Monday, February 28, 2011

Your Comments

I should thank you all far more often for taking the time and effort to post your comments. Without them, I would be left shouting into a Void, a nightmare for any writer.
The Editor mails them to me and your responses keep me entertained for a while. And often you leave me rather frustrated and depressed, because I am unable to respond in kind. This is all the worse when someone leaves a particularly kind, or particularly stupid, comment and I'm left gnashing my teeth in impotence.
At best, I could wait for your comments to arrive, read them, write responses, mail them, and the Editor scan them and post them. The reality of this is that it could take a week or more to complete this cycle. And as the Editor works like a Trojan, squeezing in the blog when she should be putting her feet up, to find the time to perpetually post my responses would be an unreasonable imposition.
My apparent silence does not imply any disinterest or lack of engagement, truly. Quite often a comment will spark me into writing a future post on a topic. For the time being, though, this must be the limit of my engagement. Such are the difficulties of blogging without internet access! Feel free to complain to prison service headquarters...
Though this is not a permanent situation. Once I am in Open prison I will have some Net access once on home leave and the like. Obviously, we aren't trusted to have Net access within Open prison itself...Obviously. We're only there to be prepared to re-enter society. Doh!


  1. Seriously it beats me how the prison service haven't worked out how to allow internet access yet.

  2. Don't worry Ben - I think we all understand the difficulties in keeping a blog without internet! It's good you keep up the motivation through comments. A pity you don't get to appreciate everything else blogs offer such as being linked to or finding out what posts drive the most traffic to your site, etc. Your first time free roaming the internet will be quite a daunting but exciting experience!

    @Anonymous: Not surprising though. There's really no incentive for staff to get around some of the difficulties involved particularly when you have the "prison's too good for them" mob which thinks that prisoners having access to PlayStation 1s is outrageous.

  3. Firstly, a big round of applause to the editor, who gives up a portion of their time each day.

    And Ben, i live about 3 miles away from a men's D cat open prison, and have only had a laptop myself for the last 6 months or so. Before that, i used to go to our local library in the village for free internet access,and would sometimes sit next to someone, who had tell-tale prison papers with them.

  4. Round of applause to the Ed indeed.

    Ben, I so hope you get moved, and soon, only thing that worries me is what happens then? Does the blog stop?. I would hate to think that we cant share in what happens next.

    As for thank you's....I think it's us who should also thank you. Thanks for taking the trouble to expose some of the s**t that happens in prisons. I for one have woken up and smelt the coffee, and believe me I am now involved in prisoners and their families rights, including your right to vote.

  5. Ben, thank you very much for this post. I find it heartwarming to hear that you find our comments entertaining and motivating. It must be very frustrating for you at times not being able to respond swiftly! I look forward eagerly to reading your blog from Open prison.

    I think we all understand the limitations you are under, but thank you so much Ed too for all your work.

    Best wishes to you both.

  6. Well done ed, you do a great job :D.

    Ben, I will join the others in saying I understand completely your difficulties. I look forward to the day when you have more lee-way to write your blog and interact properly with your readers :).

  7. Those petty prison regs must really get your goat up, so frustrating, annoying and unnecessary. As you point out at the end of your post; denying prisoners net access does nothing to help reintegration into wider society, so why impose it?

    As an aside, if you ever find it difficult to continue with the blog (although I am sure you have infinite resources), but still, you never know what the future holds; in such an event or just generally as well as the blog, have you ever considered doing some form of descriptive fiction writing?

    Just a thought.

  8. Keep all the comments and once a month, go through them and compose a blog post replying to the top three most provocative ones :p

    Captcha: locky

  9. It will be interesting to see how Ben is going to continue to satisfy his readership,whilst simultaniously avoiding overstepping the very petty rules that come hand in hand with Open Prisons.

  10. Whilst it would be nice to have more responses from ben to comments (prehaps if a comment inspires a blog post he could note that fact in the post) I think he would be better off using the time he will have available to use the internet on his Ph.d rather than doing yet more work on the blog.

  11. @ tallguy, hopefully Ben will be able to make that decision himself. Working on a ph.d wherever you happen to be can be a very isolating experience, so I really hope for our sake and for Ben's that this blog will continue on.

    The quality and insights it brings Ben's readers are great, and the feedback Ben gets from the comments provide him with some comfort, it would be a cruel and provocative act to force this blog to cease.