Monday, December 29, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Bright New Year
to All of Our Wonderful Friends!!!
We send you love and hugs.
Peace and happiness,
Jeni & Billy too
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
Yesterday, Billy helped me hang the tie-dye banner that I made with my lovely friend Deborah and her son, Nathan, out in California. I always wanted something festive for the bare spot above our kitchen cabinets. And it was a great way to celebrate paying one fourth of what we were paying for healthcare! Feeling very grateful. Sending love out there in the world.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
I finally have health insurance that I can afford.
Until today, health insurance was the single greatest expense in my monthly budget after food. Sometimes, I worried that I might be forced to go without healthcare to keep making art, or give up my dream and get a more traditional job in order to pay for healthcare.
Today, when I signed up, I discovered that I no longer have to face that choice.
I can still pursue my dreams
AND have healthcare, too. I am so happy I could cry!
Thank you, Mr President, and
all of those whose votes will change my life for the better.
Go sign up by December 15 if you want your coverage to begin on January 1. You may be just as surprised as I was that affordable health care is within your reach!!!
Friday, December 12, 2014
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Last tour report from Memphis, Tennessee, PLUS how to order the beautiful book of these reports: In Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 7th grade I sewed a dress to get into a special writing program for 8th grade. I'm not sure how my sewing proved I was qualified as a poet, but seemingly my jury was as sideways-thinking as I was and I got in. Armed with my new cowgirl dress, I was ready to write poetry. I had decided I was a shoo-in because I had dutifully copied down all of the lyrics from Mom and Dad's Simon & Garfunkel Bookends record. What more training did I really need? I'd been writing stories in the blue notebook that my dad got me and I had memorized all of the lyrics to Jose Quervo with Shelly West as my mentor. Plus, I had gone a step further and created an interpretive dance illustrating the finer points of that song. I was on my way as a writer.
Due to an over-indulgence in Nilsson, the Rolling Stones' Greatest Hits, and Simon & Garfunkel and the pressure my southern gothic heritage, my poems tended to focus a little too much on mental institutions. But Madonna and Cyndi Lauper made sure I didn't neglect love poetry as well. God bless the people who bought my poetry collection at the Las Cruces Mall one Sunday when I set up shop in front of the Hallmark store.
But everyone starts somewhere, even champion ping pong players.
I started these tour reports by accident two months ago with a report on giving a tour of the Airstream in Arkansas to a group of women in pink track suits. It has been a happy accident because I have enjoyed writing them and I have especially loved your responses. The reports have made me put on my writer's hat nearly every day and because of that I have felt more of a writer than ever which is a ecstatic state of being for me.
This has been a marvelous tour which is not to say it hasn't had it's challenges. The oil light in the Jeep has a mind of it's own popping on whenever it wants. The coolant had to be topped off every 800 miles. The Airstream fridge stopped working a week ago. Last night the tread blew off an airstream tire and took out part of the septic system with it. The check engine light has been on for the last five days and there's a very squeaky sound coming from the engine. And Billy broke a tooth on a hard tortilla chip! But all of this can be fixed and it's part of the territory that comes with being on tour for two months. It's good to keep in mind if you are thinking of being a wayfarer yourself. It's not all sunsets and big nights of music.
But our experience over these 8500 miles has certainly exceeded all of our imaginings and we've made new friends and drawn closer to our old ones. We are very grateful to all who have housed us, made meals, or looked after us in your own particular way. We are thankful for the prayers and positivity.
I am truly thrilled that you all have traveled with us through my reports. Thank you for reading and for liking and commenting. You have brought me so much happiness.
HOW TO BUY THE FIRST EDITION OF MY REPORTS IN A BOOK:
I am going to publish these reports in a beautiful boutique magazine format as well as a PDF of that magazine. It will include all of the reports and photos as well as additional musings and photos from the tour. Some of you have expressed an interest in seeing this come to fruition. If I can see that I have at least 10 people interested in a copy of the printed book, that will reduce my cost. The print magazine will cost $22.50 with USA shipping ($10 for printing, $10 for my writings & time to design it, $2.50 for shipping), the PDF will cost $15. International costs below.
I've done a lot of research on this and $10 is the very best price I can get for printing a full color book.
If you could let me know if you would be interested in either format by comment or direct message, I would be glad, then I can get an idea of the interest out there and decide on my print run. Or if you want to pre-order and HELP OFFSET the up front cost of printing, you can send the money to firstname.lastname@example.org via Paypal.
Shipping to Canada would be $8, so the cost is $28, shipping to the rest of the world outside the USA & Canada will be $10, so the total cost is $30. PDF version is $15 no matter where you are. All print orders will also come with the PDF version to read on computers or tablets. Special offer to those in Britain: I can bring your print copy with me across the pond in May and send you the PDF until then to save on shipping, if you like. EXPECTED delivery time is the end of January!
I would LOVE to do this.
