One Foot After The Other (and Don’t Look Back)

hiking-1149985_640

The only legacy of real value you leave behind when you leave this earth is the effect you had on other people. It is powerful because you can change lives – for the better or for the worse. Affecting someone’s life means they will affect others. Lift them up or drag them down. In that way you live on through others long after you are gone.

What you do, say and think always has a consequence. We see that work in a negative way when parents, teachers and preachers teach children to be prejudiced and judgemental toward others in many ways. They grow up to be racist adults, or teens who bully classmates they think are inferior. They were taught to think like that.

Instead, think about how you want to affect the world around you. Take responsibility for all you do and don’t blame others for your life. This is what I have taught Jamie. He is responsible for his life as we all are. I have tried to show him through example. I’ve tried to teach him what he had no chance learn going through his youth. I’m sure his mother loved him. That love is unconditional, but we can only teach what we know.

The more you give the more you get. You reap what you sow – what goes around comes around, no matter what faith you practice. I practice Nichiren Buddhism. It has taught me more about myself than any other teaching. It taught me compassion for all people, not just people you decide is worthy based on your chosen faith. It taught me how to live and I’m still alive – so I can finish what I’ve started.

Life has been upside down the past few months. I didn’t have time to put out a newsletter  because there are only so many hours in a day. Many people have followed the blog at My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison and read blog posts about the reality of prison and how it affected his Jamie’s state of mind. I hope to think that being there for him and  knowing someone cared, helped him get through days when he felt like giving up. He couldn’t understand why his family wasn’t there to help him go through the extreme loneliness of a prison cell.

When I tried to encourage letters and explained to his family how lost Jamie felt I was told, “Just because he got hisself in trouble doesn’t mean my life stopped.”

I was then told, ” I’m not going to answer this because you’re really starting to piss me off.”

“My telling you the truth pisses you off?” I replied. “If I am wrong about any of this, please tell me where.”

“Really, it’s not your concern,” I was told. “Jamie lies a lot.”
That’s a good one. It’s hard to keep a lie going for ten years, especially when there is no reason.

“It is my concern,” I replied. “Tell me what the lie is.”

Silence

I couldn’t understand that attitude. This came from a blog post I wrote 3 1/2 years ago, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother” These excerpts were taken from that post. It still brings me to tears. I was helping his brother and for that I got slapped down. How dare I care. He’s the father of my grandson but his welfare was not my concern. 

I do not write about this in the book. I don’t say how I feel. The book isn’t about them. The most I say is how lonely he is not understanding why no one writes to him and I don’t mention any names.

Trying to finish the book and making the money to pay an editor has been a challenge. Opening an online store to make money has been fun – but more expensive than I thought. I didn’t know what I was doing. I paid marketing companies for guidance. I worked it and now I think I have a nice looking store with good products and I work on getting it in front of people every day. Slowly sales are picking up. Now I’m building a new website around the store that will have more to offer than just items to buy to give it value. I’ve learned, though, that making money the first year in business is difficult. Just staying afloat with enough sales to cover overhead eats up the most of the hours in my day and all of the profit. Most business apps have monthly fees. There are fees on top of fees.

My health is declining. I’ve been fighting for more life for 20 years when Hep C was diagnosed. Everything that could go wrong, has. I was stupid in my early 20’s and through a boyfriend I did IV drugs. It didn’t last long, but it was too late. But everything happens for a reason. What has it taught me about myself? So much. Symptoms started in my mid 30’s. I have fought hard to stay alive and today cancer is showing its head – again –

Radiation on my head after ear removal

The ugly scar you can see part of near the bottom of the photo toward the left is a botched skin graft that was supposed to heal into a thin line that eventually would fade. It is 6 months old and painful to touch because it cut into nerves. It’s more than 3″ long and still inflamed. The Dr wants to shoot a bunch of needles off cortisone into it. That will be painful. The red ball on top of my ear that looks like a wad of gum is where my ear was cut off. The skin graft was supposed be fashioned into a place my glasses arm could rest. A kinda sorta ear . There is nowhere now to put an arm from glasses. The bandaid is the biopsy site where the lump is. But hey! My hair color is real!

I’ve had several issues with cancer. Liver cancer and skin cancer – common with liver transplant patients. Which was in 2012. In Oct 2018  I had skin cancer and a pie wedge was cut out of one ear. It didn’t stop in January I ended up the top half of that ear cut off. “I am confident I got it all,” the Dr said. But he didn’t. I had radiation and it burnt off the hair on the side of the head. It didn’t stop it. Now it is spreading  internally and I have a lump on my neck. On July 15th I am having surgery – a neck dissection – to cut out all of the lymph nodes on the side and back of my neck and more radiation. If it spread further then it’s chemo time. My body can’t fight it because I’m on anti- rejection meds to suppress my immune system to keep the liver. I have lived so far for a reason.

