Friday, May 19, 2017

William Myrl; Letters to No One (76)

Dear No One,

Several changes in security procedures coming up. We are in the process of making special visitation jumpsuits in the tailor shop. They zip in the back, and we will change into them before being able to go in. Other shops are busy making complete sets of whites, so when we have a visit we will be wearing a complete set of communal clothing. Socks, t shirt, and underwear all stamped red for visitation. This is intended to cut down on the illicit materials that are smuggled into this place. It will be a lot of bother for everyone, and slow down the visitation process, not sure what it will do for the smuggling industry. In addition, the vending machines in visitation will no longer sell chips, or anything without a clear bag, or any microwavable foods. 

The changes to mail policy are what inconveniences me. Everything we receive will be photocopied and shredded, the copies will be delivered to us. Cards, photos, no more. Nothing my family physically touches can be touched by me. I am almost religiously offended by this. It's as if they are attempting to combat the magical law of contagion. Moreover, they will limit individual correspondence to five pages or items per letter. They will copy up to three sheets, front and back, and the envelope itself counts as one page. They will make no effort to fit multiple small items onto one page, or to accommodate oversized paper. I'm glad I stopped sending home manuscripts as I wrote them, because getting back copies will soon require a laughable number of envelopes. This policy forces us to rely more on the Jpay email system, which will be great for their percentage. 

We'll get used to all this, and in a few years prisoners will come into the system accepting it as the status quo. Things go up and down, but it's a longstanding truism that when there is change, it is change for the worse.

On the lighter side of the news, Washington and Lee is hosting a class for the third year. Very exciting, and for the third year, I have unable to get past the application process. Submit a one paragraph answer to the question, "why am I interested in taking this course", those selected write an essay, and the top ten essays can take the class. Cool program, but I've never gotten as far as being allowed to write an essay. My paragraph answer was completely revamped, I thought I'd learned from last years failure where I talked myself up too much. Apparently not. There are a lot of people who put in, but you have to be three years charge free to qualify, so really we're talking less than a hundred legitimate applicants. Twenty get to do essays, ten get to be in the class. 

It is truly frustrating to me that I am not in the eightieth percentile or above in this process. I've not been graded this low in my life. I am technically an award-winning author (The award was fifty dollars, but I'm counting it.), and I'm not good enough for the Augusta Department of Corrections educational screenings dream team. After last time, my expectations were tempered, so I am not as angry as I was. It would be nice to be in a class, to have an actual teacher, talk to actual students, it would be a very non-prison experience. I'm disappointed that it seems like I'm never going to be a part of it, and its hard to swallow knowing that I simply care more about it than the people who are accepted. This is not a general statement, I personally know many of the people who were able to participate in the previous classes. I don't care a lot about a lot of things, most of what goes on in here falls below my register for emotional affect. Prison drama is not important. This would have been something different, so it meant something. With ten fresh slots, I thought, surely, I would be able to fill one. That's what happens when you have hope, William.

Hearts and Stars

William Myrl
Letters to No One

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