And It’s Not Just The Ordinary Things

You better be damn sure whatever project you are working on that you are in it for the long haul or you will fail, or you will give up.

Prison was the long haul for Jamie.

Writing a good first book and learning how to do it was mine.

I dream about finding someone in “the business” who recognizes this and has the clout and connections to do something about it. There! I said it out loud! I put it into the universe. Positive or negative, we create our own personal universe we live in. I have to trust myself.

It has been a couple weeks since I last posted, hasn’t it? I’m a little behind because life has gone into mental high gear. It is my nature to bite off more than I can chew, and then have look to chew very quickly.

And it is not only the ordinary things that have to be done. We all have a life to live. For me it is medical issues that try to get in the way. Through it I have made tremendous progress in the writing of, “Inside the Forbidden Outside.” The music and the music videos I began making a year ago and starting a YouTube Channel, Sonni Quick Piano Improv, cultivating subscribers, added greatly to the busy hours of my day.

Hours spent promoting and marketing the chapters and the music every day pushed my workday (unpaid at this point) to 16 hours a day, usually 7 days a week. This is no exaggeration. Writing slowed down and blog post writing also decreased. But the project as a whole was coming together and moving forward. The response has been overwelming. It’s exciting. Every chapter done, every music recording finished and every video completed by my inexperienced hands has been a source of joy.  And it came with inspiring comments with the connections to people increasing everyday.

I reach people through my music, to touch them emotionally about Jamie’s story. The music is the emotion of the story. It reaches out through my fingers. It is my passion. It is that passion for grasping life in your hands ant not letting go that separates the winners from the losers.

When you truly love to do something you spend every hour of every day working on it in some capacity. No excuses are good enough if you don’t see it through. I think the idea of writing a book with music was a good idea. I have not heard of any other book who combined the story and music together. If you only had one or the other you would have only half of the story.

This story I’m writing, if you haven’t read any of the chapters I’ve posted at this blog is not just someone’s experience living with the brutality of the American prison system – the Prison Industrial Corporation. It is about love and hope – failure and determination above all else, to take back his life. He was going to be a father to the son he has rarely seen. He wanted to go to school and learn things. He was a good man who was never given a chance from the moment he was born,

because. . . . he was black.. . . he was poor.. . . and he came from a southern state known for racism – and he had epilepsy.

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While you are reading I want to link you to a page I wrote 3-4 years ago (also found up top where the pages are in white.  https://mynameisjamie.net/i-want-to-encourage-you-to-take-the-time-to-read-this-please/  As I was beginning this blog these are the reasons why. It might help you understand why this is important  

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The odds were against him. He was part of a family with four children, a mother and no father, so they raised themselves with little adult supervision. Mom worked hard to provide for her family, so how could she be there to raise them? I know that dilemma well.

Will this book help people to better understand what being in prison is truly about, and will they understand the psychological damage from grief, caused by loss? Will they understand the constant struggle inside the mind, trying to keep itself together, when what it really wants is to kick the walls and scream?

Will readers understand that? Because I know from talking to people ‘out here’ that many people don’t. The sheer number of people who end up locked in a cell that shouldn’t be is absurdly high – and then there are those who still think only the guilty go to prison.

Not every human being should be characterized and judged for the rest of his life because she/he went to prison. It is not the sum total of that person. When Jamie gets out of prison his identity should not be tattooed across his face – EX FELON. That is what happens to so many, making it so hard to survive. Even the ones who have been exonerated after decades in prison because the were falsely imprisoned have to live with that tattoo just because they were in there.

This book is the story of a great many men and a rising number of women. They are considered to be expendable people in this country which deems White Christian Americans to be a cut above all others as if skin color alone is the key to being a better person, except.  . . a better person knows how false that is and laughs at the notion that skin is the number one prerequisite for being a quality human being. Skin color isn’t even on that list.

What could the criminal justice system do to arrest and incarcerate even more people? There is no separation between good and evil. Money decides your freedom. Lock up people for any reason, true or false, and when they can’t make bail, lock them up anyway, for years! This is what lies in store for low income, minority people in this country whose guilt lies in having the bad luck of not being born in a good white neighborhood.

I am writing this book because all of this pissed me off. Royally. What a choice of words. So much inhumanity was happening to Jamie and I couldn’t do ANYTHING about it! I had all of this emotion running through me. I had to channel it into something positive.

“I’ll write a blog,” I said. I asked Jamie if it was okay.     “Sure,” he said, “but who would want to read about my life?” But I knew it was an important story because so many people had the same story. I realized before long I needed to write a book. Only I had never written a book (or a blog for that matter). I knew I could do it if I honestly tried.

I worked on it for 2 1/2 years. I learned a lot. I didn’t know enough about how to write a book. Writing a blog and writing a book are two different ways of writing. I took some online classes. I read and read about writing. I started over. I wrote and rewrote and continued learning. I think I am now about 60% done with the rewrite have many good tracks of music.

It is a good thing I did not try to publish the first draft because it gave me more time to be better prepared. You can find all the chapters on this blog, even the first draft chapters if you do a search on the blog using the title of the book. You can see the progress if you are interested in reading it. The first draft has too much information and not enough story. This draft is more about the story and info to support it.

That is it for now, but there is another blog post almost ready to be published – about Jamie ‘s story. A little catch up from the past and why is where he is now.

