Climbing The Mountains – ITFO Chapter and Music Video

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Below is a partial chapter for “Inside The Forbidden Outside”. There was a riot during the midday meal. Tension is always high strung  It doesn’t take much to set off violence that leads to injuries and death. Guards are extremely outnumbered. There are repercussions to everyone who participates a well as those who don’t. Subscribe to ITFO News below for occasional updates. Help support and share. Learn the truth about life in our prisons. Follow Jamie’s Story.

 

 

CLIMBING THE MOUNTAINS

Oh my God, what was happening? Jamie heard screaming and large objects being thrown against the walls inside the room where the inmates were served food. He could hear the thud of bodies being hit and falling into the tables. Guards were shouting threats, trying to get the chaos under control, but they were losing. The medical unit was going to be busy today.
     Jamie was walking down the hall on his way to chow. It was a privilege he had gotten back when he was finally moved from adseg to G4. He had almost made it to the large room when he felt himself being shoved from behind up against the wall. He heard the doors being slammed shut and bolted. There was tension brewing in the air along with the smell of panic.
     Two guards stood outside the doors. One guard had his taser pointed at the inmates lined up along the wall. The other one had his baton raised, ready to use if anyone moved. There was a third guard standing in a lookout on the second floor. He had a rifle pointed at them that was loaded with pellets of buckshot. The two guards near them looked scared that the inmates might try to rush and overpower them. One wrong move and someone was going to get killed.
     They were short staffed as usual and there was no telling how many guards were inside. It couldn’t be more than a couple because there was no time to call for help. There was usually one guard at either end of the room. They were outnumbered and they knew it.
     Being scared didn’t begin to cover what Jamie was feeling. These guards could easily lose control and think they were justified in shooting to protect themselves, especially not knowing if any of their own were being injured or killed on the other side of that door. One shot toward the floor with the pellet gun would riccochet hundreds of buckshot in all directions.
     Jamie tried to make himself look as non-threatening as possible. No sudden moves. In fact, no moves at all. It was total bedlam behind the locked door and it could easily turn that way in the hall, too. This was not a good day for dying. Riots didn’t often happen, but when they did they were usually deadly. High tensions started the fighting and once it got started it wouldn’t easily calm down.
     More guards soon arrived and they escorted the men back along the wall to their cells. He felt much safer when the cell door shut behind him and he heard the lock click in place.
     But what the hell happened in there? Was it planned or did something happen between two people and it got out hand? If he had been inside the chow hall when the doors were closed he would have been screwed big time.
     When there was a fight and guards got involved, others joined in. The dudes who started the trouble would expect the other inmates to join them. If they didn’t, they would hunt you down later and mess you up. If you were scared and got yourself chased to another prison, word would get out and people at that prison would find you and make your life miserable. You couldn’t run far enough no matter how many years you got.
     If Jamie had gotten involved in the fight the guards could have beaten the crap out of him. If not then, they’d find him later. They would retaliate against everyone involved even if they didn’t do anything. No one would stop them. It was one time they got away with murder with no questions asked. It was a no-win situation no matter how you looked at it.
     They would have put him back in adseg in a heartbeat and most likely would never let him out again. Being part of a prison riot would have affected his life in many ways. It didn’t matter that he had not been part of it. Getting caught up in one was all that was needed.
     Would it affect the possibility of getting paroled? He didn’t want to think about that. It didn’t happen. He didn’t get caught up it. Less than a minute later and he would have. He didn’t get beat up by the guards and he didn’t get in bad with those who chose to riot. It was close, but luck was on his side this time.
     He knew why they did it. So did the warden. People would only put up with being treated like dogs by their jailers for just so long. Kick a dog enough times and he was going to bite back. If you starve them and take away everything that makes them human, when they bite they were going to draw blood. Spray them with chemicals and laugh about it, feed them garbage and ignore them when they are sick and they will eventually riot if the opportunity is there. They aren’t dogs, they’re human beings. The riot might have been started by one of the dudes disrespecting someone’s space but the overall reason was because all of them were disrespected by the system.
     Until the people who run this place take care of their end instead of constantly finding ways to make the men responsible for all the trouble there was going to be even more trouble.
     The best thing to do was to keep to himself as much as possible. Do his time and stay away from everyone if he could.
     Jamie had missed lunch. He was going to get mighty hungry by dinner. It wouldn’t be the last time he would be hungry so it was no big deal. The warden wouldn’t care about that anyway, he had his hands full.
     Going over to his locker he went through his books to see if there was one that looked interesting enough to read again. He liked to do that. There was always something he missed in the first reading. Settling down on his bunk he tried to lose himself in some other place and time, somewhere outside this prison cell. He had read more books in the last six years than he ever would have. He found he enjoyed reading and could read a book a day of he had enough.  

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Prison Art – Hand Drawn Cards

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Prison Art is special. Anytime someone can create any kind of beauty in a world inside a prison it brings hope that that person will make it through okay. I often don’t look very close when someone sends me a store bought card, especially when it is signed with only a name. Why keep it? I know this took time and caring.

