Two years ago, I made a new friend. But not any friend. His name is Joel Williams. I was wandering in a book shop one summer and saw this book on a shelf: Du Sang dans les Plumes. I read the back cover and discovered the book was written by this man, this convict, incarcerated after killing his father. He wrote it in prison and talks about his life, his crime and how he sees his life in prison. People may think it is a Prison Break story but it’s not. Actually, it is more like a comedy out of a tragic story.
Why this man is a hero on paper and in the real
As I opened the book, I thought: ok, this book is about an incarcerated man who killed his own father. I guess it’s dark and sad. But after Joel tells the reader about his childhood and how he committed is crime in an intense first part story, he introduced us to the convict’s head, in a thrilling second part. Do you know how men are treated in prisons? Do you know they are allowed to have health treatments and that people don’t even consider them as human beings? Did someone ever considered asking him WHY he committed his crime? Well, if all of this sounds dramatic, Joel writes about it in a funny and joyful way.
Joel has been in prison for over 25 years and his vision of life is unique. Writing this book made him accept his condition and share it to the world. He’s kind, full of love and trust, and an amazing friend.
For two years now, I’ve been writing him letters, confessing my sins, sharing my love, shouted my despair and most of all, learnt to know this man, who, 2 months ago, finally received his parole grant. In a month or so, Joel may go out of prison, be free, and be able to share his art with everyone, on every media and with sincere feelings.
Du Sang dans les Plumes is one masterpiece. And I don’t say that because Joel is my friend. But he’s told me a lot about his life, his past, his resentments and the conditions he’s been living in for the past decades.
Joel is a devoted artist and friend. He has a profund and honest writing and all of this is material for arts. People who’ve made stories about incarcerated people, biopics, don’t really know what it is to live in prison, far from the one you love. Discover, learn about the ones you’ve known who’ve failed or succeeded.
Last year, he released his second short stories novel titled “A House Burning” on Kindle and it’s even more concrete and profund than the first one. Joel writes about himself through his characters and make them live as if they were real.
As I discovered him, read him, I felt free to tell him who he made me think about. Joel is true, he’s tough, but he’s also a human being and has feelings. Even though he does not always agree with me, he has a Charles Bukowski style, in his sincere, obsene and loving way of writing. They have the same look on life. You have to do everyting you wnt to do, mess up with it, love, hate, make errors but always learn a lesson from it. That’s what makes him the special person he is.
Lately, I felt in love with James Franco‘s writing. I read Palo Alto, and felt this honesty I’ve not seen for a long time. Those writers don’t think about sharing a happy ending story. They relate truth. Those short stories talk about fear, love, and teenage life. They are not perfect but express their hate and despair against life itself. Gia Coppola directed the movie based on the book and mixed all the short stories to create a very emotional movie. I told Joel about it and sent him the book. Here’s what he told me about it: “How young people who struggle to enter their own lives, and them writers and directors who work and talk about it through art, is a way to a higher form of being and understanding – for both young people and writers & directors”.
But in the end, Joel Williams is unique.
If you want to know more about his work and how to express yourself about his work, please go on his website.