My transplant doctor told me they lose more transplant patients because of squamous cell carcinoma than anything else. The fight is on.

I say this only because. . . I don’t know why I’m saying it other than it has complicated my life further and I’m trying to figure out where to put it in my head. I spent 12 years writing to him and 3.5 years writing this book and recording the music and videos to promote it. It’s given me a reason to keep going. I have to finish it.

last-note-2-sm

I wanted to write this book for the many people who have been through prison and understand the psychological effects of long term isolation. I want the profit from the sale of the book to help Jamie start his life again and be a father to his son, my grandson. Certain people have tried to turn this into something ugly. People enjoy negative gossip. They have no idea what this book is about. They have never read it or asked about it, but they’ve known I’ve been writing it.

Now Jamie is out, and the book isn’t complete yet. I need money and I’m stressing over the lack of it. I need to pay professional editors to work with me. This is why I started the store. Thank goodness he didn’t have to do the entire sentence and was paroled four years early. Now he can see his son, his only child.

I had just finished radiation from the last surgery and I couldn’t be there when he got out. No one was there. For thirteen years he was “Inside The Forbidden Outside. ” It was his first time being on the outside and he had to take a bus to his brother’s house. He had no way to call me even if he could. I was on a train headed back home because I found a lump on my neck.

A friend of 40 years, another musician, also a Nichiren Buddhist (and my 2nd ex-husband) suggested I start a gofundme campaign. It is really hard to ask for money. He told me there would be people who understood. I was amazed because I already have had a couple contributions. If you read the campaign you’ll see I will be sending them a free copy of the book and music when it’s published.

I estimate I have about 6 chapters to rewrite. This is the 2nd draft. With a story editor to guide me I’m sure there will be revisions. I can’t put out a book that is less than professional. There is also sequel planned, because this book only goes in time from 2006 to 2016. The sequel picks up there and goes through getting out and re-entry. Cancer isn’t going to stop me from finishing. But maybe, because of what is happening I should extend the chapters beyond 2016.

A BIT OF JAMIE’S EARLY LIFE, BEFORE PRISON.

To understand Jamie’s story a little more if you haven’t been to the blog and read the pages at the top ot any early affiliates

Jamie  spent so much of his life removed from society, never learning how life works. Four years in juvenile detention starting late in his 16th year, to keep his little brother from being sentenced after hitting a cop with a broom when he forced his way into their home. The cop knocked down their mother and broke her wrist. They wanted to send a little boy to juvenile detention for defending his mother because someone needed to be responsible and it just wasn’t going to be the cop. There have been many articles in the media showing cops doing the exact same thing to other families, but back then in the late ’90s the internet wasn’t what it is today.

The attorney convinced Jamie to do his brother’s nine month sentence, except they had no intention of letting him leave until he was 21. By then he was so depressed he was kept in a different facility far from home for incarcerated youth with mental issues. Epileptic seizures and having no family near was wrong.  He lost the rest of his youth and high school years. When was he supposed to develope the wisdom and social skills he needed to understand to get through life. Who were the right people to be friends with? So he picked the wrong people to be friends with. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong friends put him in prison before his son was born. I took care of my daughter until my grandson was a year old when she left to go back to Texas.

I helped Jamie through his prison sentence because everyone in his life who should have been there for him – wasn’t. No one helped him after the first year.  Letters and visits were as rare as snowstorms are in Texas. Money for things he needed, such as stamps and hygiene products or paying his medical fees were paid by me as well as books to read, extra food, ( he’s a big man) and even candy to bribe the guards.

Our letters are a journey through what went on his head. The emotional toll. He suffered through the heat with no air conditioning – summers when he passed out from the heat, and when guards cuffed his wrists and legs during a seizure, or when 5 guards picked him up and rammed his head into a wall or wouldn’t let him see a dentist when his impacted wisdom teeth got infected.

I will be there for him to lean on until his knowledge and experiencecatches up with his 36 years and he is a confident, strong man with a life of purpose.

itfo newsletter

SUBSCRIBE

 

How to Do Six things at The Same Time (and stay sane)

This is a new video made to advertise my store slowly it comes together.

