“A New Beginning” by Tariq MaQbool

Although, I must admit that some of the songs are pretty good. Anyhow, the main attraction for me is the confetti drop at 12am with Frank Sinatra’s melodic rendition of New York-New York. Perhaps, its the ambiance of it all but it seems as if in that moment everything stops. Time slows to a frame by frame pace, the smiles and singing of the people, the rhythmic twirls of the falling confetti, and the joy of it all is magnetic. And the strangest thing is that even with almost a million people in Times Square, in that moment, it seems so peaceful and serene.

The New Year brings a dawn of a new start and provides us with a new energy. A new beginning.

Our journey as Captive Voices began a few years ago and with the Grace of God, we are at a place where people have started to take notice. Our writers have increased and so has our support system. We started as something odd and as is things that are unique, people first seem amused, then intrigued, and a little while later they love it enough to join. You see, when we started it was only me and my brother, Eddie MaQbool, who wholeheartedly believed in my vision, and then step by step our duo turned into a caravan. Our destination is that of hope, expression, change, reforms, emancipation, and second chances.

At this time I am proud to announce that the Administration of the New Jersey State Prison, where I am currently incarcerated, invited me to create and start my own writing program. It was a unique, and rare forward looking, opportunity and I immediately started to work towards making it a success.

Our main Captivevoices.com’s platform formed as a base and we found willing partners from the Prison Journalism Project and other outside mentors to create a one of a kind writing program that is focused on journalism and other genres of writing. The first batch of our program participants are already being trained and are working towards their individual goals of becoming better writers. We are excited to see where this journey takes us.

In closing, I would like to convey my gratitude to all our writers, readers, followers, partners, supporters and well wishers. We are currently actively looking for more partners and supporters to create a more wholesome community that focuses on a better tomorrow. If you are interested and can help, please reach out and lend a hand as we can’t do the work and be catalysts of change without you.

To a New Year, a brighter horizon and a better future, keep creating, writing, and reading.

(Tariq MaQbool, SBI#000830758C, is currently incarcerated in New Jersey State Prison, P.O. Box 861, Trenton, NJ 08625. You can email him via JPAY. com