I had been sick with an irritating flu bug for several weeks that was hard to shake. Not enough to dive under the covers, but enough to have you dragging through your day.

Jamie has wanted to learn how to make cards for some time. His hand shakes so it is hard to draw a straight line. This is one of talent that can make money inside. Men often want cards made that fit in a long envelope sold in the prison commissary. I don’t know if he is making them for anyone else. A friend who is the support for another man who makes wonderful cards and happens to be in the same prison, sent him drawing books that show you how to make the drawings. Often the drawings that are copied come from children’s coloring books. They have characters that are good to use for birthdays and holidays. I was glad to see him use a creative way to pass time. 

 

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Sitting Alone In His Prison Cell . . .Thinking

Dear mom,

You wanted me to write more to you about how it was growing up. I don’t think I was happy but I didn’t realize it then because I didn’t know what it felt like to be happy. I don’t think I had any birthday parties with friends and family. We just didn’t do it. I don’t think being unhappy is unusual. I don’t think I was unhappy, I just wasn’t happy, either. I don’t have many happy memories. Most of the dudes I’ve talked to in here weren’t happy as kids, either. Maybe that’s part of the reason why we’re in here. I think if we aren’t happy as kids and don’t have a family who is there for us, how can we expect them to be there for us now sitting in a prison? My family doesn’t care about me in here. But I have you and you care about me. Otherwise I’d have no one.

jamie cummings

How did I learn things about life? I guess I learned from everywhere. School and home and street friends. I was taught things by my mom, rules of what to do when she was working. But when she wasn’t around I usually did the opposite of what she wanted me to do. We had an aunt who lived down the street if we needed anything but we were mostly left up to ourselves to be good.

Once, I was placed in a children’s hospital because of my always leaving home. I had a problem with depression even as a child. My mom didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t like life having epilepsy. I wanted to be normal. It scared me and I didn’t really have anyone who could help me understand it. I always felt there was something wrong with me because I was different from the other kids. Sometimes my older brother and sister made fun of my seizures. I had so many seizures until I had brain surgery at age 12. It didn’t stop them but it helped.

I stayed in that children’s hospital for a few weeks but one day I begged my mom to come get me. She did but she never told me during the whole trip home that my cousin, who I was very close to had died. I got to my house and there were a lot of people there. It wasn’t until I walked into the the back room and saw him laid out did I know he died. I cried and cried. No one prepared me for the shock. I took that news real hard. He was my best friend. We were the only two sick kids in the family. Me, with epilepsy and him with sickle cell anemia. It didn’t matter he was older than me. I still think about him to this day.

It’s hard for me to write about myself. I know you want to know because of the book you started writing about me. I’ll do my best but so much of this I have stuffed deep inside and it makes me feel bad to remember it. Maybe it will get easier over time.

I’m still waiting for the books you sent. Hope they get here soon. The book on grammar will help me a lot. You asked if we could trade books we don’t want anymore. If an officer finds another inmate’s book in your cell they will take it and write up a case on you. It’s how they keep us down.

There are so many ordinary things that get you in trouble for no reason. So many dudes have no one to buy them books  and time goes by so slow. What is the harm in sharing books? There is none, but if they can write up a case they can keep you locked up by yourself for longer time. Sometimes they let it go, but you never know if they will. So it would be taking a big chance to do it. They call it trafficking and trading, and it’s a major case – all for a book.

Time to go and get some sleep

Love to you, Son

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(Sonni’s note: This letter was from some time ago. More than 2 1/2 years. I decided to reprint it to give newer readers a little more history on his life. I believe his story overall has a very powerful message. It is not an unusual story. There are many parallels with many of the stories in prison. So many inmates are not bad people. They are people who made a mistake and some are innocent and forced into plea deals. many of their mistakes were being born black in a society who still looks as whites being a superior race and blacks are meant to be used. The fact that so many parents today still pass down racism to their kids is truly sad. Of course that isn’t everyone, but looking at the percentages of white to black in our penal system tells the true story in this country who people say is a Christian nation but too many don’t live the Golden Rule. Will that change? Only when enough of us stand up for what is right and change what is wrong.

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THE NEXT MONTHLY ISSUE OF THE ITFO NEWSLETTER WILL BE GOING OUT SOON. TAP THE LINK TO GET IT DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX. EACH ISSUE NOW WILL FOCUS ON A DIFFERENT ASPECT OF PRISON ISSUES EACH MONTH. THERE HAS BEEN NO TALK OF PRISON REFORM SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN WHEN EVERYONE JUMPED ON THE BANDWAGON SAYING THEY WOULD BE THE ONE TO FIX IT. NOW NOTHING IS BEING SAID. IT WILL BE THE PEOPLE DEMANDING CHANGE THAT HAS THE ONLY CHANCE OF CHANGING THIS. PLEASE POST THIS ON YOUR OWN SM AND ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO SHARE IT, TOO. WE’VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AS THE AMERICAN INDIANS HAVE DONE. WE NEED TO MAKE PRISON REFORM IMPORTANT, NOT JUST TALK ABOUT IT. CAN WE DO THAT?

