Wow! What a book! I just finished it. In the back I found Paulo Coelho’s blog site: paulocoelhoblog.com. I’ve decided to reach out to Mr. Coelho. I’ll share what I wrote to him. But first, I’d like to share a few more quotes from “The Alchemist.” These quotes really touched me and I found significant meaning in them. I hope you can too.
“When you are loved, you can do anything in creation.”
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
“Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World.”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”
“The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”
“I only invoked what you already knew.”
“Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surly happen a third time.”
“His heart whispered, ‘Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.’ “
“Its true; life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legend.”
And now, my letter to Mr. Coelho:
Hello Mr. Coelho.
My name is Steven.
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”
The ALCHEMIST has taught me to listen to my heart. And to pay close attention to omens. I am in prison. Just like you once were. I published my first ebook at the age of 38. You were 38 when you first got published. Omens? We’ll see.
I am in pursue of my Personal Legend. I am embarking upon a journey that will lead me to my treasure. You have inspired me beyond words and into action. I am the nations leading blogger from behind bars, with over 22K followers. I’d like to invite you to check out my blog and to read my 3 part series. This series is in response to THE ALCHEMIST, and has several quotes straight from your book. And now I will ask something of you: Will you please help me reach my goal of 100K blog followers? My journey is still young and I need some of that beginners luck that you talk about.
I eagerly await your reply.
Steven D. Jennings
I’d like to introduce you to Joe P. Guerrero. He is also an inmate blogging from prison.
His blog is called : Joe Writes His Wrongs
Joe is an awesome inspiration and he’s making the best of his time with something positive.
He has goals and ambitions, just as I do. We both are positive, like-minded men who are striving for success from behind bars, and we have big dreams for when we are released.
He has quality content and intriguing stories to share. A few of his blog titles are: A Positive Mindset In Prison, Actions Speak Louder Than Words, 8 Reason’s I’m Thankful To Be In Prison, Dumbing Down The Conversation, Never Give Up, Jen Joe & A Prison Phone, Walking In On A Rape, 10 Tips On Stress From A Guy In Prison, and Steven D. Jennings
Joe is a talented cartoon artist and an articulate writer. In fact, you should take a look at his short story ebook for sale on Amazon called, “Coffeeman Almost Dies During The Coffee Challenge“
Joe and I both have the love & support of amazing ladies in our life (Jen & Suzie). We know it takes a strong woman to be in a committed relationship with an inmate. And we are blessed to have them in our life. Their dedication is what helps make it possible to share our journey with you all.
I recognize the energy and devotion of both Joe & Jen. They have my support and my friendship.
I never dreamed life could be this easy. Let me tell you about this amazing life I live. I know a lot of people hate their jobs; they stress over lack of money and bills stacking up. Think about all the stress in your life; and just know there are millions of people with the same issues.
However, my life is extraordinary; by no means is it even close to “normal”. How would you like it if you could hit the snooze button all day? Wouldn’t it feel good to be able to sleep when it’s time to get up? Well, for me, I can stay in bed all day if I so desire, and sometimes I do. It all depends on how I feel. Usually I get out of bed around noon so I can participate in activities I love. It takes me about ten minutes to get ready. So, as I do, I turn on my TV to MTV or VH1. I like to start my day with music.
After I get ready for the day, it’s time to eat something. I don’t put much time or effort into this task. I have people who cook for me. It’s nice to be able to walk to the kitchen and have a hot meal waiting. All I have to do is eat; I don’t prepare anything or clean up. All my meals are this way.
After I eat, I usually go play one of my favorite games, handball. On average I play seven days a week. Sometimes I’ll take a day off if I feel like it. I’m also on a softball team during the summer, which I love! I’m the lead off batter and I play left field. My team is very good. We always have a good season, even if we don’t win the championship. In the past ten years our team has won six championships and came in second place twice. I also spend my days playing soccer, basketball, and working out. I never thought my life would be so easy and stress free.
I don’t pay any bills; as a matter of fact, I can’t even remember the last time I received a bill. Yet, my TV always turns on when I press the power button. Every time I flick a light switch, the lights come on. My water is always running and hot when I need it. The ice machine is always full of ice. My house is always heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer.
I thought life was supposed to be full of responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments. Heck, it’s not that way for me. All I do is have fun, joke around, and play games. Where’s the responsibility? I even have someone who does my laundry; they pick it up dirty and return it clean. OK, I admit it…I do fold it, but only if it’s already been cleaned.