Until then…

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Am I Too Broken To Mend -ITFO Chapter, Poetry and Music

 

last-note-2-sm

Fractures from falling
Invisible pain
Counting the minutes
Like drops in the rain
It runs down my body
Soothing my skin
Gathers the heartbeats
Holding them in

Imagine forever
Time without rest
The passing of memories
My hand on my breast
Feeling my heartbeat
Wanting to end
I’m broken in pieces
Too many to mend?

You get back what you give
No more, nothing less
Trace the wound with your finger
A tiny caress
Time doesn’t linger
Waiting to heal
The pieces of you
That forgot how to heal

This is a partial chapter. To read complete chapters subscribe to ITFO News below. Any new subscribers from this date I will automatically send the current chapter. If you have already subscribed to ITFO News and would like it, drop me an email at squick@mynameisjamie.net and type – Please send Too Broken To Mend” in the email subject line and I’ll send it to you. 

 

Am I Too Broken To Mend

 

Jamie reached his hands out and braced them on the wall. This was bullshit. He was tired of being on the receiving end of being ignored. What was the point? He tried hard to let it pass over him but today it got to him. He knew they were trying to make him angry. If they succeeded they could write up another case on him.
     Being in adseg was deliberate, they didn’t want to let him out of here, but he was determined to make his way back to G2 so he could go to school. He needed to take care of his family when he got out and that won’t happen if he didn’t have schooling and learn to do something that made enough money. Right now he couldn’t make enough money to take care of himself. If that happened what would he do? Would his family take care of him? For how long?
     The warden wanted him right where he was. Guards had an easy job when the men were locked up in their cells so they did whatever they could to make sure that happened. It didn’t help him none when he burst out with anger. He needed to learn to control his emotions.
     Once again the nurse pretended he wasn’t there when she made her rounds giving out meds. As she continued walking past him down the hall he yelled, “My meds, where are they? It’s been three days.”
     To top it off she turned around and gave him a cocky, know-it-all smile.IHer actions were deliberate. She knew he was supposed to get his seizure medication. Most likely she was told to skip him again. It didn’t make sense until he realized how much money the medical unit made by shorting inmates. He knew he wasn’t the only one being skipped. It didn’t matter what illness you had, they were going to short your meds. Who were you going to complain to?
     “I want to talk to an officer,” he yelled as the bars at the end of the hallway door slid open and clanked shut as she walked through.
   “I want to file a grievance,” he yelled louder, even though she was now beyond being able to hear him.
      It was pointless to file. No good ever came of it. He hadn’t heard of even one person saying they had filed one and it worked. The prison wasn’t going to stop because a complaint was filed. If anything, they would retaliate so you better think about how worth it was. The staff always got away with anything they did to the inmates. Nobody cared.
     He knew the chances of having more seizures increased every time they skipped his meds. They probably wrote in his file that they gave it to him so it would be his word against theirs. Maybe he should write it all down so if it was ever checked he’d have proof on his end, if that helped.

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Jamie turned around, put his back against the wall and slid down until he was squatting on the floor. He folded his arms across his knees and lowered his forehead until it rested on his arms. He was tired; tired of doing nothing.
He stayed that way for a long time thinking about how seizures had messed up his life and his helplessness at not being able to control them. It was a weakness they could take advantage of and there was nothing he could do about it.
     As a child he knew he was different from three other kids. His mama made him stay close to her. He want allowed to go outside and run around with the misc in the neighborhood. She checked on him a lot at night, afraid he would have a seizure when he was sleeping and she wouldn’t be there to help him through it. 
     As he got older the seizures got worse. When he was twelve he had brain surgery. He was having non-stop headaches and his mom was worried. The doctor said there was bleeding on his brain and he wanted to see if he could stop it.
     “So what did they do?”
     At the sound of her voice Jamie jerked his head up. He had been almost asleep. Maybe he was still asleep. He pinched himself, but it didn’t change anything. He had been half expecting her to come back and at the same time realized that if she did, it could mean he was starting to lose it. He slowly turned his head and looked at her.
     There she was, sitting besides him on the floor, looking over at him just as casual as she could be, smiling, like it was a normal thing to be sitting next to him on the floor of a men’s prison. What should he do? He smiled back.
     “Better get used to it,” he mumbled to himself under his breath. He had a feeling this was just the beginning.
   “What did they do,” she repeated, as though she had been sitting beside him all along listening to the thoughts in his head. How long had she been sitting there? Could she hear what he was thinking, too? If she could that would be scary.
     Okay, if they were going to do this again, so be it. He wasn’t going to call the guard this time to see if he could see her, too. He didn’t want to get locked up with the crazies. He’d never get another hour of sleep. They scream and moan all night. What was he thinking? He must be nuts. No one would believe him if he told them. He closed his eyes and answered her question. “I don’t think I was ever so scared, even when I was arrested.” 
     “I was having a lot of seizures. They made me feel sick. My mom was really worried.”
     “What caused them,” she asked.
     “People have them for different reasons,” he told her.
    “Sometimes, during their life they had a head a head injury, maybe in some sort of accident. Sometimes it takes years to have the first seizure.”
    “But there was no explanation for mine.” he added.
    “They were always there, from the very beginning, as soon as I was being born.”

End of partial chapter . . .

 

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