This is my newest music. I can visualize the finished video. This made me cry when I played it back. I hope you enjoy. Go to:
My music website with mailing list entry
I recently posted the chapter, poetry and music for the title, “Can Anybody Hear Me?” , one of the chapters in the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” Last night I uploaded the music video. Little by little I work through finishing all the parts. I can actually see light at the end of the tunnel ( way down at the end and around a corner.)
This book will end before he is released. The sequel will about the process of getting, and the difficulties, mentally, emotionally and actually living in a society who has already prejudged him as a person. Our society is not very welcoming. There is often so little we can do to help the people who have been abused in our prisons.
But the one thing people can is to support the efforts being made to help them be able to stand up when they get out. If I thought for one minute that he was a threat to society in any way I would not be doing this.
These chapters do not start at the beginning, and don’t entail what happened to put him in Juvenile detention from late 16’s through 21.
Can Anybody Hear Me? ( The post before this one )
I read this article today and it made me think of a time in my own life when it was controlled by this philosophy. People aren’t born thinking like this. They are made. It sneaks up on you like anorexia sneaks up on a teenager who thinks they are fat. No matter how dangerously thin they become they still think they are fat.
Paul Ryan has had an overwhelming need to eliminate people he viewed as weak – the everyday, ordinary people of America do not deserve to even be thought of. They are takers who take away deserved riches of the upper class – the makers. Now that the damage is done he will back out, watch the collapse of society and think he has won. Won what? He doesn’t have to worry about a social safety net, or lack of health care. He doesn’t have to worry about the lack of a decent wage or savings when he retires. If he did, he might think differently. Can we stop it? It’s like pulling out an infected tooth, but the decay is already into the bone and spreading.
No one outside Ryan’s inner circle understands the decaying vision Ryan has had for this country since his idealistic youth. Average American conservatives can’t think beyond what Fox News tells them to think. I’ve talked to many people about their beliefs. They can not accept their reality is not what propaganda tells them it is. Is this all conservatives. Of course not, but it is true for many.
Ryan will step away now – but he’ll be back. He’s young. He also has three children in their teens. They have been schooled in this philosophy since birth. Will they carry on their father’s thinking in their own lives? Probably, because children believe what they are taught and it becomes their truth. It is why religion flourishes, even though common sense tells you there is no entity in the universe who loves you and cares about your happiness. That thought is as ridiculous as the tooth fairy. But people need to believe it because they are afraid of what happens after they die. They need to believe they’ll their loved ones and be happy in a mansion in the sky.
I have first hand experience of what it is like to live with someone who was completely engulfed in the philosophy of Ayn Rand. When I was younger and singing in piano bars, I met a man named Larry Wayne Grantham who started showing up at the clubs I was singing in. He made it known how much he “respected” me. He was an architect who studied under Bruce Goff – an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. He wanted people respect his architecture as art. He wanted books to written about his creativity and needed it to be so before he was forty. He was good what he did, but thought had the right be special before he earned it. It didn’t happen. To lower himself to be ordinary was not in keeping with the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I had never heard of her before this.
He had me read her books – more than twice – and relentlessly lectured me on her philosophy – especially the very long rant by John Galt in Atlas Shrugged. He drilled it into me many times all night long, not letting me sleep until he thought I understand. No amount of begging stopped him. He continually reduced me to tears. He also told me I showed my children too much affection. I was to be cold to ordinary un-enlightened people. I should never allow them to presume they could touch me. He was trying to make me into his Dagney Taggert.
One night, at an audition with a good friend I squatted down by his chair to not block anyone’s vision, and put my hand on his leg. He lectured me until dawn so I would understand how much other people were not to physically touch me or to touch them. I was to understand my individuality put me above other people. This mind warp went on for almost three years.
Mental abuse can be more damaging than physical abuse because no one can see the damage, but the scars are thick. While putting me on a pedestal he controlled me while making me feel as though I didn’t deserve him, so I had to work harder to become his ideal woman. He destroyed me. The very things that made me attractive to him were now never good enough.