Photo from Old Mesilla in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Thanks to Fur Dixon for the lovely dress!
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Tour report from somewhere on I-30 south of Little Rock, Arkansas: Obligatory flat tire has occurred only a day away from Nashville. And here we thought we'd been ignored by the Poseidon of flat tires who looks like the Michelin Man, but carries a spear for tire puncturing. See, now we've really "toured" as a musical group for the last two months! This cements it. As the sign recommends on the Motorways of Britain, we "await rescue" from Good Sam's emissary.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
© 2014 by Jeni Hankins, for text, recording, and photo
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Special Birthday report from just outside Joshua Tree National Park, California: Happy Birthday to my mother, Marcella Hankins. My mother solves problems in the night. We can be puzzling over a quilt pattern or how to build a new wall for my laundry room and, in the morning, she has the answer. She remembers all kinds of names of people and places. Her brain is buzzing all of the time with encyclopedic knowledge of everything from where I accidentally hid my rotary cutter from myself 400 miles away in Nashville to complex multi-step stain removal.
When I was working on my novel a few weeks ago, I was speaking to her about my characters' nicknames and she came up with perfect Christian names for them and a couple of plot points as well. She did that in the middle of talking about the next animated movie that was coming out that she wanted to see with my Dad and talking about my dress for the Big Picnic Band Concert.
We sometimes call my mom, Martha Junior, because she knows as much about crafts and decorating as Martha Stewart, but she's way funnier. My mom laughs and laughs just like her mom. The biggest bone in her body is her funny bone.
When I was a kid, my mom could make a coloring book page into a true work of art. She was the master of the coloring book in our house. She brought the scarecrow and Dorothy to life --even coloring Toto seven different colors of brown, black, and grey until he was ready to sit down on the page and bark.
My mom can pack a suitcase better than a salesman who flies five days a week. It's down to my mom's training that I was able to fly a hand crank sewing machine home from England and make the flight attendants reminisce about their mums sewing clothes for them when they were toddlers rather than fretting over my baggage weight. My mother has never surrendered a souvenir of foreign or domestic travel at the hands of a ticketing agent and I am determined to follow in her footsteps.
People ask me how I learned to tell stories and I can only explain that I come from a colorful family which makes for an endless supply of material, but that I also have a mother who read to me, who taught reading to other children, and who treasures books, especially children's books, like other people treasure gold or fresh air.
My mom is a quilter, a newspaper publisher, a photographer, a comedian, a master of pies, a vanquisher of stains, a house painter, a gardener, a movie nut, and, with my sister, my best girl friend. She has been cracking me up for a long time now and I expect there are many more hijinks, quilts, and pies up her sleeve.
To Marcella Hankins, Happy Birthday, long may you laugh. I love you, Mom.
Photo of Mom and me having a deep consultation about millinery at Davidson College.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
Short report from Pasadena, California:
When your dreams come true,
sing a new old tune,
wear a yellow dress,
bring your friends,
so they can dream with you.
When dreams comes true,
have your true love by your side,
wear a yellow dress,
and have your heart open wide.
The Big Picnic Band at Caltech on November 15, 2014 -- including fellow dreamers, Craig Eastman, Dave Way, Dillon O'Brian & Denny Weston Jr. (special guest Carolyn Baker not pictured here). Also not pictured, dreamer Alison Moynihan-Eastman, right hand woman, and dreamer Patricia VanOver, Filming guru.
Photo by dreamer and songstress, Fur Dixon.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Birthday Tour Report from Los Angeles, California: Happy Birthday to my Dad, Greg Hankins!
When I was seven, my Dad took me to a graduate seminar in religion at Harvard, where he was a student. I played with my Raggedy Ann doll and colored in the corner of the room. I was home sick from elementary school, my mom was at work, and there were no sitters available, so I went to Harvard for the day.
I saw how serious the students were and I listened to my Dad talk with a voice that has always sounded kind and tree-like to me. I couldn't easily understand what they were speaking about, but I loved the music of their discussion. I also noticed they were all writing things down. Their paper was not grey with big lines like mine, but white with skinny lines and all bound together. I had discovered the notebook.
After class, I asked my Dad for a notebook and he took me to The Coop in Harvard Square. When we got home, I asked him what I should write in it. He said, "Write me a story." So, I wrote about Will and Dill, two pickles who were forgotten in the back of the fridge. My next story was about kumquats. And so it began, my life of finding the best words.
Here's to my Dad who taught me to write and to play music, who sang to me, and sang with me -- to my Dad who took me to concerts and festivals, plays and museums. When I sat with my Dad in the Old-time tent at Merlefest, I had an epiphany about poetry, art, and music, and found my calling -- this calling.
The other day I was trying to tell my Dad this without making him feel too sheepish and he said, "Well, I took you to NASCAR, too, so you could have gone in a whole nother direction."
That's my Dad!
Photo: Starting my education early at Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, at my Dad's graduation.