Name: Roy Wahlberg
Intake: 1976 (44 years behind MN prison walls, but who’s counting?)
Release: Although in principle a “paroleable lifer”, it appears that without significant advocacy the political and neurological complications of my life are destined to keep me in for the duration. So until and unless something changes in that regard, I look to more autonomous sources of freedom and fulfillment, writing being predominant among them.
I have both felt and seen the alchemical power of writing. Within this transformative crucible a person discovers new and positive interests and abilities to replace the negative ones that brought him/her to disaster. During the process, one also begins to identify with and build upon an improved and creative self-identity, a noncriminal one, and through that begin to build good self-esteem despite one’s past, even in the corrosive environment of prison.
At a more direct, existential level, I have also found writing to be a powerful palliative for all manner of pain. It can convert the tiniest cell into a universe of infinite imaginative possibilities, open a doorway to the subconscious mind, and place before one’s inner eye a cathartic feast of dream and reason. Now, what rational (or irrational) prisoner wouldn’t love that? — Wheee!
About Me: This one’s tough. Like barnacles on a derelict ship, a steady accretion of legends has built up so thick around me that I scarcely recall who I was or am. Similar to Socrates’ death-trial complaint (but better written, natch), it’s obviously been a perennial problem for any accused “lucky” enough to become a darling of the press. Even though the original overexposure is temporary, omnipresent immortality is now automatically bestowed by the Google gods despite a person’s desire to leave that period of his life collecting dust in the media morgue as “yesterday’s news”. This newfangled immortality may be given pro bono gratis, but most of us don’t feel at all grateful. It leaves no way fer a fella to ride his horse over the hill and start a fresh, new life, however much he’s both paid and changed.
Yes, woe indeed to any person rendered high-profile and infamous, especially if spectacularly so. They and their entire life history then become objectified into the public domain where, even more than with shareware or a wikipedia entry, anyone can modify or append whatever they like, and with complete impunity (and legal immunity). And so many do, steering always toward maximum article profit, stitching from whole-cloth their sexed-up and colorful patchwork fabrications using threads of actual truth interspersed here and there to hold the whole Rube Goldberg contraption together just well enough to satisfy casual inspection. (No wonder we all end up looking like Raggedy Anns and Andys!)
That’s all the care, accuracy and artistry that’s ever needed, given how neither writers nor readers of crime drama tend to like facts getting in the way of a juicey story. Right? Either way, its okay to be honest; we’re all human here (assuming you’ll allow that of me), all friends with open minds and at least one common interest, which promises the emergence of more in short order.
A related phenomenon of infamy is the futility of trying to correct any falsehoods. You find that whatever you say means NOTHING compared to what others say, especially when they buy their ink by the barrel. Hell, I’ve published fiction too, but don’t claim my gibberish to be God’s own truth (that’s YOUR worshipful claim to make upon reading it! — snort!)
Okay, no more complaints on this issue; I just had to cough that furball out before showtime. But if any time you DO find my advance hype acting as superglue between my words (or me) and you, we COULD arrange for a private showing of more exotic etchings guaranteed to satisfy even the most rarified of tastes. That possibility notwithstanding, consider me best summarized in this way:
“I have not lived a perfect life, but none so bad as the world would believe.”
— Cole Younger of the James Gang, 1st editor of Stillwater, MN prison paper.
I realize that I’ve said very little about myself here thus far, but I will make up for it in successive posts. (Prepare yourself, for it’s likely to be a long, strange trip.) In the meantime, you probably could get the broadest if not entirely accurate overview from a 2-issue Wired Magazine article on me and my “exploits”, written by the journalist Tim Conover. Bear in mind that the bizarre story told there has now been easily eclipsed by all that’s occurred in the years hence. Trust me, this is NOT a scenario for braggadocio! Better in my eyes would have been the timid existence of a Milquetoast. But, alas, the Fates and Furies had other plans for me, rubbing my nose of existential understand deep into the old Chinese curse: “May you have an interesting life.” (Ohhh — I GET it now, ’cause I GOT it, right up the schmuzer!)
Anywho, I’m beginning to feel all a-tremble (from excitement? hypermania? Parkinson’s? subcortical dementia? all the preceding?), so stick around. It’s quite likely something very interesting and perhaps even delightful is about to occur! And with that, I’ll cease making a fool of myself for today.
Namaste — may MY guru be YOU, my Vama Marga Goddess — do you ceaselessly Mulabhanda? Good girl!
Contact via Jpay.com (soon to be GTL.net)
Roy Wahlberg #103429
Below is the address for the underground, supermax prison I just forced myself back into (nonviolently), in big part for the air conditioning. (It’s summertime, and I really don’t like when the cell walls start sweating even worse than me — and so away I scrabbled, deeper into “Plato’s Analogy of the Cave”, where the outer world exists only as faint, ignorable shadows, way down in the steady-state deeps of the “Belly of the Beast”.
Roy Wahlberg #103429
MN-DOC Oak Park Lakes
5329 Osgood Ave. N.
Stillwater, MN 55082-0010
Categories: Roy Wahlberg