Sex – was not a show of love. It was a show of respect. Everything was about respect. If I respected him I’d show it every day, without fail, through sex. If I didn’t, he wouldn’t talk to me. He would punish me. He kept a tally on the wall in back of the bed, separated by who initiated it. If it wasn’t 50% – and every day – I didn’t respect him and got another long lecture until I agreed I understood. He made me hate sex with him.
He continually threatened to put me and my two children out of the house unless I learned and applied what I learned. I no longer had a car. I was dependent. He constantly lectured me about “the individual”. If you read Rand’s books you’ll realize how important that concept is. I should never be part of “the masses”. I began to believe I was wrong and he was right and I tried to please him. I thought I had nowhere to go.
After almost three years, I got a call from a band I had auditioned with in LA the previous year asking me if I would tour with them. I had a way out. I had been disappointed when I didn’t get chosen at the audition. I got the courage to leave him. I ran. Because it was for music and not just leaving him couldn’t stop me. He’d be a hypocrite. I was pursuing my individuality. In reality I was running. I got on a plane with my children and left. He had also recently told me he wanted me to have another baby and I’d have to sign a contract. He said a child needed a mother for the first 5 years. After that if I wanted to leave him he was to get custody. I knew he would pressure me. Relentlessly. I didn’t want more children.
I have told this story before but I have never written it down. I read it now and I’m horrified by it. How could I have let this happen? But I look at the United States now and I look at everything Paul Ryan has said and done, and what his future plans are I compare it to this man I lived with. It scares me. I look at all of the people who are controlled by the ideals of the leaders of this American government who treats the people exactly the way I was treated and how my mind was altered. How could theirs not be?
So many people who follow and approve of our government today think it is allright to destroy the fabric of society. Otherwise, they wouldn’t support this administration who is controlled by people like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, the Koch brothers, Betsy DeVoss who is destroying education. Ben Carson who is destroying HUD, the destruction of the EPA and the FCC, by controlling what we are allowed to learn from the web by controlling which sites we can go to, which is controlled by how much we pay. There are many more. A vast segment of society would be dumbed down because knowledge would be controlled. How could the population who identifies Republican support that? Or maybe they don’t know because it isn’t clearly talked about on Fox News. Trump is in an ignorant, narcissistic class of his own.
Trying to impeaching Pa supreme court judges who don’t give rulings that favor The Republican takeover of elections by gerrymandering means are not democracy, yet main steam news tells the masses are. Fair elections aren’t desirable. They could lose control before the destruction is complete. They haven’t yet started new wars for profit they want, and they approved of the destruction of Puerto Rico. The instilling of distrust of the FBI. Get rid of Mueller before the truth is proven. They don’t want the truth. Conservatives don’t want to believe they were wrong.
Our mentally ill president wanted “nukes on the table” with Mexico and is destroying relationships with every country on the planet that doesn’t agree with him like a school yard bully, while the planet itself it’s being raped and destroyed. This inept, unknowlegable, sarcastic, immature abuser is destroying what is left of our country, yet there are people who support him. Why? Why? Why would people support that?? Forget figuring out why these “conservatives” want America to become like this. You wouldn’t be given a cohesive answer without them saying everything was either Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s fault. The truth didn’t matter. Irrational? That’s obvious. There was and still is no accepting of responsibility.
This is the same way this mind control happened to me, but I got away. This man I was with – I got away from him – not unscathed. He was angry. He had spent three years molding me into how I was to think. How I was to conduct myself, and now I was gone. He lost. The hate mail was so bad I quit opening it. He had photocopied the letters. He later put them all in a notebook, designed artwork on the cover, wrote an opening page explaining the letters as if his writing them had value and should kept and studied, and sent them to me again. I never read them. They are packed in a box somewhere. Why did I keep them? Validation, I suppose. Proof that I got away? Perhaps.
