cartoon4Mom, in your letter you said you feel sad for me. Don’t be. Lonely is something that has always been part of my life. You are the only reason I have not lost my mind. Remember that, okay? I love my family so much. No, I can’t explain why. I can’t explain anything. I don’t know why they made the choice to not help me or come to see me. Sometimes I ask myself, was I that bad? I know I caused these things to be in my life. It is my karma. No one else is to blame. But what did I do to cause me to not know who my dad is or even know if he is alive? Will I ever know who he is? It was hard growing up knowing my brothers and my sister’s dad but not mine. My mom did everything she could to take care of us kids. I love her for that. I would never turn my back on her. She has never hurt me, at least not up to my 32nd birthday when she said she almost aborted me because my so called dad wouldn’t leave his wife. That hurt. Right then I forgot all about the visit and was on another planet.

HEAL A DAMAGED HEART    by Sonni Quick  copyright 2016

I sometimes ask myself, why am I still alive? Up till now you didn’t know this, but I cut my left wrist twice since I’ve been in here. Remember when I was moved to the prison in Richmond? I was only supposed to be there for a short time. I was happy because it was closer to Megan and my son. I thought she’d come see me but she didn’t. They moved me there because of my depression. I was refusing to eat. Sometimes I have wondered if I’ll make it out alive. Not only because of what they might do to me, but because of what I might do to myself. I have fought depression ever since I was a kid because life has been so hard.

No one could know how hard it is, always being afraid of the next seizure. They are so painful. Having them in front of strangers. Making a fool of myself. Knowing they were talking about me or maybe they were making fun of me. It’s probably why I had no friends growing up. They were afraid of me or their parents made them stay away from me. I’ll bet the guards make fun of me. Maybe that’s why they pushed me so hard. Maybe they want to see me have one. All of this made me so angry and sometimes I needed to be angry to keep going. It’s easy to say life isn’t fair but if what you say about karma is true, I’m getting back in my life something I caused and I need to learn something about myself to understand it.

Unless someone had ever been here and had to be alone for so long, there is no way to understand how your mind takes control. Every day I have to fight with myself to be the one in control. I read your letters over and over about you telling me I have value so I have to fight for my life. When I read your letters I believe you. Knowing you are out there helps me. Many dudes in here have no one and they go crazy. There are lots of crazy people in here.

I’ve been waiting for six weeks for my property to reach me. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get it. I think the lady in property at Wynne unit lied to you. I have talked to the property lady here myself and still nothing. I’m trying so hard not to flip out on these people.

( Sonni’s note: I called the Allred Unit and talked to the warden’s office. His secretary did some checking and called me back. He just had his belongings delivered. They don’t send it through the mail. They send it to the main prison until they have enough other belongings to send of other inmates to warrant a trip to that prison. Then it has to be gone through to make sure there is nothing he shouldn’t have. That process took two months. It doesn’t matter if that inmate doesn’t have anything he needs. Anything that matters to him is in that locker. To lose it would be devastating. While he waited, I sent him another box of 30 paperback books from http://imailtoprisons.com so he could keep his mind busy. Melvin sent him money so when he got his new ID, because a guard at the other prison destroyed his, he was able to go to commissary and buy paper, envelopes, a pen and stamps. But he had no addresses other than mine because he memorized it. This letter I received 3 days ago. If anyone wanted to write to him, the easiest way is to send him an email to: mynameisjamie2@gmail.com. I would then forward it to http://jpay.com. They print it out and deliver it to his cell. If you want him to write back put your address in it. You can also send an email directly through jpay using his ID#1368189. It costs the value of one stamp per page and one stamp per attachment if you send a picture. If you wanted to send any money so he can buy food – coffee, Raman noodles, canned food, snacks and hygiene products – you can do that at moat, too. Right now I’m paying off his medical fee for this year so he can call medical. It costs to see a doctor our even a nurse. But If for any reason you don’t want to pay the cost, I’m more than happy to send your mail for you. Letters from the outside mean so much. Just send it to the gmail address.)

