YourCreativeChord Podcast

Episode #45 Embracing Care, Creativity, & Diversity: Conversations with Jill Hodge Pt 1

May 14, 2024 YourCreativeChord Podcast by Jenny Leigh Hodgins/Guest Jill Hodge of Let The Verse Flow Podcast Season 2 Episode 45
Episode #45 Embracing Care, Creativity, & Diversity: Conversations with Jill Hodge Pt 1
YourCreativeChord Podcast
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YourCreativeChord Podcast
Episode #45 Embracing Care, Creativity, & Diversity: Conversations with Jill Hodge Pt 1
May 14, 2024 Season 2 Episode 45
YourCreativeChord Podcast by Jenny Leigh Hodgins/Guest Jill Hodge of Let The Verse Flow Podcast

YourCreativeChord Podcast host Jenny Leigh Hodgins welcomes Jill Hodge, the creative force behind Let the Verse Flow Podcast. Join Jenny Leigh and Jill as they explore the transformative power of poetry, personal growth, and creativity. 

Drawing from her experiences as a caregiver and her late-blooming passion for creative expression, Jill shares insights into how caregiving has shaped her approach to creativity and personal development. From navigating life's ups and downs to empowering others through poetry, Jill's journey is both inspiring and thought-provoking.

Together, Jenny Leigh and Jill delve into the role of creative expression in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. They discuss strategies for navigating discussions on these topics and offer valuable advice for listeners seeking to engage more deeply with issues of diversity and personal growth.

Through candid conversations and heartfelt reflections, Jenny Leigh and Jill highlight the importance of welcoming diverse perspectives in fostering creativity and enriching the collective dialogue within the creative community.

Listen in as they explore the impact of music on enhancing emotional resonance in poetry. Learn about Jill's process for selecting music to complement her work. Find out how the Let the Verse Flow Podcast is shaping the landscape of creative expression and personal development for listeners.

Connect with Jill Hodge of Let The Verse Flow Podcast:

Support the Show.

Follow my podcast for motivational insights, practical tips, and stories on creative flow and inspired living. Please leave a review to help me support more people in nurturing creativity and inspiration. Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with 5 stars, and select 'Write a Review.' Share what you loved most about the episode!

Sun & Bloom © 2016 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Finding Spring © 2016 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
All Content © 2024 Jenny Leigh Hodgins,
All Rights Reserved

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Show Notes Transcript

YourCreativeChord Podcast host Jenny Leigh Hodgins welcomes Jill Hodge, the creative force behind Let the Verse Flow Podcast. Join Jenny Leigh and Jill as they explore the transformative power of poetry, personal growth, and creativity. 

Drawing from her experiences as a caregiver and her late-blooming passion for creative expression, Jill shares insights into how caregiving has shaped her approach to creativity and personal development. From navigating life's ups and downs to empowering others through poetry, Jill's journey is both inspiring and thought-provoking.

Together, Jenny Leigh and Jill delve into the role of creative expression in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. They discuss strategies for navigating discussions on these topics and offer valuable advice for listeners seeking to engage more deeply with issues of diversity and personal growth.

Through candid conversations and heartfelt reflections, Jenny Leigh and Jill highlight the importance of welcoming diverse perspectives in fostering creativity and enriching the collective dialogue within the creative community.

Listen in as they explore the impact of music on enhancing emotional resonance in poetry. Learn about Jill's process for selecting music to complement her work. Find out how the Let the Verse Flow Podcast is shaping the landscape of creative expression and personal development for listeners.

Connect with Jill Hodge of Let The Verse Flow Podcast:

Support the Show.

Follow my podcast for motivational insights, practical tips, and stories on creative flow and inspired living. Please leave a review to help me support more people in nurturing creativity and inspiration. Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with 5 stars, and select 'Write a Review.' Share what you loved most about the episode!

Sun & Bloom © 2016 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Finding Spring © 2016 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
All Content © 2024 Jenny Leigh Hodgins,
All Rights Reserved

Embracing Care Jill Hodge Pt 1

[00:00:00] Jenny Leigh: Welcome back to YourCreativeChord Podcast, where creativity and inspiration meet transformation. I'm your host, Jenny Leigh Hodgins, and today I am excited to have an especially creative guest with us. Jill Hodge is a writer, poet, and host of Let The Verse Flow podcast. It's a podcast that blends storytelling, spoken word poetry, and music to inspire creative self care.

[00:00:30] Let The Verse Flow podcast is one of my personal new favorite podcasts. So much of Jill's content speaks directly to my heart and creative spirit and has been one of my own sources of self care. It's hugely therapeutic to listen to her podcast. Jill Hodge's journey into poetry and podcasting is deeply rooted in her experiences as a caregiver and her late blooming passion for creative expression.

