Nothing In Common

Film, Observatory

I’m signed to Google Alerts, which helps me to pick up reviews I might have missed on blogs. I usually read them and offer comments or help to reviewers. But I also get copied in on other Christopher Fowlers, and have lately noticed that while quite a few of the European ones are scientists, most of the American ones seem to be in jail.

Does this tell us something about the cultural signifiers of the name Christopher, in Europe a middle-class name, in the US a working class name? Or is it simply that the US has the highest prison population on the planet?

I already know another Christopher Fowler and sometimes get sat next to him at dinner, people thinking we must have a lot in common. (Answer: No). Today’s Google Alerts brought up these two US citizens. The one on the left was arrested in Ohio on unnamed charges, while the one is a keen reader and is seeking online pen friends. Unfortunately he’s on Death Row in a state pen somewhere. The rules about penfriending include this:

We suggest using a postal box. DO NOT PROVIDE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: Your physical address, home or work telephone number, job location or employer, your financial situation [i.e. income, stocks, bank accounts, etc], names of relatives, account numbers and other personal information. Do not identify your job description in high profile fields as medical, legal, government, military, accounting, broker, etc.

Part of me is tempted to respond, but knowing my mouth I’ll end up getting us both in trouble. Has anyone else done this?

8 comments on “Nothing In Common”

  1. Cid says:

    Bailiff, take him down.

  2. Alan Morgan says:

    The one on the left has gone downhill since his days in that teen-sensation pop band.

  3. BangBang!! says:

    How purple is that guy’s head?!

  4. Jennifer says:

    How can you say you have nothing in common with these men? They act on their sick, criminal ideas. You write them down and make money off of them.

  5. Dan Terrell says:

    I don’t know. Unless you’re doing research for a novel, I suggest you write a soldier in Afghanistan. That would, undoubtedly, be a big hit with the troops and help build your readership. Maybe send them a couple of paperbacks to read and share around.

  6. J F Norris says:

    I’ve been tempted to write to prisoners, but so many nightmarish novels have been written about what can happen in one of these letter writing relationships. Even with all the warnings given above with my confessional letter writing style I would let something slip and I would live to regret it…or pay for it dearly should the prisoner ever be released.

  7. Gretta says:

    Written to a prisoner, no, but I have just donated some books to local prison libraries. Maybe I should have put a proviso saying that they should go to any prisoner called Christopher Fowler? But then there were only four books, so possibly not enough to go around… 😉

  8. Helen Martin says:

    Women are discouraged from writing and when I was prepared to visit the Borstal home just below us I was told women could only take part with an adult male accompanying them. I understand the caution, particularly the warnings above, but it does decrease positive outside contacts.

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