Looking Into the Crystal Ball – new music video

 

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.

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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: itfonews@gmail.com

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked 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 world

Exonerations Have Reached a Record High

Exonerations have reached a record high. That is good for prisoners but many should have never happenedI just published the 14th issue of ITFO News Titled Incarcerating the Innocent. Too many people think all prisoners are guilty or believe it’s okay to punish blacks and other minorities with stiffer, longer sentences. You can subscribe to ITFO here. This issue highlights the lives of two men who send decades in prison. One Jman Patrick Pursley is now out on bond waiting for another hearing.

The other man, Greg Fonseca is serving a life sentence for attempted murder even though the people there said he didn’t do it. Regardless, no one died. Why a did he get life plus 99? Because he was Hispanic? Because members of his family had been in trouble? People get punished more because they can’t afford an attorney. And public defenders carry hundreds in their work load. How can they possibly do a good job when they are so burnt out. They slam plea bargains just so they can get to the next person. Everyone loses except the prison corporations. They get a full prison to profit from. VToo many are in prison who are innocent. Often it is because they can’t afford to pay an attorney. The public defenders pressures them to plead guilty because if they don’t charges may be added along with many more years. Having so many men getting released, rising in numbers each year shows you how shoddy the justice system is.

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Rickie Jackson is released from prison from prison
Rickie Jackson when he was released.

Here is the actual link to this article  written by Isaac Woolf, Scripps News

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Exonerations in the United States reached a record high last year, driven by mushrooming support from police and prosecutors to revisit closed cases, according to a new report.

The 125 people cleared in 27 states far surpassed the previous record – 91 the year before.  The jump comes amid growing interest by law enforcers to review past cases for errors and to right wrongs.  Last year, 67 exonerations were driven or supported by law enforcement.

“More prosecutors see this as an important part of their job,” said Sam Gross, professor at the University of Michigan Law School and editor of the National Registry of Exonerations, which released the report Tuesday. “They have also noticed it’s politically popular.”

In Baltimore, the State’s Attorney’s office helped vacate the conviction of a man 46 years after he was convicted of murder. In Cleveland, three men convicted of a 1975 murder they didn’t commit were cleared, setting a new record of time behind bars for an exoneree: 39 years, 3 months 9 days. In Tulsa, DNA testing showed a mother hadn’t killed her 15-month-old baby, leading prosecutors to dismiss charges after nearly 20 years. And in Detroit, a man was released after police got a tip that the wrong person had been convicted in a 2006 murder.

Houston prosecutors led the way, clearing 33 people of drug convictions after forensic tests showed the defendants hadn’t actually been carrying drugs. In Brooklyn, 10 were exonerated, with the majority of them originally investigated by one discredited detective.

A decade ago, the idea of a district attorney questioning his own office’s closed cases was considered radical and freighted with political risk. But early DNA testing proved people had been wrongly convicted, and helped reveal errors that frequently contributed: false confessions, inaccurate eyewitness identification and evidence that might have been helpful to the defense but was never disclosed.

In 2002, the nation’s first so-called Conviction Integrity Unit was opened by a Santa Clara, Calif., prosecutor who sought to revisit cases with potential errors. Today, 14 cities and the U.S. Attorney’s office for Washington, D.C., have such review units, and their work is increasingly focusing on non-DNA cases.

Gross notes that six of those review units were announced just last year, and he expects more cities to follow suit. The efforts are bearing fruit. The Houston exonerations followed a decision by its review unit to systematically reexamine drug convictions because of longstanding concerns that suspects were pleading guilty even though they carried no drugs. The lesson, says Gross, is that suspects will plead guilty to crimes they don’t commit, and that police agencies should insist on testing drugs even after a guilty plea verdict is obtained.

While exonerations are increasingly moving away from DNA testing, the forensic science is still integral to proving some cases. 

Six of those exonerated last year had been sentenced to death, including three Cleveland men convicted of a brutal 1975 robbery and murder outside a grocery store. The case began to unravel with a 2011 magazine article highlighting flaws, and snowballed after the main witness recanted to his pastor two years later. The man who’d been wrongfully convicted as the gunman, Ricky Jackson, was released from prison in November after 39 years behind bars.  Wiley Bridgeman and Ronnie Bridgeman also were cleared, though they spent less time behind bars.