I have nothing to read to give me that encouragement. No books that you and Melvin sent me that teach me how to change my life. I fight inside myself to stay alive because I don’t want to disappoint you after all these years you’ve been there for me, trying to get me ready to have a life outside here with my son.

I’ve wondered what it would have been like for me if we had not been writing each otherBlack and white hands and you helping me. Truth be told it brings tears to my eyes because I know I would not be coming home. I would be lost in the system. So right here and right now I want to say thank you. I love you for all of your help and support as well as encouragement. And I can’t forget the love. It’s been too long for there to not be love. Sorry about that, my feelings just popped out. (smile)

Til later, love you.
p.s. Tell Melvin I’ll write soon and thank you.


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18 thoughts on “Sometimes I Ask Myself, Why am I still Alive?

    1. Thank you Mike. I posted new music and poetry today. I’ve been mostly working on writing the book. It’s been intense. Ive been looking for my earlier music and now I can’t find it. I’m down to needing to tear a couple closets apart.

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          1. Indeed! I am a creature of habit and I hope that makes me predictable, but I often get disappointed with that logic. Often if I THINK I know what I am looking for, I will never find it. I look for the blue folder and it is really red, so I look past it over and over!

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            1. I always think ill remember where I put things and don’t. At last I know all my original hand drawn charts are in one place. It’s sad now because most “musicians” don’t know music well enough to draw their own music. They couldn’t figure out their timing or decipher a chord if it isn’t in a simple root position. With students I make them do it. Make them think. I wouldn’t be able to improvise today without that knowledge. To me it’s the fun part of creating music. Some things get better with age.

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            2. You are quite a few steps ahead of me! I often think musicians and some teachers focus on what I call “data entry” more than they focus on drawing as you put it. See this symbol – press this key. I know that over simplifies, but without the manuscript or sheet music they cannot remember or play the piece. They never learned it or felt it. I am not great at performing a musical piece from paper. I often play chords or use timing that sounds good to me at the moment and have to figure out what I am playing later! The solid foundation allows tall structures. Without that the building collapses. Some call it work (tedious scales, metronome accompaniment, chord structure and theory) but once you understand why it works and fits together, you can ‘hear and feel’ the music inside. Sounds like hocus pocus until you get there!

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            3. I totally agree. It’s why I rarely find an adult who took lessons as a child that is able to play today. They would have to work up piece from scratch and since they forgot everything the best they can do it is chop sticks. What a waste. For a teacher to only teach what is necessary to play someone else’s creation they have missed the most vital thing of all – how to create your own. Most teachers teach the creativity out of their students – because they don’t know how to do it themselves. It’s a wonderful feeling to just pick a key, any key – and play. It’s not that I have so much more talent than others, I had a teacher who was a pro and he inspired me. I was a difficult student. I wanted to do things my way. Your teacher will make or break you. If your teachers isn’t a “musician” he can’t teach you to be one.

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            4. I understand the need to use familiar pieces to lure students into music. They need to feel they can accomplish something quickly even if it is just to show family and friends. Unfortunately all too often that is where the real lessons stop!

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            5. Yes they need something they can recognize. But most piano teachers follow method books and they okay to a point. Use them for theory. But if you don’t get away from them it leads you to classical. Some of that is good for variety. I have one student learning a simple Bach minuet. Great for exact timing. A nice piece to play when company comes. But a teacher can’t teach what he doesn’t know and the student doesn’t know he’s only getting half a lesson. But what’s a gal to do? No one wants to pay for lessons or they can’t afford it. I can’t even get what I charged 30 years ago and NO ONE answered my ad anymore so I quit using it. Piano stores are going out of business. People buy cheap electric pianos that don’t have real piano hammer key action and only 61 keys. oh well . . .

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            6. That is it precisely. Both sides are critical in a complete education. Tools to use but they need to be controlled by creativity and imagination – inspired by feelings and thought. One on one sessions to teach a craft are difficult to arrange in the days when videos and mass market tools are thought of as total exposure.
              Like photography, everyone with a cell phone can take pictures now, and in a way that is a good thing. Some will want to know and do more, but at least many more people will be exposed to the world of photography, even if it starts with ‘selfies’!!!

