Busy busy busy. Life is full. I’m nearly done editing another chapter for my book. I will say this draft has been much more interesting to write than the first draft because I was writing in the dark for so long not knowing how I wanted to write the story – how to connect the dots. I’m still not sure if I have it right. Please feel free to tell me what you think about my writing style. What is right and what is wrong. Scroll down. All posts with partial chapters have a copy of the book cover at the top. Scroll down enough and I posted full chapters.
My plan – when the book is published the digital album will be offered as a free download. Otherwise, the music can be bought at hopefully, a variety of sites including this one and my main music site at http://sonniquick.net
The title of this blog post is an upcoming chapter. But what I will give you now is the music to listen to. I have to go back and forth between 3 main things but the all over lap.
One of the hardest parts of prison time for any inmate, and more so, the ones who have extended time is the loss of people. I think most believe their family and friends will be there for them when they need it. Friends disappear first and make new friends. Life goes on. Close family will be there until they aren’t. Even family has their breaking point on how much they will give of themselves before they stop. Stop writing. Stop emotionally supporting. Stop financially helping. The more years that go by, the less they are there. There are excuses why they don’t write or visit. They have their own life to live, right?
Jamie does feel forgotten. When he is remembered it make him so happy and that is an emotion he rarely feels. This is why I could never let him down. I knew 12 years ago when I started writing that this would be a commitment I couldn’t break. I don’t understand why it was so easy for other people. Maybe they thought no matter what they did, or didn’t do, he would always love them. But I have his letters. I know how much it has affected him
I wonder if they think about how that affects the person on the other end?
1. Writing chapters ( and blog posts)
2. Recording music (and promoting it)
3. Researching how to make it all work together
If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to ITFO NEWS. I send out a newsletter about every 6 weeks. I shoot for 4 but I run out of time. So I DO NOT inundate your email box. I send new music and videos you might miss and info about what is going on.
I know you get asked to subscribe to a lot of places, but having a way to reach you as I build a list of people who like my music, and understand why I support Jamie and the needed changes to our prison system, is so important.
I am a very teeny tiny guppy in a huge ocean of experienced authors and musicians and the only thing that will get me a chance to get noticed is a mailing list. If I were to interest someone in helping me they will want to know how many people are on my mailing list.
For the last 4 years this has been my life and I promised Jamie I will find a way for him to finally have a life. He’s a good man. He’s worth it. So here is the link:
Many people have read some or all of the chapters I’ve published for my book “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” This chapter is a game changer. If you don’t read to the end the next chapter will confuse the heck out of you because you won’t know what happened.
I’ve been waiting to get to this part of the rewrite. Did you watch the music video “Ghost in My Head”? You can find it at sonniquick.net. That is title of the next chapter.
You will have to subscribe ( BELOW) to get more than the beginnings of chapters. If I want this book and music to successful it is crucial that I build my mailing list faster than it’s growing. It is the only way to let people know what’s going on who don’t constantly follow my blog. No worry, I do not flood people’s inboxes like some do. I don’t have the time or rudeness.
If you have already subscribed, leave a comment with your name, instead of blog title if that is how you are registered here and I’ll find you on the list. I won’t approve the comment to protect your privacy. Your name won’t be published.
THE DEATH TRAP
“What’s it like here?” Jamie asked his new cell mate, Ollie. “Are the guards jerks?”
Taking his small bag over to the locker assigned to him, he squatted down and opened it. There wasn’t much to put inside. They’ll send the bulk of his property later on, maybe in a month or so. Meanwhile, he had no books, pictures or old letters to keep him company. “The guards are jerks no matter what prison they send you to,” Ollie finally answered with a pissed off look on his face.” He paused for a few seconds. “They’re worse than some of the men,” he said shaking his head back and forth. “Real lowlifes.” “They aggravate the men so they can set up fights to bet on. “They push and push until you get angry and push back.” Ollie looked away, thinking – remembering. “Then they have you.” “Watching men beat the crap out of each other is their way of having fun,” he sighed. “Why else would they work in this hellhole?” “This place has more deaths from inmates killing each other than any other prison,” he added. “They do that to you?” Jamie asked quickly, not sure if he wanted to know the answer. Ollie didn’t say one way or the other. He did say, “If someone don’t wanna fight, the other men will make their life miserable . . . for a long time. So you’re better off gettin’ up and takin’ your licks. Your gonna end up fightin’ anyway, whether you want to or not.” Ollie stopped and looked over at Jamie. “I hope you know how to fight.” He waited to hear Jamie’s answer. “I can take care of myself.”