<<< >>>

Is it possible to do that? Six things at one time? I don’t think I have ever been so busy in my life with more to do than is human possible without something (or a few things) falling through the cracks. For three months I have nearly seen up from down. I had no idea that opening an e-commerce business was going to consume my entire life. I had no idea how much I would have to learn to make it happen.

The reason for starting the business was realizing I was barely surviving after paying the bills with only a disability check ( and my husband’s meager social security). There were things I needed and I couldn’t pay for them. (new glasses since I’m missing a left ear to hang them on most it was cut off because of cancer, and medications ruined my teeth and I need dentures) so how was I going to pay an editor to help get the book ready?

Okay, “STOP” I told myself. Reorganize. What do I need to do the most to keep it going in a forward motion. I needed to make money. For three years I have been writing and rewriting the chapters of the book, Inside The Forbidden Outside and recorded the music for it. I’ve seen ads, “Write a book in 90 days”. They must be nuts. You can’t write a good book that fast.

It took hours of every day to promote everything I’m doing – everywhere. Social media consumed time like a high powered vacuum cleaner sucking up every second. I had to promote the music. Those websites also demand time to develop a following. Comments are left that need to be answered. Thousands of people know who he is and know at least part of his story. I have to finish the book.

It has been a wonderful journey. Caring about someone else’s life gave meaning to my own life. When I got the idea to write a book about him, after we had already been writing for years, I had no idea what it would take. I only knew I needed to do it. I love to write – but writing a book takes more knowledge and dedication than writing a blog post. Thank goodness we had so many letters between us. At least 800. They are a journal and a way into his mind to understand the trauma. Piecing our letters together as we answered each other’s letters has taken time to present it out clearly.

After the first draft I realized it was missing something – a sense of following time – One chapter leading to the next. I started writing again, and rewrote again and sometimes again as I studied the art of writing. During these years Jamie was inside I went through more than one medical issues which left me with the time to work non stop on not only the book, but the blog and music even if I had to do it from bed.

I knew I had a good book that many could relate to. So many millions of people could relate to it because the United States has locked up so many people in prison for extraordinary lengths of time whether they deserved it or not. Prison corporations and investors were literally making a killing from imprisoning as many people as they could. Even though all races were vulnerable, the bulk of the inmates came from black people because they were unable to fight back by hiring attorneys. They relied on offering plea deals, forcing everyone to admit to guilt or their sentence would take up the rest of their life. What would you do.

I kept on writing and promoting. I wake in the (late) morning and work on different aspects – just as I am doing now because I’ve had less time to write blog posts and keep up my newsletter – until I quit falling out of my chair when it starts to get light.

In February of this year I realized I needed another avenue of money. I saw an ad about starting an ecommerce store and thought it was something I could do. But wanting to do a business and have it fully functioning with paying customers was a HUGE commitment of time to not only learn what to do, but applying that knowledge to make it work. I had no idea what I was doing. I can see today how far I’ve come but it has a long way to go.

I started out doing eBay. It has become much more sophisticated and professional in recent years.  This was my third time in 17 years). ebay.com/str/watchandwhirlshop That in itself is a full time job. Creating listings, and learning what to do to get noticed along the powers is mindblowing. I lost thousands of feedback numbers because I could no longer get into my old email address.

Of course you have to monitor everything, re-list and try new ideas if it doesn’t sell, communicate with people and ship things, or order from a dropshipper. At the same time I opened a store at watchandwhirl.ecwid.com which is the shipping cart, the hub for any other stores I open in different locations. I also connected it to a new Facebook store. It took days to get the business connected. On top of that I had to learn Facebook marketing. So in all I have three stores with the same storefront.

watchandwhirlShop

Everything online has a fee. Every app has a monthly fee. I have an ebay store fee, with a seller fee and a PayPal fee. There ecwid fee where all the products are, an app that integrates the product and sends it to every store location – it has a fee. Every single thing you need to operate a business has a fee. Then you need a resale license, and another service to do your expenses and taxes and that has a fee. OMG!! I’m the only one who doesn’t collect a fee from myself!

Most recently I am learning how to put a website together that is more than just an online store. A place people will want to come back to for more than just to buy something. I have a vision of what it will be, I just have to learn how to do it. It is like learning how to speak a language when you don’t know what it sounds like. You can see what I’ve done so far at watchandwhirlshop.com

I have to do all of this by myself. My husband is clueless about the things I do, but he does other things. Clean the kitchen, the shopping ( he spends less) takes packages to the post office, drives me to doctor appts, and keeps my ancient laptop running. He’ll do anything I ask as long as it doesn’t involve sex! Oh well, it is what it is.

