By Clint Confehr
NASHVILLE, TN — Bruce Buckner was an inmate. A surviver, Bruce says he’s following a directive from the highest authority: share life lessons learned the hard way.
“I was in prison,” says Buckner, 33. “It was hard on me. One night, God spoke to me. He told me to warn others; use my life as guidance and I started writing about being in prison.”
The result is “Living Life in Terre Haute; From Thinking Negative to Thinking Positive.” His cautionary tale includes nearly six years in the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind. Buckner’s incarceration ended May 26, 2016.
His time before and after that included education and acceptance of a path found in prayer. The message: “Prison is not the place to be,” Buckner says.
He earned his GED certificate in prison. He’s studied TV’s Shark Tank star Daymond John’s business methods. Certificates from both programs illustrate “Living Life in Terre Haute.” Buckner studied medical billing and coding in late 2016 at Brightwood College.
He’s a member of Christian Life Church in Madison and attends Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
He started his book in prison. It’s self-published through IngramSpark, a part of Ingram Book Group at La Vergne.
Buckner’s day job is pulling warehouse stock. His higher purpose work is in personal development, being a mentor, offering examples of challenges and choices. Some can’t be avoided but are surmountable. Others are crossroads offering positive and negative avenues toward places like Terre Haute or life in a free society.
Buckner’s served time in Davidson County’s Detention Center, Wilder Youth Development Center and a Memphis group home. They included choices. Buckner was challenged in childhood.
Born Nov. 11, 1985, he grew up at Haynes Garden Apartments. His father was a “crack head.” His mother drank, was a hustler and “Guys came to the house to buy weed and I’d ask for a dollar … In second grade, I didn’t have to go to school,” Buckner says. He’d go to his “clubhouse,” a place in the woods, going home after class.
Buckner attended Haynes Middle- and Hunters Lane High School, dropping out in 2004.
“I was on the streets selling drugs,” not using, Buckner said. At 13, he was taken into custody, accused of selling crack. Another time he was caught, he fled custody. Back in, he caught a break with conditions. He was released, but says he didn’t know he had to report to a probation office. Caught with a gun, Buckner was incarcerated again. Soon, he realized penitentiary inmates with life sentences “look at the outside as a fairy tale, like it doesn’t exist.” Some look at some men like women.
Buckner has two daughters by different women, he said.
His basic message: “Education will open doors … guys on the street could lead you the wrong way.” His book is one way he delivers the message.
For $20, 164 pages tell more. Find it at Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, on E-bay or contact the Antioch resident at firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.brucebuckner.com. On Instagram he’s bucknerbruce414.