Seth Ferranti/ Class 8: Relationship Training
200. What relationship do you have to others in the world?
I have lots of different relationships with a lot of different people. First and foremost there is my wife, Diane. She is everything to me and does everything for me, without her everything that I have done and everything that I aspire to do ceases to be. She has been the facilitator for me for all these years and helped all my goals to become reality. I have other relationships with my friends and family and professional relationships with editors and writers and magazine owners and people in the entertainment world. I take my relationships seriously and I try to always do what I say I am going to do and to stay in touch with people and let them know what is going on with me.
201. To what extent do the decisions we make have an influence on the lives of others?
The decisions I have made have had a tremendous impact on my family, my community and my friends. My wife has stayed with me for my whole entire incarceration as has my mother. They have both sacrificed a lot of help me and be by my side and I will be eternally grateful. When you are young you think it is all aobut you and you don’t think how the consequences of your actions affect others but you realize as you get older that even though you are the one in prison, your family has suffered greatly also by not having you around. So it works both ways. Even now I have to realize that things that I write can affect other people. Being in here its like I am almost in a little protective shell but I am ready to break out of my shell and enter intot he real world and see the influence my decisions can have on others but in a positive impact this time.
202. In what ways does a relationship with God influence the choices we make or behaviors we pursue?
With a higher power the control of ones life is given to them so anything that happens is through and by them. A relationship with god to me means that you want to err on the side of right. By striving to do the right things I am striving for godliness in all my daily activity and actions.
203. In what ways does our relationship to anyone else influence the choices we make or behaviors we pursue?
Our relationships to other people directly influenced the choices or behaviors we pursue. That is why I try to surround myself with knowledgeable, go getter and law abiding citizens because if you are around a bunch of using drug addicts then most likely you will be a using drug addict also. If you are around a bunch of successful and productive people odds are some of that will rub off on you and help you to be successful and productive also. That is why in my network of support I have a bunch of people that run their own businesses and are successful at it and why I correspond with a bunch of different writers so that I am actively and currently involved with them and what they are doing and going through so that I can use their experiences to my benefit.
204. If everyone in society made decisions from the same code of personal values that we embrace, how would the world advance or decline for future generations, including our children?
If everyone tried to lead a successful and productive live the world would advance significantly for future generations including our children. There is so much hate and jealousy and contempt in our world that it poisons people and makes them want to escape and they turn to drugs or criminality to get what they get from more legitimate or real means. It is a never ending cycle that perpetuates itself and if everyone would just make their own little stand within themselves and their own boundaries it could make a big difference for the future. All we can do is help and hope and try to live our lives by the standards we have set and hope that our example leads others in the same predicament.
205. To what extent do your choices and behaviors match the choices and behaviors you would want your children or people you love to see and emulate?
Me succeeding from prison in my chosen vocation and career is something I want people that I love to see and emulate. In fact it is bigger than that, I want the world to see and recognize and appreciate what I am doing and what I have done and what I will still do. I want to hold myself out as an example as this is what you can do when youa re incarcerated for 25 years. This is the transformation that can take place. I will continue to work my hardest and give it all my best so that I can spread the word of what I have done and how I have changed and show what I am doing. I will continue to hold myself to a higher accounting. I know when I come home I will be an ex-con and there will be a mark on my back but I will not shrink from what I am doing I will be more wary and hold myself more accountable than ever before so that I don’t let my wife and family and friends who have supported me down but most of all I refuse to let myself down and to let everything I have built from in here go to nothing.
206. What does it mean to you to live with integrity?
To live with integrity is to keep my word and do what I say I am going to do and not do the right thing only because someone is watching but do the right thing all the time. That is integrity. My integrity means all to me and I will hold myself accountable at all times and strive to do the right thing and live the right way. We are all human but I cannot afford to slip up in any way and to me that speaks volumes of my integrity and who I am and what I aim to be. My integrity means not coming to prison again or breaking the law or using drugs or getting myself in situations with people who are committing crimes and not living productive and legitimately.
