By Robert Pruett 999411, aka Simple Man

Week 20 2006

May 15, 2006
Yesterday was a productive one; I wrote five letters, wrote my journal entry, and read a few chapters of Brimstone. (That book is like 650 pages long, it'll take me awhile to finish it only reading 10-15 pages a day). My intentions were to get up this morning and write the two letters that haven't been responded to, but I opted to work on chapter two of my story today. I just might be able to finish this chapter by next week if I take care of business. But I don't want to neglect my friends, so I'll write those two letters as soon as I finish this entry.

I think I missed 4 out of 5 days of rec last week because I chose to write rather than rec. I know I can't live like that, I gotta get out of this cell and interact with people and work out. Tomorrow we go out first (outside) up here on two row, I plan on heading out and exercising most of the two hours. In fact, I'm going to rec every day this week for sure. Getting my story out is important, but I mustn't neglect my health, mental and physical, doing so.

So who's going to check out the new movie, "The Da Vinci Code?" Did you know that the lead character, Robert Langdon, is based on the late American mythologist Joseph Campbell? I didn't until here recently when my friend sent me an article with that info in it. Mr. Campbell's writing (particularly his classic, "The Hero With a Thousand Faces") has inspired me more than anything else in my life. Before my friend introduced me to his books, I struggled with the various religions of the world trying to comprehend the nature of God. In retrospect, the insights that I gained from Campbell seem like common sense, but that's not so. People have universal truths revealed to them daily, but if you're not ready to receive them, they won't register. They'll go into one ear and out the other, as my mother used to say. And I think a prerequisite for being ready is diligently and wholeheartedly seeking illumination. When the veil was lifted from my eyes I was at my wit's end, on the threshold of insanity, and all of a sudden it clicked. I recall shedding tears of joy, laughing uncontrollably, breathing heavily, and silently thanking God for enlightening me!! My life hasn't been the same since..........BTW - Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" inspired George Lucas' Star Wars movies.

May 16, 2006
If yesterday was a productive one, today was the polar opposite!! I did wake up at 5:50am and go outside first round of rec., and I did work out while out there, but that's about all I've done all day and it's shift change (6pm)! I spent most of the day talking to guys in the dayroom. The buzz on the pod is about the NBA play-offs, particularly the Dallas vs. San Antonio series, which has Dallas up 3 games to 1 in a 7 game series. There are a lot of guys from San Antonio on this pod and they've been crying about their Spurs all day! :-) I'm pulling for Dallas, it's all good to me.

Self-deception has been a big topic in my life as of late. It seems like everywhere I turn, I see it roaring its ugly head. I have talked to at least five individuals over the past couple of weeks who are convinced that they will walk away from death row free men. I have no idea what kind of issues they have in their cases, but I wish them the best of luck because they will need it. I would guess that at least 85 percent of the people here on the row, probably more than that, are convinced that they will walk away from this place, that they won't be executed. I don't have the statistics in front of me, but I guarantee you that 85% of the people on Texas' death row are not walking away! In fact, I think there has been less than 10 people (since the death penalty has been reinstated) who've had their convictions either dismissed, vacated, or been acquitted in a new trial. Nevertheless, the vast majority here refuse to believe that they will die here. Is that self-deception, or just being overly optimistic?

