Last Friday night, two poet-musicians "following in the footsteps of Johnny Cash" came to prison for a concert. I met Daniel and Chuck at a poetry reading in Tacoma originally. They were thrilled to have a chance at a new audience and their audience was enchanted.
We often have Christian/church groups come in, either for Sunday services or for a special evening performance. We've discovered that the groups often share the same repetoire and variety isn't much of a virtue. Maybe that's why Daniel and Chuck's time with us was so different. They sang original songs, for the most part, about falling in love, making mistakes, learning to be wrong. Daniel sang about the time his former wife and two-year-old son moved from Tennessee to Alaska and how he'd moved to Seattle to be closer. A man sitting a few feet away from me doubled over and cried. Too many men here know the pain of being separated from their children.
It was a grace-filled, hope-filled evening, all we could have wished for.
And it was just Part One. Daniel and Chuck will be back in a few months to host an Open Mike night and the offenders will get to showcase some of their own writing then.