“Nana, Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? “

 

Sonni QuickI am honest, with myself and the people around m. I don’t lie. I simply don’t. The words that come out of my mouth and the words I write are true to the best of my ability. I don’t pretend to be something I am not. I don’t think I am always right. I can admit when I’ve been wrong.

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes along the way with good choices and bad choices. Those choices all have consequences we have to live with. But it is hard for some people to take responsibility for all of the events that happen to them. It’s easier to think some piles of crap we have to wade through aren’t our fault; something else caused it or it was just the luck of the draw. People often can’t connect the dots. Sometimes it’s too far back to see it so they assumed it happened by itself with nothing to cause it.

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A few days ago I had a texting conversation with my 19 yr old granddaughter who has been making careless choices that have severely affected her stability. She has burnt bridges while staying with people who allowed her to move in or asked too often for money while jumping from one boyfriend to the next. She’s young. She’s had a tough childhood. She’s been on her own her own for awhile making decisions but she doesn’t have the wisdom to know if she’s making good or bad decisions. The effects have buried her in deeper holes to get out of and she doesn’t know yet what she needs to do.

I love her dearly. She reminds me so much of myself at that age. Some of the careless choices we make when we are young affect us long after we have grown up but it’s too late now to go back and change them.

She said to me, “Nana, why do bad things happen to good people?”

Because being a good person has nothing to do with what is happening to you today. We can be a good person and still make bad choices. We are responsible for the things that happen to us. No one else makes them happen. Other people are worrying about the effects of their own choices. We cause our own mess. We bring the wrong people into our lives. We might not get the effect of that right away. The effect happens when it is supposed to, but by then we might not see the connection.

In the teen years it is easy to blame your parents or other people in your life for causing things to happen to you. It is hard to point at yourself first. Or pride steps in. “You were never there for me!” Why things happen to us is much deeper than what we did that day, that month or even that year. My hope is that she doesn’t make choices that can ruin her life.

Because of my own choices I made at her age, I am paying dearly for today. I had left home at 18 to go to college and screwed it up because I had a boyfriend who did drugs. The hard kind. I was always curious about everything. I wanted to find out what things were. It was a bad choice. I didn’t understand the word consequences. I was not taught about that. I believe it is one of the most important things to teach young people and it is only learned the hard way. But would I have listened if someone had tried? Probably not. I had to find out the hard way.

But I did stop, a long time ago. I felt fortunate that I did. My life was full. I had two kids. I was playing music. I played hard. I worked hard to take care of my children as a single mother. I thought I had it together. I didn’t realize until it was too late about consequences. It was too late to learn it.

I began to get sick in the mid 80’s. The doctors had no idea what was wrong. It could be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia, until I found out I had Hepatitis C in 1998. I had never heard of it. The cause I had made between the years of 19-21 was going to affect me more than I could comprehend. I had no idea what was coming up.

I am a good person. I try to do the right thing. I learned a lot about myself through battling these consequences and I’ve tried to pass that wisdom I learned on to others. But none of that was going to change what was happening to me. I couldn’t fix that. I have had to fight hard to live and it has not been fun.

I will be 65 this month. Tonight I lay against pillows writing on my tablet. I came home from another surgery as I fight cancer – again. I had a liver transplant in 2012 because of the Hep C and liver cancer. I have had quite an assortment of infections and things gone wrong because my immune system is suppressed. My bad liver caused severe osteoporosis and I break easily. My back fractured, by itself and I fell on my arm and crushed it like a roll of Ritz crackers so I now have a titanium shoulder and upper arm and elbow wrapped in titanium with many screws holding it together. My spine and neck are compressing. I have arthritis in my left hip. I’m an accident waiting to happen.

I can’t fight cancer. I had a tiny spot on my ear. They cut out a piece of it. It came back .  When it didn’t stop the entire top half of my ear was cut off. It looks like a dog ate it for lunch. I had radiation that permanently burned off the hair on the side of my head all the way up to the top. The cancer blew through that in ten days and now I had a swollen lymph node under my ear. The cancer went internal. Shit. I’m in trouble now.

My neck was sliced open from my hairline at the back of my neck behind the ear down to my collar bone across to the top of my sternum. Dozens of lymph nodes were removed, and nerves were damaged. There was a lot of  bleeding that couldn’t be stopped. My jugular vein had to be sacrificed. I look like Frankenstein and someone sewed my head on.

Will this stop the cancer? Maybe. Probably not. This doctor didn’t lie to me and say, “I think we got it all this time, like the last doctor did – twice.

“We have to take it day by day,” she said. “Watch you closely and be ready to act. Your cancer is very aggressive.”