Click the link to bring up the issue. There is a link at the top to subscribe so you won’t miss how this is all wrapping up. I’ve been pleased with the chapters and the music. I have some ideas of how I want to publish the ebook – but it will also have regular book for those who like to hold the pages. (I am one of those) Progress is not fast because there is so much to do for each chapter. Promotion and social media is a time killer but oh so necessary. It is why the mailing list is key to any online success. I have another one for music at my website where all of my videos are, too. http://sonnquick.net
Yesterday I completed Looking Into the Crystal Ball. It is the second music video I have completed for Inside the Forbidden Outside the book I’m writing about the life of Jamie Cummings, from childhood through juvenile detention, the school to prison pipeline, to where he is now – the Allred Unit, the largest prison in Texas with over 3,500 inmates. He has five years yet on his sentence. The third video is completed too, but won’t be put up for two weeks. I’m trying to work ahead so I don’t get so behind when I travel.
Jamie still has hope that one day he will be paroled. Finishing this project I started for him is more important than ever. I have to keep plugging away at it. What began as a book of his letters, because they expressed so much pain of the loss of his life, as well as the truth about our prison system in America. It became a book that required more writing ability than I had at the time. (Writing a book is not the same as writing a blog post, and even that took practice and experience)
After writing the first draft of over 90,000 words, I read through it and realized it wasn’t quite right. It read like a book of blog posts. You could read any chapter separately. The story didn’t connect. Then I started studying how to write and taking writing classes. I learned to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. I had to learn how to write dialogue the same way people speak it. That is not as easy as it seems. Again more practice. I began the second writing of the book using parts of what I had already written and learned to write between the lines. I am still learning. I know what a badly written book reads like when it is not edited correctly. I wanted it to be professional.
It is the music that began to tie it all together. That is why emotional movies have music soundtracks. Without it, a movie would not be able to create the same emotion. Music swells the emotions. It makes you feel. Hearing the music again brings back memories of the movie. All people associate music from their past to memories of that time whenever they hear it. Without music, when a movie is over, it is over. Why not create music that can be listened to while you read a book? Why not create something that is more than just a book? And for quite a few chapters/music I have also written poetry. It spills out of me like opening a vein. I grab paper and catch it before it disappears.
Most writers would not have the ability to do that. Your mind has to be open in a creative space that spills into everything. It can’t be put in a box. You also can’t be like that because you want to. Most people have had their creativity stomped out of them by adults who told them to grow up and get a real job. I may have had a crazy life but it sure beat selling cars for 35 years and then “retire” so I can get old. I refused to be that kind of “normal.”
If you hired someone to write music for you there would be no real connection between what you read and the music you hear. This has turned it into a project that has taken “years” to pull together. I sincerely hope I can finish it by the end of this year. Jamie still has years on his sentence so I have the time to complete it. And then the time to sell it. I am so very happy I am doing this. (maybe I can get a movie deal out of it! Gotta think big!) You can only accomplish what you see. Otherwise dreams just float away.
Play the video again. close your eyes and just listen to it. Do you feel the emotion? Do you see a story in your mind, even if it is about your life instead?
Many years ago I read a very long, thick novel titled, Michel Michel. The Beatles tune, “Hey Jude” had recently been released. I played it over and over while I read. It became the soundtrack for the book. Whenever I hear it I instantly think of that book. Otherwise, I would have forgotten about it, I’m sure.
I have been creating and writing music for a long time. I don’t have to think about the right notes or figure out what to do. It’s innate, like the abc’s. But this music was different from anything I had written earlier. I had to reach far down inside to spontaneously play what I was feeling, not “try” to compose, but instead let my fingers express what I felt. When I am in the mental place I need to be when I write about Jamie – for Jamie – it is an overwhelming sad place. When I try to feel what he is going through, I don’t know he does it, although I know he has no choice. When he tells me he is depressed it is a state of mind I think would scare me very much.
