For those of you who have followed my journey with Jeff, you probably remember me speaking of the book he wrote; “From Handguns to Paintbrushes” On our first visit, he sent the book home with me. It was a book he had written in black and white marble notebooks. I don’t know why I questioned his ability to write a book, but I did. I didn’t think he would be able to do it, but he did it.
The day after our visit I was in my office and the phones were slow so I decided to start reading his book. I knew it was a story about his life, but I was in no way prepared for what I was about to read. We had discussed me reading it, typing it in manuscript format and then trying to find a publisher who would publish it. I figured it would be best to read the book first, and then type it. After an hour of reading, I left my office angry and devastated. At this time the jail went on lock down and I was unable to speak with him. Once I arrived home I spent hours reading until I was finished. Do you know the feeling you get when you find out your husband/boyfriend is cheating on you? This was the feeling. I was so angry with him, wondering how he would even for 5 minutes put this book in my hands. In his eyes, was this payback for what I put him through? I couldn’t deal with it and not being able to speak with him set me off into a rage. I wrote him a VERY detailed letter in an attempt to hurt him and without thinking, sent it overnight. Once I calmed down, I realized there was no way he was going to be able to handle receiving the letter without speaking to me and since the jail was locked down, I had no idea when I would be able to speak to him. The next day, I left my house very early in the morning and drove to New York. The drive took forever. If anyone drove next to me they were probably looking at me and thought I was insane. I was practicing what I was going to say to him! I was just driving and having an entire conversation with myself for at least an hour. I couldn’t believe he would be so stupid to just give me this book without any warning of what was written inside.
I finally arrived at the prison. I checked in without my cell phone and with my license plate number in hand. There was no way in hell I was going to have a repeat of the first visit. After a few minutes I was led into the visiting room. I asked the guard for a pencil and piece of paper and was writing everything I wanted to tell him. See, my problem is, when Jeff is standing in front of me looking in my eyes, I drift off. I was not going to allow his presence to cause me to forget everything I hated about this book. All of a sudden he walked into the room and he was shocked yet smiling ear to ear when he saw me. He came over to kiss me and I put my hand out to block him and said; “sit down”. He sat down and the guards started laughing. He thought I was there due to him not contacting me and he thought I was upset because I hadn’t a clue the prison was locked down. I did this for 4 years last go around. I knew the drill. As soon as I didn’t hear from him I called the prison and was told they were on lockdown. He looked at me and said; “I love you momma” and I responded with; “so you say”. (he hates when I say this). I had the piece of paper with direct quotes from his book and asked him; “how the fuck could you be so dumb to put this book in my hands?” He was beyond confused until I slid the paper across the table and he began to read. He placed his hands over his head and went off. “Really Joy, are you kidding me? You are now questioning my love for you because of this stupid book.” He was upset, and kept telling me how much he loved me and how I was crazy to think he didn’t love me. To tell the truth, the moment he looked into my eyes before I told him to sit down, I knew he loved me and only me and I also knew I was being ridiculous. However, I rarely slept and drove all the way to NY to discuss this with him, so I continued with my questions, even though I knew I didn’t even need to ask them.
The book was about his life. . . Jeff has led a very crazy life filled with guns, drugs, violence and MANY women. To read this, to hear him discussing having sex with other women made me crazy. To read about me, and then to read about him sleeping with this one or that one in the next paragraph hurt. Yes, I knew how he was. . .later in life. But I had no idea what he was doing when I was a young girl head over heels in love with him! To read this, to read about all of the women he was having sex with when I loved him? Killed me. . . And not to mention his life of crime. I truly had no idea of any of this when I was young. Of course I knew more when I was older, but still to read all of it in the matter of hours was devastating. He left me and stopped speaking to me when I was 16 but I was still in love with him. While I was losing my virginity to some loser who didn’t care about me, he was off fucking several different women. It hurt and I did question us until he looked at me.
He spent the visit telling me how much he loved me, but this was a book about his life and this is what he did. He wanted to keep the book as true, raw and honest as possible, and he was sorry it hurt me to read. I then asked him if he would be ok reading detailed accounts of my sex life with other men? And he stood silent. Of course he couldn’t deal with this. He would go off. He told me he wrote the book and never picked it up to read again. He never reread the book and since it was hand written it took him months to complete. He also reminded me how the purpose of the book was to tell his story and then take his life because he couldn’t deal with me leaving him. Of course this isn’t how the book played out because I came back, but. . . He said over and over how he could not deal with me questioning his love for me because I was the only woman in the world who he has ever loved, has ever been faithful to and how he was not the one who cheated. This is true. . . And I know he loves me. . .But it was still a difficult read.
It made me feel better to see him and a few days later, the jail came off lockdown. He received my letter and opted against reading it and decided it would be best if he threw it away. The same evening he dug into the trash to find the letter and read it. I am still hearing about this. . .
The book is 98% completed and I have decided to hire an editor. Although it was a difficult read for me, the story was truly amazing. . .He has led a crazy life, but has come such a long way. I have selected 7 people to read it, but I am going to have a few more because I do believe it will be published and I fear the parole board reading it. Out of the 7 people who read the book, ranging from childhood friends, older women, younger women and my attorney, only one person was sick to their stomach. She thought he should be locked away forever. Everyone else was able to see his growth. I can’t form an unbiased opinion because I know him and love him.
I just saw him this past Sunday. We are doing well and I now realize I was being ridiculous about the book. But at the time I was really hurt. It was hard to read, when I am reviewing now, it is still difficult to read. . . but he has a story to tell and I am going to do whatever I can do to make sure he is able to share his story.