Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hard Blogging

Writing a blogpost on how difficult I am finding it to write blogposts is an invitation to collapse into gibberish and insanity, but bear with me….

In prison I had my writing routine. It involved my comfy chair, bit of wood as a table, my wordprocessor and my telly. At certain times of the day – or night – I could lift myself above my situation and the words would pour through my fingers. Off into the mail to The Editor, to be scanned and uploaded. It took only an evening here and there to hack out a week's worth of blogposts.

Since I have been home, the words just have not come. I have yet to find my writing routine, and without a time and place then the creativity, the fluidity of thought, continues to elude me. Perhaps this is a matter of having too much choice. I could write in the office upstairs. Or settle in the conservatory, mocking the elements whilst surrounded  by cats. In better weather, there is the spot under the pergola, next to the pond. Or, as now, secreted away in my shed…which has remarkably similar dimensions to some of the more meagre cells. With TV, heater and laptop I could settle here for hours. Days. Weeks…

I do try. And yet there are all of the distractions and obligations that comprise “life”, that endless struggle and exploration. Each day still contains something new for me. I am working, as well as attempting to develop a new business, alongside occasional talks and, as ever, being a source of advice for many in sore need of my experience.

Writing, then, has of necessity fallen from being perhaps the most important of my daily activities. It is no longer needed as a source of continuity, a way to bring meaning to the essential meaningless existence that is prison. Living, rather than maintaining an existence, has become the focus of my days.

Adding to the new shape of my life have been the new avenues that have opened up to continue what has always been the essence of the blog – to foster debate around imprisonment. This includes talking at universities and the like, the odd media spot, and that dreadfully addictive tool, Twitter. Blogging has always been my thoughtful space, where I could ponder with greater care some of the issues.

And it will continue to be so. As my technical expertise grows,  I would hope to entwine the various ways I communicate into one place, or share content across platforms (sorry for lapsing into that gobbledygook!). In the meanwhile, I will continue to spread myself too thinly for my own comfort and struggle to find the space and time to seriously maintain all that we share.

For I always remember that blogging is a relationship. Even when my voice was constrained and held at a distance by the bars,  I knew this was fundamental. People don’t turn up regularly on the off-chance there is something to be heard. Regularity of thought, new content, is vital. And some of you have come along with me from the very beginnings of this journey – and I owe you a debt far greater than you could ever imagine.

Bear with me, then, a little longer as I find my place in this new life. I have hopes that the future may be as interesting as the past.


  1. Nice Blog there Ben. I can certainly relate to the seemingly chaotic nature of having to try and concentrate on doing a zillion things daily and also try to catch up with the real world and learn new things.

    As always I wish you the best of luck and fortitude.

  2. Well done Ben but why is society and i include you! not prepared to even let an ex sex offender ask to be heard and given a chance as other serious ex offenders such as yourself have been given?This issue will in time come to the forefront of discussions so why ignor it.

    1. I cannot recall ever denying anyone having a voice, especially on this blog. I know for a fact that at least one ex sex offender is a regular commentor, having sat and had coffee with him. Indeed, he has his own blog...

      That said, I appreciate how you must feel. The voice of those associated with sex crimes is not a regular one in the public space - but then prisoners, or ex prisoners, are not handed any platform. I had to fight for mine and struggle to maintain it; and whether anyone actually listens is a complicated matter mixed with a fair chunk of luck.

      If you want to email me to continue this on a more substantive level, in confidence, then feel free.

    2. Though my blog is not nearly as active as yours, Ben :-)

      My last post was about our coffee... in November. We need to do it again sometime soon, though it's a heck of a drive from Kettering to you.

      Any sign of the Car Licence yet?

  3. Your live/work space sounds nice....glad you are back in the 'real' world.

  4. Hey Ben
    I was passed details of your blog from a lady I know called Jackie Pile (laptop lady). You hang in there chap - I got out myself in Dec 2010 after only 2 1/2 years inside, and even for me it was a bit like that scene in Shawshank, where the old guy gets released - " Life just got real busy real fast!" It does get easier in some ways, yet more complicated in others. I sometimes think 'The System' engineers it like it is - if you are busy rushing around doing things you think you need to do, you won't have much time left to question why you are doing them, and maybe find a different way
    Best wishes



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