[00:00:55] Drawing inspiration from her mother's artistic endeavors and her own journey of [00:01:00] self discovery, Jill Hodge's Jill brings a unique perspective to our conversation today. Please join me in welcoming New Yorker Jill Hodge to YourCreativeChord podcast. 

[00:01:11] Jill: Hi, Jenny. Thanks so much for that beautiful introduction.

[00:01:13] Yes, I am a New Yorker. I think people will hear my accent. Um, even though I, I don't think I have an accent, but I've been told I do. 

[00:01:21] Jenny Leigh: You do. Okay. Okay. Well, I want to jump right into it because you have so much to offer and we have a lot to cover in today's interview. I want to talk first about connection through caregiving because we have that mutuality.

[00:01:34] We both are caregivers for our mothers. Our specifics and journeys differ. And your efforts, honestly, as a caregiver for your mother are personally really inspiring for me kind of as I go forward. And I really admire, because I've listened to a lot of your podcasts and you talk about this there, and I really admire your deep care for your mother and how you've shared so openly on Let The Verse Flow podcast about [00:02:00] your struggles with caregiving responsibilities and all the emotional and mental challenges that you faced.

[00:02:05] Your journey as a caregiver for your mother has played a significant role in shaping your creative path. And as a podcaster, how do you see this caregiving experience influencing the themes and messages conveyed through your poetry and your podcast? 

[00:02:23] Jill: Wow, it's kind of the through thread for everything.

[00:02:26] It was the impetus for even starting the podcast. It wasn't until my mother had a few, a series of hemorrhagic strokes, many of them, when she was 86, that I was sort of thrust into an, A new caregiver role. I had always been a caregiver for my partner, who is a man who has a disability, so I knew what caregiving was about, but my mother was, was very independent and, you know, she did all of her own finances and her own shopping and, and so forth.

[00:02:54] And so when she started to begin to have this decline with all of [00:03:00] these strokes and then with a severe memory loss, I started having to take care of her. And she moved in with me and, and lived with me for, for eight months. A podcast was not on my radar at that point. I wasn't writing poetry. I was journaling because I always journal.

[00:03:14] I always write. I'm a professional writer. So I write for, I have a full time job as a writer. So I write for my work, but I really, I wasn't writing. I hadn't written poetry since I was a teenager when I used to write a lot of it and I loved it. So there was this process, this, this, this development over time as my mother and I would go to the hospital.

[00:03:36] Over eight or nine times for different health crisis, different strokes, UTIs, falls. And with each time it was so stressful as anybody. I mean, most people are, are caregivers in some way or another, or it will touch your life. And it, it's so overwhelming. So for the first few months, I didn't do much of anything but just take care of her.

[00:03:58] Probably the first six months [00:04:00] was just about putting out fires. But slowly, she would have stints in rehabs and be in hospitals and it was sort of stabilized, and I would be able to just go visit her. And it was in some of those visits that I would go to the family lounges in the hospital and start writing in my journal.

[00:04:17] And they just sort of slowly morphed into poetry. It must have been That I didn't know how to write or think about what was happening in a traditional way and the poetry was somehow it was cathartic and it felt right to combine words in, you know, new and different ways to talk about what I was feeling because I'm extremely close to my mother.

[00:04:41] I'm very blessed that way in that my mother is my best friend and she is to me just. An incredible person. And I know not everybody has that experience with with the person they take care of it. So there's many different types of caregiving and many different situations. [00:05:00] But for me, I needed some outlet for how to express the sorrow and the anger and the frustration and that feeling alone.

[00:05:12] in those first few months and really not knowing what I was doing at all. So poetry sort of snuck into my life, back into my life. You know, I wrote a lot of poetry as a, as a teenager, but it was, you know, it's moody. So it's a way that I guess I tap into my emotions and my struggle. And then slowly I was listening to a few podcasts.

[00:05:32] It wasn't really on my radar all that much, but I slowly started to want to. Voice the poetry and put it out there. It was almost like a calling. That's the only thing I can, I can, that's the only way I can describe it. Because it, it wasn't as though I had a real goal other than to share it. I felt that there were a lot of people probably in my situation who were caregivers, who are caregivers.

[00:05:58] And I [00:06:00] just. I decided that that would be the route that I would share my poetry with and that's how the podcast was born. I didn't know anything about podcasting. I had to teach myself. That's sort of how it started. 

[00:06:14] Jenny Leigh: The purpose of me moving to Kentucky from Florida was to be in place for my mother as a caregiver.

[00:06:19] So your podcast definitely speaks to me and has helped me tremendously because I resonate with a lot of the stories and experiences that you share on your podcast and with your poetry specifically. Thank you. So you definitely, I'm glad you heard the calling and followed through with that because it definitely helps me.

