Greetings from the Abyss by Jack (Part 13)

Jack is serving life without parole, and has terminal cancer. Throughout my incarceration, Jack was a positive influence. He encouraged me to keep writing, to enter short-story competitions, and we proofread each other’s chapters. Jack is seeking pen pals, so anyone interested please email me at for his details.

Hello, my friend. How are you today? Well, I hope

DOC has just hit us with a new change to policy concerning the receipt of food securepaks and books. We will no longer be able to receive these things from just anyone. We will only be allowed them from individuals on our pre-approved visitor list. The term DOC used was “authorized adult visitors.” DOC’s reasoning is that it will cut down on the ability of drug users to pay their debts through the securepak system. It’s faulty logic if you ask me. There are many different ways to circumvent this issue, and all DOC has done is cause a momentary irritation that will probably lead to more assaults until the new pay off method is worked out. Personally, I’d like to see some verified statistics that justify this move. Sounds more like the typical knee-jerk DOC reaction. Anyway, thank you for the securepaks you sent. They were appreciated and always a pleasant surprise.

On a writing note: the last best seller to go on to be a blockbuster movie is Cassandra Claire’s The Mortal Instrument. Real name Judith Lewis, represented by Simon and Schuster. Two books in this series have gone to #1 worldwide. I mention this as something for you to consider. I realize it would be pandering to the masses, but sometimes it is necessary to try several different avenues. While I haven’t read Claire’s books yet, I’ve read the first five of R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series and understand the appeal. I guess what I’m saying is don’t pigeonhole yourself. You have the natural ability, so flex your muscles and give it a try.

I received your letter and printouts this week. Draft chapter 1 of your new self-help book reads well. I had to read it a couple of times to reach that decision though. The section with you moving to Tucson into a gated guarded community didn’t read smoothly for me at first, but after going back over it, I think it was more my own flawed perception than anything to do with your sentence structure.

It must be nice to have your own meditation master to guide you in the UK. I have to admit that I have not dedicated as much time to my own meditations as I once did, or that I would prefer to do now. All the usual excuses apply but none bear repeating here. The journey you are on can be as difficult or easy as you make it, once again it comes down to you and your choices. This seems to run through everything in life.

I have enclosed some poems from JR who you met during your time here.

Time to go my friend. I hope you are well and happy. Take care and tell all I said Hi and wish them the best.

Always yours,


Two poems from JR:


All things of love and intimacy
Held just out of reach
Only serve to stalk my sanity
I wonder, What do you hope to teach?
You’ve compounded my hatred
Keeping all I love at bay
Have you turned me into a sociopath
So you can point at me and say –
“Look at that hardened criminal
Full of anger and hate!”
But you know I was quite the opposite
Before I walked through your front gate!

This Cruel Place

In this cruel place
Where hate runs rampant
Far away from society
Outcasts of the human race
Touch the fringe
Of lost sanity
Unlucky recipient
Of pent-up anger
Now gone to meet his maker
His spirit now roams
A much better place –
His body’s with the undertaker

To leave this cruel place
As you once were
Is but an elusive dream
With feelings of loneliness
Hate, anger and despair
Everything’s changed, or it will seem

Someday soon, maybe
You will get out
They will say: “You now are free!”
But the inner reality
Is that it will take many years
To shed what’s inside of me.

Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

I love that Prisoner poem, going to show it to my students....


Anonymous said...

Yeah the new securepak situation really sucks, even if you are on the inmates approved visitor list doesn`t guarantee you`ll be able to order for your inmate. I am an approved visitor and still wasn`t allowed to place an order. WTF!