by Wayne T. Dowdy
A friend read a few books and magazines on Positive Psychology and become a psychologist, at least, in his mind he did. He does offer some periodic, beneficial advice. In a conversation about my blogs and desire to increase the web traffic, he suggested I blog on more positive topics.
I learned a similar principle about writing when I took a writing course through the Long Ridge Writers Group, almost ten years ago. Life contains enough pain and negativity for each of us; many read to escape the realities of life, or want to read things to make them feel good about themselves or their environment.
Doom and gloom feeds the news channels, so why doesn’t it work for bloggers? Well, maybe it works for some. Not me. Actually, I don’t feel I write much doom and gloom in my blogs; however, I do confess that many are based on negativity. Hey, to create lightning, it takes a negative charge. Did I hear it thunder?
BLOG: According to Mr. Google, a blog is a “regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
I write in an informal and conversational style. I get a lot of local conversation based upon my blog content, unfortunately, my biggest audience cannot go online to click to “Like” or comment on my blog posts. Hundreds of my readers can only read my blogs from the “inside view,” through TRULINCS, and cannot access the Internet because most prisons prohibit us from doing so. (TRULINCS is the system Federal prisoners pay to use for emailing and phone services.)
HELP! My fan base continues to grow but I need your help to make it grow enough to attract advertisers so the blog pays me instead of me having to pay to blog (I pay $0.05 per minute to type the blogs to send to my publisher/friend, who converts it into the proper format and posts it online for you to read). Please share my link with others. Thanks!
BLOGGING FOR DOLLARS: In 2015 I wrote a blog titled the same. I am still working on how to blog for dollars, but as stated, I do need your help to increase traffic/page views, because without the web traffic, advertisers will not want to pay to advertise on my sites.
Bloggers may use Google Adsense to attract advertisers. If you are reading this on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com, you may see a periodic ad posted by different businesses. I am not sure about the waynedowdy.weebly.com blog.
Maybe my publisher already listed the website with Google Adsense and I’m earning a few nickels to help pay the bills and I just don’t know it. 🙂
WHAT DOES BLOG MEAN? The Internet Slang says, “BLOG means ‘Weblog, online diary.'”
A log of online posts/Web entries, I reckon it is, something burned into the memory of the deep blue web, where “WEblog.”
The Acronym Finder shows BLOG as an acronym for “Web Log,” “Better Listing on Google,” “Buy Locally Owned Group (Canada),” and my favorite, “Big Load of Gossip.” Copyright 1988-2014, AcronymFinder.com.
With the help of one of my dear sisters, I investigated what a blog is because numerous people have asked me over the years. I knew what a blog was and what it meant to me, since I have blogged for the last few years, but I was unaware of the actual meaning or if “BLOG” was an acronym for some mysterious online organization.
Now that we know the official definition for “Blog” (according to the referenced sources), I present a blog on my Independence Day at this facility (holiday events vary between prisons).
INDEPENDENCE DAY & GRATITUDE: One blog a lot of people liked in the free society and on the inside, staff and inmates alike, is “Gratitude & More” (12/19/16). I wrote it from a positive perspective, so maybe what my friend suggested is true?
I need to turn over a new leaf and let signs of a positive life flow from my fingertips.
Lightning flashes and then it thunders.
I began the day with instant coffee and watching videos on CMT and MTV-2. I’d switch from Country music on CMT to Pop to Rap to Hip Hop, and whatever else MTV plays.
COUNT TIME: at 10:00 AM, we were locked in our cells and then stood to be counted. During the count, I listened to my antique Sony Walkman radio as I worked on math problems in preparation for the tests I’ll take to graduate WorkKeys next week. Nineteen Eighty-two was the last time I worked on Advanced Math in college, and trying to relearn it has been a challenge, but one I have accepted and succeeded at handling.
After the count cleared and we were released from our cages, I stood around watching but not listening to any of the ten televisions, wondering why our unit hadn’t been released for chow. Two and a half hours later, we got to go eat.
Any change in the regular routine creates drama in here. The staff are “supposed to” follow a set schedule to let each cellblock out to eat. The one I live in was supposed to get out fourth in the line of twelve listed on the Weekly Rotation. The rotation ran awful slow or we didn’t get out in the scheduled order. I had skipped breakfast and was ready to eat by the time the cellhouse officer yelled, “Main Line.”
CHOW TIME: Over a hundred of us took off walking fast, like a bunch of hungry critters heading for the food trough, trying to outrun the others to get first choice. I didn’t outrun everyone in this cellblock but I did outrun a few. 🙂
I stood in line for the noon meal and was happy to see peaches being served. I love peaches, especially, Georgia Peaches, the two legged kind and the ones that stimulate the taste buds.
The serving line ran out of peaches with the person before me. Peaches were replaced with watermelon. I love watermelon! I can eat half of a large watermelon by myself. The Inmate Server put a tiny piece on my tray, one so small that the edible content would not fill a 12-ounce glass. I did not feel grateful.
