If : Inmates share life-altering Advice

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2013-04-30
Publisher(s): Hilton Pub
List Price: $17.95

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IF is the compilation of letters from current and former inmates who want to deter others from following in their footsteps-all the way to prison. The author has spent years working with prisoners and jail inmates and has seen firsthand how doing time behind bars has changed men's lives. The men represented in this book have made bad choices, but they are not bad men. This book underscores the importance of seeing the potential in every human being, and for having and extending compassion to all. The contributors to IF want men to know what is truly important in life: living a character and conscience-driven life, finding and following a passion, and cherishing and nurturing family. The men in this book have had nothing but time to contemplate life, regrets, hurts, shame, and, ultimately, redemption. In their letters they share the wealth of wisdom they have obtained, wisdom fought for and hard won.The author teaches creative writing classes at a local county jail. On the first day, her students study the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, basically a poem giving advice on how to be a man of character and of substance-a man whose drive, passion and discipline are driven by conscience, as opposed to ego. Studying that poem led her initial class of inmates into thinking that they also had good advice to give to men. IF was conceived. Inmates from around the country were contacted and asked to write a letter to themselves-their past selves. They were asked, "Knowing all that you know now, what would you tell yourself, what advice would you give to yourself back then?" Response was overwhelming. IF begins with Kipling's poem and ends with Frost's "The Road Not Taken." The first line: "There but for the grace of God go I," sums up what many people feel when they read this book.

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