Below is an excerpt from Luis Garcia’s story he’ll be telling March 19 at Uncle Scotchy’s Storytelling Extravaganza at Walt Grace Vintage. For tickets and more info click here.
There are only three good things that can happen to you in solitary confinement.
One: You get a piece of mail. It doesn’t even have to be from a friend; a solicitation will do; something to read other than the Bible. Once, I got a solicitation from Audubon Society Magazine. It came with origami paper, and instructions on how to make a crane, a frog, and — of all things — a tiny box. This activity killed about 12 hours. That day, I was the quietest, happiest dude in confinement, sitting there, making my tiny little box.
Two: You find a friend you can talk to. Sometimes, solitary confinement isn’t solitary. For minor offenses, you could be isolated from the general population, but at least paired with another person. If you’re lucky, it’s a person you can talk to without feeling threatened, physically or intellectually. And yeah, I said intellectually, because sitting in a cell for sixty days with someone who has an IQ of 6…you’re in real danger of becoming stupid.
And three: You learn how to be with yourself, and only yourself, and enjoy it. You meditate. You entertain yourself by counting the tiny holes in the metal screen on the cell window, or the bricks in your cell’s wall. (I know, by the way, exactly how many bricks and screen holes there are in here.) You sit there and listen to nothing…which is also everything. You make up stories and tell them to yourself. If you’re lucky enough to score a pen and paper from an officer, you write your stories down. Or, you read the Bible, out loud, in a funny voice.