207. What does it mean to you to serve a prison sentence or to confront adversity with dignity?
I have confronted my prison sentence head on. I have confronted adversity. I have walked down a 25 year sentence with my head held high. My first nine years were not productive. I was smoking marijuana and trying to escape the reality of my sentence by not facing it. I was smuggling drugs into prison and putting my friends and family in danger by doing this. I am not proud of the way I was living and the things I did. But I see now it was all a process, an evolution of me as a person. Yes I committed crimes, yes I came to prison and kept committing crimes, yes I was a drug addict and felt a sense of entitlement and thought I was to smart to get caught. These were my faults. I can freely admit it because I have turned the corner. I have turned my life around. It took some time and was not easy, I will be the first to admit, but I am still me and I like the person I am today and everything that I have done and encountered has made me the person I am today. I am a well forged blade, sharpened and true, on the top of my game and ready to go out into the world and make my mark in a productive and legitimate way. I wish I knew all the things I know now about myself when I was young, if I did it would have saved me a lot of trouble and my family and loved ones a lot of heartache and the government a lot of money and resources but I can’t go back in time I can only make sure everything is right and correct from now on.
208. In what ways do your relationships with other prisoners influence your possibility for success upon release?
I try to see who is who and only affiliate or associate myself with men of substance. There are a lot of fake dudes in here and scammers and conmen and dudes who in reality are about nothing. So I try to seperate myself from them but still at the same time I am polite and considerate to them because they could be fans of my work or potential fans. I see prison as my training ground for success int he world. As long as I can navigate these treacherous waters and meet people and establish relationships and business contacts then I will be able to do it in the world easy because it is a lot harder market in here. So I have been using prison as a sort of testing ground for how I interact with other people and how I react to them in both negative and positive situations and I believe this will influence the possibility of success upon my release.
209. How do your relationships with other prisoners influence the way that prison staff members assess you?
If you are hanging around troublemakers or drug takers or dudes that are known as extortionists are knuckleheads then staff will automatically assume that is your M.O. also. So I try to stay away from people like that and just to stay by myself in general so that I will not be labeled as this or that by prisoners or staff. It is just safer in all regards to walk alone and not be considered in a gangs or geographical location group because there are a lot of politics in prison and I would rather not be involved in any of them.
210. In what ways will your relationships with other prisoners influence the probation officer who supervises your release?
I think it will most definitely negatively impact my relationship with my probation officer if I try t be int he company of a bunch of ex-convicts. But while I am still in here I ask questions and try to gain knowledge from other prisoners about what will be expected when I come home because a lot of these dudes have gone home and come back and have experiences with probation officers that I don’t have so it is nice to hear the stories, good and bad from different dudes so that I can form my own opinion andmake my own jedgements as I ready my own individual plan on how to deal with it.
211. What efforts are you making today to influence the relationships you will have in the months and years to come?
I am making every effort possible through the corrlinks system in which we are not allowed to email. I am reaching out to various people and the people I have know for years and touching base with them and sharing what I am doing and my writing and things I am moving forward on with them. I am doing everything possible to love my wife and give her the support she has given me and to be the best husband I can be. I also try to keep in touch with my mother and other family members through email, the phone and visits. I try to be positive and supportive and let them all know that I am here to help them in any way I can even though it is only a limited way in which I can help.
212. In what ways can you influence relationships with people beyond prison boundaries while you’re incarcerated?
I can influence them greatly through my writing. The bigger the audience that reads my work the more I hope I can make things change for the better for me and for the rest of the people in prison. Our system needs substantive reforms and I am working as hard as I can to let people know and to get the word out. I have found a platform with my writing and I intend to keep using it to push myself, my agenda and my ideas onto the world and public so they can see everything clearly and know waht is going on. I look to learn and I strive to meet more people and communicate with them and exchange ideas to make this a better world for myself, my family and eventually when I have them, my children.
213. How would maintaining relationships with people who embrace criminal values influence your potential for success upon release?
Maintaining relationships with people who embrace criminal values is something that I cannot od. It would be detrimental to my rehabilitation and my ability to stay out when I get out. I am a risk taker I know this, I will do things that other people will not do. I cannot put myself in situations where I am tempted to get involved in criminal activities because I get a rush off stuff like that so I am finding other ways to satisfy that urge and I will stay away from people who share or want to engage in those type of activities.
214. In what ways do grooming and personal appearance influence your relationship with others?
I want to be neat and appear proper in all respects to my grooming and personal appearance because I know that a first impression can make all the difference. If I look and act like a convict or criminal and come across that way that can be detrimental to what I am trying to accomplish and can ultimately lead me back to prison. So I have to change in every way even in my appearance if I want to succeed and do the things that I have set forth for myself to accomplish.