[00:06:36] And I know, like you said, there are so many care, we're all going to be a caregiver at some point or have that similar experience. So I'm really glad you, you've done that. And for those who are listening, if you are a caregiver or you are about to be, or you know someone who is, please share this and share, Let The Verse Flow podcast with your your friends and your family so that they can get benefit from that too.

[00:06:58] I found you through a, just a search [00:07:00] for, I think I searched for creativity in the podcast app and yours popped up and. I just started listening to it, and I was amazed at, you know, for me personally, how much overlap there is with, you know, we're both writers, we're both poets, we're both caregivers, we both have J and H in our names, and a Hodge somewhere in there, you know, I'm Hodgins, you're Hodge.

[00:07:25] So anyway, I really, really am grateful that you've done that. Let's talk about exploring shared themes. So, as we mentioned, both of our podcasts delve into creativity, poetry, music, and positive personal development. A lot of overlap. And we're both poets, as I mentioned. I actually have a new book called Kaleidoscope of the Heart, which is my first poetry book.

[00:07:46] This is my proof, basically, and it's coming out on June 4 on Amazon. But your podcast actually features your original poetry. Set to music and you dig deeper into the topic of your poems, providing journal [00:08:00] prompts and meditations on your podcast. It's, for me, it's like when I listen to your podcast, it's like a mini workshop in creativity, therapeutic expression, cultural nourishment, and self care, which I love all of that stuff.

[00:08:12] It's just. It's part of my self care routine. First of all, thank you, you know, pat yourself on the back for for helping me. How do you believe poetry, as explored in your podcast, contributes to our personal growth and reflection, listeners, and particularly when navigating life's ups and downs? 

[00:08:30] Jill: First, I want to say thank you so much for, for all of that connection and that experience and for sharing it with me, because you sometimes don't hear what your listeners think.

[00:08:40] And that's exactly what I hope people will get from it. Uh, that sense of nourishment. I think poetry is very nourishing. I think when I was younger, I'll only speak for myself when I was younger, you had to get over how to understand poetry. you know, how to, how to approach its structure and how to understand that your interpretation of poetry [00:09:00] might be different than the original poet's interpretation or message and that that was okay.

[00:09:05] There's, there's sort of all of these nuances and sort of, Almost like... 

[00:09:09] Jenny Leigh: technicalities. 

[00:09:11] Jill: Yeah, about...Poetry. And so sometimes I think people feel as though they can't quite approach it like, Oh, you know, I don't really get poetry. But for me, it started through the journal. I think it's really connected to expressive writing, which is a hugely therapeutic modality.

[00:09:28] Whether, you know, you're writing in a journal, whether you're making lists, sometimes I just take out my phone app and just a thought comes in my mind that I want to kind of keep as a reference for how I'm feeling in that moment. I just take out my app in my notes app and on my phone and I just type in that note.

[00:09:45] It's just that to me is a type of journaling. 

[00:09:48] Jenny Leigh: And personal reflection. 

[00:09:50] Jill: Yes. Yes. So there's so much when you write that you can explore. Or that very moment, how you feel in that moment, and then you can put it away for a while and go back to it. [00:10:00] And in a month or 2, especially if you're a caregiver, or you're going through some challenging times, you're going to see probably growth of some sort.

[00:10:09] You're definitely going to see that your perspective has changed, even if it's just a little bit. You might wear, you know, you might be wearing a different hat at that point, you might not be caregiving as much or your caregiving task might have even gotten more, you know, and so I think it's a great place to chronicle, journaling is a great place to chronicle all of that struggle and then put it into perspective.

[00:10:35] And then with the poetry, it's really about having a sort of playfulness. So. Most of my poems start out kind of sad and a little dark. Sometimes they, they usually come out of angst, out of struggle for me. And then I'll spend some time in that struggle. And then there's some part of me that just needs to break free.

[00:10:55] There's some part of me. And that's my mother. I think, you know, the, [00:11:00] that knowing that me. I have that solid love. I have the love of my family and my friends. There's, there comes a point where I can't take the suffering anymore, almost. And so I noticed in my poetry that I'm always, I'm always sort of resolving in a more positive place.

[00:11:16] The tagline from my podcast is, May you stay on the bright side of the beat. And what I mean by that is that, that you find a way to look for the brightness. You may not start with it and you may not always have it. So it's not like, you know, pretending that you feel a certain way, but being open to the idea that you can have this struggle and you can have this, this pain and that it can morph and, and transform into something else.

[00:11:43] Jenny Leigh: I love that. 

[00:11:44] Jill: I think poetry is a great way to kind of. Take that journey in sort of a whimsical, playful way with rhyme and with, with echoes of sort of childhood connection and imagery. It's a rich place to live, [00:12:00] you know, if that makes sense. I love that. 

