I think of a concrete sidewalk where you still have the grass growing up through the cracks despite the conditions. These guys keep showing up.
As a teacher, I felt that I was having an impact, both on the inmates’ writing skills and on thoughtful perspectives on their lives, past and present. As a person who seeks to bring light into dark places, it was gratifying on many levels: heart-breakingly poignant, inspiring, thought provoking, powerful stories were written and read. It was empowering for both myself and for the inmates to have their voices heard as writers.
My students were polite, eager and engaged. They took risks, worked hard, and wasted not one second of the opportunity they’d been given. They surprised themselves time and again with their work; they surprised me too. They compiled a journal, gave a reading, and most importantly, they found worth and reward through writing and learning. They reminded me that words have power and radiance can be found anywhere.