Waiting . . .Too Long – YouTube Video

 

Waiting . . .Too Long, a title of a chapter in the book I am writing on the life of Jamie Cummings who is currently housed in Allred Unit. Prisons are often called units. He is finishing twelve years with five to go. In this video I try to convey the feeling of time as it goes through pictures of him and prison, myself and music, with slow motion clips of journeying through time between incarceration and re-entry back into society in 2023, unless he gets paroled early which no one knows.

I’ve been enormously busy these days with usually three projects open at one time as one project leads to another.  It’s a small wonder that I remember to pay my light bill before it is cut off.  At least I’d have three hours of battery back up on my lap top if I did that!

Seriously, as I work on my writing – I also need to work on my music at the same time. Since all my music is improv – instrumental music – I have to play my piano when something inside me tells me to. One night last week I got out of bed because I felt I needed to play music. When the feeling is strong I also record. I will put that music in another post. When I try too hard to improvise, the music is good -okay – but it is missing something – the story – the emotion. The next day I played it over and over from beginning to end to see if I could hear the story. You might hear a different one.  You might not even play it all the way through. But I know it is one of my best pieces.  It is called, “Looking Into The Crystal Ball”.  You can find it at sonniquick.net.

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If I only needed to finish the rewrite of my book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside” I’d be done and working on the sequel. I do have the book cover done and will post that soon. But since I have written a lot of music and inserted it into blog posts, here on this blog and on My Name Is Jamie I have wondered how to promote it with the book.  I’m working on a second album with just the music for the book. Since some of the music has the same titles as the chapters I decided to record more music for every chapter. It takes time.

A musician these days needs to have videos, preferably on YouTube. Since right now I am only writing and recording I wondered how to do a quality video if I’m not performing live. ( I want to gig again, but my keyboard case will not fit in my car, even if one end stuck out an open window.) If I had to rent a larger vehicle or used Uber I’d probably end up playing for free. I’d probably do that just to play. So I have to think about that some more.

I found a company that helped produce the above video at a very reasonable cost. My intention is to add at least one or two videos a month of just the music for the book. Starting a You Tube channel takes time. Getting subscribers – and most of all – having subscribers who like your music enough to share it is important. So far I’ve had 60 views, 11 likes and 1 dislike (somebody always has to do that) and 6 subscribers! I think that is pretty good for my first week! So I better do another video soon.

When I started my two facebook pages – jamielifeinprison and sonniquickspiano – it took work to get it out there and a lot of time to maintain it.  Both continue to grow. Having the support of followers from my blogs – well it all works together.

I am also getting ready to publish the next issue of ITFO NEWS which has a different focus of prison issues and also info about my music and other writing. Last week I was asked to write for another publication that deals with prison issues on a worldwide basis. I’ll be writing more about that in ITFO NEWS.

Hopefully, the followers of these different avenues will be interested in buying the book when it is done. When you write a book and don’t start promoting it until it is done, you will run out of family and close friends very fast. And if you aren’t passionate about what you do, chances are you will never complete it. Here it is, 4:00 in the morning and I am still behind my computer.

You can subscribe to ITFO NEWS and read back issues. It took awhile to teach myself. I publish about every 5 weeks. I won’t inundate your inbox with multiple daily emails. I don’t send spammy crap. I like to connect with people.

So until next time – sleep well and have a great holiday season!

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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

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Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .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

Soundcloud – album – Stories without Words

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As a reminder, this site is still under construction.  I changed the design and it still needs work to bring out some of the special features. You can easily find other blog posts by clicking on the upper left to bring up the menu.

 

 

 

Talking To My Younger Self

K’lee    Sonni Quick © 2017  Piano Improvisation

Very recently, I had a rather profound conversation with a man I don’t physically know. He is another mind in the blogosphere. Some people are so easy to connect to and you instinctively know your lives were meant to cross. There is so much we can learn from others if we stop trying to only get our point across and learn to listen.  I’m not sure without looking what country he lives in, but our ability to talk about this reality called life, is rare. Be honest when taking responsibility for your life instead of blaming the bad things on external reasons, or saying, “God must have wanted this to happen. It’s his plan for me.”