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Jamie’s Facebook page.

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Jamie’s twitter page

Inside The First Prison Podcast

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.

Click here to play the video

Inside The First Prison Podcast

 

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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.

Prison Torture Never Ends

Heat in Texas prisons, no AC in prison in the summer
Wynne Unit, the prison Jamie is in. These fans are the only cooling system even when it is over 100 degrees. Since there are no open windows all it does is blow hot air around. Credit source: beaumontenterprises.compip

Jamie has been at the Allred unit in Texas for nearly three years. Before that, Wynne Unit. How much is an inmate supposed to tolerate from staff and guards? They can do anything they want to them and there is nothing an inmate can do. Why is that? Everyone knows it. Anyone with the power to stop it – doesn’t. They can file a grievance but the system is not set up where the inmate wins. When the medical unit and staff knowing screw around with someone’s health, aware of the consequences to the inmate, I wonder if they stand around and laugh about it in the break room? They push inmates to break them and so often succeed. Here is what is happening . . .

I received a letter from Jamie yesterday. He is close to getting out of adseg – administrative segregation – a fancy word for solitary. Locked up in a cell 23/7, except for Jamie it’s 24/7 because he’s trying to stay away from the guards by refusing showers and rec. He bathes using the sink. He knew they’d try to press his buttons to keep him down. He’s had no write ups in a long time.

He wrote to me that the nurse is refusing to give him his seizure medication for epilepsy. At his point of writing it had been three days. He keeps asking her for it and she refuses to bring it. Have you ever watched someone have a grand mal seizure? The prison won’t give him the medication that works best for him. I already went rounds with the medical unit over that and they wouldn’t budge. So he still has more seizures than he should. But not taking anything, and as any protection leaves his body it will induce more. Add to that the terrible heart in a closed cell with no ventilation makes me angry.

Guards work three 12 hour shifts. One of the guards put his hands in his food just to try to make Jamie angry so he could retaliate and write him up. He won’t eat now if this guard is on shift. He only eats breakfast, which is pitiful, but not lunch or dinner when this guard works. He’s close to losing it. I could feel it. I wrote to him today to turn away. Don’t let them take away your chance of getting out of adseg. He can’t study for his GED until he is classified G2. First he has to get to G4. This process could easily take another 1-2 years. At G4 he can leave his cell for chow and limited time in TV rec room. He’s been this route before. They can, and do, take it away in a heart beat and it takes years to climb back out. He’s had 11 years of this. If seems deliberate. The guards get a perverse pleasure from abusing people with permission. Jamie has been in adseg this time for almost 3 years because he needed to move prisons because of physical abuse that included beatings by guards at the Wynne Unit. They moved him – and gave him 3 years of adseg to go with it.

I also bought him food today. It’s like gas station convenience food. Not even one can of vegetables on the list. Snacks. But also tuna, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sardines, coffee, Raman noodles and such. They only allow someone on the outside to purchase $20 a month or $60 a quarter. But I wasn’t due to buy him more until Oct. I sent it to another man, probably next to him, who doesn’t have anyone helping him. He’ll probably pay him in food. They go on lockdown soon – for 30 days – every 90 days. They cut food rations so without extra food and that guard who’s messing with his food he’d get hungry. There are so many inmates with no one on the outside. It’s easy to see why so many don’t make it when they get out

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Most of you who follow this blog know I put out a monthly newsletter called  ITFO NEWS. Each month I focus on a different prison issue. The one being published at the end of the week is on Incarcerating The Innocent. It’s an important topic because many lives are ruined even when there is no solid evidence to convict them. I’m having a book give-away this month. Each new person who wants to try ITFO NEWS can enter their name and email address HERE and 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. 

GRODZINSKY_Waiting 3D book_SMALL

This book is timely for what is happening today. It is a true story of a young man still in prison today who got involved in the KKK as a teenager, attracted to craziness, violence a drugs and couldn’t find away out. Young people are easily swayed. You need only to look at pictures in our media to see who the recruits are. Any mother who has lived with the fear of raising an out of control teenager will find this book hard to put down. Did it start when he was a child? This story shows you what unconditional love is. Will he make it now when he gets out? Will the KKK let him go? 