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            7. so true. Many more people take pictures than they ever did before and it has inspired people to look at photography with the idea of being more than taking pictures of the family around the table. With all the picture apps anyone can make their pictures professional. and yes there are many youtube videos that teach someone how to play an instrument. if you have little money at least you can get some instruction, but the videos can’t see you and correct what becomes bad habits and other things you need someone there to watch you play. I read an article the other day about this past year ( did i tell you this already?) there was a greater feeling of music using real instruments because for so long it has all been electronic. Why have real instrument if you can a keyboard that can sound like one. I has lead to music not having the emotion and the real feeling that comes with it. It said we needed to have a band like Led Zeplin or the other great musician bands. There are a few people who write all the music for most of the pop singers. The said the know the formula that sells ( different article) and they don’t let pop starts write their own songs. They all start sounding the same. No one has their own style. Maybe it will do a 180 and musicians will start writing their own stuff. Not that it doesn’t happen – but the so called top 40 genre is mostly garbage. I wouldn’t buy it.

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            8. It is also difficult to ‘play or perform’ with other musicians while watching a video. To be in a band it requires being able to listen to other performers and allow their performance to change yours; to adapt to their nuances as they adapt to yours! It is a start, and it may bring more potential musicians to the point of seeing this critical aspect.
              The music industry has been controlled by record labels and commercial radio stations for a long time. We might be able to punch through this in years to come, and that will help inspire more great bands to jump into the unknown even if they are not in the spotlight.
              I also am tired to the steady diet of garbage being packaged as ‘great or new material’!

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            9. So true. I rarely bother to listen to today’s music. Maybe it is just dating myself but I usually listen to oldies stations. I know it’s normal to get attached to the music that we have memories with. It sends us back to that time. Music of the 70’s and even part of the 80’s had music that told a story and we identify with it. But so much music today you can’t identify with it. The music isn’t even written by the performer that does it. it’s about whether or not it is dancible – if that is a word.. What happens when the violent rap or becomes oldies music. Maybe these kids never go back to a HS reunion because they never graduated. Or how do they explain the music to their kids. Still music is autobiographical – at least much of was, but it isn’t right now. it has no meaning.

              About not having personal training. I was trying to explain to one student what it means to play “in the pocket”, and to say they can’t count aloud when they play means they can never play with anyone because they won’t be able to keep a beat.

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            10. The music industry has been forcing bands and artists into a funnel for decades. Do you sound like so and so? No – well you will not get airplay. Will you sell platinum on your first album? No – well we are not looking to build your fan base. WE will lend you money to go into the studio and record your music – but you will never be able to pay off the debt so we will own everything you do for the rest of your career. Don’t look like a movie star and not drop-dead gorgeous? We have someone else that will sing your music.
              Hard for me to blame the musicians. Now everyone wants to get instantly famous on you tube by singing someone else’s material. They don’t put years into playing with a band and struggling in front of audiences.
              In my opinion, timing is everything in so many ways LOL!

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            11. I remember when MTV started and finally if a band could make a video that was decent there was good chance they could get it on. At the height of this I was playing keyboard for Robin Crow. You can look him up. He had just recorded an album and his couldn’t go on the road. In addition to his tunes he had to do some covers and I sang those. This was in the early 80’s. We say around in the band house glued to MTV. Musicians doing THEIR music. Real musicians playing real instruments and some were damn good. Look on MTV now. Do they even play music videos anymore? It’s just a slick commercial now. There is no way a musician can play his own music except on places like sound cloud or yes, you tube, but getting instantly famous? They don’t even know what that means. Did I want to get famous? Sure. I was told I was going to be the next Stevie Nicks. It was a fun thought. But really, now I write for me. I enjoy when some says something nice about it. I’m not trying to get “famous” especially at 61, but I like to play for people and have them come away from it with a positive feeling.

              BTW I listened to quite a but of Cat Stevens last night. I’m going to do a post on my other blog of the video when he was inducted into the music hall of fame.

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            12. For us, we see the changes and the reasons things are the way they are. For today’s musicians, this is the way it has always been. Now the “best chance” is getting on shows like American Idol LOL!

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