[00:12:01] Jenny Leigh: Yes, it does. And another thing that I resonate with you on is that, A lot of my poetry also starts from angst, and I'm just getting it out of me, which, as you know, as a writer and through your, your journaling and your prompts on your podcast and your poetry, we know that writing down your thoughts and feelings itself is is in itself so therapeutic, as you mentioned.

[00:12:25] And I also, when I start writing poetry, it morphs into, I don't know that I experience the same sense that I need to break out of it, but somehow kind of naturally, it's for me, it's like, and I've used this analogy before, but it's like, when you turn on the summer hose, it's been there all winter and all the gunk comes out first.

[00:12:40] And then if you keep it flowing, eventually the pure water comes forth. That's how kind of my poetry, it also emerges often when I'm writing from angst or suffering. appreciate the approach that you have with using poetry on your podcast to talk about [00:13:00] things, you know, like struggles with caregiving or your own emotional darkness or, or questioning when you're going through difficulties.

[00:13:07] Because to me, just listening to that podcast or just hearing someone else's poetry, even if you're not writing it, It's really therapeutic for me, so I know it would be for other listeners. What I think resonates the most with me is that you, and myself too, my approach to poetry is like yours in that it's very It's very open hearted.

[00:13:28] Just share your vulnerability as you are. And to me, that's the best kind of poetry, because you can feel that resonate through your poetry and through other people that write in that way. So, I'm just morphing in with a little bit of my perspective on it. Encouraging listeners, if you've never written poetry, first of all, go listen to Let The Verse Flow, because you'll get a great, you'll get a great example of how you can do that, but also, and I mean that wholeheartedly, this is not just a plug, I don't even know Jill Hodges, we [00:14:00] literally just met today, so, but it has been so helpful to me, but also, Take her journal prompts and her meditation ideas from her pockets and her suggestions here.

[00:14:10] Go ahead and write your thoughts, because we all suffer through struggles and things in moments of our life. We're not going to avoid that. And I like your approach to using poetry through the, to navigate those ups and downs with You called it whimsical playfulness. I never even thought of that. Like, that is something, I'm going to take that tool that you just mentioned and use your own whimsical playfulness in your writing of poetry.

[00:14:34] So I just want to encourage listeners, do that too. 

[00:14:38] Jill: I love playing with words and I think you can do that with poetry. I think also as a caregiver, another connection to caregiving and sort of the angster struggle of it is that, if you're of a certain age like I am, I'm in my late 50s, almost 60, I think that This happening to me now at this point, which is typically a time, you know, I'm an empty nester.

[00:14:57] My daughter goes off to college and what happens? [00:15:00] My mother gets sick. So almost like my daughter went off to college in September and my mother's first stroke was in October. So literally at this time where I was kind of already struggling with getting older and there came a time with all the caregiving that I had to really say, what's important to me and what do I not have time for?

[00:15:19] And it. It freed me in a way to explore things and not care so much about what other people think. I had spent way too long, I think, as a people pleaser and worried about my creativity in some way. It was in the back of my mind. It wasn't something that I could, that I talked about or even thought about.

[00:15:38] But I think, I don't know that I would have released my poetry back in my 30s or 40s. 

[00:15:43] Jenny Leigh: Right. 

[00:15:43] Jill: I think going through the crisis of care, of taking care of my mom and And seeing her health deteriorate like this really sparked me to say what's really important to you and put a voice to it. My mother, you know, is a painter who never really was encouraged to paint [00:16:00] or to produce her art by her family and she just didn't grow up in a time when that was really, Valued small town, Jersey where she grew up.

[00:16:09] It wasn't valued. And so I just felt like in some ways the caregiving gave me the ability to say, you know what, I'm going to put my poetry out there. I'm not going to judge it. I'm not going to decide if it's good or not. Good for you. I'm just going to voice it. And so just. Let whatever creative avenue comes to you that speaks to you, if it speaks to you, it's for you, you know, let it come forth.

[00:16:34] And I think that even if nobody notices it, it brings back this sense of, I know who I am. I can comfort myself. I can inform what's happening to me. I can be present with what's happening to me and not fall apart. And I think engaging in any creative activity, I mentioned so many, woodworking, photography, it doesn't have to be the traditional arts.

[00:16:58] It doesn't have to be writing or [00:17:00] poetry. That's just what I love. But any of them, anything that affirms who you are, And gives you the ability to be with yourself, especially as a caregiver, because we can have so little time for ourself. 

[00:17:15] Jenny Leigh: Right. 

[00:17:15] Jill: When we do make time for ourself, we want to make sure that we're doing something that is really meant for us.

[00:17:22] And you'll know that it's inside you. 

[00:17:24] Jenny Leigh: Right. 

[00:17:25] Jill: You know, do some reflection and say, well, how do I want to express myself? It could be coloring. It could be so many different things. It could be volunteer work. It could be meditation. There's so many ways to be creative and sort of innovative and do some sort of innovative problem solving that's fun that I think can really help caregivers.

