27 Jan 09

Dawn of a New Adventure

Sunday 25th Jan 09 1:10pm

I believe in making success happen. I have a plan. I intend to work hard implementing my plan, and I am shortly relocating to the city I can best put my plan into effect. That’s why I am presently on a train to London, the centre of literature in England.

First stop: a two-bedroom house in Guildford. I am viewing this house for the first time. It is owned and lived in by my friend Mike Hotwheelz. If the house is satisfactory, and that includes a distinct absence of cockroaches, I am going to move there on the 8th of February.
I’ve had a splendid year of being mollycoddled by my parents – daily home-cooked meals, mum’s laundry service, dad's apple-carrot smoothies – but now it’s time for me to make my way in the world alone.

Tomorrow’s agenda: I have to be up at 6am to meet my new boss, Tony, in London. Tony is training me to speak to audiences of hundreds of youths about my life, prison and the consequences of drugs. It was Tony’s suggestion that I move to London to be where the bulk of his work is, and I’m happy to be finally making some progress on that front.

I’ll continue this letter on my return train journey tomorrow.

Monday 26th Jan 09 6:45pm

I am thrilled about today’s accomplishments and the house I viewed in Guildford.

Jockeying for room among a gazillion London-bound commuters on the train and then the tube was how my day started. I met Tony – tall, soft-spoken, grey-haired, radiating good vibes – at his Harley Street practice. Formerly an alcoholic who trashed his life, Tony pulled himself together and has counselled for decades.

Tony drove us to a local school. He did a forty-five minute presentation on alcohol for three-hundred sixteen-year olds. Although he confessed to still getting nervous before presentations, he proved to be a dab hand – excellent use of body language, voice inflection and audience engagement. Sitting at the front of the large school hall, I felt the energy emanating from the audience.
When his speech ended to much applause, it was heartbreaking to see a sobbing girl emerge from the crowd. She told Tony and a senior staff member that she is suffering abuse at the hands of her alcoholic parents. Tony pledged to do some follow-up counselling for her. He said I need to be aware that my presentations – which he’s titling Green Bologna and Pink Boxers – will bring things to the surface of those members of my audience with a parent in prison.
Tony is presently designing a flyer for my presentations, to send to schools. He wants me to draw up a list of topics pertaining to my jail experience and to aim to speak about those for forty minutes. I’ll be taking questions for the remaining twenty minutes of the presentation. He doesn’t want me to practice a script as such, but rather to just get on the stage and develop my own style. He said everyone is nervous at first, but I’ll get used to it, and I’ll love it. I concur.

The house in Guildford is ideal. Guildford is a picturesque town with its own university, castle and cathedral – the cathedral filmed in the horror movie The Omen. The house is in the town centre, where I experienced a young cosmopolitan population, bustling with students and bohemian-looking types. Everything I need – grocery store, gym, library, government buildings – is within walking distance. The house was quiet at night. Mike is a mover for a food cash and carry, and his work schedule dictates he sleeps from 10pm till 6am. And most importantly, there’s plenty of space in the bedroom for me to set up my writing operation and go at it like a mad monk.

So how can I afford all of this? Actually, I can not. I am moving with no money at all. I am still technically unemployed – I haven’t made a paycheque yet – so I qualify for Housing Benefit, which means the government will pay my rent until I am pulling in enough income to fend for myself. For living expenses, I’ll continue to get Income Support. I am taking a risk on success, but I am confident of achieving my goals. In the near months, I’ll be happy if I can make enough to get by, while still having time to write and to help our friends inside by posting their stories to the Internet.
The last time I embarked on an adventure like this was when I immigrated to America with only student credit cards to survive on. In anticipation of this move, my excitement level is rising and my mind is steeling itself to deal with whatever challenges may arise.

Email comments or questions to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

You know me and my horror movies. We must stop there when we come to visit.


kristi said...

Best wishes on your move.

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Sounds like the perfect set-up for success. New surroundings and the knowledge that "you're in charge" will be motivating I'm sure! And I agree that the public speaking will be hugely motivating and cause reaction, especially among younger people. That's the best result of going through any bad experience, that it can be shared in such a way as to help another person in their own struggle.

Anonymous said...

What you want to do, right, to supplement your income is start putting on Raves in Kent and then - ah, hang on, no, perhaps not....

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Sean! I've been following your blog for several years now and it's heart-warming to see you come this far.

Please take my best wishes with you on the next phase of your journey.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shaun, wow that is cool living in London, i read your blog and it's great news, may need to get your mum to send u down the occasional roast dinner though hahahaha

I am sure it all will work out and u will give alot of support and advice to people that need it and how rewarding will that be!! brilliant news. U may be broke but aint we all lol money is not everything, well i say so hahaha all money done for me is give me untold grieve rather be skint lol


Anonymous said...

Sign the petition to lower the cost of calls from family and loved ones in prison:

http://www. thepetitionsite. com/3/lower-the-cost-of-calls-from-prison

Freakin Happy :D

Anonymous said...

I'M in London right now and i am not happy.

Crown Production

Rachel said...

Welcome to London and Best Wishes for your plans, they sound like good plans to me xx

Chris Phoenix said...

Sounds exciting!

