There is NO way I can physically escape prison. I am stuck physically. However, I have found my outlet of escape and that’s through my writing. My imagination has a way of taking me anywhere at any given time. As I journey through the archives of my own imagination, I re-experience joys of my past or if I like, I can change things around to how I like. Then, my harsh reality strikes…

Negative energy

I live in a place inundated with tons of negative energy. Not just from prisoners but the staff as well. Throughout the day, I consume enough negative energy through my daily interactions that it would crumble the pliant. On the average there’s always someone thinking that they’re mentally heavier than the rest of the crowd. I have a mechanism for them. I coolly change the subject by talking about some random bull shit. Amazingly enough, it feels like being around ‘old women’ on the front porch who gossip and assume crazy shit about everybody. Crazy shit of their own imagination. This veers back to why I write.


The imagination can be GOOD or HORRIBLE, it’s your choice. If not careful, one can retard the imagination. The same goes for stressful situations. When one is dropped in prison for the first time, one will learn heavily on his own imagination. For instance: a person is riddled in poverty. They’re fighting for their life. Just out of the blue one feels as if the judge and D.A. will realize their mistake and send for them. You’d be amazed at the prisoners who imagine this. Or even worse, one goes for years without uttering one word to an old lover and expects that lover to remain faithful while serving time. Then one day a letter arrives with the sour news that the old lover has gone. The shock of reality can, in most cases, bring the imaginer back to reality or in some cases, the imaginer will become a cracked pot.


So know that the imagining of things can go ridiculously wrong. But I try to use my imagination for creating opportunities for myself as well as an escape. For instance, as I write, the smallish dayroom is jammed packed with several conversations going at one time. The two T.V.’s are blasting sports on one and news on the other. Two guys are struggling to follow their friend’s conversation on the phone and lastly, the screaming prisoner guard is going just that, screaming.

In this hodgepodge of noise, I write. In doing so, I escape the loud chatter. In the midst of all the craziness, I connect with my inner thoughts and as I write, all the noise slowly drifts away. Focus, attention to details are a must. Singing is said to calm the savage beast, so goes for writing. I’m not a beast but I am living in a beastly situation in prison.

Try writing, it’s wonderfully calming to the soul. If you try it … you may discover something amazing.

Derrick L. Griffin, 26-10-2021