[00:17:46] And that's why we call, we both sort of reference that term creative self care. 

[00:17:51] Where you use your creativity as sort of a conduit for your self care. 

[00:17:55] Jenny Leigh: Yeah. It's therapeutic. 

[00:17:56] Jill: Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:17:57] Jenny Leigh: Inherently.. The perspective of what's important, [00:18:00] what's a priority, what's essential versus worrying about what other people think or people pleasing definitely comes with

[00:18:12] So if you're younger and listening to this, I've also had that experience where I worried for far too long about what other people think, and I've grown into setting healthy boundaries. Part of that is from the caregiving experience. It can be quite intense in some situations, but if you're listening to this and you're younger, I'd love the advice, you know, that Jill just talked about.

[00:18:34] Use the creativity to get in touch with yourself. Don't wait until you're in your 50s. Don't wait till you're past 40. If I could say one thing to my younger self would be exactly that. Start it now. Don't wait till later. Don't worry about what other people think. Tap into yourself and do what feels right for you.

[00:18:52] And use creativity as that, as you said, self soothing, you know, therapeutic activity that you can do in just a short amount of [00:19:00] time. It doesn't have to be a sort of a dedicated lifetime achievement or anything. Just a little bit at a time really does help with that self care. 

[00:19:09] We talked a lot about our overlapping similarities.

[00:19:12] There are some differences. And so I want to talk about that a little bit about how creative expression and diversity Contribute to each other or how we can do better with that. My question for you, Jill, is how does creative expression like poetry and journaling contribute to conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion?

[00:19:32] Jill: Thank God we're talking about this more openly than we have in a long time. It's long overdue. I think I would say anything that I'm about to say is really from my own perspective, and I think that's what's most important to speak authentically from where you are. I am a biracial woman. My mother was white and my father was black.

[00:19:50] I was raised by my white mother and my paternal grandmother, so my black grandmother and my white mother. Maybe 10 or 20 years ago, I [00:20:00] could say it really wasn't that big a deal. I didn't understand it as much when I was younger, but as I've gotten older and I see All of the all of the struggle that has that has arisen in the last 10 years.

[00:20:15] I've thought a lot more about that. I would say that. In many ways, because I live in New York and I was raised by two women who were very strong, very educated, I was definitely had a lot of privilege, I did, compared to some of the black and brown people in my life who really struggled and continue to struggle.

[00:20:35] So I can't speak for their experience. And what I want to make sure is that I'm listening to all of the different voices. I mentioned once that one of my favorite poets right now is Amanda Gorman.

[00:20:48] Her poetry is, I mean, she is a beautiful writer, so there's just this wonderful mastery at a very young age of language and a way to [00:21:00] promote and carry certain words and use diction in a way that is just beautiful. But also, as a, a young Black woman, she's writing about both collective, uh, Stories and individual stories.

[00:21:14] Her own individual voice is coming through. I wrote down because I wanted to really remember it in one of her poems in her poem. Call us. She says we are not me. We are we. 

[00:21:28] Call us what we carry. So, you know, I have my own identity, I have my own experience, and yes, we are a collective of the human race, but we each carry different things, we carry different experiences.

[00:21:44] And those color who we are, and I think that poetry is a great place for diversity and inclusion, because it's so much about the human experience and everybody's experience is different. So I think, you know, that my poetry is definitely [00:22:00] informed. By being a biracial woman, some of the themes and the things that I talk about relate to race.

[00:22:06] But it's just one story, and we all have our own. 

[00:22:11] Jenny Leigh: Pardon me for briefly interrupting the show. Jenny Leigh Hodgins here, YourCreativeChord podcast host. Before we plunge deeper into today's episode, I want to thank you for joining us. Please mark your calendar for this special four episode poetic series, continuing for the next three episodes.

[00:22:30] And The series features my compelling discussion with poet, writer, caregiver, and Let The Verse Flow podcast host, Jill Hodge. Stay tuned for next week's episode, where Jill and I complete our in depth dialogue on the intersections of poetry, music, creative self care strategies, inclusion through poetry and podcasts, including my own embarrassing blunders with racist language and how I grapple with climbing out of that mess.[00:23:00] 

[00:23:00] Speaking of poetry, I am thrilled to share that my upcoming book, Kaleidoscope of the Heart, A poetry and lyrics collection is not just a collection of verses, but a path to self discovery and empowerment. My poetry authentically expresses the human struggle, yet ultimately, my words uplift and inspire, offering solace and strength in moments of challenge and change.

[00:23:26] I invite you to join me on this transformative journey by pre ordering your copy today and experiencing the power of poetry firsthand. Visit Amazon on June 4, 2024 to grab your copy of Kaleidoscope of the Heart. And let the beauty of poetic expression illuminate your path. I also have a special gift for you.

