Inside The Forbidden Outside “Everyday Dreams”

…….This is an edited first chapter, but not the final edit. I have enough written to begin working with a content editor. All of the chapters so far can be found at: My Name is Jamie Also as the chapters progress the links for them is at the end. Please add your name and email for for the yet to be published first news letter I’m attempting to get off the ground. Your support would be wonderfully appreciated. That info is at the bottom of the post. All of you who have read what I’m writing and have given me your feedback along with editing suggestions has been great. If you have ever attempted to write a book you know how challenging it is.

My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison

EVERYDAY DREAMS

My life is pure agony.

     I really screwed things up for myself. I was sent to prison in 2006. This is not where I want to be, although I didn’t have any concrete plans for my life. I was happy that I wasn’t in juvenile detention anymore but I didn’t have a chance to make any plans and was living day to day. I didn’t know how to make plans. I was just a kid when they locked me up. In a way I was still a kid when they let me out when I was twenty one. When I met Morgan my only thought was to spend my life with her. For the first time I could remember, I was happy.

     The day I was in was as far ahead as I thought. Nobody ever taught me anything about planning for a future. Black kids…

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No Regrets

2 birds

No Regrets

Two birds
flying high in the sky
touching wings
in a circle side by side
always knowing when to reach
always knowing when to dive
like one mind, these two birds, knew inside

Two hearts
beating as if one
they knew to start
even though there was no sound
they feel the wind
lifting up their heart
knowing without thinking
knowing without knowing
feeling without knowing
why the time was now to fly as one

Like these birds
I never ever wondered
never knew where I was going
never wondered if I was afraid of falling from the sky
I didn’t stop to think
should I fear the crippling thought of being scared
not knowing what was on the other side?

So many years, changing directions
sharp turns to the left
no time to fear
lessons learned in life is quite a gift
No regrets
life taught me to be free
like these birds
I had to trust I wouldn’t fall
and where I am I was supposed to be

Sonni Quick . . . copyright 2015

An Abundance of Similes

…..As I work on writing the book I challenged myself to write, I try to learn as much as possible from other people who have been doing it longer than myself. So much to think about! I found this at a blog that posts 100 word stories. So many good ones. So many that provoke a thought or a feeling. Creative writing done in a way that draws people in is definitely a skill that is learned after much study and reading other writers words. Blogging has taught me a lot.

wordsBy Sathyaghan

Shimmering, like a million little diamonds. Glittering, like sparks of gold. Sparkling, like bubbles from a spring. Glowing, with the effulgence of the stars.

Rippling, in small waves, like a beacon. Splashing, like cool water falling on itself. Flowing, like a thought, faster than light. Tumbling, like thick locks of hair.

Cooling, like a pool in the desert. Refreshing, like a drink after thirst. Calming, like a full night’s sleep. Indulging, like a mother’s whisper.

Water, words, ideas, and whispers. Flowing, writing, emitting, and breathing. In simile and similarity. In family and familiarity. The fluids of thought.

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Writing a Book is Harder Than it Looks!

book writing

I want to be a writer.  “Inside the Forbidden Outside”  is my chosen title.  There are chapter excerpts at http://insidetheforbiddenoutside.wordpress.com that will give you some idea of what I’m writing. At first it has was only going to be about Jamie Cummings and his life experiences, but I started having a problem with continuity because why was “I” writing it?  It was then that I realized the missing part of the book was me. I am part of his story.  I was able to see him in a way that no one else was able to, which is why I believe he was 99% abandoned by family once he went inside.

There was actually two prisons.  Mine and his.  He helped me through mine as I help him through his.  It was the relationship that developed as we both went through life altering events that shaped our lives.  It was my failing health and liver transplant with years of illness and recuperation and the letters back and forth between the two of us while he sat alone in a prison cell, each being concerned about the other, is the place where our relationship grew.

It has been a challenge, writing a book about this.  I learned more about our prison system in the US than I wish I needed to know.  But it is there.  It’s real and it needs to change.  Ignoring it doesn’t help the 2.3 million people needlessly suffering inside an institution that brings out the dark side of the guards that control it. Looking away and pretending it doesn’t exist is what most people do about most of the things wrong with our country.  Too few people take a stand and often those who do get punished for doing it.