At times like this I get angry at the people who have forsaken him – thrown him away – blamed him, for what, I don’t know. Being young and never taught his life had value? Being a follower instead of a leader and wanting friends and being swayed by the wrong ones? Didn’t many of us go through that when we were young? I did.
Jamie didn’t have the freedom to grow up through his teens and 20’s without having cuffs on his wrists and chains around his ankles. But I didn’t have to pay for my mistakes with 21 years of my life with a family who didn’t care enough to say, “No matter what, Jamie, we love you and we will be there for you no matter what.”
There are criminals and then there are people who grew up without a positive male influence. Did he deserve to lose a couple decades of his life because of it? No. He was just another black boy who couldn’t afford an attorney. ALL of them go to prison.
That is unrealistic, I guess. Even I don’t have a family who loved me no matter what and were there for me when I needed them the most. But Jamie was there when I needed him and I have been there for him. Everything happens for a reason. Jamie gave a reason to play music again after a long illness and I wrote music for him. We were each other’s reason to survive.
Now the book I am writing also has a sound track, and those sound tracks are getting videos. I can only do one thing at a time, including writing these blog posts with the necessary social media to promote everything, so when it is done, hopefully people will pay attention. My plans for promotion go far beyond a facebook post.
If you haven’t already, please subscribe below to ITFO News. Not only does it have news necessary to incarceration, it is a way to keep up on how far I am with the book – and you can share it on your own social media! (hint hint) I don’t have time to publish more than about once a month so I don’t crowd your inbox. I personally hate when a subscription does that. But I am honestly trying to build a mailing list so I can tell people when it goes for sale.
This is a repost from my first year of blogging. Some things never change. This is one of them.
Hello mom, April 20, 2015
I want to say I’m so sorry for the long wait. Things have been real crazy the last two and a half months. I’m on a special cell punishment which was supposed to be a 30 day lockup.
(Sonni’s note:Inmates aren’t allowed to argue with the guards. They are always right and inmates are always wrong. A guard filed a false case on him, which they often do when they have a grudge. When it came to court the guard could not be found for 3 days. Instead of dropping the case they had someone else stand in for the guard who wasn’t there and Jamie was not allowed to attend. So, of course they found him guilty and took away all of his very newly earned privileges, like being able to make a phone call. He was able to get in one last call to tell me what happened.)
My date started on February 3rd. I was supposed to get off on March 3rd. However they have made me stay in lockup telling me they have no open bunks. No open bunks? So I was told I might get shipped to another unit on the other side of Texas. I’ve talked to everybody from the warden to the Major about getting moved to a G4 block.
( Sonni’s note: G5 is solitary confinement, G4 is one step ahead and at least you get to leave your cell for meals and very limited time in rec to watch TV. No other privileges. Last time they did this it took 2 more years to get to G2 where you can have a family visit that is not behind glass and you can make phone calls if someone registers their phone. You can get put on a list to take your GED or other trades and they might find you an unpaid job in the laundry.)
As of right now I’m ending a second term of this punishment because I am trying to avoid being sent to another unit. I have watched people come and go for three months. What I need is someone to call the prison and get on these people about when I am supposed to get off this punishment on the 24th. Call the warden or call classification. You’re going to have to pretend you’re my bio mom or they won’t talk to you.
I’m on lockdown 24 hours a day. I only come out for showers 3 times a week. No rec. I get jacked for it every week. So I give them hell. They are treating me wrong so I am treating them wrong. They hate to do paperwork so to hell with them. I yelled all day, beat and kicked on shit and I’m still here. I had a seizure. A bad one and spent 9 hours in the hospital. When the day comes and I’m not out of here I’m going to do this all over. I will make them G5 me so at least I can go to rec and get some fresh air. Back here we aren’t allowed to go outside. They put us in a cage and we walk around in it.
I’m telling you this because I don’t want to let you down by going G5 again, but it’s really getting to me. They put the same officer here had to deal with before and he is (REALLY) working my nerves. He’s doing crazy shit just to take away my rec because he can. They took away all of my things. They let me have deodorant and my soap and paper, but they took away all my books. Please help me get away from back here. They will ship me to West Texas. They been sending dudes there. I don’t want to go back there.
