Incarcerated: 15 years
Housed: Corcoran State Prison, California
I don’t even know the person’s name who had a huge impact on my life. I found myself in a prison cell with little more than some writing materials and a book with contact information for colleges and universities from all across the country. I can’t say with any accuracy how many letters I sent out requesting an old text book that may be outdated or getting ready to be discarded. Out of the stacks of letters I sent out, I received one response. It came from someone in the English Department at the University of San Francisco. This person sent me three brand new textbooks on creative writing and poetry. I had written in my requests, that I wanted to turn my prison cell into a classroom. She responded along with the textbooks, with a note saying that she hoped these books would help, and offered her advice… she said, “Write, write everyday.” I took her advice and it’s taken me on quite a journey. A year’s worth of my daily journal writing was posted by Cornell University on their website, I have a stack of poetry I’ve written, a couple have even been published, I’ve been asked to write pieces for a couple prisoner advocacy publications, as well as earning an AA degree in Fine Arts, graduating with highest honors. All this and more developed from the kind heart of someone I don’t even know, almost 15 years ago. Her KWD started me on my journey of recovery and rehabilitation. She changed my life, and I’m continuously thankful to her.