How to write a dictionary in prison

Randy Kearse wrote Street Talk, his dictionary of urban slang, over a period beginning in October 1997 and ending on Aug. 17, 2005. Eight years might seem like a long time to nurture a manuscript, but not for Kearse, who was serving a term of 13 years, six months, and two days in various federal prisons for conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Prison was not a bad place to be a writer, Kearse said. There was plenty of down time and, as a lexicographer bent on chronicling the latest slang locutions, he had plenty of wisecracking muses.

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