[00:23:48] I've selected verses to inspire and uplift you through the ups and downs of daily life. Download your complimentary four poem sampler ebook excerpted from Kaleidoscope of the Heart [00:24:00] and join YourCreativeChord's community and Creative Currents newsletter at yourcreativechord. com /poetry.

[00:24:10] Let's jump back in to hear my wonderful chat with Jill Hodge. 

[00:24:16] Jill: It's funny when artificial intelligence first kind of came out, there was all of this discussion about how, you know, Oh my God, writers won't have any jobs anymore. And there was sort of this panic, you know, put it into chat GPT, put in anything and it can spit out a blog article or a poem.

[00:24:31] It can write poetry. Oh my God, you know, there was this like panic, but it can't write the poem that I'm going to write. Or the piece of composition that you're going to write. And that diversity, you have your own stories, I have mine, that diversity needs to be heard and spoken and appreciated and put out into the world.

[00:24:54] I guess I would say that poetry and music are a wonderful place to see diversity [00:25:00] across all genres. you know, in gender and race across so many religion, you know, it's a universal language. And I think it comes back to just being authentic, you know, expressing yourself in a way that's really true to yourself.

[00:25:14] I think people know the difference between when you're being authentic and when you're sort of trying something. Yeah. And you're putting on a show and you're trying to do something and they can tell. There's really no need to do that because we need all of the voices. We need to hear all of them.

[00:25:31] Hopefully we'll see commonalities That's what I sort of try to focus on but we'll see differences too and we need to learn from those differences What do they mean? Oh, I hadn't thought about you know Even when Amanda in this poem says call us what we carry what she's saying to me is I carry different burdens than you do So you have to see that, you have to recognize that, and call me that, give, give me the, the, the grace to sort of try to understand [00:26:00] that, try to understand where I'm coming from and what my experience has meant to me.

[00:26:06] Jenny Leigh: I love that. I love Amanda Gorman too. I read her, her book, Call Us What We Carry. And it is so, just from my perspective, just how it hit me was so deeply about her deeply felt commitment to social justice and to stand up for diversity and the rights of black and brown. And by extension, the way I read it, any minority Asian, whatever, you know, women even, and the beauty of her poetry, especially the.

[00:26:36] The Hill, I think it is the one that she shared at Biden's inauguration. Gosh, it's such a beautiful poem in such a, it blows my mind. It's such a young woman has such a mastery of not just the language and the rhythms and the sounds of, you know, how she, like you say, plays with words in a whimsical way, but it is so full of humanity and so full [00:27:00] of deep compassion and heart and wisdom beyond years.

[00:27:04] It just, I'm inspired by her as well. But for me personally, if you're not, if you don't see this video, you, you won't know I, maybe, you know, from the sound of my voice, but I'm a white woman with a very different automatic societal privilege because I'm a white woman. And I, as you mentioned at the beginning, Jill, in response to this question, you were saying how the last 10 years, these things that have arisen, I would say, They're always there, but they're becoming very.

[00:27:34] Jill: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:27:34] Jenny Leigh: They're becoming very much more spoken about. Finally. And we're still in a mess, in my opinion, in the middle of a mess with all of that. But, you know, For example, because I'm a white woman, and I'm just becoming more aware of how racist I have been, not even knowing I have been, for, and I'll just give an example, things in my vernacular, things [00:28:00] that I have said, like, I'm going to crack the whip on you, and get you started on this, that is a horrible statement, and I wasn't even aware of that statement until this dialogue started to emerge from all the horrible actions against white people, And the deaths of, you know, black people in this country and things going on with racism, and I'm sorry to go deep and dark suddenly on that, but, but, you know, for me, you know, and I know a lot of white people, I've heard this conversation through other people, we have an automatic societal privilege.

[00:28:35] Because, because my skin is not dark. And for whatever reason, we've come from a very dark, racist, you know, history. We're still in the middle of changing that history. And because of my experience and lack of awareness, you know, I'm trying to learn more about diversity, inclusion, and I feel kind of at a loss sometimes.

[00:28:56] So, so just to give an example, when I've listened to your podcast, [00:29:00] Let The Verse Flow, and I, And we're going to talk about this in more depth in a minute about how you use music as, you know, the backdrop, you know, for your, a lot of your poems and through your podcast. Your musical choices are things that I typically have never heard or don't gravitate toward.

[00:29:19] Because I'm a white woman who studied classical music, primarily never listened to pop music. And I. My sister tried to thrust it upon me, but I didn't want to listen to it when I was growing up. And so, and I write music, but my music is based on my classical ear, my classical training. Not that I'm this elitist classical, I mean, I still write from my heart, period.

