In 1994 I was caged in the cell next to Paul Wright's. Collaboration was relatively easy then; we could holler at each other any time we wanted. Once or twice a month we'd haul our file folders down to the day room and have an editorial meeting.
In August of 1995 I was transferred to a prison across the road. Though we could no longer meet face to face, collaboration was still possible through daily correspondence. My outgoing morning mail would reach Paul that afternoon; I'd get his response the next day. And since the mail was intra-institutional, there was no postage. The daily correspondence was cumbersome, but we did what we had to do to keep things rolling along relatively smoothly.
In January 1999 the situation changed. The WA DOC instituted strict mail policies which (among other restrictions) banned "inmate to inmate" correspondence. Paul and I have continued to "Co"-Edit PLN, but have had to operate without the ability to communicate in an effective or timely manner. This has resulted in a lot of problems.
Writers have submitted articles, one copy to each editor, and while one of us sends the writer a polite rejection, the other sends the article back for rewrite and re-submission. In many other ways Paul and I have ended up working at cross purposes. At times decisions that should have been made quickly were not, because neither of us was willing to make a move without consulting the other.
I finally realized that it would be better, under the circumstances, if there were but one editor. And since Paul co-founded PLN, I knew it was me who should step down. But, hopefully, this will not have a significant impact on the publication of PLN. It is my hope, and belief, that those PLN readers who don't read this column and who pay no attention to the names in the page two staff box will fail to notice the change.
In the October 1994 editorial I wrote: "I devote my time and energy to the PLN because I believe it is a valuable tool in the struggle for prisoners' rights and I consider it a good use of my time." I feel no different today. I will continue to devote my time and labor to PLN, but as a writer rather than editor.
Please send all future editorial correspondence to Paul Wright (address on page two). I know Paul will do well as sole editor. And if conditions change in the future to allow him and I to effectively collaborate, I may resume my role as co-editor. But until then, fare thee well. And please do not forget to contribute to PLN's annual fundraiser if you have not done so already.
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