Behind the walls essay

The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us, even now in this very room.

Behind the walls essay

Perry looks at me across the table. Every Wednesday night for six months, I have visited a medium-security prison in Iowa to teach creative writing to locked-up men.

Our group changes a little each week, but the three guys always in attendance are the three sitting here with us tonight: They rise from their chairs when Mary and I enter the small classroom, hurrying to pour us water in clear plastic cups.

More water, more cookies? I started a new book. Grad school applications coming along? Tonight, like always, we begin class with a writing exercise.

One man reads about fishing at Lake MacBride with his little brother. Every week one of us hands in writing, pages torn from notebooks and covered in pencil scrawl that Mary types up at home and copies for us. Mary stands and passes out the latest chapter of his memoir, which is what most guys in here are writing, retracing missteps and fumbled dreams.

Working back through their pasts in an effort Behind the walls essay heal old wounds and emerge new.

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His hair is long and tied into an enviable silver ponytail streaking down his back. I look at Mary to gauge her reaction but she just smiles, eyes teasing him.

Behind the walls essay

Perry and I graduated from the same university where Mary is a rhetoric professor. We smirk at each other across the table. I emailed her immediately in hopes the weekly meetings would keep me writing while I worked as a bank teller and applied to MFA programs.

Plus I was curious. Perry adjusts his glasses on his nose and looks over the rims at the page in front of him. Perry picks up where we left off weeks ago. He moves to Des Moines after college, the closest you can get to a big city in Iowa.

There he takes a job at The Register as an overnight copyeditor. Perry is sore all over. His eyes ache behind his glasses, his shoulders tense from hunching over his desk, a thick volume of The Chicago Manual of Style open in front of him.

So many rules, he thinks, his temples pulsing as he walks to his car. Who makes them all up anyways? Down the street from The Register is a tavern where Perry goes after work. A pack of motorcycles is always parked out front and soon Perry joins their group.

He starts up with drugs: A few stints in county before a judge does the math and finally sends him here on the same drug charges as Josh and Kenneth.

I look up and see them watching Perry as he reads, their bodies alert, a quiet respect on their faces. Perry has been here longer than they have.

Our eyes meet across the table; he winks at me. Perry and I both read the book in undergrad. His marked-up copy sits on the table in front of him, pages dog-eared and yellow. His gray sweatpants sag a little at his hips but otherwise he looks orderly and clean, freshly shaven. Perry lets out a breath.

Across the table his eyes look wet; I smile at him and he nods, smiles back. In this room we want each man to feel visible, making space for the difficult emotions they work hard to conceal elsewhere: Kenneth slides a box of scratchy tissues over to Perry.

We wait for him to wipe his eyes, leaving wet streaks. I turn my head to the door to look for Lansing. At first it made me nervous not having a guard present in the room with us, but after a few visits I started to relax.Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store.

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* This article is presented as given in The Expository Times with British spelling and formatting changes were made.

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