This is the same way Fox News “reports” propaganda as true news. The real truth isn’t necessary. There was a court case a while back. I can’t remember all the details except that the truth lost. It was determined the news was not required to be truthful. If people believed a lie was true and they swallowed it as truth, it became true for them. Even when it affected their lives in a negative way, it was okay. It was up to them to prove it false to themselves if they wanted to. It didn’t matter if they still couldn’t understand they were being lied to. Many of those lies are finally coming out, but I doubt Fox News cares. They got their lies across. The damage was done. Those people who believe the lies defend Fox News as being the only news that tells the truth. That is how mind control works. It is how cults work. People who believe and actually live the philosophy of Ayn Rand have the minds of cult followers.
20 years later, that man in my life died of cancer. While he was sick he contacted me and finally apologized for what he did. He had come to his senses and realized how damaging the philosophy of Ayn Rand was. He had believed he was special. He thought could cure himself by thinking he was more powerful than his cancer. He was, after all, a more advanced human being. It took years to get his programming out of my head. Even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about it, it still crept in.
There had been certain clothes I was allowed to wear. Clothing that wasn’t frivolous. Prints were out of the question. Stripes were okay depending on the color. Anything with a flower on it was never allowed. No household items were seen that he determined were meaningless. No decorations or wall hangings were allowed unless they were of a noted individual or artist. They had to mean something or they were kitsch – fake.
When I would write, I was corrected if I wrote, “I feel . . .” I was to write, “I think . . .” I was to stop being emotional, show emotions or write emotionally. As an emotional person I found it hard to be the person he said I should want to be. He was remaking me into his version of an individual – except I was already the individual I had matured into being. I was already good enough. Hindsight is perfect. How I wish I could have seen clearly what was happening, when it was happening.
He was a devout atheist. I was agnostic. I left religion in the dust at 18 because I found it to be hypocritical. Church was a social activity with people who didn’t sincerely apply the teachings to their lives. It was a great way to not accept responsibility for your life by saying everything was the Lord’s will. I celebrated the secular part of holidays. Christmas trees and the Easter bunny. He wouldn’t allow any decorations for anything except birthdays. Later, when he was sick and dying, he found The Lord and started making drawings with scripture in it. To me that made him the ultimate hypocrite. He was concerned now with what came next. I assume he was trying to play it safe.
Even today – after 35 years – I find when I shop for clothing I still resist buying anything that has flowers on it. I have to tell myself I can wear anything I want to wear. I am who I am and I like myself. No, I love myself. I love who I have become and I’m not done growing. I don’t need anyone else to validate that. A mental abuser gets into your head and grows roots. They are hard to dig out.
I ask myself how I allowed it to happen, but you don’t see it while it is happening. The control is gradual. He made me think I needed him to teach me how to be an “individual.” I forgot I already was one.
Those people who worship Ayn Rand and her philosophy end up as damaged goods.
REMEMBERING MY LIFE
Remember your life
When nothing could defeat you?
Nothing came between your dreams
to make you think you won’t succeed.
All the world is yours
if you believe with all your heart
All your hope of things to come
will push away the doubt of some
who want to see
if you will fall
from up above the sky so high.
Spread your wings and ride … the wind
Soar through the air like life depends
on every dream you ever had
You can’t lose
the power of your dreams
to anyone who can’t believe in you
If you cry
from deep within
Never let the fear begin
to hold you down
it’s strength you need
to make every dream be real
Don’t let it in and keep you down
Become the man you found
Through all the years
you only had yourself to hear you
Now the time
has come to show… the world
that you are more than anyone
took the time to know
Latest music video uploaded to YouTube to go with a chapter for my book “Inside The Forbidden Outside” about the life of Jamie Cummings currently in Allred Prison in Iowa Park, Texas.