But I’ve been given more time to keep fighting.  This is all I’ve had all along. Buying time. If I had a better immune system, maybe, but I don’t. Since the transplant in 2012 I’ve been buying time. It is just the facts.

Here is the bottom line. I still have much to do. I have made every day of my life count. I’ve been writing a book that I think is good. I’m trying to complete it and get it edited. It takes money. I’ve been writing music, pouring my heart and emotions into music, determined to help Jamie Cummings get on his feet after 13 years of letters. I have tried to teach him what I learned about life. The only legacy of value any of us leave behind when we die is the effect we have had on other people. Have we helped others become better people who the can teach their children and others who are important to them? I can’t leave this undone. I don’t have the luxury to take it slowly or waste my time. Time is precious. I spend it wisely. 

If you’ve read previous posts you know these things about me. Some of you also follow my blog My Name Is Jamie where there are also chapters you can read.  I’m almost done the second draft. I’ve been recording the music for it.

The past few months I’ve been trying to make money by opening an online store that is also connected to eBay and Facebook. It has been a tremendous amount of work – more than I thought it would be. It has cost money to learn what I need to learn. But I can’t pay an editor to work with me until I make money. I work at it every day – all day. On one aspect or another.

Can I be an example for Jamie and my granddaughter of what not to do? I have 6 other grandchildren. Will my life mean anything to them. Will they see a winner or just remember me in the past tense.

I need your help. I started a gofundme campaign. The link is at the bottom. There are a couple updates. If anyone can help. That is great. Would it be for a good cause? Even a couple dollars would help a lot. I will name all of you at the end of the book. I will give away ebooks or a book to hold for $15 or $25. Even just sharing it would help. It’s hard getting it out into the universe to people.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/surviving-after-quotinside-the-forbidden-outsidequot&rcid=r01-15634711733-97e969c5bf75409b&pc=ot_co_campmgmt_m

Now I must rest.

 

 

Who Do I See In The Stainless Steel Mirror?

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Listen to Who Do I See in the Stainless Steel Mirror by Sonni Quick #np on #SoundCloud

This is my newest music for a chapter in my book  “Inside The Forbidden Outside”.

 

All of the music I record is improvised “off the top of my head.” It is relatively easy. With practice and time most anyone to learn how to play the piano. Learning to read notes and where they are played on the piano can be taught. Even how to play with certain kinds of touches, such as striking the keys hard or soft because it is shown with different symbols on the music. But that doesn’t mean the student has a talent for music interpretation, just like a dancer learning ballet may or may not have the gift of dance, or an artist born with the gift of interpreting life through a pencil or paint.

I started out in life having to learn how to read music as a young child and I wasn’t a good student. I was too headstrong about how I wanted to play a piece of music. I had the discipline to teach myself a lot of what I know. I always knew playing the piano would be an important part of my life. I hear many piano players who are much better players than I am and some have incredible technique and I envy their skill. But if you took away their music, what would they play? There are also wonderful improv players out there who don’t understand music yet can play beautiful music.

When I record a new piece I have no idea what I’m going pay, or even they key I’m going to play in. If I “try” to force it, it doesn’t work. I start with an emotion. I record because I have an urge to play  I’ve gotten out of bed to play and record. I always record when I play because I can’t repeat what I do. You hear it, mistakes and all. I sit down and turn on my piano and press the record button – and just – play. My hands interpret the feelings I have.

Sonni Quick hands on the piano keyboard

Later, when I play it back I try to understand how my hands knew where to go. I look at my hands. They are getting old. Age spots are appearing.  I used to want to hide them in photos of me playing the piano. Music is, and always has been centered on the youth. I used to be young and the youth today will get old. We need to stop centering life on one category of people and join together. That is why Indie music is so important.

These hands have experienced everything I’ve been through, and they aren’t fine making music yet.  There is wisdom and magic in them. I imagine the keys on the piano and I wonder, where did that come from? Why did I play the keys I did?

When I was little I wanted to play the most beautiful music in the world, although I couldn’t say what that was. And I’m not saying that is what it is now, but it’s getting closer. I don’t think we come to the end of our creativity because of our age, although health could interfere. I think we chose to stop our creativity because we think we are getting old. Some of the best musicians out there are “Dinosaurs” old(er) musicians  But it doesn’t matter what we look like – it is the sound of music we play.

I started a Facebook group called, Dinosaur Musicians  If you know anyone who fits the bill and they are still recording music and would like another place to upload it, tell them about it.

If you’d like to hear more of music – streaming it with your eyes closed at night is best, go to my website sonniquick.net

Go to My Name is Jamie to read a bit of the book. Follow me by email to get new posts about the book and music.