I love you always
(Sonni”s note: I wrote an immediate answer to try and help him get his head together. He’s trying to fight a battle they will never let him win. He’s playing into it. But after almost 3 months locked up again in solitary confinement – only worse, because they have left him with nothing to do. His magazines aren’t getting through and he can’t get to commissary. He has tried so hard, but sometimes it seems hopeless and no matter how hard he tries there is some asshole guard who gets off on pushing the inmates until they lose it. It is some sort of vile game with them. People who have control over other people often abuse it, especially when their bosses give them the okay that it is okay. I will call the prison on Monday.
Subscribe to the newsletter on prison issues and inmate writings. As I build my mailing list for the book I’m writing about Jamie Cummings life, Inside The Forbidden Outside, keeping people informed along the way is important. Most of the information in the newsletter is not on this blog. We have a government now more gung-ho on locking up as many people as they can for even longer years. It is going to affect even more people who will get knocked sideways when they find themselves behind a steel door. Staying informed helps you protect yourself. Yes, it can happen to you, too.
If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at:firstname.lastname@example.org
I saw this video today. It hurt to watch it. I know a woman who has a son who was turned into a poster boy and given 20 years in prison for touching the breasts of an underage girl at a party. Unfortunately, this girl didn’t look like a minor and it was with her okay. They were playing games at a party. It was not okay with her parents when they found out. He got 10 years for each breast. His parents were shocked. He was getting ready to go to college so he, too, was pretty young. It snow balled out of control. His life is ruined. His education is ruined. Growing up, having a family of his own is ruined. His parents can now only see him a couple hours at a time in a prison waiting room. They can no longer share birthdays and holidays. Being convicted of a sex crime, in prison with men who can only have sex by using or raping other men puts a big target on his back. Will he get through 20 years without being raped? A pretty young virgin boy? Not likely.
Was this the only option? Should he be ruined for being a sexually inexperienced boy who wanted to do what all straight makes crave – to touch a girl’s breasts. Is he a monster? Someone to be afraid of? Someone who can’t be allowed into a park or live near a school when he is released from prison – middle aged? Everyone convicted of a sex crime, no matter what it is, is lumped together in one basket that says “Sexual Predator For the Rest of Their Lives”
Yet so many real sexual predators, like our president, who admits he can get away with anything, even p*ssy grabbing women, has no repercussions. “I’m a star!” he says. Why can he do that and others, who aren’t using their money and “stardom” to assault people, end up in prison and/or branded for life as a pervert.
Men like Bill O’reilly are walking free. Roger Ailes had people looking the other way even though they knew what he was doing. Bill Cosby couldn’t get convicted even though he admitted he drugged women and then raped them when they were unconscious.
But the woman in this video, who was underage herself had sex with an underage boy, who wanted to have sex with her, has had her life ruined by his mother. What happened to him, I wonder? Was he charged with anything or was only she punished for the rest of her life?
Neither of them should have been punished with a felony. Maybe it was the parent’s fault for not teaching their children responsible behavior. This is a law that needs changing. The punishment does not fit the crime. There are real sexual predators, and their are people like this woman and my friend’s son. There is no fairness in our justice system.
Is this boy’s mother in the video proud of what she did? Teenagers are horny. Their hormones are kicking in. Did anyone get hurt? My 41 year old son told me he lost his virginity when he was 12 to a much older girl. Would I have pressed charges had I known? No. We would have had a serious talk about pregnancy and STDs. Kids will have sex whether we like it or not. I had sex with my 16 yr old boyfriend when I was 16. My parents found out. It was awhile before they let us be alone when he came over, but it didn’t stop us outside the house. She they have had him arrested? Or should I have been arrested? Why should any of these kids been arrested?
What part of society is served when this can’t get a good job or raise her children the best way for them? Who does it hurt if she can’t even take them to a park or take a trip and go out of state? Is she a danger to children? I’m surprised they let her be a mother and didn’t take her children away and adopt them out to more “suitable” parents. But CPS is a subject for another day.
Please share this video with your own contacts. When you can, take a stand.
ReverbNation . . . Website of Indie music not on traditional radio stations. Sonni’s featured page.
SkunkRadioLive . . . Indie radio station out of London playing music composed for the book being written for Jamie. If you can, help support by sharing the music and leaving a comment or following. Thank you to those who have. It will all help Jamie in the end when he gets out of prison. I’m trying to create avenues of income because getting a job after prison without even a GED is nearly impossible. The more people know about these projects I’m working on the more people there will be to buy the book and the music – and in general be there for emotional support. Knowing people care makes a big difference.
