Friday, September 28, 2007


On April 30th this year I wrote a post called we all make mistakes where (among other things) I mentioned I'd sent a letter to an American prisoner through the Write a Prisoner scheme. It was my second attempt to make contact with an inmate and now almost 5 months later (hard to believe) it's time for an update.

I received an unexpected reply to my letter about 3 weeks later. And we've been corresponding ever since. In fact I've got a stack of letters here - 16 as of today. I write to a man who goes by the nickname 'Gypsy' and I was initially interested in him because as well as being gay we happen to share the same birthday (different years). A starting point.

The first letter he wrote to me was pretty brief, which he pointed out was because (in his experience) a lot of people who write to him never write a second time. Not me. I wrote back gay away er straight away. I then received a second brief letter, which took about 4 weeks to reach me. He'd been transferred to another prison unit and had had to wait for my letter to be redirected/catch up with him.

Since those initial 2 letters every other letter he's written has been very long (as most of mine are to him). Sometimes we receive more than one a day/week. (No wonder I haven't been blogging). In each letter we reveal more details about ourselves. And as he opens up with each letter he writes I see a change in his attitude. His letters have become lighter. We make each other laugh a lot. We joke about things, we discuss our similarities, share our frustrations, talk about the weather, teach each other slang words n sayings. We discuss books, food and music and how fucked the (Texas) prison system is can be.

I've just sent him a batch of photos I took in Croydon of native Aussie birds - a kookaburra, a rosella, galahs etc - and other local identities. So I can't wait for his response. I've also recently started sending him extra punishment print outs of drift. He's happy for me to mention him here. In one letter Gypsy told me most people stop writing after 3-6 months. As far as I can see I'll be writing to him for the long haul.

Of course Sheila's predicting I'll become "like one of those women who fall in love with a prisoner". But I have no intention of switching gender and becoming a woman... Not surprisingly everyone asks why is he doing time. The way I see it, his biggest crime is that he doesn't watch Television. I guess I'll learn to live with that. The mistake I made was not putting pen to paper and writing sooner


Blogger Litzi said...

Hi Nash,
I remember your blog informing us that you’d joined the “Write a Prisoner” program. At the time I thought it was admirable idea but wondered if it’d pan out in the long run. And now 5-months later you’re exchanging letters fast and furiously with Gypsy. Your epistles and photographs must be a breath of fresh air for him, and obviously you’re finding the relationship quite rewarding as well. “His biggest crime is that he doesn’t watch Television”…he should be given an award for eschewing the boob-tube! One thing you didn’t mention is how long he’ll be incarcerated; will he ever see the light of day outside the prison walls?

There’s a coincidence file here that you may have overlooked. When you first started “talking” to me (what other word applies?) you mentioned that a former employer said you were like a “gypsy” because you were always travelling and/or on the move. Now you’re corresponding with someone by the same appellation. Hmmm.

Don’t beat yourself up for waiting a few months to write; what matters is that you’re corresponding now. Perhaps through words you’ll be able to brighten the Holidays up a bit….

September 29, 2007 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

YAY! for 1) writing to him; 2) writing for US!
Fell free to tell him about my "My Dad's in Prison" project, if he has an friends in there with kids who think they might want to submit an essay.
And you have no idea how many cool point he gets (or envy) for recieving letters from abroad. Make sure you use airmail envelopes so everyone can see!

September 30, 2007 1:25 AM  
Blogger Litzi said... could hear a pin drop in here it's soooo quiet!

October 01, 2007 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very captivating (pardon the pun)I can't wait to hear all the news from dear Gypsy - as far as my prediction goes - we will see...we will see...

October 02, 2007 8:21 AM  
Blogger Litzi said...

The silence is deafening...

October 05, 2007 9:59 AM  
Blogger Campbell said...

Good on you Nash. Looking forward to hearing more about the correspondence.

October 08, 2007 8:23 PM  
Blogger nash said...

Hi Miss Litzi,
I thought it was about time I made a racket (and apologies for the delay)... You came to mind when I wrote that comment about not watching the boob-tube and if I can forgive Gypsy I can forgive you too!

You're right on the (magic 8) ball with your comment about a former boss of mine calling me a gypsy and I've written about it in one of my letters to my new pen friend. Now, as for how long he'll be incarcerated, his earliest release date is 2011, which is when he'll be eligible for parole

Hi Marc,
YAY to you for commenting! I've already mentioned your project to Gypsy and I'll let you know the outcome. And yes, I have been using airmail envelopes, but I've been writing so much I've just run out of 'em...

Hi Sheila,
Keep the puns coming and a few more predictions are always welcome

Hi Campbell,
Good to hear from you and yes, I'll definitely keep everyone posted...

Thanks for your comments everyone. I'm stuck with shitty internet for about a week longer, but then I'll be back to normal (whatever that means)

October 09, 2007 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Arkano18 said...


Came here blogging and read your post; interesting, it's an experience unique, to share your life and the vision of your world through a written piece of paper... simply fascinating.

I'm J, and your blog is nice :D

Receive a hug from Chile.

October 10, 2007 9:50 PM  
Blogger Litzi said...

Hi Nash,
Three years isn’t that long, although I suppose it’s a lifetime when you’re in prison. Does Gypsy have any idea or plans for what he’s going to do when he’s released? Are you two still corresponding frequently?

Have you noticed how “quiet” bloggers have become recently? Sometimes I think I scare people off, but a lot of sites are rather shy in the comments. Maybe it’s cyclical…

October 16, 2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well meditate on this Rift.

This week in the US marks a landmark crisis airing on the Young and the Restless from 19/10 to 26/10.

The publicity alone sees longtime characters devestated by the collapse of Nikki Newman's Clear Springs Project and the possible demise of Victoria Newman.

A source close to me working at CBS tells me that the tension on set was high.

As cast and crew considered that the set resembled 9/11 many years ago, one longtime actress on the show stated 'Never work with kids, animals or rubble...and I don't mean Betty Rubble'. - A true professional, Jean Cooper (AKA Katherine Chancellor) keeping the spirits high yet again.

Y & R - Out of the Ashes. God Bless America. God Bless Nikki Newman.

October 21, 2007 10:01 PM  
Blogger Litzi said...

Pardon me?

October 22, 2007 10:30 AM  
Blogger FireHorse said...

What is 'anonymous's' trip? lol

October 25, 2007 12:33 AM  

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