Posted: May 1, 2012 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , ,

sunI will never forget a student I had named Victor. He was a large black man, an intimidating presence, but the gentlest of men. He used to sit in the back of my class and look at me with those intelligent eyes and that slightly cynical expression. I used to praise the work that guys did, sometimes even if it was rough. In my mind, a man putting his ideas on paper was often a great step forward. But when somebody did something of real value, I tried to tell him it was of exceptional value, far above the usual.

The previous week Victor had given me the opening chapter to his life’s story. It was terrific. I’d made some notes on it and handed it back to him at the beginning of class. A few minutes after class started, he stood up and waved his story in the air and then he said a line I will never forget, “Griffin, are you trying to blow sunshine up my ass?”

After I stopped laughing, I said, “No, I really think that was a good story. I meant my compliments.”

The line became famous among my non-inmate friends and students in the community. One year, on my birthday, my friends presented me with a cake, some flowers and a special decoration called “The Sunshine Award.” Attached to it, was a card relaying what Victor had told me.

Every year thereafter they gave the Sunshine Award to someone who always had positive things to say about other people’s work.

Do you know someone who deserves the Sunshine Award?

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  1. Joe Pineda says:

    People often forget how delightful it is for a writer to receive a positive comment. They don’t know it means the world to one when they are articulate and thorough about it too.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Right you are, Joe. I guess it’s a good strategy for all us writers to pass on the sunshine before we make any suggestions and even in the suggestions we need to make sure there is sunshine. My man Victor said it the best

  2. Sunshine in the sky, or from a smile on someone’s face or blowing up the ass is always sunshine. Since the beginning of time, there’s quite a history of sun worshipers and for good reason.

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