I’m going to Texas in a couple days to hopefully have three visits with him, the first visit in a year. We will talk about the book and tie the chapters together with information that is hard for him to write in letters. Then I will finish pounding out this revision, send it to an editor and see what needs to be re written. The process of writing a book is more than I ever realized at first, but I want it done right. To do that – I work on getting to know people who care. Some have a loved one or friend in prison, too. This is why I constantly tell people about ITFO News and ask them to subscribe. They get to follow the progress and often share an issue. Reach issue focuses on a different prison issue. The last issue was seen by over 2500 people.
I had a book give-away my last issue, of ten signed copies titled “Waiting on the Outside” by Sharron Grodzinsky. I will be contacting those people for their physical addresses very soon. You can also purchase the book at Amazon.
Sometimes it is hard to find positive things to write about that happen inside prison walls, so this was worth passing along to you. I know two inmates in San Quentin. One has become a better man and one hasn’t. That one keeps going back to his old neighborhood and friends. He never learns. Their experiences are much different then the men in this video. How they have been treated inside has also made it difficult to be part of something like this. I believe if more prisons had constructive projects like this so people can learn how to be more than the neighborhoods they were raised in, those neighborhoods would gradually change. But the average prison doesn’t care if inmates learn a better way to live or to be better people. They aren’t that altruistic. But to see these men learn a better way to live while inside shows me it can be done. When they get out they will have the knowledge, experience and self worth to keep on going.
Register for ITFO News. Ten signed copies of “Waiting on The Outside” by Sharron Grodzinsky will be shipped free, selected randomly by the author. Read the summary at Amazon. This is available to any new sign-ups until ten days after the next issue of ITFO News is published this weekend. Next month’s issue will have something free for everyone. ( but it’s a secret right now!)
ITFO News helps people learn about the issues inmates face. The information inside is usually not what is published on the blog, My Name is Jamie. Each issue focuses on a different topic each month, from children of inmates to the profit focused prison medical corporations. I do not inundate your email sending multiple posts a day like some do. Your privacy is always respected. You can also follow on Jamie’s twitter page.
The topic coming up is on “Incarcerating the Innocent.” In addition to general information I will be focusing on the lives of two different men with very different circumstances. One is recently got out on bond after 23 years, waiting now for a new trial. Despite having no evidence, the prosecution is fighting tooth and nail to make sure he is re-incarcerated. The second man is still in prison, seventeen years and counting, with no evidence proving his guilt. He is still searching for an attorney to take his case. There are many people inside who are searching for that same attorney. He hasn’t given up hope.
I recently had two replies to a post on Jamie’s Facebook page that showed me there are people who have no real idea what the underlying reason is for our prisons and think everyone inside is guilty. That is very far from the truth. Yes, there are serious criminals inside, and many with severe mental illness with nowhere else to be put, but there are also many who were forced to take a plea because they didn’t have an attorney to fight for them. Even if guilty, the sentences are absurdly long and serve no purpose except to make money for the investors who count on the full prisons our government has promised them. The courts don’t have enough time on their calendars to give everyone a chance to plead their case. They are forced to plead guilty through public defenders who work for the DA, or get threatened with increased charges. You might not want to think this would happen in a court of law, but it does. ITFO NEWS is my way to help educate people and give them information that might help. Every time you share this, it might help one more person who doesn’t know where to go for help.
I’m having a book give-away this month. Each new person who registers for ITFO NEWS can enter their name and email address to have a chance of winning a signed copy (or ebook if you prefer) of Waiting on the Outside” by Sharron Grodzinsky If your name is randomly pulled by Sharron, you’ll receive one of ten free copies, shipped free.
ITFO NEWS covers many issues about what happens to the people – the human beings incarcerated inside prison walls many with family and children. Some are dangerous criminals often with serious mental illness, and many are not. Some were incarcerated simply because they are undesired as citizens because they are Black, Hispanic, or any country that isn’t of European white descent. Many are locked up because they practice the “wrong” religion in a country that wants to be known as a Christian nation. Sadly it makes some of these people think they have the right to hurt people not like themselves which goes against the teachings of Christianity.
“Incarcerating the Innocent” is the focus for the next issue of ITFO NEWS.
