A Lawyer Goes to Prison

I just returned from three weeks on Ocean Isle Beach, one of the barrier islands not far from Wilmington, North Carolina. I went there to take a new crack at telling the story of my odyssey several years ago in which I ended up working as a prison guard at a maximum security prison just north of Dover. It began with a throw of a dart–which landed in Dover–and ended with me walking the tiers as correctional officer.

I wrote the story once, and followed the advice of friends and editors that I needed to tell the story of who I was and why I did what it did. It turned into far too much of a memoir. I don’t write well about myself. It seemed glib and superficial (for reasons which only my therapist undertands). There was serious interest in the manuscript, but eventually I pulled it because I was unhappy with the mixture of memoir and prison.

So, I’m rewriting it now mainly as a prison book. People love prison stories, witness all of the stuff on TV, and it’s much different and worse inside than it has been represented in those shows. In fact, I don’t think you can imagine it. Which ends up, of course, being my challenge as the teller of the story.

I went to the island with 45 pages. After the second day, I threw those pages out and started over. I didn’t like the “voice.” I returned home a few days ago with 45 new pages. Let’s hope they survive. My goal is to have a draft manuscipt by the end of the summer.

2 thoughts on “A Lawyer Goes to Prison

  1. Can’t wait to read it. Your life story is amazing. Most people hope they are able to accomplish just one thing you have accomplished in your life to feel they succeeded. You are a GREAT man and all that ends up in the book is sure to be a page turner; a one-night book. Keep writing!

    • Thanks for the positive thoughts. Somehow, I think the Skidmore story is not over. One way or another, it seems to go on and on. One can still hope for a death bed confession, I guess. Or maybe Ken McElroy days every July, with a reenactment. The little town is dying.

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