Monnette's Blog

Monnette's Blog

Inspiration Comes in Many Ways

Written By: Monnette Sudler-Honesty

On August 15th, 2014 the world lost a wonderful, outstanding musician and man violinist/pianist John Blake. I remember John from way back when I first started out. My first gig  as a leader was at the Black Tea House run by pianist Alfie Pollitt and his wife. Even back then Alfie was into eating healthy and he continues to be on that journey. I heard John jamming on piano and violin at the Black Tea House. He was amazing. Over the years we played together on different events which was always a pleasure. He always seemed to be working on a project in addition to his gigs with McCoy Tyner for example. I admired John. I can't say we spoke often mostly in passing. The thing is that last year the later part of 2013 when I needed help he was there along with many others. My friends/sisters Trapeta and Denise planned a benefit for me, Jazz Bridge also was of a great support. I was diagnosed with IPF, Idiopatheic Pulmonary Fibrosis. The benefit was per-transplant, Denise called John to play among others, he agreed and contributed monetarily as well! The entire club had prayer lead by Veronica Underwood and Steve Green. It was amazing and so moving! Two weeks later I received a double lung transplant! God is so good and prayer works. So when I received a message saying John was in the hospital I made sure I visited him. I had known he was having health challenges so I would call him periodically to ask how he was doing. Sometimes we would compare notes about our health issues, like giving ourselves a belly shot. The thought of it creeped me out. But with the help of Trapeta's sister Dun-weah I did it.  Giving myself a needle in my belly was a challenge and John was about to go through the same thing. He wanted to know what it was like. When I visited him at the hospital the first time he was having his dialysis treatment and was not in his room. I stayed and talked with Barbara his wife. She is a lovely person. As per the family's request I called prior to visiting and made no big announcements on social media and such. John and I had a good visit the following week. I had never had the opportunity to talk with John other then on a superficial level on the job or in passing. We talked about our health compared notes, talked about music, life experiences. When I talked about finding a job, right when I was about to correct myself we both said not a job but opportunities. John nodded in affirmation. In speaking to others about John he seemed to have the ability to make everyone feel special. What a gift. Each individuals health issues have different challenges. I tried to encourage John but I could see he was tired. We all deal with illness in our on way. I was still surprised to learn of John's passing. I had a message from Akif saying Kenny Kellum called to say John had passed on. Then he called me. I had just left a rehearsal with Barbara Mills in Chester when I listened to his message. I pulled over and thought to call Sumi Tonooka because she was friends with John. We had only spoken about John a few days before planning to visit Him together while she was in town. I was shook up. While attending John's funeral I learned so much about John the man. At different times in my life I have been inspired by someone who probably without their knowledge had encouraged me to fight. My sons Erik and Lemar Honesty have always been my muse. John is now my inspiration. I keep his program/obituary close. I look at his photo holding his violin, his bow seemingly pointing at me, with his infectious smile, motivating me to get off my butt and get it done! I can do it, create opportunities and be ready when an opportunity arises. I have another chance. I cannot waste it. Not  now, not ever. Not anymore.

John Blake


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