What started out as only a book, now in the second draft, became a book with music, a soundtrack with music for each chapter with the same title. Since all of my music is improvised, that is a pretty big project to work on.
The music business is different than when I was a working musician back in the 70’s and 80’s. There was no internet! We could not share our music with anyone except at a live gig. Most musicians barely had enough money to record a so-so demo at a recording studio and have 2″ tape reels run off into 1/4″ tapes and then run off on cassette tapes. We didn’t give them out to people. If they were good enough we sold them at gigs. We also sent them to record producers and had no way of knowing if they went straight into the trash. If we had a gig somewhere that let us play original music we staples notices on electric poles near the club announcing we’d be playing. Sometimes we had a booking agent who booked bands into clubs that wanted top 40 music.
Everything is so different now. People hear my music more now through the internet than I’m sure heard me at gigs. Playing live is fun, but it is a lot of work unless you have someone carting your equipment around for you. I used to have that, but it was a different era. I don’t have near the energy or muscle tone to do that anymore. Although I’d love to play live again, and I’m sure I will when this is done, in the meantime I have to conform to what people need to hear and see.
That means music videos. At first I thought, “how?” I’m not playing live, until I found software programs that help you make videos. Now this was fun! But still it takes quite a bit of time, and I’m still learning and getting ready to try a new software program.
There are quite a number of places to submit your music profile – radio programs, magazines and much more. When they pull up your profile they want to see videos and every self respecting musician has at least one. The more the better. Having a YouTube channel with subscribers can make or break their interest in you.
So now I am making videos for my chapters for the book. I can only do one thing at a time. Everything progresses, but at 1/3 the speed. If you like what I’m doing, the best thing you can do for me is to click on the YouTube icon on the video and go there and like, comment or subscribe. You can’t like a video if you don’t actually go to YouTube, but it will record a play. I need stats until it gets far enough along to multiply on it’s own. The channel is only 2 1/2 months old, with a new video made about every 2 weeks. When I have 20 videos and they are being promoted, especially when the book is published, then I can use other media outlets for promotion. Right now I need you guys – unless you really don’t like it.
It is very important to me that this effort be successful. Another life depends on it – and someday in this latter part of my life I’ll just get too old. Until then, I’ll pretend I’m 36 instead of 63.
You can sign up on my mailing list for when I put out the next new music or videos, (which I promise not to abuse!)
Thanks so much.
This is older piece of music, recorded 3-4 years ago before I bought my white piano. The piano I had at this time was 15 years old. I was crushed when it started to die. I used it from 2000-2015 when I lived in Key West.
A piano tech worked on it. Unfortunately, the company that made the piano, Technics, a Japanese brand, stopped making it. It was impossible to get a main board replacement in the US. I would have to send the piano to the UK to get it fixed. That wasn’t practical. A local business that repaired keyboards opened it up and found corrosion growing on the main board. He did what he could to clean it off the components that was causing the keys to stop playing, one at a time. Because it was impossible to clean off every speck it would come back, just like decay would grow on a tooth. He told me that when it failed again, he wouldn’t be able to patch it up again. The piano might work for a week or maybe a year, but it would eventually fail. So when the first key started failing I went shopping! The piano still had some life left so I gave it to a piano student who needed it. It was still better than the one he had.
I was playing a Yamaha electric grand back then in the distant past of the eighties. The piano was elevated on a platform so I could stand. I had to raise my foot to the platform to work the pedal. The grand piano sound was awesome. This very heavy elephant was carried in two wood cases that took more strength than I had to carry. (that is what roadies are for!) It had a full harp to attach to the back. It could be raised and supported like a wood grand piano. The keys had a heavy action ( keyboard players understand what that is. ) The harder you play the more sound it makes. The spring back is slower. Totally opposite of playing a keyboard with the action of an organ. The harder the action the more control you have over the sound. You end up with strong hands and strong forearm. Playing that piano was a workout. I loved it. Even today the cost of one in good condition hasn’t depreciated much in 40 years. You’ll play around 3 grand.