Lack of material for this book isn’t the issue.  But as a new author it’s all the other “stuff” you have to learn how to do.  I’ve been talking to other authors, new ones and published ones to learn how they did it.  It’s been quite fascinating.  I learned when you’re done writing a book it just don’t magically appear for sale. Since I am definitely not a known author, going the route of getting the interest of publisher is pretty much out of the question…

So . . . self-publishing is the way to go.  The process of learning the five million things you need to do while you write the darn thing that is now eating, sleeping and breathing inside me, having taken up complete residence in my brain – now that is a challenge!  And . . . I have to keep writing while I create the audience to sell it to. You need quite a lot of determination to put out such a labor of love.  Although I don’t pooh pooh fiction writing one bit, finding the right way to write about something that involves living breathing people takes a lot of care and thought about how much to reveal without them wanting to kill you when they read it.  Maybe I should take out an extra life insurance policy on myself?

If you have been to my other blog My Name Is Jamie. My Life in Prison you know it takes place in a prison. So I decided I needed credibility to show I am an “expert in my field” and that meant getting down and dirty with an actual prison. Later next month I am going to start working with an organization that goes into prisons near me and has workshops with inmates, like anger control and  others. Later when I am done and want to talk to people and organizations, I want them to understand I know what I am talking about.  It would be great if through this experience there is something Jamie can do when he gets out, something that can help other inmates, especially those who also have family they have been separated from.  It’s just a thought for now – something to explore – a way to create value and turn a negative into a positive, and also give him something positive to think about now.  If you read my latest post on that blog you’ll know he is having a rough time right now.  A Story About Extreme Prison Guard Brutality

With so much in the news about our prison population our up and coming US Prez candidates are already jumping on the bandwagon with each party blaming the other for our #1 position for locking people up, especially black people, I think the timing for this book is right on the mark.

waiting on the outside, Sharron Grodzinsky

One more thing, if you haven’t gotten this new book yet that has just been released by Sharron Grodzinsky, who is a blogger here, you are missing out on a good read I have trouble putting down. Her son is in Federal prison. It’s called “Waiting on the Outside”. If you read this post today you can still get it free on Amazon. If you are a parent and ever had problems with a child determined to ruin his life, you will understand every pain she has had to endure trying to feel hope while feeling like a failure as a parent. Don’t miss out on getting it!

Youth Has No Appreciation for the Lack of Pain

growing olderGee, did I?  Appreciate that I could wake up, jump out bed, throw on my clothes, leap down the stairs and run out the door? Run across a field, dance for hours and function with little rest?  I didn’t, because when you are young, you think you have a long time to be young,  and being 40 years old seems like light years away.

The years from 40-60 went by in a blink.  I did a lot.  The years were full of many ups and downs.  It sure wasn’t boring. But pass they did, until I had to admit I was years into the process of being “middle aged”.  ( That’s all I’ll admit to, because they say 60 is the new 40.  Ha!  Written by a true 60 year old. )

life's riches, aging gracefully

Now, I wake up in the morning and contemplate how bad I really need to pee because the process of actually sitting up, swinging my legs over the side of the bed, stand up and shuffle into the bathroom, trying to not fully open my eyes,  and admit that every single part of my body hurts . . . takes deep thought.  I don’t want to wake up to my day, not just yet.

Once it gets going I’m on a roll, and since I’m deeply addicted to writing my book, “Inside the Forbidden Outside” ( title change from “InsideOut”, two chapters linked to in this blog) I will sit here for the better part of at least 12 hours, getting up to make dinner and watch a movie with my old hippie, and occasionally make a stab at some kind of housework, teach a piano student or try to make some money selling Avon.  http://youravon.com/sonni. (What shameless plugging for myself.! You can order online. Yay.)  Oops, I can’t forget about Ambit Energy, my other moneymaker.  A girl (older woman) has to eat!  After dinner I’m back at the computer until the wee hours of the morning.

