Monday, January 6, 2014

Harding Hits Hard For Busy People - But Still Provides His Lyrical Prose in 8 Novels! Fantastic! Part I of a two-part Review

Originally the inmates were somewhat
trusted with inmate labor...That inaugural
rendition of Savone Correctional was a
few buildings that housed the men...the
free labor didn't sit well with local miners.
...forced the State to retreat from its
attempt at a job training program ala 1870.
The inmates stopped mining and built the
wall instead. In short order, two thousand of
their closest friends moved in and the prison
became the largest maximum security

The wall is thirty feet high and ten feet thick. It
surrounds Savone Correctional Facility, a maximum
security prison where I live. Its presence creates a
solid atmosphere of stone and white cement that
separates my world from another.

The Cats of Savone:
 8 Short Novels for Busy People

By David-Michael Harding

In those early days an inmate cemetery took shape out of necessity...This proved real convenient when a nightstick came down too hard and skulls cracked like dry wood. The walls broad back blocked any witnesses except for men already in chains and no one was going to listen to them anyway...

The title story in David-Michael Harding Anthology was, admittedly, one of my favorites, so I know you're not surprised... What you will be surprised about is that it is not the inclusion of the cats, per se, but rather Harding's unforgettable story of the life in prison...

Perversion of normal ferments inside and slips through the hands of sanity scarcely under control. Outside spins the causal chaos of life. Intimidation is the only shared definition visible from either side. For Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and a dozen others, prison walls are memories bent to rhymes. The lyrics play tricks and hide the poet's pain. Mind seldom pause to wonder if the words had been gleaned from skid bids, short stays in county lack-up, or from scars that still bleed, after aching years of blind-hard state time...Either way, the sentiments are as accurate as can be compressed in the space of a song. Telling the whole story would fill volumes no one would or could read. Page after page would be totally voice of the titillating drama and violence of Hollywood or real-life prison. Instead, you would find it inked with the painful boredom of high anxiety, symbolized by blank pages running to empty chapters on to entire books void of letters, words, motion, or even thought. This is the reality on my side of the wall...

Harding put out a poll to seek feedback for which stories would do well as full novels. I did vote, but on retrospect, I'm not so sure that any of them could be improved by expansion. Take for instance, The Cats of Savone--You can almost guess, without reading the story, what happened, so I don't think I'm giving anything away... Cats founds their way into Savone... [Recognize that these pics don't come close to
When Gretchen appeared back on the court there was a
huge sign of relief from prisoners and guards. In the days that followed things in the yards settled in as if nothing had happened. Several weeks later however, it became clear that something indeed had. Gretchen was pregnant.
"Pregnant, huh?" Doc G said with the look of a disapproving father. "Are you certain, Charles?"
"I'm sure. Look at her. She's getting wider than the broadside of a barn."
Gretchen strutted around atop the box as if on stage.
"Damn!" Frankie said excitedly. "Gretch got hers, man!"
Mickey petter her affectionately, but had a cross look on his face as she spoke. "Where the hell's the father?"
Frankie Laughed. "That boy is gone! Did the deed and jetted, man!"...
the descriptions in the book...]
 It was just a female, looking for some place safe to have hekits... 

As, I gather, in most prisons, cliques were formed
 and those were the people you hung with... Of course there were also the ghosts of those who had made it as far out as the cemetery and that added some distraction from the daily monotony... So when one group found the cat in a box of what was considered their outside territory, they immediately worked to ensure her presence was kept quiet... Soon Gretchen was right at home with all of them, probably enjoying better meals than ever before since she'd come from the streets!

Charlie Dennis had identified his spot 23 years ago and even had it fixed up so that they were able to cook chicken and other things outside. Charlie was, in fact, a nice guy who kept that fact hidden mostly, but did have some credibility with the guards... even though some of his crew might have been...questionable...
But soon, knowledge of the cat got out, especially when her kittens came

Well, you know what happened. Soon, that's not right...almost everybody were enjoying the additions to the community...

Except for one man...

I loved this story...


"My Boo Radley"

 Mrs. Talada, my junior high school English teacher, assigned To Kill A Mockingbirg. I never read it. Instead, on test day my wandering hazel eyes became practical periscopes and searched the papers of my nearby friends and returned to me with a seventy something...

Do we all have a Boo Radley in our lives through one person or another? Some children can be cruel while others are so very willing to take other people as they are and accept them as friends.

Sometimes it happens through a mutual interest...

Mine was a second-cousin that, while, not being able to speak clearly, was quite able to interact with anybody who was willing to do that with a mentally retarded boy...

This is a heartwarming story that, also, didn't require too much to think about what would be happening. But we all know that, more than likely, every "Boo Radley" is going to be different and each story will be unique... And we will learn just a little more about interacting with those around us.

"The Jazz Bridge" was quite a different story--of a city's downtown... 

So what do you do to ensure that you keep the downtown areas in good condition and facilities available and used by the town people... Add a little jazz and find out!

To Be Continued Tomorrow!

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