Just be careful that the challenge of this new path doesn't ramp up your manic side, to the point that you need unhealthy entertainment...

Anonymous said...

I think you may perhaps be overselling Guildford, surely one of the most bland commuter towns to have ever entered existence (with apologies to Surbiton).

Anonymous said...

nice one dude
onwards and upwards


Jon said...

Thanks for all of your well wishes!

Coming from a northwestern chemical town, Guildford looks bloody good to me.

In my spare time, I'll be reading and going to the gym. Iron Man is urging me to sign up for martial arts.


Shaun Attwood

Anonymous said...

Read the blog and wish you all the success you so richly deserve and more!

Sue Scam

Anonymous said...

Hay Hun I get down London every so often with mates or southend on sea, will let you know so we can all go out for a drink or to...take care and remember only you can change you, but you can tell others how and why you did it !!!luvs ya c u soon

Curry girl x

Anonymous said...


I looking forward to Guildford. I'm curious to see this city. Ha... I like the movie "The Omen" :)
I think you write fantastic. It is fun to read your reports.
I'm proud of you.


Kathi xxx

Anonymous said...

Can I have your dad's recipe for apple carrot smoothies?


Anonymous said...

Hi Shaun,

Congratulations on your move and your new work. The journal style entry about your day sounded really inspiring and exciting and yes, I'm not surprised that your colleague Tony warned about things coming to the surface in the young people you address. It's a shame another good person moves to London!!!!! May I ask what prompted the move Shaun? Where are you going to base yourself? When do you start work? will you be self employed? A million questions I know...forgive me! I'm naturally inquisitive and love to hear about people doing exciting new things :-)


Jon said...


In response to your questions, basically Tony is headquartered in London, and he said it would make working for him a lot easier if I moved down there. I shall be based in Guildford. Hotwheelz said I can live with him for 7 months. Hopefully, I'll have the resources to get my own place by then. I was recently invited to live in Germany, so that is also another option. I start work when I get bookings from schools. I am not on a salary, and will not get paid till I get booked and do presentations. I am unsure if I am classified as self employed.

I appreciate your interest in my new career.

Shaun Attwood

Anonymous said...


You are already writing on a fairly regular basis. Have you thought about getting some money for it by putting a few ads on the blog for some pints and crisp money?

Sponsor candidates:

Fry's Polony. It's english vegetarian bologna and the garlic version even comes in a green wrapper!

Bawbags - UK company that makes boxer shorts and has a nice pink leopard skin version!


Some Amazon ads for John Updike books.

Pest control company or cockroach spray.

UK Home office antidrug campaign.

Lots of opportunities...


Jon said...


I feel ads would detract from the purpose of the blog, which is to help prisoners. But your ad ideas ceratinly cracked me up.

Shaun Attwood

Noelle said...

Shaun-it has been awhile since I have been on your blog. I am so please to read what I just read!!! Congratulations!!! I have absolutely NO DOUBT that you will succeed! I really mean that. I miss our emails~but alas! I am "better" now and emerging myself into "my life", the one "I" chose for ME. No more looking for more than I need, no more looking back into the past, only forward from hear on out. Most of all I learned that things are how they are because this is how it is supposed to be-it is the right way, the best way for me. Guessing it is a lesson we have both learned togethe,r in a round about way. Please tell my Frankie I am so very sorry to not be able to write to him any longer. I feel I have let him down and I am terribly saddened by that. I sincerely hope he is doing well and moving forward too. "When all you go keep is strong, move along ..." our motto! Peace and much respect, Noelle

Anonymous said...

I can understand that.

What if "Jon" made a return and published 4 or 5 pieces and answered some Q&A about being in a US prison in the Guilford Times?

Might get you a few pounds and you could remain annonymous. You might even get some writing tips.

Or you could stay away from your past all together and write a few pieces on spec about being a newcomer in Guilford and seeing if you could flog them off? Use your observation skills to write a few feel good pieces with the "Your Guilford seen through a stranger's eyes" angle. First week "My new local".

People always like to read how others see them and then argue about it. Local papers always like cheap content to help fill out the ads.


Anonymous said...

> Hello shaun me-tarryn. i got my first letter from
> t-bone!yippee.and he asked me to pass this message on to you this was
> said by t-bone in hs letter - let him know that i do think of him and
> for him to realise one thing, i will swim the atlantic ocean to get to
> him if he gets himself into any trouble in london town or any where
> else for that matter and for him to keep it real and hold his nose to
> the quind stone.stay focuse on the objectives and thank you for being
> you- thats what he wants you to know. thankx alot.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and best of luck in this new adventure, Shaun!

Mr Pineapples said...

Yea but Jon...listen...

What about the Arsenal eh?

There you are living in London and all....and the Arsenal are just playing krap...

You know it Jon...dont you.

Just pop over there mate - have a word with that stuborn FRENCH gett and get it moving.

Inspire the bugger with some inspirational stuff...

Counting on you bro

Flying High said...

Good luck! I lived in that neck of the woods for many years. It's lovely! I hope you'll be very happy there.

Anonymous said...

Give it a year and you will be a success. You have the determination and more importantly the desire to make any dream happen. Good luck and don't get lost in Guildford. Its a bloody maze!

Ian H