R. A. Williams, CA: Success While Out of Life’s Element 

IOWA PRISON WRITING PROJECT


SUCCESS WHILE OUT OF LIFE'S ELEMENT
R. A. WILLIAMS, CALIFORNIA


Within the confines of prison you have many opportunities with regards to time toward successful thinking. A person in prison can learn at a rate that most in society can’t. Your brain only has so much space. It can accomplish so much and essentially there can never be too many problems because your brain will handle “only” as much as it can handle. 

In society you have to make money for rent, food, for yourself and your kids; maybe you have to pay tuition; the list goes on and on when you’re in a world full of daily goals to accomplish. These mundane yet important worldly situations are essential to all of us.  

Think of this concept: You live in an environment where your brain is left to its own devices. There’s no responsibility, no money, no job, no worries about obtaining food or shelter, all of life’s essentials are taken care of. Can you, in society, comprehend that notion? Of course not, all that you’re doing at this very moment in life to sustain life is remarkable, yet taxing on your brain. It’s incredible how many of life’s obstacles you’re storing in your thoughts. 

While sitting on my prison bed after smoking the pretty leaf, I realized that my mind has so much more open space because I don’t share any of the responsibilities that my fellow men and women face daily in society. I’m able to think about success and map out every moment of that plan (of that thought). I realized that I could dissect a situation, no matter how absurd. In society, people’s thoughts are saturated by what they have to do in the daily grind associated with life. 

How did this thought come about? Well, as I said earlier, the “pretty leaf” was my introduction to a thought I have over and over; some might call it a fantasy, but that’s simply because their thoughts are inundated with the reality of the world they live in at that very moment. It sucks to think that people are stuck to a situation, their thoughts locked in by this cluttered reality called life. 

Sitting there on my bed feeling good, this recurring thought is always in my mind, but as I said earlier it could be perceived as fantasy. I feel it so close in my grasp. My thoughts over the many years in this environment have allowed me to work out the details of this idea that started off as a simple thought and manifested in a reality of my future. 

When I get out of prison I want to get a boat, nothing fancy, something nice but unassuming. I want to take that boat and myself and live a bohemian lifestyle south of the Equator, somewhere in the West Indies. Now the question: how do I go about doing that? That was the exact thought I had while sitting on my bed lit. I know exactly how everything will happen; so I was thinking to myself, how did I come up with such a plan toward that scenario? And I realized that I have no distractions or what most know as responsibilities. I am able to fly mentally, able to learn whatever I want. I have so much room in my mind right now. I have the luxury of thrashing an idea because I have so much room to fill it with other ideas. Not just fill it with an idea, but I can also understand and dissect that idea and ultimately determine whether that idea is worth a place in my memory. Life is so crazy; there are so many dimensions to it. It’s funny because if you figure out the nuances of life, it’ll give you a leg up and turn intricate thoughts into realities. I didn’t understand my confidence regarding success. I have no discernible skills; I have no family. I’m not as young as I once was, yet now I realize that my confidence comes from my isolation, this prison solitude organically allowed my brain the freedom to dissect, to understand, to make sense of. . . . For years my hatred for prison mainly came from that isolation, and now I understand the magnificence of an unsolicited brain. 

You have to find beauty in life, even in the harshest environments, such as prison. Thanks to isolation I’m the free-est I’ve ever been. . . .