This book being given away is timely for the sad situation happening in America today, especially with so many young people jumping on the bandwagon proclaiming America needs to be white “again”. What happened to their education? Is it worse in the schools than I thought? Do these young people actually think America was EVER white? They don’t know the history of the country they were born in?
History can not be rewritten to suit some faction’s misguided agenda. European white settlers slaughtered many thousands of indigenous people in the attempt to make this country white – and failed. These young people today never learned this? They can’t change history, but they are doing a good job of ruining their lives by wanting to repeat the carnage.
What is truly scary is how easily young minds can be swayed to believe a fabricated history – and also come to think that a skin cold makes them a better person. Then they become parents and teach the same flawed theory to their children.
Yesterday I read about fourteen year old white teenagers, barely out of puberty, strung up an eight year black boy and hung him with a rope from a tree – and left him, not caring if they killed him. I was mortified that older children would do that to a young child. I sat stunned, tears running down my face. The damage done to all of them would affect the rest of their lives, and the lives of their families who have to endure the scrutiny of an unforgiving public who will likely blame the parents for the way their sons were raised, so cavalier about trying to take the life of a young black boy.
The fact that one human being could do that to another shows that these 14 year old minds were already so warped that taking a young boy’s life was meaningless to them. They didn’t learn this on their own. I don’t know their consequences legally, but I do know they will never forget it; nor will the young boy with severe rope burns on his neck, the scars which will always be there. The friends and family of this boy are, most likely very angry – deservedly so. All this does is escalate a bad problem that won’t go away. They have a right to this anger.
Young people, with no maturity, get swayed by the excitement of being part of a huge negative social issue. The man in the book “Waiting on the Outside” exhibited emotional problems since childhood. He, too, was swayed by others who took advantage of his immaturity.
He was adopted at a young age by a woman who sincerely loved him and did everything she could to create a positive life for him As he grew up he sabotaged every attempt. He got into drugs and pretty crime and fell under the influence of the local white supremacy gang. My impression from her story, it was the excitement of living life on the edge that attracted him, not the thought that he felt himself to be superior.
After being released from his first prison sentence he sincerely wanted to do better but was pulled back into it. His sense of right and wrong was distorted through drug use. Now he sits in prison again, with the look of being a white supremacist. Shaved head. Visible Aryan gang tattoos. But still inside is the young boy who loves his mother as she sits during visits with the broken heart a mother has for a child she could help change.
He now wants out of the Aryan Brotherhood, but the KKK retaliates against those who want out. Is he safest in a controlled environment? Can he make it on the outside? Can he control the mental impulses he hasn’t been able to control before? Can he be the man she envisioned when she adopted him? As a mother myself my heart breaks for her. This never affects one person. There may be 2.3 million people in prison, which is kept at that steady number. It affects many more millions of people on the outside.
This is devastating story was written by a mother who, for decades has lived with a fear for her son and for people in his life he was hurt – including his own children.
If you don’t want to see if you can win a free copy of this book you can go to Amazon and purchase it. The winners will be contacted at the close of the sweepstakes, ten days after the publication of the next issue.
This book was first published before Trump riled up racism in America. This book shows you that although white supremacy is making huge headlines today, it has always been lurking in the shadows waiting – as if it a pimple waiting for more infection to burst and leave a scar. All they needed was someone like Trump to give them the freedom to come out of hiding. America had ignored them until now not wanting to face the ugly truth of their existence. They aren’t hiding anymore and some of them are your neighbors. Will history repeat itself even more? Did this country not learn from the past?
These new recruits don’t hide beneath hoods anymore. They are showing their faces taunting us to do something about so they feel justified hurting people. This will negatively affect the rest of their lives and warp the minds of their children.
(note from Sonni: I’ve been running myself crazy taking care of details for the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” When I began writing, I didn’t know putting out a book involved more than writing it and finding someone to edit it. I knew there were self publishing businesses that helped, but I didn’t know most of them preyed on people who didn’t know they were being scammed into paying for services they didn’t need. That subject should be another post.
After writing this blog for a year or so, I knew Jamie’s story needed to be told. I began the first draft. To understand who Jamie is you should go to archive below the post where you can pull up the posts by the month. Also, some of earliest one are found at the top of the page in the white area.
