Someone once told me that when you are in prison you should read with a purpose. I had a plan for reading with a purpose, but it was derailed. Just like my plans for life. I had over 20 books I wanted to start with on this journey. My admissions and orientation manual (dated 2019) even says soft cover books can be sent in, but that is no longer the case.
I am on day 5 of quarantine and have no radio, TV, email, phone, or access to the outdoors. This is what I imagine inmates in a high security prison deal with, but not what I anticipated or what I was told would happen in a camp. But here we are.
My purpose for reading now is to simply stay busy and also to find joy in a fiction novel. Yesterday I finished “The Crossing” by Michael Cohen. I chose this book because it was one of about 7 available to me and it was hardcover. The other books were exceptionally small with very tiny print. Literally, that’s it.
I learned that once the characters and plot really begin to develop fiction books can be very enjoyable. Everything plays out in a slower and more nuanced way than in TV shows. “The Crossing” is a murder mystery novel and I also learned (albeit this was from a fiction book) that other people are going through similar challenges as I am. And they have people on the outside who care for them, love them, and are advocating for them. I am immensely lucky and appreciate having this in my life.
I don’t want this for my life, but here we are. What is getting odd as of this evening is the level of acceptance I have about my immediate situation. It feels weird to let go and try to be at peace with it, but no amount of complaining will change anything. The BOP is absurd with this quarantine but ironically it will be out of the frying pan into the fire. But the fire (prison) ironically may be to my benefit. As I have mentioned before, camp will now feel like a vacation.
Part of me can’t wait to get back to everyone I love, but the other part of me knows that will not happen for a long time. I need to find ways to enjoy life while I’m here. But that being said, I am going to be one happy person and enjoy every second of freedom when this comes to an end. The simplest pleasures in life will be thoroughly enjoyed.