Please support me in my efforts. I also have a Facebook music page found at: http://facebook.com/sonniquickspiano 

http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick

http://reverbnation.com/sonniquick 

And look me up on YouTube: Sonni Quick Improv Piano  I have 20 music videos I created using some great software.

Like the pages, follow me, and leave a comment that you saw me at this blog. I don’t have a management team. All I have is you.

Have a great week! Sonni

Message Received — Cloak Unfurled

I’d like to broach a subject, About something we all do. While we might be social creatures, Some folks make us mad or blue. So what are the things you do, To avoid having a conversation? Have you ducked into a restroom, Feigning troubling constipation? Have you ever silenced your phone, Or just tossed it […]

via Message Received — Cloak Unfurled

Awesome poetry. I ROARED, because I saw myself in every line. Maybe you will, too. Make sure you read the comments. It’s worth it.

Climbing The Mountains – ITFO Chapter and Music Video

 

 

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 as well as those who don’t.

Subscribe to ITFO News below for occasional updates. You can request computer chapters if you are a subscriber   Or a subscriber at my Youtube channel OR on my mailing list at sonniquick.net ( link below) Help support and share. Help me help Jamie. He’s one of the good guys. Learn the truth about life in our prisons. Follow Jamie’s Story. 

 

CLIMBING THE MOUNTAINS

Oh my God, what was happening? Jamie heard screaming and large objects being thrown against the walls inside the room where the inmates were served food. He could hear the thud of bodies being hit and falling into the tables. Guards were shouting threats, trying to get the chaos under control, but they were losing. The medical unit was going to be busy today.

Jamie was walking down the hall on his way to chow. It was a privilege he had gotten back when he was finally moved from adseg to G4. He had almost made it to the large room when he felt himself being shoved from behind up against the wall. He heard the doors being slammed shut and bolted. There was tension brewing in the air along with the smell of panic.

Two guards stood outside the doors. One guard had his taser pointed at the inmates lined up along the wall. The other one had his baton raised, ready to use if anyone moved. There was a third guard standing in a lookout on the second floor. He had a rifle pointed at them that was loaded with pellets of buckshot. The two guards near them looked scared that the inmates might try to rush and overpower them. One wrong move and someone was going to get killed.

They were short staffed as usual and there was no telling how many guards were inside. It couldn’t be more than a couple because there was no time to call for help. There was usually one guard at either end of the room. They were outnumbered and they knew it.

Being scared didn’t begin to cover what Jamie was feeling. These guards could easily lose control and think they were justified in shooting to protect themselves, especially not knowing if any of their own were being injured or killed on the other side of that door. One shot toward the floor with the pellet gun would riccochet hundreds of buckshot in all directions.

Jamie tried to make himself look as non-threatening as possible. No sudden moves. In fact, no moves at all. It was total bedlam behind the locked door and it could easily turn that way in the hall, too. This was not a good day for dying. Riots didn’t often happen, but when they did they were usually deadly. High tensions started the fighting and once it got started it wouldn’t easily calm down.

More guards soon arrived and they escorted the men back along the wall to their cells. He felt much safer when the cell door shut behind him and he heard the lock click in place.

But what the hell happened in there? Was it planned or did something happen between two people and it got out hand? If he had been inside the chow hall when the doors were closed he would have been screwed big time.

When there was a fight and guards got involved, others joined in. The dudes who started the trouble would expect the other inmates to join them. If they didn’t, they would hunt you down later and mess you up. If you were scared and got yourself chased to another prison, word would get out and people at that prison would find you and make your life miserable. You couldn’t run far enough no matter how many years you got.

If Jamie had gotten involved in the fight the guards could have beaten the crap out of him. If not then, they’d find him later. They would retaliate against everyone involved even if they didn’t do anything. No one would stop them. It was one time they got away with murder with no questions asked. It was a no-win situation no matter how you looked at it.

They would have put him back in adseg in a heartbeat and most likely would never let him out again. Being part of a prison riot would have affected his life in many ways. It didn’t matter that he had not been part of it. Getting caught up in one was all that was needed.

Would it affect the possibility of getting paroled? He didn’t want to think about that. It didn’t happen. He didn’t get caught up it. Less than a minute later and he would have. He didn’t get beat up by the guards and he didn’t get in bad with those who chose to riot. It was close, but luck was on his side this time.

