Autobiography Notes – 2015
This book is dedicted with love to my mother Peggy Ann, to nana, and to my great-grandmother Dolores. They are strong and beautiful women who continue to inpire me deeply. I will live and fight in their memory – as a woman!
“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision – then it becomes less and less important whether I’m afraid.” – Audre Lorde
I have always wanted to write a book! These “Autobiography Notes”(2015) are my first serious attempt at doing so. When I was just an elementary school kid in Riverside, California, I participatd in a class project where we developed a simple story plot and used cut-and-paste picture illustrations to format our own DIY children’s book. My mother, Peggy, helped me with this art/publishing project, and we created a cute story about my pet cat, Mornis. Then we had a show-and-tell where I had the opportunity to share my book with the whole class. I was quite proud of myself, and so was my mom.
Since this early experience with creative writing, my life has been from one etreme to the other. Allot of traumatic events have occurred, which have led to depression and suicide attempts. I’ve survived car wrecks, drug overdoses, and sexual abuse. Not to mention decades of incarceration and torture!
In spite of all that, I have continued to pursue my education, obtaining a GED in 1988 at the Orange County Jail and earning college credits as an undergrad student toward an Associate in Arts (AA) Degree at Coastline Community College.
I’ve developed a unique writing style through the many years of personal penpal correspondence. As a Jailhouse Lawyer and self-taught activist, I learned how to write legal documents, business letters, and revolutionary political theory. As a queer/trans woman and an Amazon feminist I also started my blog on the “through the bars” website, which I concieved of as an online journal.I’ve also become an aspiring artist and poet in the process.
I’ve had this idea of someday compiling a memoir, or writing an autobiography. So, this is my story written the way I want, it’s my chance to speak for myself. However, it’s not complete as the rest of my life has yet to be lived with the utmost vigor!
I’ve consider various tentative titles for this book such as “Babygirl” (My priison nickname) or “Amazon Queen” (which is how I identify and view my existential reality in the social war against patriarchy). A Poignant subtitle would be “autobiogrphy of a revolutionary queer/trans woman”
As a skinhead gangmember, I renounced white supremacy and revolted against the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, spent over a decade in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay SHU and then struggled to come out as a transgender woman behind the walls of men’s prisons as an inmate in the California Departemtn of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Today, I am inspired by earlier prison writings such as Jack Abbott (In the belly of the beast) and George Jackson (blood in my eye). I’m inspired by revolutionary heroes like Assata Shakur (Women in Prison: How We Are), and Che Guevara (Motorcycle Diaries).
I’m inspired by Queer/Trans writers such as Janet Mock (Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So much more), and the poetry of Maya Angelou (Phenominal Woman and Stil I Rise). I’ve published some of my own works online and in print, and share a selection of original poetry here.
So, with that I’ll end this quick introduction and hope you’ll enjoy reading whatever flows from my heart to my mind to my pen. At the very least, I hope to educate, entertain, inspire, and ignite the People toward revolution and total liberation.
Viva the Amazons!
With love and solidarity,
Jennifer Gann (A)
Jennifer Gann P.O.W.
30 June 2015
Kern Valley State Prison