I’m not making real profit yet, but most businesses in their first year don’t make money. They just try to stay in the game. But in the meantime, I have a book to finish, and still have no money to do that.

Now that jamie has been paroled, (my next post will catch up with what is going on with his life) – it is more important than ever to finish and get it published. I am printing out the manuscript, as it stands today, for him to read. He has read some of it, but not all. Inmates were setting fires at the prison. He had to give them all of his letters, anything paper and I’m sure that included the manuscript. My letters, too. But I have copies of mine archived at jpay.com, the email system for prisons.

Gofundme Campaign

I recently started a fundraising campaign at gofundme. A friend told me I should. He said there are people that would understand what I’m trying to do. I know a lot of people can’t, but if you could share that keeps it circulating the universe. This week I have been putting it everywhere I can, but still thinking, why would someone send me money? I wasn’t catestrophically ill (although I am fighting cancer – again. I was at the hospital three days ago for a biopsy and CT scan for a swollen lymph node on my neck. I find out in 3 days). Nothing bad happened. But still I was trying. Two people this week sent their hard earned money to me. $70. It’s Amazing how many people are barely surviving. All the hype about making America great again isn’t meant for those struggling. Oh well, enough about that today 😢

It takes a lot of time to do this, too, letting people now. I’m fortunate to have places like this I can put this on. I was humbled that these people sent money.  I can’t let them down. They will both be getting free books when it is done. It is a way I can pay them back for believing in me.

So I will continue to fight to finish this book. I believe it is the most important think I’ve done that would not have been possible without everything I have learned in my 65 years of living. There is a reason for everything. Who we are is no accident. We are the product of every decision we ever made. Good decisions and bad decisions all count. We can fight or we can give up. We can take responsibility or we can blame others. Those are our choices.

Thanks for reading.

itfo newsletter

SUBSCRIBE

 

The company that made this video for the store, and other print ads and had one of their associates guide me along way is Business Ventures Online. I recommend using them if you have a business you’d like to get off the ground. Just tell them Sonni sent you !

Surviving After-Inside the Forbidden Outside-GoFundMe

 

Click on the link below to go to the actual Gofundme campaign page. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/surviving-after-quotinside-the-forbidden-outsidequot&rcid=r01-156113009536-8d936ff586f5470e&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m

<<< >>>

I need help to help someone else. For twelve years I was the only one who cared enough to help this man. It has taken a lot for me to ask for it. But I can’t do what I need to do without it. Here is my story:

The video explains who Jamie Cummings is and the book I am writing, Inside the Forbidden Outside, along with recording a music soundtrack of original piano improvisations for each chapter as well as music videos you can find on Youtube. This music aids the journey just as music accompanies a movie. I may be naive but I can see this story as a Hulu or Netflix series as the chapters go through quite a few prisons he was sent to around Texas. The feedback I have gotten from many people who have experienced even part of what I have written has been overwelming. There have been hundreds of comments.

The book and music take the reader inside Jamie’s head to experience the emotional trauma living quite a number of the 13 years inside a solitary cell in adseg, administrative segregation, a fancy word for solitary where he spent most of the years. I am 2/3 through the second draft as I have finetuned the story. You can read chapters at mynameisjame.net .

The music soundtrack makes this book unique. You can stream it at sonniquick.net  The book cover is done and is at the beginning of of every post at the blog that is a chapter. I also opened an online store to make money, but it is new and it takes awhile to cultivate a customer base. It is only for the continental US so far.  You can see it at Watch and Whirl Shop

This story needs to be told. It isn’t unique. It is the story of many people locked up who couldn’t afford an attorney. I wanted this to be complete before he got out, but he was unexpectedly paroled 2 weeks ago and had to go stay with family who had done little for him through the years. The proceeds from the book will help him be able to start his life. 36 years old with the life experiences of a teenager.

It tells the story of what severe deprivation can do to a human being. It goes through medical crises in prison caused by inadequate medical care and having epilepsy. You can feel the depth of his depression at not being able to see his only child, born after he was incarcerated, and his loneliness waiting for someone to visit who rarely came.

No one would take his son to see him. He was afraid he would hate him because he was locked up. I went to Texas every couple years, but I couldn’t go enough. So we wrote many hundreds of letters, his diary of sorts. As I near completion I have no way to pay a professional editor to look it over.