So, getting back to my post about my mornings, I get a cup of coffee and creep back under the covers, with some kind of painkiller laying on my tongue, grab my Nook off the bedside table and boot it up. It takes a lot of effort to do any kind of serious work in a timely manner on my Nook because I keep trying to make it behave like  my laptop, and it sometimes pisses me off and dumps whatever I’m writing, like it did this morning.  That is what got out of bed today.

I lay like that for at least an hour, which is why I try my damnedest never to plan on doing anything critical in the morning, and wait for the pain to slowly subside.

Youth – oh how easy things are for you physically when you are young.  Leap tall buildings in a single bound and not break anything on the way down.  The other day I had a minor fall in my mother’s garden, stepping in mulch and my foot sank and my knee bent into a plant and down I went, my body twisting in weird ways, and I couldn’t get up.   I go, SP and MV, (which is the acronym for shit,piss and monkey vomit, taught to me many years ago by my mother, that sweet woman who cringes when I cuss in her presense) And . . . I, in my embarrassment was in full view of the street.  The mulch was soft and I couldn’t get a firm hold on the ground with the foot that wasn’t attached to the knee in the plant (poor plant) and lift my body weight up with the other leg.  Finally, with much grunting, I was able to grab hold of a post and pull myself up.  Two days later and my body is still sore from moving muscles that had been frozen  together during hibernation this winter.  There is more leaping tall building with one bound in my life!

I think of my mother who will be 82 in a few days.  I can see the look on her face at times when a pain somewhere grabs her, and I think OMG and she is 22 years older than I am and if I feel like I do now, what will it feel like then?  But what she has in spades is optimism and a zest, APPRECIATION for being alive that young people just don’t have.

aging gracefully

So, I guess it is a trade-off.  Youth for wisdom. Youth for experience.  Youth for appreciation.  Youth for memories.  IF, when you get old you lose your appreciation for being alive, and lose the ability to have dreams and hopes, if you can no longer look at a flower and just stand there and appreciate the beauty, then you have lost the point of your live and wish it could just-be-over.

Looking back at my life, seeing the things I did, the mistakes I made, the people I loved, (and still do) the lessons I have learned,  spurs me on to keep my dreams alive and to create new ones as I age.  Welcome the lines and wrinkles, the gray hair and the skin that begins to sag because each one is a story in itself.  Through all the experiences I have had made they have made me who I am. Is this called aging gracefully?
aging gracefully

I only wish I could do it with . . . a little less pain.

Why are you writing? Plus a Q and A Interview With a Published Writer on How She writes

How to write a bog,I want to be a writer, Sonni Quick,Sharp Turn to the LeftI guess it all depends on why you’re writing in the first place. I mean, do you really want to write, so you start a blog with absolutely no friggin’ idea of what to write but you have this itch to write something that has the possibility of leaving a part of you permanently in place, for others to read and learn about you even if you depart this earth? How I wish I had the writings, the baring of one’s soul, from people in my past that I am unable to talk to because they are very permanently long gone, unable now to tell me what is in their head. Their fears. Their hopes. Their thoughts of being unable to stop the forward march of death.

A blog is begun. You aren’t sure of what to do, what to write. Can you write? Do you even know where to put a comma? Is your spelling and sentence structure atrocious? Does that even matter? Or do you just think about it for awhile and slowly , bravely, venture into it thinking it would be a really cool thing to do, writing things other people read. And then after a few weeks you go damnza, this is fun! So you learn and learn and try to find out everything you can about writing a blog so you can make it as good as possible, and then wait to see if anyone comes to read it. You enjoy yourself, and think, I could be a writer! You have begun the process of reinventing yourself. I’m a pro at that. It keeps life interesting, constantly challenging yourself to be more than you have been!

To do it right takes a lot of time. It’s like a job, but you don’t get paid money. You do get paid though, in page likes and comments and having interesting conversations with people from all over the world! It’s great for confidence building.  It’s teaches you how to communicate in words.  Learning how to write a blog is different from sending someone a newsy email.   You tell yourself, “I want to be a writer,”  and sometimes you have to reinvent yourself to do that Lastly, yes, blogging is fun.