After a long day of playing games or just lying around, I like to spend my evenings playing a card game called Pinochle. I really enjoy this game; I’ve spent up to ten hours in a single day playing Pinochle. It’s what I do to relax if I don’t feel like playing sports or working out. This lifestyle is quite simple. If I don’t feel like doing something, I don’t. And why should I?
This is my life; it’s not like there is someone who can fire me from life. This lifestyle of mine is like being on vacation. I move at my own pace and I choose my own activities.
How would you like to live a life like this? Just think about it. A life where everything you’ll ever need is handed to you. Other people pay everything for you; your clothes, your food, your house, and all the services to keep things functioning. And better yet, you’ll never have to pay any money back. Any time you get sick or need a dentist, the services are there immediately, and there is absolutely no money out of your pocket. Never again will you have to stress over the basic necessities of life, like millions upon millions do.
Life is too short for all the stress and worry. That’s why I’ve decided to enjoy my life to the fullest. I’ve learned to appreciate the things I have and the time I’m provided with on this wonderful earth God has created. I recognize my blessings and cherish every one of them. Even the ones I have to create myself. Only a fool would take life for granted, regardless of how you live.
I know this is easy for me to say considering I have everything I’ll ever need. However, this lifestyle is so easy; anyone can achieve it. You don’t need a college education or even a high school diploma. People who dropped out of school at the age of 12 or started to abuse drugs and alcohol everyday can achieve this lifestyle. Full-blown junkies can live this lifestyle, and many do. The only thing you need to do to create this lifestyle is come to prison.
I’ve been in prison since the age of 20. I’m now 41 and I have 18 years left to serve. I’d gladly trade in my prison life for a free life full of responsibilities, commitments, and deadlines, which naturally create stress. Unfortunately, this is not an option for me. So, I’ve chosen to focus on all the positive aspects of life. Even from behind bars, life is what you make of it. The quality of your life depends on what you choose to focus and dwell on. Accept hardship and stress as a natural part of existence, then just let it roll off your back like water off a duck. Seek out all the good and all the beauties in this world; help create them. Take the time to comprehend and actually enjoy life’s little pleasures. Enjoy the moment and let it soak in, rather than letting it pass by with a quick laugh. If I can be this free within the filthy boundaries of prison, just imagine what you can do in the midst of Gods beauty.
NOTE: I wrote this 10 years ago.
Forty-three years in prison sucks for more reasons than I care to list. But the good news is I’ve realized the power within the mind. No matter what the situation is, life is an attitude. And my attitude is within my control.
One of my favorite philosophies is, “With every setback or hardship comes an equal seed of opportunity.” It’s almost an art form to recognize and apply this philosophy. Because the opportunity always comes during a dark troublesome time. A time when the negative seems overwhelming, and accepting the grief & heartache seems like the only option. Don’t get me wrong, grieving in moderation is necessary for healing. Just don’t make a habit of it and let it ruin you. Instead, take a step back, clear your head, and look for that “equal seed of opportunity.” If you can’t find it, create it. Impose your will and make it happen.
Here’s just one example of how this equal seed philosophy has helped change my life: my setback is forty-three years in prison.
What could possibly be EQUAL to that? The truth is, nothing. It’s simply too long. There’s no coming back from such a harsh blow. It’s over! I’m done. I quit!
Lucky for me, my mind doesn’t think that way. I believe in this philosophy with all of my heart, and I will create my equal seed of opportunity. Such as: sober living, healthy diet, exercising daily, straightening out priorities, self improving, and focusing on a positive life style. All those are great. But are they EQUAL to forty-three years in prison??? In my mind, the answer is NO. Not even close. The philosophy says there is an EQUAL SEED OF OPPORTUNITY. Forty-three years in prison is extraordinary. Therefore, my equal seed must also be extraordinary. So I came up with earning 47-60 million dollars over the next twenty years. Is that EQUAL to forty-three years in prison? I still say NO. But it definitely brings more balance to the equation. My goal to earn millions is already a definite plan, and the wheels are in motion. I now have definite purpose. I will not stop until I reach my goals.
What fuels me? How about a forty-three year prison sentence! The man in me now realizes how the boy in me altered my life forever. It angers me beyond belief. It now fuels my passion, and that is to do something extraordinary with my time here in prison. I refuse to take my incarceration in vain. I have to make this time work for me, not against me. I need redemption, for myself more than anyone. Once I achieve that, I will strive for redemption in the lives I have hurt. I have a strong desire to give back to all those I’ve hurt. No matter how big or how small, if I’ve ever hurt you, then you are a part of my redemptive mission. Please read my blog titled, Saying Sorry Isn’t Enough.