[00:29:42] But I have a completely different understanding of even listening to music. And so that's partly what makes me gravitate toward your podcast, because it's something completely different that I normally would listen to. And to hear it from you, who I know has a biracial background, [00:30:00] and then to hear your poetry with it, it is so refreshing to me.

[00:30:03] It's like a whole new experience. And so going back to what you said earlier, I like the idea of how I personally can contribute to diversity, you said, by listening to people's authentic voices. So, I really love that. You know, for me, it's helping me grow just by listening to how your individual take is with your music and your poetry.

[00:30:26] Morphing back to the topic we're on, what advice would you offer for people like me? Especially, you know, individuals that have limited personal experience with diversity or the experience of judgment, you know, discrimination, who are seeking to become more aware and engage more deeply with these issues.

[00:30:48] What advice would you have for someone like me? 

[00:30:51] Jill: Well, I think you, you know, you've already started it and just being open to and listening to music and, you know, taking in new forms of [00:31:00] artistry that you potentially hadn't been exposed to before. It's funny because I grew up in the disco era and being a New Yorker when I was younger, we went to clubs, we danced.

[00:31:10] So I went to all the clubs in New York and that was, one of my loves. I love to dance. So I've always listened to disco and electronica and dance music, which a lot of people hate, but it's what I grew up on. But my daughter is the one who introduced me to hip hop and rap. And it was something that I kind of skipped over in the nineties.

[00:31:29] I was, when it was really, you know, I heard, I mean, I heard a lot of classic hip hop and rap, but really didn't latch on to it because I was beginning my job and working and, you know, just my age and stuff. And she was listening to it a lot and I was just starting to really get an education through her.

[00:31:47] of what that could mean. And so, and there, I found that particularly the structure of rap and the way that, um, rappers sort of construct their rhymes was [00:32:00] really something that I, you know, gravitated to as a poet. I think there's this, there's obviously this connection between rap and hip hop and poetry.

[00:32:08] And so I really, I sort of in my, yeah, my fifties, really late forties, fifties. I sort of started really, you know, listening to a lot of rap and hip hop. And so, at any age, you can be introduced to something new. My mother is a huge jazz head. That's all she really wants to listen to. It's all she listened to when I was growing up.

[00:32:29] She loved jazz and she was a little girl. We would go to my grandmother's house and we'd be at Thanksgiving dinner. Everybody in the room would be black except for my mother. And, um, yet when the conversation turned to jazz, she was the 

[00:32:45] expert. 

[00:32:46] Jenny Leigh: She was on. 

[00:32:47] Jill: So when they would be telling stories about these different jazz greats, eventually one of my uncles or one of my cousins would say, okay, Joan.

[00:32:55] You know, school us, tell us, you know, when was he born? What, you know, did we get it right? [00:33:00] And she was, she had sort of like an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and jazz grades, which she carried her whole life. She still listens to jazz. I think that being open to really liking what you like. And exploring it without questioning whether or not it's for you or made for you or something that you grew up with, if you continue to have that exploratory kind of mindset.

[00:33:27] That's where you can really kind of get the best of what's going on right now in terms of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. We're talking about it more, which is a great thing, because we had this sort of racist, bubbling, churning layer that's now been revealed by a lot of hate. And so it's now kind of coming out.

[00:33:46] It was always there, as you said, absolutely. It was always there. But now, People are feeling free to talk about it and to do things about it. So every day, for instance, when I walk to work, I see a Black Lives Matters facade on this [00:34:00] building that I pass. And every morning I say Ahmaud Arbery's name out loud because it just, kills me that a black man can't take a jog and go running without being killed.

[00:34:13] And so, as long as that has come up and is now accepted, we all have a responsibility to really educate ourselves to dive deep and ask these questions. But I think The answer really is about understanding other people's perspectives, keeping that open mind to it, exploring and finding out what does speak to you.

[00:34:35] You know, you're classically trained, but maybe some of the hip hop, you know, music that's underlying my poetry is sort of, you know, you're sort of digging it and it's sort of speaking to you and you didn't know that. So now you've got that other side of you coming out. That's great. You know, that other side is still a part of you.

[00:34:55] Jenny Leigh: I was just gonna say that that's something I never knew until, and I started to [00:35:00] recognize, recognize it as I, I read through the book Hamilton, the, the score and the, the libretto, I guess you call it for Hamilton. I've never seen Hamilton and I haven't yet even listened to it, but I've read all through the entire, the rhymes and everything, and through that book that I read, it references all the past artists that this particular verse or song or part of the.

[00:35:21] This musical piece or whatever influenced it, you know, so I'm, there's a lot of history about rap and hip hop within Hamilton, just behind the scenes, behind how Lin Manuel Miranda wrote it, basically, but it's, it's definitely piqued my interest and that's probably one of the first places I'm going to start because I do love musical theater and I've written musicals and things like that.

