Jodi Hills

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


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Delicious

It’s natural to want someone to love what you love. Most afternoons, my husband and I enjoy iced vanilla lattes. I love being the barista. I measure, and pour and stir. The color fits perfectly into my most calming palette. It is cool and soothing, and I’ll say it – extremely delicious! I am proud of it. I delight in it. I want to share it!

When she came over in the afternoon, I thought I would surprise her with this tremendous gift. I was sure she would say, “Wow!” as I do every day with each sip. I poured and measured and stirred with anticipation. Upon entering our salon, I offered up my most treasured afternoon delight. “Oh, no…” she waved it off, “I don’t like milk with my coffee.” Oh, no? How could this be? No wow? I hadn’t seen this coming at all. The conversation moved on and I stood motionless with a latte in each hand.

I’ll admit it stung for a minute. I think my first reaction is, you don’t like me? We probably all have that reaction on some level. This is something, I, we, need to get over. We don’t all like the same things. We don’t even like the same people, but we can still come together. We can still enjoy what we enjoy. And let others enjoy what they enjoy. Believe what they believe. Love who they love. We can do this, if we make the effort.

We all enjoyed a day in the sun. In the pool. I roasted marshmallows over an open flame. Some people love them. She did. I don’t really, and yet she still likes me. I smile. We can do this.


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The good seeds.

Words are like seeds. They all grow. You tell someone something good, and they think about it. They smile. And those seeds are watered. But you must know, the same thing happens when you say something bad. And I’m not sure why, but those seeds, man, do they have the power to grow fast.

You can get yourself so entangled in their stems and leaves and branches, and soon, there you are, just stuck in them. I don’t want you to be be stuck there. I know what they said is hurtful. And it makes me sad…well, truthfully, it makes me angry. And I think maybe you need a little truth now. You need to know that you are really something.

And I’m not going to wasted my time here saying, “Oh, they are just ignorant, or living in fear…” Whatever. What I know for sure is, they are wrong. They are simply wrong.

I know you. I see you. I see your heart. You are beautiful, inside and out. Done. That is the truth. I will never tire of telling you the truth. And I will cut those hurtful words down. I will pull out every weed. You are free. They say the truth will do that, and I guess they are right. You are beautiful. You are bound by nothing. The wonderful thing about good words – the good seeds – you can just let them grow. And on the days that you need a little reminder, there they are – in full bloom. Just like you.


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Play the way you feel.

Today’s subject was obvious. Too obvious. Blowing at furious speeds, seemingly in every direction on my morning walk. The wind. I have written about the wind for years. I know this subject. My first poem framed was this:

It was so windy that day,

I couldn’t stand up straight.

It blew my hair this way and that way,

and sucked the tears right out of my eyes.

It was so windy that day,

I tried to tell you I loved you,

but you couldn’t hear me.

Deaf to my cries, your ears heard a different calling.

It was so windy that day.

On hands and knees I crawled to your side.

I reached up to you, begged you to hang on.

I closed my eyes with visions of our hands joined,

like they were before the storm.

The wind shook my insides, leaving me hollow.

I opened my eyes and you were gone.

It was so windy that day.

What used to blow through me, now gives me wings.

It hangs in my mother’s apartment. I know this wind that beats against my face today. But the podcast I was listening to, told me to do just that — listen.

NPR was reviewing the life of pianist, keyboardist and composer Chick Corea who died last week at the age of 79. To be honest, I recognized the name only because my nephew posted about this loss to the jazz community, to the music world, to his world. My nephew lives in this sound. He listens, he loves, he creates. This is the wind that blows through him, every day.

I guess the only way to really know people is to listen. I want to know him. I want to know my family. I want them to know me. So I listen. The podcast continued and I walked. Corea passes through Latin bands and I walk. Straight-ahead jazz bands, and I walk. Miles Davis joins him, and I keep walking. He plays through Mozart and Monk and I keep walking. I walked much longer than I had planned, because I was now being carried by the music. That is how, I imagine, my nephew Vincent feels, to be carried by the music.

I am not a musician. Oh, I played the clarinet in the high school band and now it serves as eclectic decor in our library, but I don’t live in the music – I live in the paint, the word. But I am not trapped in this world. I am free, and I am lucky to visit all the worlds around me. What a pleasure to travel in another world. Learn a bit of the language. The reviewer said that diversity was Corea’s greatest strength. Maybe that is true for us all.

Play the way you feel, and then listen.