I can’t let him down. I promised I’d be there – to help him get an education, help guide him, help him find a way to survive. To help write the sequel, have him help with the business end, get him a computer and teach him how to make money online, and learn how to help others. He is the father of my grandson. He is family more than most of my own family. We have been there for each others through letters and they would break your heart.

I am on disability and have been recently fighting cancer – again. The video you saw was made early this year before I started treatment again. I have been unable to get to Texas to see him since 10/17. I have been determined to finish the book, but I have read too many self-edited books to take a chance with its success because I couldn’t see something wrong.

A couple months ago I went online to the TDCJ website – Texas Department of Criminal Justice – and found out he was approved for parole. They hadn’t even told him. 2 weeks ago he walked out the doors, with an ankle monitor. There was no one there to meet him. I had known no one would be there for him. I wanted so much to be there but it happened so fast I couldn’t. He was parole to the outside without any preparation. He made his way by bus to his brother’s house who had only visited him once in ten years.

The money I want to raise isn’t for me. I have tried to do this on my own.  A friend recommended I try this site to raise the money.  I want to go to Texas to go over the manuscript with him. He needs a laptop to work with me as I write the last chapters before editing. I have 70,000 words. I estimate it will end at 95,000 words. Writing through the years I am at 2012. It ends at 2016. The sequel picks up from there and goes through re-entry and all of its issues.

Thank you for any help you can give. I make this promise. The names of every single person who helps will be listed in the book. With any donation of $15 I will send you a free ebook and music when it is published and with $25 or more I will send you a signed copy of the book and downloadable copy of the album. I will give anyone who asks, a record of how the money was spent.

 

Looking Into the Crystal Ball – Chapter

Last Note 2 sm

 

I decided to publish this chapter again for people who are new to Jamie’s story – as I continue to work on the second draft – to create interest. This is the first chapter after the prologue as he learns, from jail  about his public defend and his sentence.

There are other chapters and partial chapters available to read as well as music and videos finished that are for the chapters that have the same title. You can find the music and videos at my website sonniquick.net. This is the video and music for this chapter.

Subscribe to ITFO NEWS for monthly newsletters about the book and other prison issues. It is only by you and people you share this with that will enable me to be successful  This has been a long project putting all of this together. Your support is important and appreciated.

<<< >>>

 

LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL

 

One after another, thoughts kept racing through Jamie’s head. What was going to happen to him? Life would never be the same. His court date was today and he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Didn’t he need an attorney? He couldn’t represent himself. How many years could they give him? He had no idea but he had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a good day.
     A black man like him, born and raised in Texas would get as many years as they could possibly give him. Racism is alive and well and Texas ranked with some of the worst. They would lock him up whether he deserved it or not.
     Depending on your race, the same crime gets different sentencing. Looking around the room at the dozens of three tier bunks lined up across the floor it was easy to see there was more black skin than white. Maybe white men didn’t commit as many crimes in Harris county. That was a laugh.
     Jamie needed someone to talk to. Somebody on his side who would listen and help. He wanted to explain he did not go out that night with his friends so he could rob a club. He wasn’t the one who had a gun in his back pack. He didn’t even know the guy had a gun until he talked about it in the car. It sounded like he was joking. He didn’t think the dude was serious. If only he did something to stop him things would be different right now.
    Morgan wrote him a while back and said she tried to get him a lawyer but it didn’t come through. She sent money to his brother who had a friend who knew an attorney who would take a deposit. Payments could be made on the balance.
     It sounded kinda hokey to him but it was the only thing he had to hope for. Trust him or do nothing. They should have done nothing because the money disappeared. Morgan lost money she could have used herself for the kids.
     He knew his mom didn’t have any money to help him. Morgan sent money she made working at her mom’s store. He knew he was on his own. He would feel better if he could at least see her, but that wasn’t going to happen. She was too far away.
     Jamie’s life was falling apart. How could he control what was happening? He was never going to see his son be born. He wanted go be a father but he could kiss that goodbye. There would be no holding him or being the kind of dad he never had. The cycle of being raised without a father wasn’t going to be broken.
     Life wasn’t supposed to be fair all the time, but he felt his life had never been fair from the time he was born. He grew up being told to believe in God. Have a blessed day and all that. There was no reason not to believe, but he didn’t think God had done much to bless him lately. He prayed desperately since this happened but it didn’t do much good. Tears began to well up in his eyes, threatening to spill down his cheeks.
   “Choke it down, Jamie,” he told himself. “Don’t let it show.” If he started to cry he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to stop.
     “If anyone saw you they would think you weak,” he whispered under his breath. They would gang up on him to make him their whipping boy. He wasn’t about to let that happen.
     Today was supposed to be his day in court but nobody talked to him about it. He was scared. Hs heart was beating in his head and it echoed in his ears.

