Jodi Hills

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

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I was walking this morning, listening to a podcast. The host of Armchair Expert, Dax, told a story about an elephant. He went to the zoo and was watching the trainer scrub down the elephant.  To clean them, they put a chain around one leg that is attached to a pole. Dax asked, couldn’t they just pull that pole out of the ground if they wanted?”  “Oh, sure,” the trainer replied, “but they don’t. “The elephants are treated this way from the time they are babies.  And when they are young, they aren’t strong enough to pull out the pole. So after trying and trying, they eventually give up. When they are older and stronger, when they actually could pull out the pole, they don’t even try anymore because they were taught over and over, that they weren’t strong enough.
Wow.  Just let that get in. Think of what you were taught. Think of what you were told. By a parent. A sibling. A teacher. A peer. It is so easy for us to stop tugging at the pole.  But I am here to tell you differently. You ARE strong enough. Try. And try again.  
You decide who you are. What you are. No chains on that. You ARE strong enough.  Pull. You ARE brave enough. Kick. The pole loosens. You ARE smart enough. Dig deep inside. The pole resists. And you say, enough. You kick again. You ARE enough. The pole releases.  
Look, I’m not different from you.  I’ve pulled away from so many poles. The ones that said you aren’t special. You aren’t good enough. You’re nothing. But there was a small voice inside of me that heard something different. It told my hands to paint. To write. To break free. To astonish. If you need to hear a voice until yours is louder, listen to mine. You have been given a gift – a gift that makes believing possible. Use it. Be it. Share it freely with this world. Break free the chain. Astonish. astonish book real


Wild flowers and John Prine.

I was twenty something when I first heard a John Prine song.  A summer day on the back of motorcycle.  Backroads of Wayzata, Minnesota.  A place where songs, if you really heard them, were written just for you. A part time model and handyman was driving the Indian motorcycle.  (Maybe he too, was just hanging on.)  He was every cool kid I never dated in high school.  The sun was back-of-the-neck hot and the music that played in our helmets said, “I only wanna dance with you” … and I felt pretty.  Not like in the magazines.  Not photo shoot pretty – but wild flower.  Side of the road, blowing in the breeze, captured in a passing glance from a rearview mirror, pretty.

At this same time, not by chance, I was coming into my life.  These songs that spoke honestly.  These songs that made you laugh and helped you cry.  These songs, these summer days, these people, were not just opening roads, they were building them, and telling me to ride on.  I was meeting, listening to, gazing at, artists of all kinds.  These were days of museums and book stores and record shops.  These were days of restaurants that smelled of bread baking, last nights dreams and spilled drinks.  Everything was in bloom.  And John Prine sang of Paradise.

Everything I saw and touched and heard was giving me permission to be myself.  It was suddenly (and a long time coming) OK to be yourself and fall in love with your own life.  That was the gift, I suppose.  That was the awakening.  I hear a John Prine song now and all roads are open.  The music flows through me like a summer breeze. I am a world away and exactly where I’m supposed to be. I see myself.  And I feel… everything.  A breeze kisses my face.  John Prine sings, “Come on home. Just come on home.” I am there.  Home.  And life is, in fact, wild flower pretty.


“I saw the world and found my heart.  I found my heart and became part of the world.”  jodi hills