At least one person in this story gets a reprieve
Spoilers: It's me
I guess I’ll get the cliffhanger as out of the way as I can. Last week I mentioned a letter I got from a convicted murderer. I cracked it open yesterday because I wanted to be able to tell you what it said.
The short version is that this person has an upcoming parole hearing and doesn’t wanna jinx it. I get it and we’ll have to wait and see. Maybe.
He also asked that I suspend my research until after the fact, his concern being that bringing the crime back into the public consciousness after 40 years might bring objectors out of the woodwork.
I’m in a weird place. Jailhouse interviews are already fraught and, in a case like this where there was no admission of guilt, you have to worry about how honest the subject will be.
I didn’t get to speak with Barbara Rogers, whose participation in Steven Mineo’s death brought Sherry Shriner into the public consciousness. She did some tv interviews that, to my mind, were designed to reverse engineer the post-trial public sentiment, to amplify her victimhood.
I thought about how much time 40 years is to think, and what the mind must be able to do. I wonder if it makes a person more or less apt to see their part in the story of how their life got the way it did.
I mentioned recently that if we’re the good guy in our own story, we’re the bad guy in the alternate version. Part of being honest with ourselves is being able to see how we could be the villain in our stories, even if we don’t believe we are.
I don’t know where this guy stands, and I don’t know whether the parole hearing outcome will change his perspective.
Hell, I don’t know for sure whether there is even a story worth telling beyond the incident, although I believe there could be quite a significant one.
In the end, I’ll consider it a reprieve. A reminder that the reason it took me 10 days to find the time to open and respond to his letter is that I’m behind in my other work.
Sometimes I worry that I take on extra projects so that I can always be working and never be finished. It is so easy to do when no one is waiting on it. There’s no real deadline and no penalty for getting behind.
The way I’ve been putting it to myself lately is that if I want to write, I have to commit to finishing. I’ve got research on about five different stories on my hard drive and the cool stories that go with it in my head. The question now is whether I’ll leave the there or put them out in the world.
I tell myself that it’s more than a matter of just doing it, but that’s a poor and dangerous lie. If nothing else, I have to recognize that someone who lies to themselves is always the bad guy in the story, no matter what perspective it’s told from.
Keep the Faith,
I still have a few digital downloads of the Dragged Into the Light audiobook. If you know anyone who might like to listen to it and write an honest review, let me know and I’ll get a copy into their hands.
I’m reading Gangsters Versus Nazis by Michael Benson, and I already can recommend it. The book is an account of how the Jewish mob squashed the U.S. Nazi Party before WWII. I’ll have a more detailed review out next week on BookShopBlog.com, where I’ve been contributing occasionally.
It’s oddly timed because I don’t care about Elon Musk one way or the other, but I’m reimagining my Twitter account. Much as with Facebook and Instagram, I’m not in any conversations there that I care about.
I don’t have a plan for how I’m going to change that, but I think I’m just going to focus on writing. If I have anything to say about that on social I will, but don’t hold your breath.
I’d rather talk to people like you here and appreciate the emails (and even occasional comments) I get from you guys here way more than I appreciate Likes anywhere.