The guy I was talking to earlier said, "I like to read the 'Wall Street Journal' because I want to learn how the economy works so I can be prepared when I get out." I asked him if he had already received a reversal and he said he hadn't, but he expects one. I wished him the best and changed the subject.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it’s wrong or foolish to believe you won't die here. There's always a chance so long as you are alive and you never know what will happen in life. In the movie, "The Shawshank Redemption," the actor Tim Robbins said, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." And so many people here, and everywhere else in prison, live their lives, keeping the hope. And I agree that it's a good thing. But I also agree with another line in that same movie, "Get busy living, or get busy dying." Yeah, that last one sounds more like me.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow. The possibilities are endless. No matter how much we plan ahead and prepare for the future, we can't accurately predict what will happen all of the time. In fact, we can't accurately predict it 10 percent of the time, and that's probably a generous number. It's kinda like victims of Katrina or any other hurricane saying, "Fuck this, I'm moving away from the damn ocean, I'm tired of all these hurricanes!" and they move somewhere like Indiana or Kansas and think, "Yeah, this is more like it." Then a tornado kills them. Or the guy who was exonerated from death row a number of years ago. I imagine he wiped his brow upon receiving the news that he'd be free soon and planned for a long fulfilling life. He got killed in the free world not long after his release. My point is that we don't know what will happen next. So why exert all of your energy worrying about something not in your control? I'm not saying don't plan ahead and prepare for your future, that would be foolish, but why spend all of your time fretting over it after you've done what you can do? I read a quote one time that said something along the lines that 90 percent of what we worry about happening never happens anyway. A wasted experience if you ask me.

I'm not worried about these folks killing me. I'd like to optimize my experiences on this plane of reality, gather an abundance of them as well, but to me it's a waste of this moment provided to me to dwell on something out of my control. Life is too short for that. I'm not afraid of death, it has no power over me, it's just another part of the cycle of life.

May 17, 2006
It's 2:45pm and I'm waiting to go to rec. What better way than to holler at the world? Yeah, right! More like the handful of you who have the patience to read this. Anyhow, it might be second shift before they rec me because they like to feed chow with the dayrooms empty. They might rack the guys in the dayroom up (yeah, kinda like balls on a pool table! ;-)), feed chow, then let second shift finish up the last round of recs. I shall soon see. Actually, they just told me to get ready for rec, so I will wrap this up and prepare it to send out. I have work to do when I return from rec. Talk to you tomorrow.

May 21, 2006
It has been said that death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but I'd add change to that list. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. And I think a change is in order with regards to my journal entries. I realize that my daily entries are piling up, making it difficult for people to read them in their entirety. So, after some deliberation, I have decided to write weekly, rather than daily, entries. This change will not only reduce the content of my journal, it'll free up time for me to write my autobiography. So it's a win-win situation.

It has been a frustrating week on many levels. I didn't get much work in on my autobiography. After writing a large portion of a first draft on chapter 2, I trashed it and decided to start over. Before I could begin another draft, my radio started acting up on me. I tried everything I could think of to fix the problem, but nothing seemed to work. At one point I was so angry that I slammed my head on my desk! Yeah, I know, I'm retarded ;-) But while I was rubbing my head to alleviate the pain, the light bulb clicked on above my head! Excited, I tried something that I hadn't previously tried and the radio reception came back in crystal clear! The moral of the story? Sometimes it DOES help to bang your head up against hard surfaces!

A problem that we all are experiencing on E-pod concerns our ventilation system. 12 building on these Michael prototype units has central air conditioning and heating, as most of you well know, unlike the other buildings on these units. The other buildings have windows that can be opened though, with the exception of 11 building (a disciplinary building). Right now they have our air conditioner turned off and it's above 90 degrees outside. They claim that they can't turn the air back on because maintenance has the key to the room where the controls are. So we're stuck in a hot box with no ventilation until tomorrow at the earliest. I have a fan, thankfully, but there are guys here who don't and they're burning up right now. If it gets too hot, I have no qualms about getting naked, filling my cell with water and lying down in it to cool off. I've done it before. When an officer asks, "Why are you naked, Pruett?" I just tell them, “Why is the air off? You get the air turned back on, I'll put my clothes back on!" That's why I prefer it be cold rather than hot in these cells. You can always add a layer of clothing when it gets too cold, but it's almost impossible to escape the heat…. I’ll be up bright and early in the morning on top of this issue.

I wrote entries the first three days of this week, so I'll cut this one off here. The Detroit vs. Cleveland game is about to come on, I'll listen to that. I'll catch up with y'all next week.

One day at a time,
Simple Man