As 2014 comes to a close, please join us in revisiting the highs and lows of our project over the past year.
We congratulate the following Minutes Before Six writers for their outstanding accomplishments in 2014. Eddie Rameriz was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his story “Welcome To Hell.” Tim Pauley and the late Bill Van Poyck had short works of fiction published in the anthology “Prison Noir” edited by Joyce Carol Oates. And three of our writers placed in the 2013-2014 PEN Prison Writing Contest; Mike Lambrix received an honorable mention for “Hello Darkness – My Old Friend.” In the category of memoir, Steve Bartholomew won first place for “Son of the District” and Thomas Bartlett Whitaker placed first in the fiction category for “Manufacturing Anomie” and in the category of essay for “A Nothing Would Do As Well.”
Over the course of this year we presented you with over 50 essays. Some were penned by writers familiar to you, others by contributors new to our team. All opened their minds, hearts and lives to you in an effort to demonstrate that they are more than just numbers; they are human beings worthy of life and second chances. We learn something new from each writer and we hope you feel the same way.
2014 has been a stellar year for our artists too. In addition to some fantastic new art from our regular contributors, we welcomed some talented new artists, all of whom produce beautifully emotive and impressive art.
It is a great pleasure to see our artists receive the recognition for their work. Artist Michael Fishkeller recently incorporated a drawing by Arnold Prieto, "Texas Death Machine," into one of his pieces, titled “Mourning Social Justice.” Work by other Minutes Before Six artists is being displayed in public exhibitions and donated for sale in fundraisers.
On a sorrowful note, we lost two of our contributors in 2014. Tommy Lynn Sells, an artist and poet, was executed by the State of Texas on April 3. One of Tommy’s final wishes was to be remembered for something beyond his lowest moments. His art and poetry are evidence that there is beauty in each of us. Peace to Tommy and to those he hurt. Artist and writer Miguel Angel Paredes was taken from us on October 28, also by the State of Texas. To quote his adopted mother,
“If you would like to find a great example of a life changed, this was Miguel Angel. He went from bitterness and anger and a person wanting revenge to love, encouragement, friendship and helping anyone he was able to help. He always had the same smile on his face as you see in our picture. He kept strong to the last minute of his life. He is greatly missed by those of us who got to know him and love him.”
If you like an entry, poem or piece of art you find on Minutes Before Six, please take a moment to leave a positive comment. Writers and artists receive all comments and your encouragement means a great deal to them. We get our fair share (maybe more) of negative feedback but the purely positive words are few and far between. We also encourage you to share the link of any post you especially like with others who may appreciate it.
Our contributors are open to receiving mail. They are interested to know what you think of their writing and art and they welcome your suggestions. Please consider reaching out to one (or more) of them and sharing your thoughts about their work. Or simply let them know they are not forgotten during the holiday season. Holidays are lonely for many and kind gestures of any sort mean the world to those who are imprisoned.
Minutes Before Six runs completely on volunteer energy and resources. The administrative team absorbs operating costs, and contributors create and submit work using their own personal resources. Stationary, typewriter ribbon, art supplies and postage costs add up quickly. If you are moved by the work you find on Minutes Before Six, please consider making a donation to an individual contributor whose work has touched you. Some can receive stamps by mail, and others can receive funds through JPay. You may also make a general contribution to Minutes Before Six (please specify when making a contribution). Contributions can be made through PayPal or sent to:
Minutes Before Six
2784 Homestead Road #301
Santa Clara, CA 95051
We thank you for supporting Minutes Before Six and we wish you a very happy holiday season and peace and joy in the New Year!
~The Minutes Before Six Administrative Team~
|Dorothy Ruelas with Miguel Angel Paredes|
|Thomas Bartlett Whitaker|