For five years, I taught creative writing to men and women in California prisons. Entering a maximum security facility is an experience one does not forget. I learned much from the prisoners, learned much about my fears. Several students were powerful writers with huge talent. They would not have been out of place in the heights of publishing and academia. Writing was not a passing indulgence for the classes. The pen opened the flow to their creative sides; sometimes reflection, sometimes honesty, sometimes just fucking great prose.
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