      Jamie leaned against the grate covering the window and hooked his fingers into the metal and stared outside, watching the day as the seconds and minutes of his life passed by. Everything outside looked normal. He could see people coming and going.
     Clouds were creeping across the blue sky as if today were a normal day like all the rest. It wasn’t normal for him. He wanted so bad to leave the building and walk out into that day and be free. Could he change what was happening? Not likely. It took all his willpower not to scream.
     “Cummings, you have a visitor.”
    Jamie was lost in his thoughts. He didn’t hear what was said. The guard raised his voice. “Cummings, wake up.” He almost yelled when he repeated it.
     Startled, Jamie whirled around to face him. He had a visitor? His first thought was of Morgan. Was she here?
     “Your attorney is here. You have to come with me.”
     “What attorney? Jamie shot back. “I don’t have no attorney.”
     “You do now.”
    Jamie was apprehensive. His mind began to race. Nobody told him someone was coming. Shouldn’t he have been told? How would he have time to help him now? There wasn’t time. He had been in here waiting for months. Why was he only coming to see him at the last minute? He hesitated before he began walking toward the guard.
    “We don’t have all day.” The guard insisted. ” Get a move on it.” Jamie turned around and let the guard cuff his wrists. There was no going anywhere outside this cell without cuffs. There were some men who would try to hurt the guard or anyone else on staff just for the fun of it.
He half stumbled when the guard gave him a small shove to start him walking. Down the hallway past three closed doors, the door to a small windowless room was standing open. When they walked inside, a man in a suit was waiting bedside a metal table bolted to the floor. Jamie didn’t remember seeing him before.
     He was a skinny man with acne scars spread across his cheeks. He glared at Jamie with contempt in his eyes. His thinning hair combed over the top of his bald head was a poor attempt at pretending he had hair. Poor dude. Jamie was sure he the public defender assigned to him. Maybe this was the only lawyer job he could get. He didn’t seem too happy to be here.
     Jamie needed someone who could help him, but this man didn’t seem like he enjoyed his job very much. He swept his arm in a gesture over the table which told Jamie to sit down.
    The man continued to stand and glare at him with his arms crossed over his chest with a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude. It was a power move to show he was the authority in the room.
    The guard removed his cuffs. Jamie sat and waited for the man to talk. He was uncomfortable but he wasn’t going to let it show. The attorney took his time, letting his gaze slowly wander from his head to his hands as if he expected Jamie to jump up real quick and attack him.
It wasn’t the first time a white man looked at him like that, assuming he would be violent if given the chance. Jamie wasn’t a little man, but that didn’t mean he went around attacking people.
     “You’re in deep trouble, son,” the attorney began his practiced spiel.”You don’t have many options.” Son? He called him son? Was that his way of sounding superior?”
    How many times had this man repeated the same line, Jamie thought. Before he could continue, Jamie tried to talk. “I want to explain what happened. I didn’t . . .”
      That was all he managed to get out before this man, put both fists on the table, leaned over and looked him dead in the eyes.
      “I’m not interested in hearing your story. I don’t care what you did or didn’t do.
       “I need to . . .”
      “You don’t need to do anything. I said . . .” He hesitated for a few seconds, “I’m not interested. Tell your story to someone else. All you need to know is, the District Attorney has a case against you and your only option is to plead guilty.”
    He paused for a moment as he drilled that statement into Jamie’s head. He broke eye contact to take a few papers out of his brief case and lay them on the table.
     “You need to sign these papers admitting to guilt. I’m here on behalf of the DA who is offering you a plea deal of forty years. I advise you to take it.”
     Jamie stared him, stunned. What the hell? He was trying to scare him and it was working, Was he serious? Forty years? No way would he agree to that.
     “They have you dead to5th right, running out of a club after robbing it,” the attorney emphasized, rapping his knuckles on the table several times.
     “The money was found on your friend, in the car you were driving. There is nothing to defend.”
     Jamie stood. He could feel his anger rising. He was being railroaded. One case finished, on to the next sucker who couldn’t afford to pay for an attorney?
     “I’m not going to agree to that. I didn’t do it. I might have been there, but I didn’t have anything to do with what my friend did.” He knew it didn’t matter. Being there made him an accomplice. But he couldn’t go down without a fight. Forty years was beyond anything he thought could happen. “I want to go in front of the judge. No way am I pleasing guilty.”
     “Have it your way.” He put the unsigned papers back in his briefcase and closed it. Picking it up, he walked out.
     Jamie stared after him, speechless. “Now what?” he asked the guard who was leaning against the wall watching this while thing go down.
He shrugged. He didn’t make a move to take him back to the cell so Jamie sat down, waiting to see where this was going. There was no point in trying to talk to the guard. Twenty minutes later the attorney walked back in. 