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Jamie’s Facebook page   – current events in the world of injustice

Jamie’s twitter page 

Are You New To Jamie’s Story?

j and jWhen I started writing this blog for Jamie over three years ago it was because I thought people needed to hear his story. It wasn’t because his story was exceptionally different from other people in prison. It was because his story is too damned common. A large percentage of people live their lives oblivious to the pain and suffering inflicted on many people who are locked up in all kinds of detention centers – not because they are dangerous people, although there are many in prison who are – but because they are a source of profit for prison corporations and shareholders who have stock in the growing number of prisons. It is also a source of campaign donations for politicians who then bide by what the prison corporations want – more people to profit from and little oversight about the way they are treated and cared for. We know what the problems are but we can’t make them change.

I don’t blame people for not knowing. I didn’t know anything, either, before Jamie came into my life. All I knew was what I learned in TV series like Prison Break. I didn’t know it didn’t tell the whole story. I thought people were in prison because they deserved to be there. I didn’t spend any time thinking about whether the amount of years they were sentenced was fair. I didn’t know blacks and minorities were targeted. It didn’t affect my life – I thought. Then I met Jamie.

In the pages at the top of the blog is a page that was written at the beginning of my writing the blog. “My Name is Jamie”. If you don’t know his story that is a good place to start because it tells some of the reasons why he is there and what his life was like. There have been many changes since that was written. If you read through all 300 plus blog posts for the ones that include his letters you would be able to follow his life, but that would take a lot of dedication. Instead I thought I’d give you a synopsis of where he is now and what is going on.

Inside The Forbidden Outside, writing new book, JamieCummings,solitary confinement, prison industrial complex, Sonni Quick
We can dream great dreams. “Inside The Forbidden Outside”

In addition to this blog I am also writing a book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”, which is in the second draft. It has taken me longer than I expected to write because I can only write one thing at a time. Two blogs, A newletter “ITFO News” and a book take time and I work on them in a cycle. Add to the mix all the required social media promotion to build a network. When I work on one I can’t work on another. I often work until the sun comes up.

In addition, I am an improv piano composer and I’m working on an album of music for the book. Much of the music was originally written for different blog posts you could find scattered throughout the blog. The music is sometimes painful and melancholy, relaxing and peaceful, best listened to with your eyes closed in the dark. Music promotion takes up another huge chunk of time. You can find my music at these two websites. Skunk Radio Live and ReverbNation. (the links are below the post) Share it if you like it. For anything on line – stats matter.

The reason for all of this is to create a place mentally for Jamie to go when he gets out in 2023. He needs something to work on that has meaning. A book to use to talk to people – help young people stay out of prison and give meaning to his 17 years inside. Turn a negative into a positive.

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Jamie has been inside for 12 1/2 years. He has 4 1/2 years to go. He did 4 years in juvenile detention right before this on a charge he wasn’t guilty of. He took the fall for his younger brother and was told if he did the time for him he would only do nine months. There should have been no charge period. A cop illegally came into their home with no warrant and no cause for entry. His mother got hurt and his little brother hit the cop with a broom in defense. But Jamie was lied to. They didn’t let him go until he was twenty-one. This is in a chapter early in the book. With no education, no life experience, no job history and no counseling, what was he supposed to do?

I think the last 4 years of his sentence are going to be harder than the first four because he is tired. Burnt out. He will be 35 in January 2018. In the beginning he had no idea what to expect, he only knew it is going to be a long time. He hoped his family will be there to support him. He lost raising his only child, a boy, my grandson, who was born after he was arrested. He turned 11 this past July.

He waited and waited for his family to be there for him, giving them excuses of being busy and they will probably write later, which they never did. He asked for a little money to buy hygiene products and nothing was ever sent. He suffered from depression – and epilepsy. No one asked him how he was or if he needed anything. My daughter, his son’s mother went on with her life. He never blamed her for this. They hadn’t been together very long.

How would you feel if this was you and no one gave a damn how you were? The largest percentage of inmates come from the fostercare system, but he had a family and that family acted as though he didn’t exist. Letters weren’t answered. They still aren’t answered. The only person he has had through this is me – and through me, some of you who have written and encouraged him.

