75594_1720934958123053_8994965097951766679_nWe’re all here today because of mistakes we didn’t pay for. We’ve all dodged a thousand bullets to get to where we are today. And if we’re around next year, it’ll be because we dodged dozens more. Much as I’d like to, I just can’t bring myself to believe that life (or “the Universe”) is nearly as fair as the Law of Karma suggests. All to the contrary, I think the world we live in is a profoundly unfair place. The great English Reformer John Bradford saw this with unusual clarity. That’s why he mouthed these words to himself so often: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Angie was the kind of person you’d wanna be friends with in prison: incredibly tough, incredibly funny, and incredibly charismatic. My two favorite Orange Is the New Black characters remind me of her. Angie was a really good friend to my sister when my sister needed a really good friend. I’ll always be thankful to her for that. And I’ll never forget all those wacky working-class wives tales she’d recount, with deadly seriousness, at my mother’s kitchen table. She once told me that if you scared a pregnant woman her baby would be born with a tail. Oh Angie: you were such a great storyteller! Sorry your story had to end so soon.

—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2016)