My passion to make millions has now become a healthy obsession. It’s the main topic of my conversations, thoughts, and dreams. It has consumed me in a healthy, positive way. It sets the bar of balance high. When I achieve financial success, I expect all my other personal characteristics, morals, and attributes to elevate along with it.
Without the hundreds of little details, my plan is really quite simple. I am writing prison literature, self publishing, and selling my work worldwide using the greatest marketing tool in the history of the world: Social Media. (aka: The Internet).
I am building my own publishing company called, Stone City Publishing. My short term goals are to learn the publishing business by publishing my own books. My long term goals are to have hundreds of titles by dozens of inmate authors, all selling worldwide under my network of prison literature, AKA: Stone City Publishing.
My genre is one that has appeal to millions of people all over the world. PRISON! I will write and publish dozens of books.
Here are my first five titles:
Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary – This book brings the reader deep inside prison society and truly exposes the realities of prison from my perspective. Stone City is full of pictures that were taken with illegal cell phones smuggled in by convicts.
Chirpy…The Amazing Jail Jailbird – This book is about a baby bird I saved & raised for fifteen months inside a max security prison. It’s a story you have to read to believe. Pictures included.
101 Ways To Get Your Ass Kicked In Prison – The title is self explanatory. Prison fights are wicked! Learn about what causes them, the weapons used, and the consequences.
Prison Ink…The Art Of Hate – This book is full of pictures showing off tons of prison tats. Learn how they’re paid for, what they stand for, and all the drama they cause.
How I Made Millions In Prison – This breaks down the entire process from the first idea to the first million dollars. I share philosophies and basic concepts as I build Stone City Publishing from behind bars.
My agenda is up front and simple. I’ve found my EQUAL SEED. It’s on!
If you have any Q’s or comments, feel free to respond and drop me a line.
Have a great day.
“With every setback there’s an equal seed of opportunity.”
Wanna see how I run a softball team from the joint? Okay, here goes: First I submit a kite.
Then, once I officially have a team, I call a team meeting. We go over goals and philosophies.
Our goal is: WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP.
Our philosophies are: KEEP IT POSITIVE and COMIT TO A CHAMPIONSHIP.
Now we are just waiting for the rec staff to bring out the equipment. Meanwhile, I’m still tweeking the roster. Only 10 guys play. My roster is 15. That means “open tryouts.” Anyone can challenge for a spot on the field. The best player will earn that position. Some guys will have to ride the bench.
In the past, this decision has caused drama. That’s why I apply goals & philosophies to the system. It’s a great way to keep hostile players in line. If they continue to “break the code”, I remove them from the roster.
As of now, I have 3 competitions going on. They are competing for 1st baseman, pitcher, and 3rd baseman.
I’m excited! I love this time of year. I love my wife. I’m happy.
Wish me luck…
(to be continued…)
Ronald Shaw is an old timer. He’s been in prison since November 16, 1974. He’ll be 60 this year.
During Ronald’s lengthy incarceration he enjoyed shooting heroin, shooting coke, popping pills, smoking cigarettes, drinking pruno, smoking weed, and doing any other kind of drug he could find. Well 6 months ago, his lifestyle caught up with him. He had a massive stroke. Then 3 months later he had brain surgery. Now he can barely walk. He’s confined to a wheelchair.
Just last week as I was doing my unit job, an officer called me to his station. He said, “Jennings, we need you to go to medical.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because Mr. Shaw is done with his appointment and he needs someone to push him back to the unit.”
I paused for a few seconds, “Can’t you find someone else to get him?”
The officer scans the dayroom real quick then says, “Nope. You’re on the clock and I’m asking you to do it.”
“Okay” I say. And off I go.
Medical is about one block from my unit. When I get there I see an old man in a wheelchair. I ask him, “What are you doing?”
He says, “I guess I’m waiting for someone to come get me.”
I say, “Yep! That’s me. Let’s go.” And we’re off.
As I’m pushing him he says, “Are you my new pusher?”
I say, “Nope, this is a one-time deal.”
He says, “Well I just need someone to push me to chow, pill line, and to call outs. If you wanna be my pusher, I’ll give you stamps.” (stamps are pre-franked envelopes)
I tell him, “Thanks but no thanks. I’m too busy for all that.”
As I roll him into the unit I’m greeted by two officers. One of them tells me that I’m responsible for getting Mr. Shaw to chow, pill line, and to call outs.