Jamie wasn’t guilt free but when you are black or a minority and have no money for an attorney they force you to take a plea deal with threats of a longer sentence if you don’t. If he had an attorney he would have never gotten 17 years. Only 3% of those arrested actual go to court to have their case heard. 97% only go to court to plead guilty – in and out of court in ten minutes. There are so many people arrested there is no time for anything more. this is also why there are so many, often after decades get their cases overturned. But nothing can back the years of suffering inside.

He has been moved around to eight prisons so far. He isn’t in gen pop where there is an opportunity to take classes or go to the library. Even so, gen pop is a dangerous place because there is a mix of inmates with nothing to lose. A lot of bad stuff happens, not only with the inmates with drugs and sex and fights with weapons, it also often includes participation with the guards. Jamie has been beaten, sprayed with gas and false cases have been filed against him he can do nothing about. At the last prison, in retribution for filing grievances against guards for their treatment they filed thirteen sexual harassment cases against him. He can’t fight that. It’s on his prison record.

Guards are always right and inmates are always wrong. It’s the same thing out here in the “free world” when it comes to cops and taking responsibility for the people they murder for no reason.

Today he still sits in adseg – administrative segregation – another name for solitary. When he was moved from the last prison 2 1/2 years ago because he was no longer safe there, he was given one year in adseg. Once he was moved they added two more years. Why? Because they can. He has a meeting this month to see if they will let him out. He has a 50/50 chance. If not, then the next meeting is in six months. Is this serving any purpose? Or does it make the guard’s job easier?

I’m worried about him. It is too much time alone. He turns down going to the shower and does a bird bath in the sink – to stay away from guards. He turns down his hour of rec for the same reason. He doesn’t want anything to get in the way of getting out of adseg. How will this affect him when he gets out? it isn’t a matter of, will it affect him? It is only a matter of how much. Reintegration will be hard.

This Fall I am making another trip to Texas for a few weeks. I went a year ago, too. I want to finish up on some details I need for the book. I can take his son to see him. I can encourage him to hang in there. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the things I am trying to do to create a life for him, which also has a benefit for me with my music and gives me a reason to keep on writing. There has to be a sequel about what happens next.

It’s important to focus on the positive. See yourself being successful with whatever you want to do. If your life is full of, “I can’t . . .” or “It won’t . . .” or “I could never . . .” then you won’t do anything. All you will do is sit back and feel sorry for yourself and the bad hand of cards you were dealt. It is up to each of us to make our lives work. But if no one teaches you how to do that, what can you do?

I have spent years teaching Jamie the law of life – the law of cause and effect. Some call it “You reap what you sow,” but many don’t take it seriously. Where we end up is the result of the things we have done, so it is up to us to do things to undo what we don’t like and get our life going in a positive direction.

I want to thank all the people who have encouraged me. It has kept me going when i doubt myself. It has helped give me the strength to not give up. Who am I to think I can accomplish these things? If I lose confidence I remember why I’m doing it and what the stakes are. My actions affect other people. Everyone else abandoned Jamie. It happens to most who spend a long time inside. I promised him I would be there and he is counting on that.

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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.

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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: itfonews@gmail.com

Sonni’s Pinterest

Jamie Life in Prison at Face book . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick . . . New facebook page of the past and present

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. It will all help Jamie in the end.

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Protect yourself by having an attorney on call with an app on your phone. Stopped and given a ticket? harassed? Get screwed by a landlord? Customer not refund your money? Need a FREE will done? (normally about $300) Click on the link below and see why you need this. A friend has a brand new problem with a landlord. She had just signed up for the service. She didn’t even think about Legal Shield until I reminded her. All for much less than a trip through Kentucky Fried Chicken. Call me, email me, msg me here or at FB. It’s that easy.

No one can make you do this, but it is why you have car insurance even though you are a good driver – the other person who hit you, isn’t. Then you call your insurance company. That is why you NEED Legal Shield.

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Can I  Finally Get Out of Ad Seg? Maybe?

Before I share part of Jamie’s last letter . . .

(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”

piano-guitar
1976 Early (young) Sonni. The gold bangle on wrist is still there today

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)

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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.

Till next time, love Jamie

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itfo newsletter

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: infonews@gmail.com if you have any questions

Sonni’s Pinterest

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

Sonni Quick’s Improv Piano Music at Skunk Radio Live

itfo newsletterITFO NEWS

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. 

Thank you.