I eventually gave that piano to my son, Robo Quick, who was playing boogie woogie and he really gave that piano a bigger workout than I did. When I was playing R&R I played so hard I had callouses on my finger tips like a guitar player. I often split the callouses by the end of the night and they would bleed. My music today is so different.
I’ll try to find an old picture of a stage performance playing it in my archive and add it (after I scan it in). The band I was with – The Robin Crow band – was sponsored by Nike so I’m probably wearing their gear.
This is the keyboard I bought and use now. I fell in love with it. (That’s nutty, I know) It has been my baby ever since. I put it on a rack instead of the legs that came with it so I can stand and play – easier to move up and down the keyboard – or lean on a tall stool. I don’t like to sit down and play. It’s too confining.
When I record music that strikes a nerve inside, grabs me in my chest, I know I’ll keep it. But I have also deleted music many times that didn’t say what I wanted it to say. I honestly don’t know how I spontaneously play these pieces. Where does it come from. I knew at age 7 this was what I was striving to play. I could hear it. Almost anyone can “learn” to play the piano with enough practice. But when you take away the written music, can you play? Improvising can cause fear. What if you make too many mistakes? What if you can’t play? What if its terrible?
I don’t plan what I’m going to play ahead of time. Some call it, ‘ playing by ear’. I don’t think about chord structure, or even the time signature. There are other improv players. I search them out to see how their music makes me feel, but many just show off technique, trying to impress you with their skill, how fast they can play, but the music has no beginning, middle and end. There is no story. There is no emotion.
You have no idea how good it feels to let music flow out of your fingers. Dancers feel that when they dance – not choreographed dance steps – instead, letting the music make you move. Some people have no way to do that and turn to other ways to make them feel. Sometimes drugs – alcohol – sex. I remember the day I recorded “Sadness”. The emotions that day were very heavy. Emotion makes me want to play. I have to.
It has been a long time since I really listened to this piece from beginning to end and felt it, like I did the day I recorded it. Indeed, the music is very sad and haunting. It brought back memories. I hope you enjoy it.
Here are a couple more photos of many history
Because of the book I’m writing and the music I’m recording, this will determine success or failure when it is all published together. I believe this is the project that will define me as a musician to the public. All of the years of playing and teaching, and other crisis and events happening in between, has brought me to this place. I’ve been working on this book/soundtrack for 3 years, writing, re-writing, learning. I can see the end now, but still have lots to do.
Jamie, in prison, needs this to be successful as much as I do – to give him a start when he is released from prison, and to help me live – period – as I go through these last ( hopefully) decades of my life. Leave something behind for my future generations (of musicians) to understand where their music comes from.
Just like everything else on the web, stats play a huge part in how much traffic you get. Some people use stats to determine if they’ll even click on a song, or share it.
But getting a new “fan” or “follower” doesn’t mean anything if they don’t come back or share your site with others. It’s hard to grow a new audience from scratch. There is a lot of competition for a few minutes of your time – there are so many other places to go on the web. The attention span of many people these days is roughly only seconds before they click on something else. It’s also hard to stay connected with those who also have websites that need support as well, when you are busy working on your own. Then there is the daily communication with friends. That takes time. That is a lot of plates to spin.
It would mean a tremendous amount to me if you went to my website – http://sonniquick.net and looked around. It’s an important website for me. I use it a lot when I am promoting my music to various places and people, when I want to be taken seriously as a musician – an older musician – a dinosaur with a lot more music inside. Many in the business still focus on the youth.
Someday maybe they’ll get it. Experience brings quality. At least we now have indie music and indie book publishing so we can promote ourselves. Not long ago your age kicked you to the curb if the music industry didn’t want you, or book publishers wouldn’t give you the time of day.
