I finally got mail from Marc in solitary!

It’s Monday night, June 14th, and I still haven’t heard Marc’s voice since June 3rd. However, I did get mail from him today! Four letters (out of 6; he’s numbered them) arrived and I was so thrilled to hear from him. Here’s what he had to say.

He was put into “SHU” (Segregated Housing Unit) on Friday morning, June 4th, at 6:30am. He was not allowed to bring any personal belongings except for 10 photos from his collection of pictures, his radio headset, a pen, paper, envelopes, and a few stamps (so he won’t be able to respond to everyone’s letters while in SHU because he’s sending me a letter every day, and I write to him every night). He has been given deodorant, shampoo, soap, shaving cream, two towels, an orange jumpsuit, socks, a t-shirt, and underwear. There is no pillow, so he made one from rolling up a blanket.

Marc is wondering if Americans and Canadians are doing enough, but only because he has no way of seeing or hearing about your efforts, so WRITE HIM A LETTER and let him know you’re being active! He hopes that his American supporters are picking up their activism now that he’s been put into solitary confinement. It’s important that supporters organize days of protest, have a street-corner rally with signs that say “FREE MARC EMERY”, “AMERICA MUST FREE MARC EMERY”, and “GOOGLE MARC EMERY”. It’s simple and easy to do! And it means something, it shows you give a damn. That’s so important.

While in “the hole”, Marc said he’s going to plan out the 100 chapters of the book he’s going to write. Anyone who has spent even 15 minutes with Marc knows that he has endless fascinating, funny, witty, touching and insightful real-life stories and experiences, so his book will be an excellent collection of his best writings!

The worst part of being in SHU is that “the other inmates are always yelling like hyenas, all day, to others in other cells. They are allowed to yowl all day, which is headache-inducing. They do it for hours.”

Marc is frustrated by the fact he’s being punished for the “pot-cast” we never even shared. “In my rule book, it never says podcasts or recordings are forbidden, and the rules here are written exactly the same as the North Fraser remand in BC, and I did podcasts form there… Also in my rulebook it says that all inmates can communicate with media. Well, podcasts are considered social media, certainly media, so that’s a lie.”

Mail and photos are VERY welcome right now! Marc is grateful for the letters he has received (11 on one day, 7 on the other, but that was a week ago – I hope mail keeps coming!). One thing about mail is that he really wants to hear people explaining what they’ve done for the FREE MARC campaign, what kind of activism you’ve been doing. Marc doesn’t get to have any of the books from his previous cell, so he has very little reading material.

He does get the New York Times every day (I subscribed him to it; though Saturday and Sunday’s editions come on Mondays) and the Seattle Times a day or two late. “I have read every single article in the blessed NY Times of Friday while positioning my body to get every bit of the strong rays of the sun coming in”. That’s one positive change: Marc’s cell now gets a tiny bit of sunlight in it, which he never saw while in general population. “I have a little 6-inch by 4-foot window that the sun shines through from 8:00am to, so far, 10:25am.”

“When the yowling and yelling in the other cells gets to be just to annoying (I can effectively ignore it most of the day) I put on my earphones (without music) and it muffles them. If it’s really annoying, I put on classic rock 102.5 KZOK or the all-news station.” He would love to hear songs requested for him! Here’s a song request list:

– Hold Your Head Up, by Argent
– Limelight, by Rush
– Tom Sawyer, by Rush
– Something for Nothing, by Rush
– I don’t need no doctor, by Humble Pie
– One toke over the line, by Brewer and Shipley
– Ohio, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
– Revolution, by the Beatles
– Operator, bu Jim Croce
– In a godda da vida, by Iron Butterfly
– When the levee breaks, by Led Zeppelin
– Eye of the Tiger, by Survivor

His routine is very uneventful. He wakes up to breakfast at 7:30am (delivered to his cell), such as cornflakes, milk, and an orange. Then he showers and uses the bathroom. Lunch comes at 11am. He writes that it’s spaghetti with tomato and meat sauce, and two big blobs of boiled spinach, which “has a texture and is what I imagine seaweed would taste like”. He has a “spork”, which is a spoon-fork, and no knife.

He writes to me every day, usually throughout that day, and listens to classic rock (The Led Zeppelin hour, and Beatles hour, are particular favorites). Dinner arrives around 4:30pm. The sun doesn’t shine into his cell after noon passes, but he can still see outside, where hundreds and hundreds of cars are parked, vehicles of all the staff used by the prison to oversee the punishment (and basic survival) of mostly drug offenders. Prisons create so much work in the USA, it’s madness.

Marc tries to keep his teeth in good shape, but there’s no floss in the SHU, so he wrote “I thought I was being brilliant when I used some loose strands of cotton from my towel to use as dental floss, but now some of it is stuck in my teeth. Not so brilliant. Now to try and dislodge it. Live and learn.”

He does some push-ups, and walks back and forth for an hour a day for exercise. He sleeps a lot because there’s nothing else to do! The only advantage is the privacy, and the little bit of sunlight, but everything else is pretty bad. He writes that it’s difficult not knowing anything; does anyone know he’s in solitary? Have I contacted our lawyer and the media? Are people still being active and campaigning for his return to Canada? He wonders all that because there’s no way of knowing…

He gets mail from me a week after I send it, and I get his mail almost 2 weeks after he sends letters, so it’s always a delayed update between us. But any news is good news, because at least I get to see his hand-written words, and read about how he’s feeling and what he’s doing, and that is so much better than not knowing anything at all.

It’s incredibly difficult to not know anything about your loved one while locked up in solitary confinement. I cried more over the last few days than I have since he was extradited, because it was so painful missing him and worrying about him, not knowing anything at all about his condition and welfare. But as long as I keep busy and everyone else keeps busy and we all keep safe, then he’ll be okay. He’ll take care of himself, we just need to take care of the movement…

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Jodie Emery
Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, politician and business owner. She is the wife of activist Marc Emery, and owner of Cannabis Culture Magazine, Pot TV, Cannabis Culture Lounge and Cannabis Culture Headquarters.