It was important to find the right artist to create the book cover art, which will also be the digital album cover. Learning how to mark a product has been a challenge. Sometimes, at the spur of the moment I’ll feel a need to play my piano. It is a release for me when I am on emotional overload. It is why so many of my recording have an air of melancholy. There is sadness when I feel there is nothing I can do. The music is like a diary of these years. Certain music reminds me of a particular letter of something important that happened. Recording music for the book as the soundtrack is best played while reading. I’m also being promoted on several websites that carry the music. Before the book is published I am releasing another album of improv music titled, “Stories Without Words”
I’m having new promo pictures taken with my white piano, outside in summer greenery, by a photographer who specializes in photographing musicians. My promo pictures during my earlier years of playing would only work if I was never seen in public! ( I think I’ve aged just a touch! ) I knew if I was going to resurrect my music career, I couldn’t do it halfway. The difference today is I would not want to travel and tour again. I want a more intimate setting in a nice restaurant (where I can sell books, too!)
I am also planning to go to Texas for a few weeks during October to visit Jamie at the prison. We need to talk about any changes and additions. Asking him to dig into a painful part of his past and ask him to relive it and write about it has been hard for him. I’m trying to keep him as involved as I can. No one is meant to live through being locked up by themselves for this long. It’s been almost three years – this time. He has 4 1/2 years left on a 17 year sentence.
Part of the reason it has taken this long to finish the book is having to communicate through letters, and then waiting for the answer. If the prison puts the inmates on an unexpected lockdown – more than the standard 30 days out of every 90 days then he might not be able to go to commissary and run out of stamps. That happened last time and he couldn’t write for weeks. The prison also screwed up the food box I sent. They marked it ordered, but didn’t deliver it. The online site showed it was ordered. It wouldn’t let me order again until after they were put on lockdown. No food boxes are delivered during that month. Add over 100 degree temperature to the mix doesn’t help anyone’s temperament.
A fight broke out in another building. It was used as an excuse to toss the cells and lock everyone down. He was out of stamps and had nothing to trade with. The guards love candy sticks and will sometimes trade a stamp for one. The cost for one is fifteen cents so it’s a good trade. I try to order 30 and add a variety of gas station quality, convenience store delicacies. Raman noodles, chips, cookies, mackerel, tuna and more – all processed crap, but often better than what they serve for meals. I can purchase $20 a month or $60 for three months. Not much, but it helps – in more ways than one. I can tell by his handwriting when he is depressed. Contact from the outside is like gold. So many have no one. So . . . on to his letter)
Good morning to you, 8/18/17
It’s early 5:47 but I could not sleep. I’ve been up since about 9:00 last night. I have not been feeling well. Anyway, I’m writing to tell you something. I really don’t like speaking about it because, to me it seems like when I do something bad always happens. Before I tell you I want you to know I was pulled out of my cell to make a phone call. I give up. I’m not putting in for no more phone calls. Nobody answers the phone at my mom or for my son. I have been doing good and staying away from trouble to make these phone calls only to not reach no one. “F**k that.” I have not had no write ups in over a year. This means I get a line class which goes toward my parole and getting out of ad seg (administrative segregation – a fancy word for being locked up by yourself for 23-24 hours a I don’t know when I’ll get out of seg. It might be Sept or January or March. Hopefully Sept so we can have our first visit that won’t be behind glass. That would be nice being able to hold your hand. I’m a line two right now. I need to be a line one in order to see parole. So in another 6 months, as long as I don’t get any write ups. I’m trying hard. I really am. It will be twelve years by then. I’m trying to make it home. I’m trying hard to get out of this place. I wasn’t to be there for my son. I want to hear you play the piano.
I want to be there for Jamie while he’s still young. He and I have so much to talk about. Him reading my letter is not the same as him looking me in my eyes and talking to me face to face. That is what I want. So I’m focused on staying out of trouble.
There’s lots of days I don’t go to the shower. I stay in my cell and use the sink and do a bird bath. There’s also days I do go to rec or eat because I try so hard to avoid B/S with the officers. Please know that I’m trying. Sorry I have gotten tired. I will pick this back up later today.
Sorry for the long wait. Things are getting real testy around me. I have been getting into it with the inmates. I feel I’m being tested and this is some kind of karma. It’s stressing me out because I see SCC next month (state classification). I don’t know what they are going to do.
