Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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Plain to see.

I suppose it all takes time. To see the ordinary. And to appreciate it. Those of you that follow me here, have come, I hope, to know my grandparents, my mother, my schoolmates, and teachers. Some might say “just plain folks.” And that’s probably true. But maybe that’s the real beauty of it all. To find the spectacular in farmers, housewives and receptionists. To see the extraordinary in the daily living.

And in seeing them, it helps me see myself. Helps me find the gratitude of the day given. Of the toast for breakfast. The smell of coffee. The hand that reaches out for mine.

I am reading the book, “Love, Kurt (The Vonnegut Love Letters). I have this book, only because I have a special friend. Last year, together with our husbands, we went to Stillwater, MN. My friend and I stood in the bookstore as if before the Christmas morning tree. So many gifts in front of us, we had a hard time deciding. We each settled on our present. I loved her choice as much as mine. This year, she gave her book to me. Those simple words don’t seem to give it enough meaning, but I will tell you that it fills my heart. It brings me back to a laughter filled day on brisk streets and slow choices. It, for me too, is a love letter.

In the book, Kurt Vonnegut writes with his young pen, to his young wife, “Angel, will you stick by me if it goes backwards and downwards? Holy smokes, Angel: what if I turn out to be just plain folks?” Tears fill my eyes. I imagine we’ve all had the worries. Will I be special enough to be loved?

It’s these memories, of course, that give me that comfort. That give me the yes. My heart is packed full of the love from these glorious and plain folks. And I have loved them. Love them still. And I am one. Proud to be living with these extraordinary people. It is plain to see, they, we, are more than enough to be loved.

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Beating Ben Franklin.

It’s probably the worst time to tell you this, but it is true, I never had a Barbie. I don’t remember ever even wanting one.

There was nearly an entire row dedicated to the Barbie world at our local Ben Franklin store. Straight down from the candy. I saw classmates ooohing and aaahing and but, please, mommy-ing as they fogged the plastic containers. I was always two aisles over. In the craft section. Glues and paint and glitter and paper. All I ever wanted to do was make something.

The first time I opened a “grab bag” from Ben Franklin with my grandma during the summer Crazy Days Sale and found the plastic face glued to the crocheted Kleenex box holder, I was hooked. It wasn’t that I loved that “prize.” No, far from it. But I knew, even at 5 years old, I could do much better. I would beat Ben Franklin with their own supplies.

While my friends filled sacks of penny candy to go to the matinee at the Cinema next door, I wandered over to my aisle. I was often alone, or with a grandma look alike who nodded in my direction, understanding the addiction, smiling as if to say it would never end. And it hasn’t. I need to make something every day.

Sure my “aisles” have changed. The daily creation may be making a frame from reclaimed wood. Stretching a canvas. Painting a portrait. Making jam. Writing on scraps of paper with words that glitter in sweet alliteration. Living not in Barbie’s dream world, but certainly mine.

They won’t make a movie about a half-faced plastic girl stuck to a Kleenex box holder.
But I’ll be more than ok. I found my inspiration long ago. I smile as the words rhyme again and again in my head – glitter and “alliter”…. What a theme song!

I’ve had my breakfast of yesterday’s art – homemade bread and jam. I am sugared pink and ready to start the day! Let’s make something of it!