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Prison Work

As an attorney, I have had the opportunity to work with a man on death row for the last twelve years.    He will be referred to as Lee on this site.   I originally represented Lee on a pro-bono basis as co-counsel to assist Lee’s primary counsel with Lee’s post-trial habeas proceedings.  When a more experienced attorney (experienced with death penalty cases specifically) was brought in as Lee’s primary counsel, my role as pro-bono co-counsel became less and less involved.  Lee and I have maintained a close professional relationship, though, and twelve years into it, we have developed a friendship that can be categorized as teacher and student — except that often it is me filling the role of student and Lee serving as teacher in all manner of discussions regarding why people make the choices they do, why people alienate their families and loved ones to the point of depression and clinical isolation, and why, ultimately, people are who they are.

Our ongoing letters have over the years become predominantly spiritual in nature, and by exploring the Twilight material together over this last year (the archetypal perspectives presented in this site), I realized that Twilight is a perfect medium for inmates with limited resources to learn about archetypes as they relate to everyone’s lives (including theirs).    Not only is Twilight written at a reading level that is appropriate for readers of all levels, but Edward in particular presents an interesting character study for people who can identify with his self-perception as a monster full of self-loathing.  Edward learns to walk back into his humanity and his self-esteem through the power of choice and the gift of grace in his life, but his journey is riddled with torment and difficult circumstances in the meantime, and he often doubts whether his existence has any value at all.  It is because of these parallels (and because the story also explores redemption, salvation and what it truly means to be free, whether literally or spiritually) that I want to bring Twilight to the inmate population as a tool to explore archetypes and archetypal patterns in our lives with Edward’s example of turning fear and self-loathing into self-esteem, with faith and the power of choice leading the way.

I am in the process of developing teaching materials to share the Twilight experience with inmates through a self-guided, self-paced workbook approach with Q&A analysis of how archetypes have influenced their lives and how they continue to influence their lives.   All of this discussion is facilitated first by a reading of the Twilight saga and then learning to identify and appreciate the archetypal themes and patterns at play so that applying the “cloud level” perspective becomes easier and more fluid with other nonTwilight experiences and circumstances in their lives.  (For a description of “cloud level” references, see the link for “Fate and Destiny” http://twilightsagaarchetypes.com/fate-and-destiny/)

I am grateful to Lee for his ongoing contributions to my own personal journey over these many years, and I am also unspeakably grateful to the victim’s family (she will be referred to using the name Hope) for their love and support over the years as I have navigated — often not well — the emotional ups and downs of being attached to both families, both Lee’s and Hope’s, on opposite sides of the most unimaginably difficult situation either family has ever faced.   I hope that with enough refinement of the workbook-style archetypal coursework for Twilight, the material can be shared with other inmates, male and female, particularly those who are scheduled for release and re-entry into society, because working with archetypes is an extremely powerful tool for anyone, and people who are being reintroduced into society are better off with tools to serve them rather than inviting recidivism.   I am also grateful to Stephenie Meyer for creating such an amazing and widely accessible canvas for archetypal studies (and for any reader level!) so that Twilight and its many facets can be shared in the context of learning for a population of people largely ignored by mainstream educators.

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