Dream Haters

Along the Way. . .

Experiences, Insights & Humor on the “Long Road Home”

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

OK, I’m pretty ticked off at the moment and I’ve let a particular issue fester for a couple days. Actually the problem has been building for years, decades in fact, but recently it has started to play so important a role as to be a detriment to me.

When this “gremlin in my mind” invades even my subconscious and manifests itself in my dreams, ESPECIALLY DREAMS OF BEING FREE AGAIN – and I hardly ever have those (twice in the past few months) – then I feel I have earned the right to put it out there for all the world to see, just like I’ve revealed the depth of my guilt and my regrets, I will and must also stand on my faith and my wonderful plans.

So, naysayers, let me get it done – news flash: YOU DONT KNOW ME OR WHAT I CAN DO.

So, I’m wrong? Ok, what’s my favorite color, or band? Who is my favorite author? and who do I wish to one day be able to meet and why?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Now let me tell you a bit about what I can and can’t do: I can teach myself to read. I can teach myself to be compassionate and caring,  I can be goal oriented and driven. I can teach myself that the world without drugs or alcohol is much better to me and for me than otherwise, and I can actually deal with sobriety and functionality on MY OWN TERMS.

I CAN THINK ABOUT MY PAST, AND REGRET THE THINGS I DID, NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY COST ME BUT BECAUSE OF THE HURT AND COST TO OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE!

THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE IN WHO I AM NOW AND WHO I WAS. I may not be able to convince you, but still I must insist that you PLEASE DO NOT GET THAT FACT TWISTED.

I can do anything I set my mind to do, I’m that strong, I’m strong enough to walk down 38 years in federal prisons and keep some semblance of sanity, learning and teaching what I have been taught, all the while doing so because it’s the right thing to do. I can aid and encourage others, help them believe in themselves and help them accomplish their dreams.

Man, I AM going to go back to school – just because I can and want to in order to do what I intend to do with the rest of my life – help others or at least try.

So don’t try to pop off some moral high horse and think I can’t. I can and will.

The next right thing is what keeps me from being the me I was and will never ever be again. I will never allow that. and that’s something else I can do – continue to grow, refusing to take (or submit to) an attitude of superiority or arrogance.

See, I know this reads kind of arrogant, but that’s because you don’t know me. Case in point, this isn’t arrogance; it IS defiance. I will spend the rest of my life defying failure. I will do whatever it takes, stay on hold on a phone, or stand in a stupid line, or get shuffled thru a zillion options till I get connected to the right one.

I’ll stay the course and deal with the hassles, I’ll wade thru the bull just to get to the office of admissions. Yes, I’m gonna need my class schedule. I’m gonna need at least an associates in arts in social sciences to become a counselor, either drug and alcohol rehab or juvenile. But I will get it done! My life will not have been lived in vain. MY LIFE WILL HAVE MEANING.

So for all you dream haters, save yourselves the hassle. For all who think you know me but don’t, stand back – I’m on to what I believe is the next right thing whether you believe in me or not.

And just so you know, my favorite color is red, my favorite band is “Dream Theatre.” My favorite author is Conn Iggulden and I’d like to meet Bill Bryson because of his ability to bring even astrophysics down to earth. I’m interested to know how he is able to translate all these amazing facts into a format that can reach a man like me. I didn’t make it thru 5th grade but I appreciate brilliant writing and the man’s quirky sense of humor with a little twist of smart aleck thrown in is so cool. I’d like to meet Bill Bryson and talk for an afternoon on a park bench maybe. Now you know.

So, maybe you could learn a lot more about who I am right now and the others in the world you might care about if you weren’t so caught up in you.

© Steven “Walks On The Grass” Maisenbacher, December, 2021

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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