He knew why they did it. So did the warden. People would only put up with being treated like dogs by their jailers for just so long. Kick a dog enough times and he was going to bite back. If you starve them and take away everything that makes them human, when they bite they were going to draw blood. Spray them with chemicals and laugh about it, feed them garbage and ignore them when they are sick and they will eventually riot if the opportunity is there. They aren’t dogs, they’re human beings. The riot might have been started by one of the dudes disrespecting someone’s space but the overall reason was because all of them were disrespected by the system.

Until the people who run this place take care of their end instead of constantly finding ways to make the men responsible for all the trouble there was going to be even more trouble.

The best thing to do was to keep to himself as much as possible. Do his time and stay away from everyone if he could.

Jamie had missed lunch. He was going to get mighty hungry by dinner. It wouldn’t be the last time he would be hungry so it was no big deal. The warden wouldn’t care about that anyway, he had his hands full.

Going over to his locker he went through his books to see if there was one that looked interesting enough to read again. He liked to do that. There was always something he missed in the first reading. Settling down on his bunk he tried to lose himself in some other place and time, somewhere outside this prison cell. He had read more books in the last six years than he ever would have. He found he enjoyed reading and could read a book a day of he had enough.

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Geez, What a Busy Summer!

Geez, what a busy summer!  I think I’ve been turning around in ever increasing circles. I have found that it is impossible to do 2, let along 4 things at one time and when I decide which “thing” is more important I have to make myself not think about something equally urgent to do and just enjoy the moment of that ONE thing.

Today was the day to work on new music, I had a wonderful benefit to come into my life last week.  I am in the Keys right now, below Florida, for those from other countries who don’t know what the Keys are. It is a string of small islands formed from Mangroves. The Overseas Hwy connects them, ended at Key West, 90 miles from Cuba, where I had lived for ten years prior to needing a liver transplant and needing a better hospital than was available.  Enough of that!

Even though I was raised in Pennsylvania a long time ago, my heart is in the Keys.  Since my grown son moved back, I took the opportunity to spend 50% of time with him and a couple of my grandchildren.  But I needed a piano.  Not want – need. What do I do? I went on Craig’s list for the first time and there was my piano.  Almost literally.  It was an earlier edition of my piano. Complete with 5 track recording and the same voice sounds.  Different color, though, and  1/10th the price and the owner delivered it! Oh! Yes!  I am a happy camper now!

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This is what is on my list of things to be done and is in addition to all of the daily life things that everyone has to do.

1.Two blogs to upkeep and write for and all the social media stuff and communication that needs to be done to keep it going.

2. Three facebook pages. Personal, Jamie’s facebook page and my music page. Plus all the groups I’ve joined and pages I’ve liked that I won’t list. I try to get back to as many as I can.  People won’t pay attention to you if you don’t throw some love their way – same with the blogs. And of course Twitter.  Also Pintrest and G+.  I post on them but I rarely go there and build traffic.

I Thought  I’d add this. It isn’t a new piece, but I think I will be using it in my next music video

( and the list goes on! )

3. Annoying but important social media. As much of a time sucker that it is, I remember being a musician when there was no way to reach fans on a daily basis to let them know where I was singing.  Social media has done a lot for indie artists of any kind. Dinosaurs like me (over 50) were overlooked back in the day unless you were already well known. Same with the book I’m writing. If you weren’t picked up by a publishing house you couldn’t put out a book, and if you tried there was no way to advertise it like we have today. Without social media there would be no indie – anything.

4. I need to start work on a new music video.

5. I need to finish the chapter I’m writing for my book in the making, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.

6. I need to start putting together my next ITFO News so I don’t have to cram it into two days.

7. Forget email, I’m too far behind

8. Update and show the love at reverbnation.com – It hosts my website: sonniquick.net I can have my music reviewed here and listen to other musicians. I have another blog here that I don’t have time to pay enough attention to.  I can also check stats, growth, demographics and other stats and ratings.

9. Update YouTube, reply to comments and find other musicians to network with

10. SoundCloud streaming.  I push a lot to create a following at this site.

So where do I begin? Well, I guess tonight I started right here. It would e great to see some of WordPress followers at some of my other sites. 

All of this should be done every day – at least every other day –  and it is impossible. Tonight I took a little time and put this into a blog post because I’m not posting enough on this blog. 

I would LIKE to finish writing the chapters of my book and the music and get it ready for editing – by the end of the year. Can I do it? I’m trying.

I LOVE what I do and I’m confident that I can make this work.  Life is for the living and I’m living mine as thoroughly as I can and loving every minute!

