Jodi Hills

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


A drawer full of clean underpants. (or I voted)

I will be the first to admit that I love a drawer full of clean underpants.  I washed a load today, hung them on the line.  A soft breeze and autumn sun dried them as the delicates they are, and I filled the top drawer of my bedroom dresser.  For the next luxurious 17 to 24 days, I can reach in without a second thought and start my day.  Heaven.  
There is a craze right now for The Home Edit.  An organizational wonder.  An everything in its place extravaganza.  As one who celebrates the beauty of a drawer full of clean underpants, of course I am not immune to the seductive qualities of a clean closet, pantry, and/or kitchen cupboard.  I watched the full series of The Home Edit on Netflix, and continue to follow them on Instagram.  My honey now rests separately, but just next to the vanilla.  My shoes do not touch each other.  My blouses, pants and coats are color coordinated and my jeans lay neatly beside.  
It is aesthetically pleasing, for sure.  But maybe, and I can only speak for me, the real joy is in the control.  I have the power to sort, combine, display, any way I want.  I can create it just the way I want it, and it makes me happy.  Each morning when I easily pull a pair of shoes from the closet, I smile and clutch my heart, and I am saved.  
I cannot control the election, the pandemic, the wild fires, nor the floods.  So maybe I take a little extra care of finding that peace of mind in my closets, in my life.  The world is pretty crazy now.  We are not in control, but we can still make a difference.  We can be the example we want to see.  We can live the best lives we know how.  We can listen, learn, love, as if it all makes a difference… because it does.  It truly matters.  And so today, I filled my drawer with clean underpants.  I filled out my ballot.  And I voted.  I may not have control, but I have a voice.  You can see it in my house, my art, and in my vote.  


Let it be me.

I was listening to Michelle Wolf on Youtube yesterday, and oh, she was funny.  That kind of funny that is so close to the truth… so close that it makes you laugh really hard, and then nervously, and then… well you start to think.  She was making a joke, and/or a point about how we are blaming a lot on men these days, especially white men, (and not without reason), but she goes on to say that white women have to admit that they are part of the problem… and she responds for them, “Me????  You can’t blame me!!!!???…  I didn’t do ANYTHING.”  Pause.  “Yes. Exactly.

It’s so easy to blame everyone else for everything.  “Well, they didn’t… they shouldn’t have…”  Maybe it’s time we look within.  What did I do?  What could I do?  This is the hard part, because it involves work.  But this is the glorious part, because it matters.  It matters what we say, and what we do.  And we can have fun along the way.  This can be joyous.  And we can laugh.  And we can do more.  Today I’m going to be strong enough to forget the “Why me?” and embrace the “Let it be me.”  And I’m going to fail, and laugh, and fall, and get up again, and win a little, and smile a little, and love a lot, and try a little more.  And it’s going to matter… no kidding.  


September swim

They laughed a little louder, they cried a little softer, they lived a little stronger, because they stood together…friends.
I never remember until September, that summer is actually going to end.  I go out early morning.  The sun is lower, barely making it above the pool house.  It flickers, with promise, and I sit down to open the cover.  It’s cooler now, the September morning.  I put two towels around me as the cover spins slowly, revealing the blue, inch by inch.  Is it taking longer to open?  No.  Patience.  A little steam rises. But patience is fleeting.  Or is it the time?  Summer, ever since I can remember was fast.  Off the school bus, into the water, back on the school bus.  Still that fast.  No bus waiting for me now.  I have more time.  Am I using it?  Did I enjoy the pool every day?  I did.  Didn’t I?  I did.  Two three times a day.  Alone.  With the kids.  With my husband. Lap by lap.  Lounge by lounge.  It was beautiful.  I am grateful.  I want more still.  I want to keep it alive.  Can I be grateful and ask for more?  I think I can.  I hope I can.  I am.  Asking for more.  I goggle and step inside.  First step feels warm.  The same temperature for the pool is always warmer with the cool September air.  Second step faster.  Then dive in.  I’m under.  I wrapped.  I’m gathered in.  The sun dances above me.  My thoughts dance just as quickly.  I lose track of my laps and just swim.  September and I hold on.
I don’t remember how many years we have been friends.  Seems like forever.  And always.  Coffee and Sundance catalogs.  Laughter and hopes, all shared in brown leather lounge chairs.  Finished and unfinished sentences, no meaning ever lost.  Until now.  It started slowly, just little things forgotten, addresses, phone numbers, dates.  It didn’t really even register with me.  Until this visit.  She forgot her own address.  Forgot where she used to live.  Forgot how to email now.  Forgot how to call.  And my friend disappeared.  Did I enjoy her friendship every day?  The time we had?  I did.  Didn’t I?  I email memories and pictures with no answers.  I email more. I am grateful to have had such a friend.  Can I be grateful and ask for more?  I do.  I send another email.  And hang on.  There’s the snow, now, my friend.  It’s OK.  Summer, in my heart, will never end.  


And so she would dance.

ballet dancer ny“No one expected me. Everything awaited me.”
― Patti Smith, Just Kids

I had packed it all securely on a pallet.  Circled and circled with shrink wrap.  Paintings and dreams deserve extra protection.
The Statue of Liberty was standing just for me.  I couldn’t tell if the other passengers on the plane knew it, but I was sure.
I hung the dancer center stage, per her request.  She stood there with such confidence, (Lady Liberty like) that she almost made me believe, I too, belonged here.  She sold immediately.  People actually bid higher for her.  My heart became the dancer she always believed she could be.
Last night I watched Restless Creature on Netflix.  It is the story of Wendy Whelan, of the New York City Ballet.  I have always been inspired by dancers.  The movement.  The strength.  The vulnerability.  That’s, I think, what makes a great painting.  Movement, strength, vulnerability.  Maybe it’s not just for art.  Maybe that’s what makes a good human.
There is so much to inspire us to be more.  To be better.  Look around.  Read more.  In the book, Just Kids, by Patti Smith, she takes us back to a New York when all the artists lived and gathered and worked together.  Poets, dancers, painters, writers, chefs, musicians.  They inspired and lifted.  They were curious and empathetic.  They rose.  They lived.
I encourage you to read more.  Listen to more music.  Bake your own bread.  Sing.  Dance.  Pick up a pencil.  Hand write a letter.  Sketch.  Plant flowers.  Listen just a little deeper.  Love deeper still.  Do the unexpected.  Be the unexpected.  Everything awaits.