     “I have another option for you and I advise you to take it,” the attorney instructed impatiently. He began tapping the toe of his shoe on the floor. “There won’t be another one.”
     It was obvious he wanted this signed and done. He didn’t want to waste any more of his day on Jamie.
     “You’re lucky.” He continued. “The DA must have a soft spot for you.”
Sarcasm dripped from his words. Jamie wondered what he did to make him dislike him so bad. He obviously didn’t want to defend him even thought it was his job. How many other people had he already said this to today?
     “Seventeen years,” the attorney paused to let it sink in. “If you don’t take it, and insist on going to court and wasting everyone’s time, they will slap on extra charges. You’ll end up doing fifty to ninety-nine.”
    “What charges?” Jamie demanded. He slammed his hands down o.k. the table. The attorney ignored him. “What about wasting years of my life?” he added.
     “I need time to think about this,” Jamie told him. How could he agree to give up the rest of his youth without a fight? He didn’t plan what his friend did at the club. Why should have to pay for it with so many years of his life? What would that prove?
      There were four of them that went out to the club that night. He had no idea what they were going through. Were they offered the same deal? He needed answers but there was no one who was going to give them to him.

     The dude who had the gun had been to prison before. He had a record so they probably went harder on him. Why did he go out that night? Why? If only he had stayed home.
     “You have five minutes.” the attorney told him. I’ll be back for your answer.”

How was Jamie supposed to know what to do in five minutes? This was wrong. He didn’t know how to fight it. This man was the only attorney he had and it was obvious, defending him in court was something he had no interest in doing. Why? Isn’t he supposed to defend him? Wasn’t that his job? He guessed not when the DA wanted it to end another way.
     Right and wrong didn’t matter. There was no such thing as justice. Another body to fill a prison bed. The only thing that mattered was locking up as many people as they could. Not just any people – black people. They went after Hispanics and other minorities, too.
     The government wanted to fill the prisons with poor people who couldn’t afford to protect themselves or pay for a real attorney. Racism toward blacks keeps growing. Why? Because they think black people wanted to knock white people off their pedestal of superiority? But most blacks and minorities only wanted to survive and raise their families. They wanted equality. They weren’t going to get it.
     Jamie didn’t understand it? He didn’t know all the history. He did know what he witnessed, though, and he heard the stories people told about why they were in jail.
     There was no way for him to come out on top of this. He was screwed no matter what he did. If he fights he loses.
     Jamie started to stand up but the guard glared at him with a look that said, “Don’t even try.” He sat back down and waited for the attorney to return. His brain was going a hundred miles an hour. How long would seventeen years feel. It was almost as long as his whole life up till now. He was only twenty- one.
     Should he take a chance and go to court? Possibly give up his entire life? He didn’t know what other charges they could add. They could make up anything they wanted.
     He closed his eyes and put his head back. He had no choice. His unborn son had no choice, either. He wouldn’t have a father. He would be giving up ask thought of raising his son. If he did all seventeen years he would be almost out of high school. They wouldn’t know each other.
     Morgan would have to go on and find someone else. It killed him to think about that. The pain ripped him in two. He couldn’t expect her to wait. Maybe he could get out early. Maybe he could get parole.
     So many unanswered questions running through his head at the same time. His five minutes are over. He heard the door handle click when it unlocked. The attorney stepped back into the room.
     “What’s your answer?” Jamie looked down, reached out his hand and signaled with his fingers for the papers.

 

itfo newsletter

SUBSCRIBE

Help support Jamie. Share his story. Subscribe to keep up on the progress of the book and to read news about the prison industry. I also print the stories of other inmates that need telling if you have a story to tell.

When you subscribe and share other people have the opportunity to learn about the book being written which will help Jamie start a life when he is released. He needs your support.

Sharing is a great way to do that. If you are new to this blog read his story on the blog beginning with the ones at the top. Early posts found inn the archived will also help you get tho know him. The story begins 19 years ago when the the kids in the family defended their mother from a racist cop who forced his way into their house. Jamie was put in juvenile detention. His story needed telling.

