Jodi Hills

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

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Already flying


The groups had already formed in high school. In this small school of a small town, the grouping off included — the athletes, the musicians, the scholars, and the good looking, the smokers, the rich, and the poor, and the religious and the lost. We disguised all the groups, covered up the broken hearts and broken homes with silk graduation gowns and marched through the gymnasium. We flung our tasseled hats as they flung us out the double doors, and we began again.

Dorothy Parker wrote the words that I copied from the school library and placed in my pocket —

“Once when I was young and true.
Someone left me sad —
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.”

I crumpled the paper and left for college. It was freeing this life. To begin again. To learn again. But still the groups formed as we thought we were making such grown up choices. Gown and hats, this time in the outdoor courtyard. They said words I don’t remember in microphones and flung us off again.

Without knowledge or permission, I began living the second half of the poem,

“Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.”

So if I wasn’t to be flung, or do the flinging, where did I fit in?

We are all trying to find our way. We get tossed into groups and stereotypes. Lost in should-haves and supposed-tos. And the only way that I can see to survive is to keep learning. What a glorious thing to keep learning. To get beyond the first half of the poem. Beyond the second. To write your own. And write it again. No more gowns to hide behind. No more, this need to be flung…because I was already flying, no need to fling, there was room for all of us.

What a thing it is to fly. I write the words, and begin again.



On our last trip to the US, we had a bit of a snag. (I can say that now, at the time it felt completely devastating.) After leaving Minnesota, we flew to New Orleans. As per usual, my husband kept our passports in his large pockets, for their constant referral. The next day he asked, “Do you have your passport?” “No, you haven’t given it back.” And so the nightmare began. Tears and panic. Because for me, no passport meant, no going home to France. And oh, how my mind raced. Do I live here, by myself, in New Orleans… no, I could make the next flight without my passport to New York, but I can’t live there…check the website… 7 weeks… I can’t live here 7 weeks… We made more phone calls. 

We still had two weeks left of vacation. We didn’t want to ruin every day. So we moved on. Got our car. Started our wandering as planned. Made it to Mississippi – we so wanted to see Laurel. But it was looming. A dark passport cloud. Tiny bits of hope from phone calls – possible emergency status… but the looming.  We loved Laurel. Such a great city. We were enjoying it. After two days, in our hotel morning routine, somewhere between yoga and showers, I saw him standing there, holding a blue square in the air. My passport. I fell to my knees in joy! If ever I had had a Dorothy moment, this indeed was my Wizard of OZ. It had been with us all along, buried deep in his carry bag. “You’ve always had the power, my dear…” (Glinda, the good witch, was so right.)

I’m not sure how many times I need to learn this lesson…

Yesterday (home in France) I was working on a computer project for hours. It just wasn’t coming together. I knew there had to be a way. But it just wasn’t clicking. I was just about to give up. And there it was. What if I did this, moved this, and yes, wrap this around the tripod, light this, move that, photo this, first, illustrator, no, photoshop, no, yes, indesign — there. There it is. I smiled. “Oh, Dorothy!”

Today’s sun is rising. I don’t have all the answers, but maybe, just maybe, with each day, I trust myself a little more and I believe a little deeper, and just a little sooner. I’ve got this! We’ve got this! Straight from within. “Good morning, my dear!”