“Really!?” I say. I’m not happy. I protest, “I’m a foyer porter, not a wheelchair pusher.”
They say, “From 7am-2pm you are expected to perform and all job assignments as directed.” They’re right. I can’t win. It’s either do it, or get fired. I do it.
Lunch time comes. I push him. I’m getting all kinds of looks and comments from every direction. I simply reply, “I’m serving the Lord by serving others.” It’s a smart ass comment. Everyone knows I’m doing this against my will. But my comment does bring a little comedy to the situation.
A little later it’s off to pill line. This is the WORST! The line is 20 minutes long. So I start up a conversation with ol Ronald Shaw. He tells me how he used to collect drug debts for biker gangs, and how he attacked a guy on the panel at his parole hearing. And how he stabbed this guy and smashed that guy. It was one war story after another.
That’s when I realized I wasn’t pushing around a timid frail old man. I was pushing around an old battled tested convict who survived the killing days and most violent era at Walla Walla.
On the way back from pill line I asked him, “Hey Ronald, you ever been to Disneyland?”
“Fuck no! I’ve been locked up my entire life.”
“Well today is your lucky day. This is just like Disneyland.” And with that, I popped a wheelie and sped up. I swerved side to side. I looked back and no guards were watching. So I ran as I pushed him in the wheelchair. Up ahead there’s a section of gravel on the side of the walkway. I slow down to a fast walk. I take him off the road into the gravel. As I sharply swerve back onto the walkway, the foot rest catches the edge of the cement.
The wheelchair stops dead in its tracks. Ronald goes flying out head first. He hits the wet pavement. His arms are pinned under his body and his ass is in the air. He’s cussing up a storm and I can’t stop laughing.
“It’s not funny goddamn it!” he barks.
I look around. There’s not a guard in sight. I’m still laughing. “Hurry up Ronald, get back in the chair before we get in trouble.”
Ronald is still laying there, ass up in the air, “Fuck you, you son of a bitch! I can’t get up!”
I can’t stop laughing, but I manage to say, “You’re not even trying. Try!”
“I can’t move!” he yells.
I laugh harder. It’s uncontrollable. My eyes are watering. I’m still behind the wheelchair as Ronald is layed out on the cement.
He yells, “Get me the fuck up you asshole!”
I laugh harder. I am border-line hysterical. Ronald is cussing up a storm…hotter than fish grease.
Finally I walk over to him and roll him on his side. I grip the front of his jacket like a burlap sack of potatoes and pick him up. He’s still cussing, “You stupid mother fucker, I knew you were gonna wreck me!”
I’m still laughing.
“That shit ain’t funny, you could’ve killed me!”
I set him in the wheelchair and off we go! I pop a small wheelie and he freaks out!
“Motherfucker…knock it off!”
I say, “What? I thought you’d like Disneyland.”
“Fuck you! Just take me inside,” he demands.
I’m still laughing!
Before we go inside, I stop. I walk around to face him. We make eye contact. I can’t control myself. I bust out laughing again. I finally compose myself enough to speak, although my speech is full of laughter. I apologize to Ronald. I put my hand on his shoulder and say, “You know I didn’t mean to do that, right?”
He says, “Yeah, I know.”
Then I say, “You have to admit, that shit was funny.”
“NO! No it wasn’t.”
“Come on Ronald, not even a little bit?”
To my surprise, he smiled and said, “Maybe a little bit.”
I fixed his hair and straightened his glasses. Then said, “Alright buddy, lets go inside.”
The next day as everyone is waiting for breakfast, I see Ronald in his wheelchair. He has a new pusher behind him. Ronald doesn’t see me approaching. I whisper, “Let me push him.” The new guy steps aside and I grab the helm. Chow is called and off we go. He has no idea that I’m pushing him. The second we get outside I speed up. Then I pop a wheelie.
Ronald tries to look back, but I lean the opposite way. Then I do a sharp swerve. He knows it’s me!
He yells, “Fuck NO! Fuck NO! STOP! STOP!”
I let go. About 20 guys all start laughing. By now, everyone heard of the incident. Ronald laughs too. He loves the attention. I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “See! I told you that shit was funny!”
“Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” jolts us from page one into a life and world filled with dire consequences. Steven Jenning’s painfully raw initiation into a violent upbringing at age six leads him down a path of alcoholism, hatred, raging anger, and self-destruction.