I got everything you sent me. Thank you so much. When you come to visit in October be sure to put in for a special visit ( 2 days, 4 hrs each day. A regular visit is one day, 2 hrs). Being in a place like this really will let you know how much you miss being around regular people. You want to know what I have to listen to? I’m tired of hearing these dudes talking about other dudes. Nasty.
You liked your birthday card? I had it made. I’m learning to make them. I’m working on my coloring and everything. I think it’s wonderful you are doing what you love. There’s a station on the radio that plays instrumental only. I haven’t listened to it in awhile. I have to get me another radio. Mine got broke. Move your fingers over the ivory keys of your piano and enjoy the sound.
We’re going on lockdown again the last week of this month or the first week of next month. If I get out of ad seg it won’t be so much. Gotta go. They’re picking up mail on the other side and I want to send this off.
Next issue coming soon. The topic this month – Incarcerating The Innocent . . . AND . . . beginning today, until ten days after the next issue is published, anyone not currently receiving the issue in their email can tap the above button and enter a sweepstakes to win a signed copy of Sharron Grodzinsky’s “Waiting on the Outside.” Ten copies will be given away. No shipping fee. Absolutely free.
I have read the book. It is a gripping and heartbreaking true story of a mother who did everything she could to understand and save her adopted son from destructive behavior, choosing to become a skin head, joining the the local white nationalist movement at a very young age. He ended up in prison, where trying to leave the gang could have deadly consequences. Nothing she tried to do to help him had any positive effect. He seemed determined to make every bad choice that came his way.
Will he be able to survive prison? Will he survive when he gets out? There is no answer to that question because he is still locked up. This is every mother’s nightmare who watches her child grow up and become someone who is feared by the public.
you can email me at: email@example.com if you have any questions
Jamie Life in Prison at Face book . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world. All blog posts on this blog post at this site.
Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick. at Facebook. My music info with links to new music as well as digging into the past. I came across a poster of a major music event for me when one of my songs was performed with an orchestra and I flew out to San Francisco to hear it. My life has been crazy and full of risks and challenges, but I’m still here. I will continue living until the last minute!
ReverbNation . . . Lots of great indie music at this site. I was impressed. I’ve become a “Fan” of ones I like to help support them and I can share their music if I like. The have many neat services that help musicians put a good package together to promote their music. Tapping on the link will take you to my “work in progress” profile page. check it out. Tell me what you think. I would appreciate any and all feedback of what you really think.
SkunkRadioLive . . . Thank you to those who tweeted my name at the SKL twitter page. Until i get back out and playing the only people who find me is online. Many of you I’ve known quite a while and some are knew. But anyone who has a business or does anything online, even Facebook, knows how important to to have your page liked and shared. Right now I have to depend on the people I reach through my computer. it is hard with new pages. Some people might think what you do isn’t good if your numbers are low. They can’t get higher until you start with the first one. Booking agents and club owners might only have my profile page to go by so I am in constant building mode. On the right side of this page you will see another twitter symbol asking you to tweet your favorite song. When you click on it you go to a half filled tweet where you only need to add the name of a song and the artist name
After a lot of hard word my music is playing in the rotation during their instrument scheduling hour. 1-2 PM London time and 8 – 9 AM est. But all of my music is available on my featured profile page -which is growing with new interviews and media. Going to the link at the top of this page will pull up the latest issue of ITFO NEWS. It will explain everything along with a couple very important things you can do that will tremendously help me.
Skunk Radio is Fan based. To have a successful audition you need to tweet them my name or a piece of music you like. Also leave a comment at the bottom to show them you were there. This will enable me to market Jamie’s book and the music together.
We hear soundtracks on movies. Why not a souundtrack for a book? Lecture and perform together. I think this is a new idea. I’m using this book to hire a new booking agent and get back to work. I can’t do it without you. Joining the mailing list to stay informed will help you see our progress.
Out of 17 years years he has 5 to go. I’ve sold everything I have of value to raise the money to see this through so I can help him have a good life with his son. So open the newsletter and see how you can help. You can subscribe at the link at the top left and read other issues on the right. It’s been quite a learning curve. Leave a comment here, too, and tell me if you’re with me. 11 years I’ve been at this. I can’t let him down.