I never slam out five line blog posts that don’t have a point – somewhere. Some are deeply personal that have  tongues wagging from people I know who say, “How could you write that! What will people say! OOOh well. My life is an open book and I have nothing to hide. I have no need to hide myself from anyone or make excuses for myself. We all make mistakes. But do we learn from them? That’s the key to reinventing yourself and making yourself happy. If other people don’t like it I’m not in control of that.

This is the blog I use to rant and rave and get things off my chest. My other blog is my serious one, the one that matters because there are lives at stake that it will affect. BUT do I take everything I write seriously. Is there a point to all this? Is there a reason I’m still up at 4 AM tweaking my words and researching how to do this right? Yes. Very much, yes. Because I reinvented myself – again – and if I decide to do something I will tear it apart with my teeth. I will grind it up and chew on it like a porkchop bone and obsess on it until it becomes the best I can do. I am addicted to it the way bees are drawn to the nectar of flowers.

I have always quite simply loved to write. To make the thoughts in my mind take concrete form, the same way the notes of my music is a concrete form of my emotions that I can step back from and witness it the and way as strangers.

I knew when I was young, there were different roads I could go down and each road would send my life into a different direction. I loved to dance. Did I want to be a dancer? I did eventually do that – but in strip joints from age 30 until my 40th birthday, quitting before I looked like I should, and was damn good at it. I think there are many women who have wished they looked good enough to dance naked and many women do in the privacy of their own homes.

Sonni Quick, Padre Island, Bahia Mar Hotel
Sonni Quick performing at the Bahia Mar Hotel at Padre Island 1979

This all took place after the years being a professional musician – a singer/keyboard/guitarist  who trashed her vocal cords singing incorrectly in too many smokey clubs. This is why I have the ability now to write the music I do, with the passion I play with.  But back then my ego stopped me from being a sideman to someone and be just a keyboard player who didn’t front the band.  Wrong choice, but I needed to take care of my kids, that’s why I started dancing and made a lot more money than I did as a musician. I never got a single nickle of help from their father. (But today, many years later we are friends. He is their father. Besides, I have become friends with all of my x husband’s.)

Did I want to be an artist? I have untrained talent, if I wanted to use it. My desires were all in the arts. Did I ever even one time ever want to be something like a dental assistant? God no! That thought scared the crap out of me. ( no slam on dental assistants here. We need people who want to be that.) But the thought of me spending my life in something so completely uncreative would have been a living hell for me.  That was my nightmare, waking up living in a track house in a suburb, which I did for a very short time when I tried to have a real job – by society’s standards . I couldn’t live a life with my time so structured and having no flexibility. I needed my life to support my life, to be able to create my income by who I was. Have I been thrown major curveballs? Huge ones. But I pick myself up. Dust myself off. Then I carry on. Sometimes life sucks. Get over it. Treat yourself and go buy a bag of gummy worms.

I went through many life changes. I called them “Sharp Turns to the Left, a title of an autobiography I spent the better part of a year writing fifteen years ago. A book in which I was going to be brutally honest about myself. I had to stop writing it because I thought, “Oh shit, if my mother reads this it would just kill her. She’d die of shock knowing the things her little girl did. “But now, after moving back to within a block of where my mother lives and spending literally hundreds of hours talking, I don’t think there is much I could write now that could shock my mom anymore than I already have, so maybe I could go back now and finish writing about my life – after I finish the book that is devouring me at the moment – InsideOut- with the newly changed working title of – Inside The Forbidden Outside – the nonfiction book about the life of Jamie Cummings. In Huntsville Prison. What guided his life to be where he is and what kind of man did it make him. What kind of man did he become. In our letters he let me into his head no matter how painful it was. You can find links to my other blog, “My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison” on the side of this blog and finding 3 of the chapters I I have posted pretty easily.

So what is the point of this post? I think the point is that we all write for different reasons. Some people write as a career choice, a current career our a hopeful one, like mine. Some write for fun and aren’t interested in branching out and are satisfied with having only WordPress readers, which are indeed valuable worldwide. Some people are excited that something they wrote is on the web for the world to see, and there are some that heal their hearts and minds through writing.  A catharsis takes place. There is a place for every single one of us. Just so long as it brings you benefit of some kind is all that matters.

