A year didn’t used to seem like so long. Back when I was teaching high school English, The school year always flew by, and The Summer was never long enough. A full year in the pen, however, is a different story. Each day seems like a month, each week a year, and each month a decade. This past year felt like an eon went by. As I read the New York Times each day (or each day I can get a copy), I expect to see that everything has changed. I expect to read about flying cars and the U.S.’s 68th president and the unification of the world. But from my perspective here in Kansas State Penitentiary, the outside world is crawling ever so slowly. Reading the same columnists’ articles every day, their views never seem to change, and each column seems the same as the one before it. Yet on I read. I read the Times as often as I can, front page to back. Why do I read? I struggled to answer that honestly for myself, for months. Then I realized. With my family and my friends having ostracized me, the Times is my only way to feel like I’m still a part of the outside world. It’s my only connection with a life that used to be so unregimented and unpredictable and wonderful and free. And cooped up in Kansas State Penitentiary, having every decision made for me, every day planned, is killing me. Slowly, almost imperceptibly at first, being here is killing me bit by bit, like a poison. And I desperately need to get out.