When I got to prison in 2007, I didn’t have much to do but read and write. I wrote to friends to send me books. My friend Gaby sent me David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest and Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. By the end of the month, it was over: I would write…and read…and read…and write. I quickly became a junkie for literature: Pynchon, Gaddis, Saunders, Joyce, Carver, Hemingway, Burroughs…the list is long, and I read everything twice.
In the 8-1/2 years I spent in prison, about 75% of my time was consumed by reading and writing, probably in equal parts. And it makes sense, because reading and writing are a lot like masturbation — both involve you and another person (or persons) who is conspicuously not there.
I wrote stories in confinement to keep myself sane or simply to entertain myself, but more often I wrote to challenge myself to write as well as those who inspired me. I didn’t really have a vision or even a purpose other than to help me pass the time. Until, in 2013, I realized: There is A LOT of shit here. I started taking myself a little more seriously.
By the time I was released at the end of 2015, I had amassed about 25 lbs. of loose leaf notebook paper, filled front and back with what had become my very neat handwriting. I completed about 20 short stories, a novel, the first 150 pages of an epic novel, and the beginnings of a novella.
As soon as I got home, I got to work on transcribing and editing the short stories. I junked a lot of them, hoping to recycle the content in the future. I started to see an arc and a theme, both intertwined and becoming more and more encyclopedic. Out of this journey, and these stories, came Missing.