Tuesday, May 19, 2015

William Myrl, Letters to No One (15-5-02)

Dear No One,

There is an art contest. This has never happened before. There was a memo posted on the bulletin board in the pod. Submissions were to be at least 8 1/2 by 11 and done in any medium available on commissary.The rec department would not provide materials, and all entries would have to be in by the eleventh. I was immediately excited. Will we get our art back? Is there even a prize? Shall I submit by burning incense and praying to FSM? None of these questions were addressed in the memo, and yet I find myself jumping at the opportunity to make something I can shame others with. I am intensely competitive about two things; writing and portraiture. There is no one here that can make me feel challenged in the first pursuit, which is more a statement about my environment than about my talent. 
Drawing has always been a secondary hobby, one that I value though I may not excel in. It isn't as salable, so it was deliberately placed on the back-burner as long as I was practicing my ability to make the words happen. The advent of my website (williammyrl.com) has changed things to an extent, given that my writing has to be typed but my drawings can be scanned immediately. The recent availability of a limited form of email and a very limited form of typing has shifted the dynamic again, hence these letters, but I put more of myself into drawing than was my previous want. Two days I have spent on this thing, I asked a friend a single piece of his oversize sketch pad paper, I normally use printer paper, and this meant I could do something big. I collected reference pictures, composed a scene and a small poem to go with it. It's likely the best thing I have done, I will be disappointed if I never see it again after it is submitted. Keep you posted.
My back is sore from overdoing dead lifts. I have not been consistent the last few months and it shows. Standing was so uncomfortable the day after that I was getting some kind of sympathy pangs from my legs, if that is a real phenomenon. Do you ever wonder about how you can care so much about the feelings of those you don't actually care about? I am aware of some of the mechanics involved, simple operant conditioning, desire for approval and the expanded circle of humanity, these things do their work on a level beneath the conscious. I'll have to write out a bit of a character study for you another time so you'll have some idea of what I'm talking. I often wish that I was less nice, in prison and in life you will have to deal with people that are more interested in you than you are in them. I am not speaking romantically here, they will want your time, your attention, reciprocal signs of an affection you don't feel. 
This has happened to me more than once, and I am terrible at handling it. I find it easier to give a little than to risk conflict or to refuse and risk social disapproval I shouldn't care for in the first place. Over long spans these small trades add up to an expectation I can no longer effectively manage. The thing about prison is that you cannot always avoid people you would rather not see, we all eat and live in the same areas.
It may be a healthy exercise for me to be forced to deal with others directly. I am not the same young man I was six years ago. I have learned to give less for the asking, to care less about what others think and believe. These are useful lessons, and as a simple point of fact I would benefit from developing these abilities much further than I have. I am still nice, and I try to be diplomatic enough that no one comes out hurt. The social situations that arise when sixty people live together in a dorm and have minimal occupation other than that of their own devising are as intricate as any episode of Little Women of LA. A reality show would be interesting, for a time. I have bored you long enough.
Most of this letter happened to Taylor Swift.

William Myrl (15-5-02)

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