I’m going to prison.
Not for a stretch, I should say, just for a visit. As far as I know, I haven’t done anything that requires the intervention of the law.
Some time ago I was asked if I would talk to a group of prisoners about my books and I agreed . . . with a little hesitation. I have no experience of prisons – in fact I have a very healthy fear of them – so I’d be lying if I said I leapt at the chance, and I’m somewhat apprehensive of what to expect.
The only taste I’ve had of that environment is when I delivered my vetting forms to the prison. This is part of the process in place to check I don’t have some kind of ulterior motive, I suppose, and that in itself was a little worrying. I know I’ve done nothing wrong, but there was still that niggling doubt about whether or not I would ‘pass’. A bit like that feeling of ‘have I done something wrong?’ when you see a policeman. Or am I the only person who thinks like that?
Anyway, I stepped through the heavy gates, reported in, depositied my belongings in a locker, went through more heavy gates, metal detectors etc and waited while someone checked my forms. Then it was home to wait for the results.
Phew, I passed.
So now that’s all sorted, I’ve arranged a date for a visit. I’ve spoken to one or two other people who have done something similar and all of them have concluded that it’s been a positive experience. And really, why should it be any different from any other author event I’ve done? It’s a little more difficult to set up – I have to send my presentation materials in advance, follow some do’s and dont’s – but other than that (and the heavy doors) I’m guessing it’ll be the same. Maybe even better attended!
I’ll let you know how it goes.