It hurts to be called “evil,” even by a stranger.
A friend told me someone looked over my website and concluded I’m “evil;” that by writing A Jacket off the Gorge, I was exploiting Jon’s pain.
It occurred to me that others may have this false impression, so I want to clear it up: It was Jon who encouraged me to write this book. This penned by his own hand from prison:
Life got crazy after I met Jon, and I saw it as a story that begged to be written. I told Jon early on that I wanted to write a book, but didn’t think he would want me to do it. I didn’t bring it up again, but Jon did, writing me from prison…
Despite my reservations, Jon pushed rather relentlessly.
It’s too bad parole is barring Jon from communicating with me, because I know he’d stick up for me and set the record straight. The opposite of “evil” and “exploitative,” I’ve been his biggest advocate, and I’m sure he appreciates the immense support I’ve given him.
One of Jon’s letters to prison staff last year (that’s now part of the court record for a lawsuit) states his plans to promote the book:
Jon put a lot of brain juice into finding clever ways for us to promote the book together, because he was smart enough to see opportunities for himself. In prison, he started a book series of his own, figuring he could ride the coat tails of A Jacket off the Gorge and generate interest in his own work.
Jon did become nervous after the book was written and had plenty of reservations (as did I). But the book was already completed with years of hard work put into it.
Jon signed copyright permissions granting me the right to publish letters he’d sent from prison. Here are some that I wrote into the book’s narrative, because the book potential is actually a theme in the story.
As for my blogs, Jon has his own website, and I culled information from it (because we’re not allowed contact). He started his website to draw attention to abuses in the prison and parole systems, citing his own experiences. And prior to his release, Jon was sending me blogs from behind bars. So how can I be exploiting his “pain,” if he, himself, wants to draw attention to it? I am supporting Jon’s effort and wishes by publishing these blogs. If he didn’t want me to do it, I’ve got plenty of other stuff to do. It’s discouraging to know that, after consuming exhaustive time supporting someone else, I’ve been labeled “evil.” I know from third parties that Jon has been too busy to blog about his latest parole woes, so I did it for him. If I believed he didn’t want them public, I never would’ve done so. But the exact opposite is true.
Evil? Exploitative? All this based on looking at my website. Just like the devil comes cloaked as an angel, things aren’t always as they appear.