Since I arrived at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp on August 26th, many people have sent books and magazines from my Amazon Wish List (listed under firstname.lastname@example.org). Unfortunately, by the time I receive them, the packages have been opened, inspected and the sender’s name is sometimes missing. If you have done that and I haven’t personally thanked you, it’s because I don’t know you were the sender, but thank you very much. These books have been entertaining and inspirational. Some have significantly impacted the focus of my thoughts and what I’ve written here.
While here, I have rediscovered the joy and beauty of the written letter, which apparently is not a lost art. Unlike email or texts, written letters can be savored and loved. I’m amazed that my friends have semi-legible handwriting. Without a doubt, mail call is the highlight of my day. Many have written words of encouragement and support, some have included pictures, articles, and newspaper clippings. Knowing that people I love are thinking about me is strengthening and comforting, but more importantly, these letters have helped me stay connected to their lives and the lives of their families. One of my fears in coming here was that the lives of my friends would move on, while I was suspended here in a time warp. Thanks to these letters, that hasn’t happened.
My family has consistently visited me and bought me a Dr. Pepper at each visit. A few friends have also braved the Bureau of Prison visitation process which can take many weeks to complete. One friend lives nine hours away. Some inmates tell me that they don’t like visits as they disrupt their routine and can lead to depression afterward. My experience has been exactly opposite. Visits have been invigorating, and I’m grateful for every visit.
I’m thankful that I’m able to write this blog and that there are people who apparently read it. I hope that I’ve been able to provide friends with a glimpse into my perspective on life inside a federal prison camp. Obviously there are things I can’t write about, but the suitable material is still abundant. I know it’s been a healthy exercise for me to write, and I’m grateful for the chance to do just that.
There are good people in this place. I’m fortunate to be able to share my life at this camp with them. It’s unfortunate we’re not camping in Yosemite.