I still smiled and said thank you, as I customarily do, even when I don’t feel so thankful. I try to be polite and treat people the way I want to be treated, not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated.
When I first arrived at this institution in 2004, I noticed ethnically-different, inmate servers, looking up to see who’s next in line. And if the person was white, and not one who pays for larger portions, sort through the food to select a smaller piece while staff watched. I experienced violent thoughts about using a serving tray as an assault weapon. Not now, though.
I smile and say thank you and tell myself the person is trying to help me fight high-cholesterol I do not have, by finding a smaller piece of fried chicken or meat to give me and any other non-paying person.
THE HOLIDAY MEAL: For lunch today, I had a chunk of beef so tough that a pit-bull would have struggled to chew it. Tough or not, it tasted good and I am grateful to have had it to eat.
Too many people in the world, who are not in prison, did not have any food to eat yesterday and today. Why haven’t we figured out how to feed everyone in the world or big cities in America?
I also had corn on the cob that I gave away, sour cream, baked potatoes, broccoli, and a tasty little apple pie, to go with the piece of beef and micro-watermelon slice. Who but a whiny prisoner would complain about a meal like that?
Most people who paid for the meal would have wanted a refund on the terribly-tough, tasty beef. Regardless of that, though, we got fed and filled our bellies, so I can’t rightfully complain, even though I did.
Prison is not supposed to be a pleasurable experience. The meal we had was better than what millions of people around the globe ate that day.
GRATITUDE: While sitting at a table eating, I suffered from Watermelon Envy as I eyed the peaches and slices of watermelon on the trays of my peers, their watermelon slices larger than mine. A friend must have saw the look in my eyes and gave me his watermelon. After eating it, I felt better before leaving, my belly full of gratitude for a moment.
Leaving the chow hall, I walked with a Mexican and African-American. We were given a paper sack lunch for our evening meal: cold cut slices of various meat, a slice of cheese, four slices of bread, and pastries.
The African-American says, “I got two cinnamon rolls. Did you get two?”
I peeked into my sack and only saw one.
The Mexican said, “Yeah, I got two of ’em too.”
I said, I only got one. A cracker ain’t got nothing coming, I somewhat joked.
I returned to the cellblock and thought about the experiences during the meal and then remembered the premises I wrote about in Gratitude & More. As I did so, I took everything out of the bag, then noticed I did have two cinnamon rolls. The two packages were stuck together, which I didn’t notice when peeking into the bag.
GOD-SHOT: I felt a God-Shot when I realized how things changed when I thought to be grateful for what I had, rather than complain about what I did not. God gives me lessons each day. I grow each time He does, if I learn what He wants me to learn.
It thunders when He speaks; oftentimes, it takes lightning to get my attention.
CONCLUSION: I spent the latter part of the day studying more math and listening to music, periodically venturing out of my cell to look at the televisions. Later in the evening, I went to the recreation department to walk the asphalt track and to print a draft copy of an earlier version of this blog.
Several of my peers ran the track, others screamed and shouted as they played basketball, softball, handball, and various other games.
Dark clouds filled the horizon and approached fast, pushed on by strong winds as a storm approached that caused the staff to close outside recreation. Children cannot play outside when it storms; especially, those with a history of misbehavior and absconding from justice. We rushed inside before it rained.
I did succeed at printing the draft and walking a few laps before returning to work more on this blog and read legal news on the electronic bulletin board.
While on the computer terminal, I watched the movie, Mr. Church, staring Eddie Murphy, in a much different cast. After the computer kicked me off after 30-minutes, I watched the rest of the movie from my cell. Some darn gnats or something kept getting in my eyes near the end of the movie when Mr. Church died. I don’t know where those gnats came from. 🙂
My day concluded with a shower, talking with my cellmate, listening to the radio some more, and reading before counting off another day from the calendar.
All things considered, it was a good day. I did something for the mind, body, and spirit. What more can a person ask for in life? Well, right now I can think of a few things I’d like to be different, but I will close without complaining. We get what we need and things work according to God’s will, not Wayne’s. Darn it! However, the positive side is that if things went according to Wayne, I wouldn’t be “here” to entertain you with this blog. Thanks for reading my writings!
Note: I decided to postpone writing the second eBook in the Fiction Crime Series, “Guns, Drugs & Thugs.” Read the first of the series at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy.
Visit StraightFromthePen.com for more of my writings. Purchase ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN ($8.95 USD) and UNKNOWN INNOCENCE ($14.95, USD) from your favorite bookseller; also available as eBooks from Smashwords.com, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.kindle, and many others.
Contact Midnight Express Books, P.O. Box 69, Berryville, AR 72616 (email: MEBooks1@yahoo.com) for inmate book publishing needs or to order my books from the “Inside.” Thanks!