Good skin does not make good music, and just because a major book publisher doesn’t want you doesn’t mean you don’t have a good book. But you have to be willing to do the work to get it out there, you have a solid chance at success. 15 hour days are not unusual for me with multiple projects going.
You can help by subscribing to many mailing list at the website below (I promise not to abuse your email) and open it to see how production is coming along and listen to new music. Maybe then you’ll be interested in having the entire project and a soundtrack to listen to when it is completed. Thanks to all followers for everything. ( you know who you are.)
Sonni Quick . Music . Videos . Press . Join mailing list
I bought adspace for a number of publications today to promote my newest piece of music. “Ghosts in My Head” If you see it anywhere let me know. Right now it is running for two weeks. This goes along with a chapter in the book I’m writing, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”
My personal music website – sonniquick.net Click here to get on my mailing list for music, videos and book info
Sonni Quicks Piano Improv – Additional YouTube videos of the music soundtrack for Inside The Forbidden Outside. New videos are released as they are made. 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 help. If you have read his story on the blog you understand why. Thank you.
Skunk Radio – Indie radio out of London. My personal page
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
My Name is Jamie – wordpress blog on Jamie’s life and info on prisons and the criminal injustice system
This is new music and poetry for a chapter in the book I’m writing. “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” which has gone through many changes since I began writing. Because it has been so labor intensive I have to believe there is a reason. I have to hope it will help Jamie when be gets out. He has read chapters, but he has heard no music being in prison. There will be so much to hear and read, especially on my other blog, My Name Is Jamie. There will be a video made for this music, too. All chapters will have music – about 50% is recorded, a music video ( 4th one being done) found at Sonni Quick Piano Improv – You Tube channel
This music is a piece I really enjoyed playing. If I “try” to compose it usually ends up missing something. It doesn’t work. If it hits me in the middle of the night or I have to stop what I’m doing to go play my piano, it comes out and I don’t know where it comes from. Playing these pieces of music, and I can play them only once, feels so good. After that they are gone. I can only listen to the recording of it. The same with any poetry I write and I’m sure other poets understand – I read it for the first time when I’m done.
In the book, which is written from letters, is Jamie’s story, but there is a place when it changes from the written words in the letters to me being real. I don’t want to say anymore about the story, but it is where this title comes from.
You can subscribe to the mailing list for my music stuff by going to sonniquick.net
“Where did you come from?” I cried
You raised your finger to your lips
and whispered, “No one can hear me
No one but you can see me
I’m a ghost in your head
To keep you company
I know the days are much too long
Use memories your mind creates
For days you don’t feel very strong
Endless time, will it ever end?
Around in circles never straight
Time goes slowly, round the bend
Years are passing, you see your age
Watch the moon all night long
I see your head lay in your hands
Wondering how it went so wrong
You always seem to lose so much
You tell yourself, I don’t understand
You need to reach your hand and touch
Feel the warmth of who is there
It makes you human, a worthy man
Even though no one’s left and no one cared
“But you,” you say “Here you stand”
“I could touch you,” and reach out your hand
How do I know you won’t disappear?
You kept me going, when I lost my way
I felt only anger, in my head there was fear
I couldn’t think there’d be hope someday
I wanted to tear these walls apart
I wanted to scream but no one would hear
You kept me sane. You fed me words
There is a reason for all of this
“Be patient,” you said, then I heard
“Imagine a life only you can see
There are ghosts in your head
You can learn to be free”
Sonni Quick ©2018
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I’m a prisoner in California serving a life sentence. This blog really isn’t about me, it’s about us, prisoners who grew up in dysfunctional environments. It will explain why we’ve made the terrible choices we made and how many of us are now struggling to change our lives. There’s a biased belief in society that continues to be passed along and hopefully this blog will show the other side to that negative belief. This blog is for the parents of women unable to openly express their love for a man in chains, to educators of our youth, parents and the lost, I hope these words give you hope and understanding. Hope that change is possible and understanding that we are able to give back something to the world.
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