Sonni Quicks Piano Improv – YouTube channel of the music videos being created for “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” New videos released as they are made.

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Skunk Radio – Indie radio out of London. My personal page

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked from other musicians that can be played. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the worldS

Improv Piano music of Sonni Quick – at Facebook . . . music news and other musicians

Twitter – My Name is Jamie

Watch and Whirl – Sonni Quick.   This is my other blog. An odd assortment of rants and raves on a variety of subjects and music info, too.

 

Crazy Dreams and Sleepless Nights – Music Video

Here is the latest music video that goes with music for my book. When it is published, the album of music will be available for download because I believe the emotion from the music goes with the emotion of each chapter.

You can SUBSCRIBE TO ITFO NEWS to get a monthly update on new music and how the story goes or to read a partial chapter. Your support is so important to the success of what I’m doing and I appreciate every like and share, here and on my social media sites. It’s going to be a very very busy year as I work hard to finish all the pieces!

Go to my website – http://sonniquick.net – to stream all of the current music

The Reason For My Youtube Videos

I have made quite a few YouTube videos over the past year. Almost all of them are for the music I have recorded for my book, Inside The Forbidden Outside. Not everyone reads the description under the videos so I thought I’d do one explaining what they are about.

The comments I receive at the sites where you stream my music has been more than awesome. There have been many that say something like, “I love your music,” but there are even more that that go into great detail about why they love the music. Feedback about the upcoming book has been tremendous.

I know it seems like I’ve been writing this book forever, and it has taken longer than I expected, but it takes so much time to promote every piece of music and then communicate while I research “the letters” and write the next chapter.

I edit the chapters more than if I were submitting the entire manuscript to be edited because I post partial chapters, sometimes entire chapters, on my blog to be read. I won’t develope interested readers with poor writing and grammar so I correct it too the best of my abilities, because I want you to share it.

So the going is not a breakneck speed. I see the ads, “Write a book in 90 days!” and laugh. Really? Good luck with that.

Back to my chapter. Thanks to all of you who have been to my various sites. YOU are SO appreciated!

SUBSCRIBE to ITFO NEWS

And subscribe to my YouTube channel  – Sonni Quick Piano Improv – and click the bell to find out when new videos are posted. I’m working on a new one now.

FacebookJamie Life in Prison    

SonniQuick   Main music website – YouTube videos and separate music tracks – subscribe to a separate mailing list for music.

Watch and Whirl – my other blog



Climbing The Mountains – ITFO Chapter and Music Video

last-note-2-sm

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.  

SUBSCRIBE to ITFO NEWS

 

Twitter  @sonni-quick
Facebook  Jamie Life in Prison    
Sonniquick.net   Main music website – YouTube videos and separate music tracks – subscribe to a separate mailing list for music. (The best place to go for all of the music and videos) 
Watch and Whirl – my other blog

You Don’t have The Right To Bitch

“You don’t have the right to bitch about something unless you are willing to stand up and do something about it.”

This was said in a Ted Talk. It is very good and worth watching. I believe this. That’s the name of the game isn’t it? Lots of people have an opinion about what is the right thing to do. Some also pass judgement on others, but all they do is talk. When it comes time to do anything about it they go away because it is asking too much.

We have a problem in this country. When it comes down to helping to make the change that is needed they wait for someone else to do it. “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to do”. This is not everyone but if 25% more people did more than just read about it, maybe change in rotten systems, like the criminal justice system, could happen.

It’s been ten years since the concept of “prison” entered my life. I had never known anyone who was incarcerated. I knew nothing. The only time I ever thought about it was during an episode of Prison Break.

These years have taught me what it really means to have compassion for human beings regardless of who they are or what they have done that landed them in a prison cell. Some were forced in with plea deals. Some aren’t guilty at all. Some tried to get away with doing something and got caught. Some are mentally ill and were imprisoned instead of treated. Some should never be let out because they are too dangerous to be allowed in society – but that doesn’t mean they should be inhuman treated. That makes us just as bad.

I want to thank those who have supported my effects by sharing posts and commented, subscribed to my newsletter and steamed my music. Followed my YouTube and read chapters of the book I’m writing. Thank you. Thank you.

Without you I could do none of this.

 

itfo newsletter

STAY CONNECTED!

 

Twitter  @sonni-quick

Facebook  Jamie Life in Prison    

SonniQuick   Main music website – YouTube videos and separate music tracks – subscribe to a separate mailing list for music.

Watch and Whirl – my other blog –