Imprisoned at age 20 with a 43 year sentence, Steven fights against himself, a flawed system, and anyone who got in his way. He comes face to face with some of the most hardened and deadly criminals in the country. Holding his own and gaining a reputation, Steven was respected and feared. After years of fighting, struggle and inner turmoil, Steven is forced to confront his own demons. Fueled by the love & support of his family, he strives to shed his “prison image” by finding the courage to learn and grow from his past experiences & present reflection.
From the darkness of a prison cell, Steven’s potent & candid writing style truly shows light to the journey he’s on. “Stone City” gives readers a rare and sometimes shocking glimpse inside prison walls, exposing the dark secrets & horrors locked within this hidden society. Violence, drugs, money, revenge, love, redemption…this book has it ALL.
Steven remains in prison, yet he is finally free from the ghosts of his past. Join him on his quest through self-destruction and self-discovery. “Stone City” brings hope, inspiration, and healing; even if our bars are self-imposed. You will want to keep turning the page to see the amazing man whom he’s become today.
“Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary” by Steven Jennings.
BUY IT TODAY:
Everybody has a voice. Everybody has an opinion. These voices and opinions have great range.
The topic: Suzie & I getting married.
The range: from love to hate.
So why do some people love it, and others hate it? The situation is exactly the same to everyone. And that is: I married a good, wholesome, honest, beautiful woman, and I am in prison.
All of the people who love it, they know me. But the people who are skeptical, who aren’t supportive, and who flat out hate it…well, they don’t know me. They only know my situation: that I am a man in prison.
These ranges of feelings are to be expected. I completely understand. I would not want any of my loved ones developing a relationship with an inmate. I don’t care how much of a “good guy” he is. I would say, “There are BILLIONS of free guys for you out there! Please make your selection from that pool, and leave the pool within prisons alone.”
I’ll be the first to admit, I got extremely lucky with Suzie. The #1 thing I love about her is how much she loves me.
I treat her the way God intended for a man to treat a woman. Her happiness and comfort level is my number one priority. She is my angel in a world full of demons. I cherish her, honor her, and respect her. I love her with all my heart.
Together we have goals and plans. We have mapped out our future together. We’ve talked about EVERYTHING. Our honesty and openness brings us so much closer. I respect her views as she does mine. Together we compromise as we strengthen our circle of harmony.
Suzie tells me that she’s never been happier. Isn’t that what life is about? Happiness.
We are both extremely happy. Won’t you be happy for us too? Please. Just find it in your heart to give us a chance. Be kind and supportive towards Suzie, my wife. Share in her happiness. Life is too short for anything else.
Love conquers all!
May your days be filled with joy and happiness.
It was about 8 am when an officer called me to his station. As soon as I walk up, I see a sly smile on his face. He says, “I need to look in your cell.”
Right away I realize this is odd. Since when do they tell inmates that they’re about to do a visual cell search? I respond, “Alright. May I ask why?”
Again, I see a slight smirk on his face. He says, “We just received a snitch kite saying you have pizza and pie stacked sky high in your cell.”
The conversation continues as we walk up the stairs and approach my cell. I can tell this officer could care less. He’s just doing his job. So I say, “You’re a little late. My celly and I already ate it all.”
He asks, “How much did you have?”
“It was stacked sky high.”
I open my door. My celly is laying on his bunk watching the morning news. “Cell search!” I announce, “Someone dropped a kite saying we had pizza and pie stacked sky high.”
“What?” my celly says as he starts to get up.
The officer says, “You don’t need to get up.”
So my celly just sits there as the officer gyrates his neck like a flamingo and scans the cell. Then he says, “Alright, I don’t see any excess pizza and pie.”
And with that, he turns and walks away. I shut my door. Then I turn to Thomas and say, “Can you believe these rats? They’ll tell on anyone for anything.”
Thomas says, “Who do you think it was?”
“Hell, it could’ve been anyone. The entire dayroom watched me collect 3 pizza’s and 4 pies from 5 different people. I just can’t believe some jealous rat dropped a kite.”
The snitch did provide accurate info. I got the pizza’s and pies on a Saturday morning. They got the kite on Monday morning. That’s 48 hours later. Too late.
The pizza and pie is from a fundraiser. They do 4 fundraisers per year. This little story took place 9 months ago. Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Coincidentally, we received another fundraiser order of pizza ($11.50), pie ($7.50), and 2 liter soda’s ($2.00).
So let’s say for example, I bet on the Seahawks. And let’s say the Seahawks win 48-8. Well that would be one way to get pizza and pie stacked sky high. 😉
Have a nice day.