215. How do writing skills influence the potential for opening new relationships that may lead to success upon release?
In prison we have limited contact by phone and in person so writing skills to develop new relationships is a must. Every contact I have in my network of support besides my wife, mother and family has been developed through writing. For the longest time it was by mail, then by emails through my wife and now finally that we have email in prison, emails from me here. I have done all my communication by writing. The restrictions we have in prison with our phone minutes and limited visits, plus the distant prisons we are shipped to, so far away from home requires ones to correspond, communicate and build relationships by writing.
216. In what ways are you working now to nurture relationships that may help you succeed upon release?
I am working in numerous ways to nurture relationships which may help me succeed when I am released. I would say almost every relationship I have is based on that. It is a mutual relationship though because my work and my word are quality. I have found that most people in here are full of shit and from what people have told me it is the same in the world so I know that when you are a person who keeps his word, works hard and gets the job done like minded people are attracted to you to work with you and communicate with you. So every relationship I am nurturing right now is one that will help me to succeed when I get out.
217. What influence will your relationships with others have on your possibility for success upon release?
My relationship with others will directly affect my possibility for success upon release. By interacting and proving my worth and showing people that I have established relationships with that I am trustworthy and the type of person that handles business and gets the job done will directly benefit me when I come home and can have more contact with them. They will know that if they give me a writing assignment, lets say for a magazine, like an article or interview, that I will be able to do it, see it through and do it in a professional, timely and concise manner. That is the reputation I have developed in here and my work speaks for itself.
218. How would prospective mentors respond if they were to hear you attribute your predicament to the choices or actions of another?
If a prospective mentor or person who is willing to go out on a limb and help me heard that I blamed my incarceration on anything other than myself, I believe it would be a turn off for them. Because I am not a victim and I will not be seen as a victim. Although I don’t agree with the long sentence I received or all the time I have had to do I will do it and I am doing the best that I can given my current circumstances. I will never make excuses or try to blame my choices or actions on another. I take full responsibility for everything I have done and everything I will do.
219. In what ways does the blaming of outside forces strengthen or weaken your potential for success upon release?
Blaming outside forces weakens my potential for success upon release because anyone who is thinking about working with me in whatever capacity wants to see that I am a responsible person who is accountable and holds myself to a higher standard. To blame others is to not accept complete and full responsibility. If I can’t be accountable to myself and tell myself the truth and level with myself how can I be accountable, tell the truth and level with another person? Especially someone who might be able to help me by working with me to achieve whatever project it is we decide to work on together. Casting blame would weaken my potential for success.
220. How do your relationships with others influence the people closest to you?
My relationships with others directly influences the people closest to me. I work very closely with my wife Diane in all that I am doing and all that Iahve done concerning my writing and journalism career. She enables me to get everything done and enables me to be on point and keep my word in regards to what I am telling people concerning my work and processing things and getting them done. In effect she acts as my manager, my agent, my secretary, my editor, business partner, best friend and wife. I am very grateful and lucky to have her in my corner and on my team. In reality she is my whole team and she facilitates everything I do and makes me look good doing what I do and in my relationships with other people
221. To what extent does living with transparency, or as an open book, influence relationships?
I let people know who and what I am going in so there won’t be anything negative later on when they find out I am in prison or that I have done a lot of time. That is made known off the rip so if they don’t want to deal with me because of that then its already on the table and known. I have no time for people that want to waste my time and I hope people I am dealing with in business or serious matters feel the same about me. If I commit myself to something I am going to give 150% or I wouldn’t commit to it in the first place. SO living with transparency in who I am and what I have done and where I have been is the only way for me to conduct business and go about my life.
222. How would behaving one way with one group of people and another way with others strengthen or weaken your potential for success upon release?
I think you need to remain consistent in how you are and how you act and how you treat people. I try to always remain the same and be the same person so that people don’t have to guess how I am going to react to something, they know before they bring it to me. That is about being transparent also. About being open in how and what I am and the way I like to do things. I intend to work hard on anything I do whether it is for the President or some street corner bum. If I give my word than my word is just that, my word, regardless of who I give it to. That is part of my integrity and values and I take pride in being the same way and predictable in my actions.