Plants That Go bad hilarious video of nature:
Ahem. Frog Gravy is a nonfiction incarceration account that contains graphic plants.
I would like to give a shout-out to Miss Heavren, the amazing JCTC Horticulture instructor for her stellar teaching and saint-like patience, as well as her dry sense of humor. One of her sayings remains with me: “Well, in a perfect world…”
This post is for Stan.
Barn. Jail art by Crane-Station on flickr. colored pencil and magazine ink.
Daffy. Jail art by Crane-Station on flickr. My favorite cartoon character. Colored pencil, ink, magazine ink.
Pine Bluff Dormitory Study Room, KCIW PeWEE Valley Women’s Penitentiary, Summer 2009.
I am in the study room of Pine Bluff Dormitory trying to design a soccer field for one of my Horticulture classes, and my friend Lindsay is helping me.
Lindsay is serving out a sentence of fifteen years and will be released in 2016. She is a delightful woman, full of energy and really smart. Lindsay is an honor inmate who is now a literary braille translator working on maps (this may be called tactile translation) and, since she already completed the Horticulture program and remembers the content of the classes, she is invaluable to me.
I am trying to design a soccer field, which pales in comparison to one of Lindsay’s previous golf course projects, and I am jealous of her, floored really, in the same way that Patrick Bateman is floored when Paul Allen’s business card is shown in the American Psycho business card scene.
Turns out that golf courses involve complicated design and maintenance, particularly the green, but even the fairway, which is why golf course superintendents make a lot of money.
I have chosen a soccer field because I love soccer, and played on two indoor and three outdoor teams in Seattle at one time. Old People’s Soccer is a sport for heathens who dish out a stunning variety of bad behaviors on a nightly basis, and then, the next morning, show up for work and blend in with the passing public. I used to carry an extra ACL knee brace in the trunk of my car, to the brutal coed indoor games, so that someone else could borrow it.
As an aside, I think that Old People’s Softball may be even more brutal than Old People’s Soccer, if that is possible.
I want a grass field because turf makes the game so fast. Lindsay helps me with the drainage design.
After a long stay in Ridgeview Dormitory, I requested the transfer to Pine Bluff Dormitory because Pine Bluff, which houses honor inmates and others serving lengthy sentences, is quieter and softer on the psyche. I miss my roommate from Ridgeview, Miss Pat, and I did not really want to leave her, but I was beginning to slide into depression at Ridgeview just because of the constant chaos.
I do not qualify to apply for honor status because I go up for parole at the end of the summer, but still, being housed with inmates in the honor dorm is much better. The study room we are in, for example, is quiet, and I can concentrate. While I earned A’s in Horticulture ultimately, it is a wonder I did not flunk out of school while I was living in Ridgeview Dormitory.
After we study, Lindsay goes to a bookshelf and retrieves an encyclopedia and opens it to the topic of The Riviera.
She explains to me that she has a male pen pal who is also in prison, and they write each other about all of the wonderful imaginary trips that they take, all over the world, on a regular basis. To take a trip, Lindsay uses the encyclopedia, and writes to her pen pal, the details of the coastline they see, the food they eat, and the side trips they will take.
Lindsay’s imaginary trips make an impression on me because she is so happy when she describes them, as if she is actually in these various beautiful places.
A few days later, I check out from the prison library The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. It is, without a doubt, the most poignant and inspiring memoir I have ever read. Author Jean-Dominique Bauby was working as the editor of the french Elle style magazine, when he suffered a devastating stroke that left him with a rare condition called ‘locked in syndrome,’ where a patient is fully aware and awake but cannot move or talk.
If ever there was a prison, this author was in it. He could communicate only by blinking one eye. A speech pathologist constructed a chart of the French alphabet, in order of the most-used letters first. A communicator would point to the letters as they appeared and Bauby would blink at the letter that he wanted to use, and so, letter by letter he wrote his story.
In his story he takes trips to beautiful places where he tastes his favorite foods, all in his mind, and he is thus freed from his devastating physical incarceration.
After release I obtain my own copy. Lindsay’s imaginary trips and Jean-Domonique Bauby’s memoir will change my view of prison.
That is, there need not be walls to make a prison, and there are no walls in the mind.