentions you all the time. He speaks highly of you and quite often. In some ways, you’re a surrogate son, or perhaps the subconscious eqivalent of Donny Brasco (you, minus the FBI element, of course) and Sonny Black (him). In any case he really digs you and mentions all of your achievements in the time you were here. He says, “Da kidz gonna beez sumbaudy!” and that you are a true and genuine person.
I met Two Tonys last year at the end of summer. I’d barely arrived here, and in the course of being mutually present on the rec field, we started small talk, and kept talking for several laps around the track – one of those six degrees of separation type deals as to who we know despite our age gap. Since then, we’ve shared our likes, dislikes, highs, lows, struggles and better days. I’m sure you agree, the next best blessing to being around this guy would be freedom.
One day he shared with me your blog. It caught my attention. In my down time, when I’m not at work or have my nose in a book, I toy with writing. It’s something I’m really trying to cultivate these days. I feel I have a lot to say so I’m working on the how to say it.
Allow me to share a little bit about myself. I am 31. I landed in prison with a 14 year sentence for kidnapping and aggravated assault. I come from a line of family that has been in some way, shape or form involved in drugs. I’m half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Unfortunately, I’ve also been incarcerated at various points in my life since I was a youth. Perhaps because male role models in my life were always from the criminal element. My family in Mexico were transporters/smugglers. From a young age I learned about the demand and commerce of narcotics.
Before incarceration, I was involved in martial arts. I’ve done martial arts off and on since I was young. An avenue of escape that enabled me to channel the warrior spirit I’ve always possessed. I was about to start competing in MMA (mixed martial arts). I was training in ’98 and ’99 as I recognized the popularity blossoming, and an opportunity for my life to take a positive turn. I caught my charges in 2000, and landed in prison in 2002.
Since prison, I struggled with the idea of what my life would be like for the next 14 years. Initially, I thought it was over. But once I met someone with 125 years, it didn’t seem all that bad. I’m sure you remember. I battled my demons, inner and outer, that this environment thrusts upon you or brings to the forefront. I’ve tried to become a better man from it. I’ve tried to nurture that renaissance quality that resides in all of us. I was almost murdered in 2004, an event that put a new sense of value and perspective on my life.
I hope to put forth some experiences that may touch your readers. Share an experience and see where it goes.
I thank you and Two Tonys for affording me an opportunity to explore the craft of writing deeper at your blog.
Live your life to the fullest and be fearless in all your endeavors.
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Shaun P. Attwood