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Seize The Day – ITFO Chapter

This is the current chapter of the book I’m writing about an epileptic seisure Jamie hand that resulted in knocking a tooth out. He has had many seizures – since the moment he was born, but he would have less of them in prison if the nurses didn’t deliberately withhold hiss seizure medicine often for days at a time. Is it just for cruelty, or is it a way the prison cuts cost with the inmates by cutting down how much medication they have to pay for? If they do it to Jamie, multiply that out over the entire prison population with many needing multiple medications. Man of these meds are very costly. Are they determining these inmates don’t have a right to life. Lack of proper medical care results in unnecessary deaths.

My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison

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SEIZE THE DAY

As Jamie slowly gained consciousness he realized his face was smack against the cement floor and his mouth hurt. Keeping his eyes closed he took an internal counting of his body parts. Anything else broken or bleeding? What the . . 

d      Waking up on the floor was not a good sign.

      He couldn’t move. It took too much effort to try. His body felt as though huge bricks were holding him down. Every muscle felt like it had been run over by a truck, more than once. He’d been through this before – too many times. He knew he’d had a seizure.
     A voice behind him said, “Should we take him to medical?”
     Jamie wanted to shout, “Of course you need to take me to medical,” but his mouth betrayed him and refused to form the words…

View original post 1,937 more words

T-Shirt and Tote-Bag For Sale To Raise Money for Jamie

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My son Robo, a genuine Fl Keys boat monkey is modeling the new T-Shirt. Gotta give him credit!

This is a long road I have been on with Jamie since we met at the end of 2005. I have done my best to take care of the things he has needed in prison but it has been hard. So I had the t-shirt and tote bag made to sell for those who are able to help.

Jamie was picked up with friends and sentenced for a crime he was there for, but didn’t commit. He never found out what happened to his friends but he knew the one with the gun, who had joked about robbing the club they were going to had been in prison before. He was guilty by association. Jamie learned the importance of paying attention to the friends you keep.

He was a young man who turned 22 at the same time, in January 2006. What he has been through at the hands of the guards, the staff, and also some of the inmates is something you don’t want to go through. It was hard reading his letters knowing there was nothing I could do to help him – except be there for him. Family pretty much disappeared. I have struggled to provide him with basic necessities we take for granted. Now he has “only” 4 1/2 years to go before he is released. Now it is going to take more than an occasional $20 of extra food each month and also money to buy hygiene, stamps, books and magazines and pay for the lousy medical care he gets. He wants so much to survive and be a father to the son he has never been allowed to touch because a piece of plexi-glass separates them.

How will he live? He doesn’t know how to open up a bank account or sign a lease agreement if someone takes a chance and rents to a convicted x-felon. That can be difficult to find. There is so much he doesn’t know that he will be expected to know. How can an almost 40 year old man not know what he should have learned 20 years before? Getting out of prison after that many years is similar to coming home from war with PTSD and have to assimilate into society.

Jamie has epilepsy and needs medical care to keep his seizures in check. The prison medical unit has denied him his medication many times for days at a time and is often left laying, sometimes on the floor after a seizure, or he wakes to find himself in cuffs and leg shackles ( for the guard’s protection, of course). He sometimes seizes twice and to be shackled could mean breaking bones.

I have been working to get him help legally and to stop them from changing his records to indicate he was adequately cared for. I am not going to let him be a statistic. I’m sure, if you have a loved one in prison you have also been fearful of the things the prison staff can be authorized to do.

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My youngest granddaughter Moya

This costs money I do not have. Many of you have followed this blog for the four years I’ve been writing it. I have gotten many messages of encouragement to pass on to him. He is a kindhearted person who appreciates every kind word he has received. It is why I am writing the book “Inside The forbidden Outside” so he will have money and a chance to get started when he gets released. It will be a hard road. There will be a sequel to this book which will be what happens as he starts the process of being released and starting again.

This is why I decided to do something that could make money to help him. I am sincerely hoping you will help, too. Jamie wrote to me and said, “Are you sure? I don’t think many people would want a T-shirt with my face on it.” I told him, “You don’t know how many people know who you are, but they are all over the world!”

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Sharing this post will also help. If this works I will branch out to more colors. The success of the book ( when I get done writing and recording the music and videos! ) depends on those of you who care about the great number of people who were railroaded into prison by having plea deals forced on them even if they are innocent. I have to do everything I can to help him.

Free Shipping on domestic orders

Shipping for International orders will have to be caluculated on an individual basis. Contact me at squick@mynameisjamie.net and I will tell you what any extra shipping might be.

I hope to add more colors and styles as well as other items to help raise much needed funds.

I want to thank everyone for reading and sharing posts and chapters along with music and videos I record. It has been quite a journey. Thank you for helping me support Jamie, even if that help is just coming here and reading. The prison system needs to change. Hopefully with this book and the lecturing I plan on doing afterward will help change a piece of it.

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