This man told me what he was doing with his own life. It was something I had never thought to do. Not like this. He said, “Go back and talk to your younger self and forgive her for the mistakes she made. Tell her you love her and you understand.” So the other day, while chanting, which anyone else could do using any way their faith dictates or even with no faith at all, using any means that helps give them with clarity. I sat down in the chair in front of the scroll of my Gohonzon to chant, already understanding the outcome will be difficult to deal with. 

I have been through decades of illness and surgeries and ongoing pain because my younger self stuck needles in her arm to get high and contracted the virus Hep C. This wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary at that time, but would it have made a difference to me if it was? I didn’t know then why I said yes to drugs. I know the answer now. It was a cause made somewhere in my long existence and the effect came forth at the time it was meant to. I  blindly followed the intended course. My younger self had no power over that karma the same way all karma affects the lives of others.

Some people have been taught, God pulls the puppet strings of their lives, but I never believed that. It made no sense. Not understanding why things happen doesn’t mean it was done by an outside source. It just means I don’t have the wisdom to understand it. Karma is the exact same thing as the lesson taught that reads, “You reap what you sow.” It doesn’t matter if you believe it. It is just as real as gravity. If you jump out of a plane you will fall to the earth whether you want to or not. We create what happens to us – and we repeat it until we learn the lesson it is teaching.

Unless you were born with an illness, ALL illness has a starting point that most people could have changed had they not done something to create it or perhaps allowing harmful things into their bodies that shouldn’t be there.

As I began chanting, relaxing myself with the deep breathing necessary to chant nam myoho renge kyo, I had a talk with my younger self at age 19. My 62 year old self, broken, stapled and screwed back together, gazed at a young girl the age my grandchildren are this day. They don’t know the word consequence any better than I did and think the only time that matters is this very moment.

I can so clearly remember a day, standing on the porch of someone’s house, looking out into a sunny day while watching people and cars move about in the course of their day. I thought to myself, I couldn’t see a time in the knowable future where I wouldn’t be sticking a needle into my bruised arm. These people didn’t know what they were missing. I hadn’t reached the point where the drug was needed to bring me up to normalcy. Forget getting high. I was using up my future life’s energy.

This younger me was so young, so perfect in her youth with her entire life ahead of her, and I cried. I  sat there with my head bowed and tears flowed down my cheeks. I whispered to her, “I am so sorry. I’m sorry what my lack of wisdom did to you.”

“I understand now why you did it, but it took me a long time to learn the answers. Why you needed to become this other person who felt better about herself when shooting speed – I understand.” I continued, “You needed the false confidence it gave you to make friends. I understand being near people made you afraid. I understand how you felt you had no value, so why would anyone else think you had value and want to be near you? Why would anyone want to be your friend? I understand you couldn’t give these feelings a voice. When you are high you feel you have worth. You have not learned yet how to achieve the understanding of how much value you really have – without the drugs.”

As I write these words I look at my left hand. I am grasping my thumb in a tight first. It is what I have always done when I needed to hold and comfort myself; reassure I am really here.

Because of this; because of the mountains you will have to learn to climb that gives you the understanding of how powerful you really are, the me you see before you now has learned things I never would learned without the life you have yet to live.

Without this struggle I would be a different person. I am sorry about the decades of pain you will have to suffer through, that I have already lived. But you will be okay. Through this you will help many people and become a woman who matters – all because of what you learned to teach. I want to thank you for being the soul – the body I inhabited during birth. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else. You don’t know these things yet and I wish I could help you along the way, but understand I love you and I’ll be waiting until you get here. Just know, you will live through this.

I am proud of you, so proud, because you will learn the value of your life and you live it, in spite of what others think. You will reach and fall and pick yourself up no matter how many times life tries to knock you down. You will dust yourself off and re-determine you are stronger than the rock that knocked you off balance. You won’t hide. You won’t quit because you still breathe. This is the effect of the cause that made you an addict so long ago. This is the lesson it was trying to teach you. You will never repeat it again.

I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. People who I thought loved her – loved me – yet resented who I became, because the truth of who this young girl grew to be, became too hard for them to look at and see the truth. So be it. It’s easier to be hateful than to look at why you hate. It’s easier to pretend she doesn’t matter than to face your own insecurities. I expected too much from people who had no capacity to show and accept responsibility for their actions. How could I expect them to understand mine?

I had no strength to explain to my younger self what was to come, some pain is deeper than the physical. But she will learn that in time. That is a pain I see no end to. It is something to bear in later years.  Everyone has pain they have to lock away to survive.