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Sonni Quick Music Career Over 40 Years

Sonni Quick over the last 40 years

 

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Sonni Today in 2016

There is no way I could add all the promo pictures and bands I worked with over the years. I also taught piano through most of these years as well. If I stay lucky and have at least another 20 years to  compose, knowing the older the you get the more experience you have.  As long as arthritis leaves my hands alone I’m going to be kicking butt somewhere. I won’t go down easy.

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Yamaha DGX – the keyboard I use to record today.  It is at standing level.  I prefer to move up and down the keyboard as I play instead of sitting in one place. It has the capacity to record six tracks with 225 different musical voices. I can send music directly into a computer program after I record or onto a stick.

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1978

Sonni Piano
Hyatt Regency Houston 1980

Some pieces have being eliminated because of sound quality. I have a much better way of recording. I can sit and play like this for hours and never play the same thing twice. Everything is improvised. I’m considering gigging again. I gave up playing in piano bars 12 years ago. I started in 1974 and moved on to fronting bands in 1981 and later, in the 90’s began to only teach. In 2000, in Key West I began playing as a solo artist again but later became to sick to play. Through all these I continued to teach and compose and had other “careers” in between. I regret I never had a chance to play with my son Robo who is one hell of a keyboard player – the fastest left hand I’ve ever seen.

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Biz card – artwork hand done – 2’by 1’approx – before computers 1985

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Edison 1984  Popular top 40 band in Denver, Co

Now at the ripe old age of . . . older than my grandchildren, my desire to write and perform burns a hole inside me. I have always believed if a dream comes to life inside it is there for a reason, so follow it. It is why I have done everything I’ve done in my life that has taken me to many different places ( and gave my kids a very unstable childhood, but they learned not to except the status quo or care about what other people think about they decided to do.) Go for it. We only remember one life.

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Los Angeles 1982

 

So when my book is published – it is in the first round of editing – then I think I need to find a way to fit in one gig a week – find a nice restaurant that appreciates beautiful music playing while people socialize. Years ago I swore I’d never play another piano bar. They bored me. This is another time in my life. I’ve played many piano bars, from the Hyatt Regency in Houston to the Bahia Mar on Padre Island to La Te Da’s in Key West.

 

 

Soundcloud allows easier access for people who don’t follow the blog, but see it advertised in other places. I’ve taken off most of the duplicate music but left ones that are still found on earlier blog posts. Soundcloud also allows me better access to to stats to see what is being listened to and which ones are liked better. Older blog posts will still direct you here but new posts will only play soundcloud tracks.

Scattered through out the blog you will find many of these music pieces. These are all original

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improvisations. “Inside the Forbidden Outside” Is the title of the book I’m writing about Jamie Cummings. I’ve been working on it for 1 1/2 years. Writing this while keeping up my 2 blogs has been work than I thought it would be. Marketing it takes another bundle of time. I would like to be able to offer this music in some way with the book when it is ready. It is the heart – the emotion that came from writing. The sadness of understanding what life is like for someone on the inside when the people you love don’t take the time to show they remember you are there. Find out what real loneliness feels like. This music is my sadness for him.

You can get on the mailing list for the new ITFO Newsletter – the initials for the name of the book –  by going  here http://eepurl.com/bZ8e71  (You may have to put the link in the browser until I figure out why it won’t link) It is a newsletter about the prison industry and the inmates inside.  It is a part of this country that needs to change. You can reach me directly at: squick@mynameisjamie.net. For the first three days after publication I will give out free ebooks through Kindle at Amazon, only asking that you please leave a review. You will know ahead of time when that happens. Reviews sell books. Money earned through this will help me help Jamie. If I already have your address and want to write a review just send a msg. The notice will be in the monthly newsletter I’ve started. I’ve been promoting early go grow an email list.  I hoping to have it for sale before the end of the year.

This page has been being changed over to http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick All new pieces are there, not here.. But still, this is part of my history and every piece was written for a reason.

This music is copyrighted. Please do not use it for ANY reason other than for your own listening. You may only share it with proper credit and a link back to the original site. Thank you.

Second Time Around – by Sonni Quick. Copyright 2015

The Fallen – by Sonni Quick copyright. 2015

Lost Loveby Sonni Quick. Copyright 2015

Yester Daysby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Taking Back What They Took Awayby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

And The Rain Beginsby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Jamie by Sonni Quick copyright 2014

Pure Painby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Something Was by Sonni Quick copyright 2015

I‘m Sorry by Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Missing Daughterby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Blindfolded Painby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Forgotten Tears by Sonni Quick copyright 2014

I’m Doneby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Wondering Whyby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

Hopeby Sonni Quick copyright 2015

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sonni 2015
today – and no I don’t dye my hair