Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Doorways of Juvenile Detention

on February 20, 2010

I’m taking a class at Richard Hugo House called, “Writing the Work Memoir.” It’s an interesting way to approach memoir and is helping me sort through some ideas for writing about the poetry workshop with the youth in detention.

The following is some of the writing I’ve been doing in the class.

I enter the detention center through two large, glass doors. If you remember to look up, art created by the teens sits on a glass shelf in the upper window. Most people don’t look up.

Once I am cleared through what is very similar to airport security, I turn right and walk into a lobby. I place keys and my license in a silver bin and receive a “Professional” badge which I clip to my shirt.

To enter the heart of the center, I must pass through two, heavy, locked doors with a small hallway between them. It is here that I am caught in a moment of in-between. In this tiny hallway, I must force myself to release all control and surrender to someone else opening and closing my doors.

Some days, the second door opens quickly, and I easily step inside. Other days, the door seems to take forever. I take deep breaths and remember that I am not trapped. The camera above can see me when it swings in rotation to the small enclosed space.

Once the second door opens, the hallways are lit with fluorescent lighting. Cheerful, blue, red, and green tiles cover the floor. I pass a large laundry room and can often smell freshly cleaned laundry. On rainy days, it could almost be called cozy.


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