I was thinking about this today because of this article, a writer I never heard of and thought about how she writes. Her process and went to links of things she wrote. I try to learn something from every writer. How do the structure sentences. How do think about what they mean? I thought, since we’re all a bunch of writers maybe some of you would find value in this article – an interview of how she writes.

So what do you think about it all?  Tell me.

Plus – thank you for getting to the end of this rant and listening to me yammer on . . .

Beyond The New Yorker

vanessaVanessa Grigoriadis—a National Magazine Award-winner who has written dozens of features for New York, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others—is a writer that many of us can envy: Over the years, writing has gotten progressively easier for her. She writes at a freaky-fast pace. And her initial visions for her stories, she says, work out 75 percent of the time. Essentially, a writer’s dream. But Grigoriadis also shares what she finds are the hardest parts of the job and her various quirks (hint: elaborate procrastination), and how, once an aspiring actress, she came to choose writing instead.

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Musings From a Tangled Mind

Credit to: es.fotolia.com
Credit to: es.fotolia.com

Oh, I just love the title of this blog. Maybe it’s because my mind is a bit (a lot) tangled, too.  It’s ‘a bit’ more  than tangled, though. It’s stuffed. So completely stuffed it’s coming out my ears. I wish I had 4 hands so I could write 2 posts at one time – because I have 2 blogs.  I have another blog at http:mynameisjamie.net. about a man in prison in the Wynne Unit at Huntsville Prison in Texas, who once again, for the 3rd time, right after he was allowed to make a phone call for the first time in 9 years, has been tossed into solitary confinement because of lies from a guard.  Guards never lie, though.  They are never wrong.  They always believed. Well, that’s crap.  It’s also why I, too, have a tangled mind.

So, the crux of why I’m writing; I constantly read things about how to write. What words to use or not use.  Creative writing.  Because the more we write the better we get.  I also research how to use social media the right way and I am having another post take off – and it’s not from wordpress readers, although I’m getting views from here as well.  I had another post that took to the universe at the very end of December and so far, that one post, all by itself, brought over 7,000 new readers to my other blog – in one week.  It’s still bringing people in – about 400 in the last ten days.  Now,  my newest post on http://mynameisjamie.net is taking off  brought in over 200 new readers in 2 days.  Read it, would you share it?  People are. and readers are coming in from G+, Pintrest, and google seraches,  Where are your readers coming from?  Are you limiting yourself?  f you want to know what I’m doing, just ask me.

If you look at my end of year post about how I did during 2014 you will see that my stats were about 1900 views.  6 weeks later and I am over 10,100 views.

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I was reading the ‘about me’ page of this new blog I found and I just loved her attitude. I could the smile on her face and excitement about writing. At the time she wrote her ‘about me’ page she probably hadn’t even written her first post yet! There was so much anticipation because the whole world was open to write about.

I told her a few tips I learned.  I don’t even know if she needs these tips, but other people reading this might. I believe it’s important for all of us to pass on the things we learn to each other. Our aha! moments.  I decided to share the comment I left her. You can find her blog at http://musingsfromatangledmind.com Let’s share the fun!!

As I went through my stats today I saw you followed me. I’m not sure which one of my blog’s you read. I didn’t look closely enough. I just tapped your photo to see who you were and started with your about me page. My 2 blogs are http://mynameisjamie.net and http://watchandwhirl.com.  I knew my purpose with the first one. But there were all kinds of things I wanted to write or good posts I wanted to reblog.

The hardest thing when you want to write a blog is how to get started AND figure how to do it. It’s like learning how to put something together. It has too many screws and you have 2 left over you don’t know what to do with. But I promise you – the more you write the better it gets.

Writing tips: Always study what you write. See it as the reader sees it. Edit edit edit. Make sure your punctuation is correct. Remove entirely these 2 words: ‘that’ and ‘really’. These are words I learned along the way and applied to my own writing. What a difference it made!  For the word. ‘really’ find another way to describe what you are ‘really excited about, or ‘I really want to. . .’. The word ‘that’ is just totally unnecessary.

I will be back. I promise!