[00:35:41] What I'm getting at is when you're encountering experiences. And we're specifically talking about right now the art of a diverse background or artist. And you've never encountered that before as a white person. For me, it's okay. First of all, have an open ear and listen and be open to fresh ideas from something [00:36:00] you haven't experienced before.

[00:36:01] For me, it's finding, okay, if I can't just plunge into something brand new that I've never gravitated for, if that's hard for me or for the listener. Then I can at least find for me personally, for example, poetry piques my interest, because I'm a poet, you know, and I like writing it, so I can start listening to things like your podcast that use poetry with music and hip hop and all that, and I can start listening to Hamilton, which bases, you know, everything on poetry and rhymes, and that's one segue, I can get in finding something that I can latch on to, to get into something new I've never experienced before, that was more of, you know, a segue into the art part of it, but going back to how our distinct experiences and perspectives enrich the collective dialogue within the creative community.

[00:36:47] How do you think we can do that through our podcasts? 

[00:36:52] Jill: Yeah, it is sort of a uphill battle a little bit in the sense that I've struggled to figure out how to categorize my podcast. [00:37:00] So, you know, to me, it's sort of part performance art, part self help, you know, it's kind of a combination of both. It's a personal growth podcast, but I use poetry and music as the language and the hook to kind of get into those topics.

[00:37:16] And really, I'm not necessarily. Hoping to teach people so much, although I, I do want, I do want there to be some didactic value to it, but

[00:37:25] Jenny Leigh: you're already teaching. I'm just going to tell you, you're already teaching, 

[00:37:28] Jill: Okay! but I also, I, what I really want is to inspire because I think because it comes out of my caregiving roots and the grief that I felt, I think that there...

[00:37:39] that what a lot of people and this is, this is actually not even just caregivers, but people in general, especially right now where there are so many people who are really struggling. I think they need an inspirational spark, someone who has some ideas and has a creative way of expressing it. To kind of tap in and get around the [00:38:00] everyday sort of struggle and kind of get into the crevices, so to speak, of another person by just connecting with them authentically.

[00:38:09] And so I'm hopeful. It was funny because when you reached out. To me, I hadn't heard of your podcast. And when I looked at it, I was like, wow, this is really calm. This is really connecting to what I do. And how did I not even discover it? You know, discovering podcasts is kind of difficult. There's not great discoverability on these apps.

[00:38:28] And so, you know, if you don't have a big name or, you know, You aren't kind of coming to sort of self care, personal growth in a very, you know, traditional way. It can be hard to break in. I think what I try to do right now is just focus on the individual people who reach out to me. Considering I only started podcasting in June, there have been some lovely people who've reached out to me.

[00:38:50] Jenny Leigh: Awesome. 

[00:38:51] Jill: You know, I, I wrote a article recently, I posted it, it was an article that I wrote for this blog called Tiny Buddha. Tiny Buddha. And I posted it on LinkedIn, [00:39:00] and a man that I had worked with before, maybe, I hadn't talked to him in maybe six months, actually more than that, not more, I hadn't talked to him in like years, actually, not just six months, but it had been a long time since I had heard from him.

[00:39:12] And he reached out to me via LinkedIn and said, I just read your article on the sort of hopeful side of grief, which is what this article was about. And he said, my father. Died about six months ago. That's where the six months comes in. And I was sort of thrust into this very dark place. And as the eldest child and the only male in my family, I was responsible for the funeral and all of the arrangements.

[00:39:39] Everybody kind of looked to me and I became a leader. And. This idea of becoming a leader through caregiving was something that I talk about in the article. And so he's like, I just really connected to that sense that I didn't realize what was happening at the time, but I was becoming a leader for my family.

[00:39:55] And he said, as a black man, it's just, I felt very [00:40:00] alone in that space. Like he said, I felt like I was the only one to make these decisions and everybody in my family was kind of looking to me to do that. And he said, when I read the article, I felt, I felt like somebody understood. That feeling of just being alone and, and, and yet having to rise and be a leader in at a time when you emotionally, physically, psychologically don't feel that you can, that you don't, you don't want to make those decisions.

[00:40:27] And so just him reaching out to me, I just, it was everything. It gives me the fuel to make the next episode and the next episode. And so we may have to just concentrate on individual people. 

[00:40:41] Jenny Leigh: Yeah, 

[00:40:42] Jill: we may not reach the masses right away. It will take you know, 

[00:40:46] Jenny Leigh: I'm sorry to interrupt, but but for every person that reaches out to you, there are numerous more people that you're impacting that it.

[00:40:53] Not everybody has the volition to reach out. It's a rare thing. So that's a remarkable, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but [00:41:00] that's a remarkable thing that one person reached out in such a profoundly personal vulnerable way that it, you know, and that it resonated. And to me, when you have one response like that, that is evidence that you're reaching many more people because most people don't do that.

[00:41:16] Most people don't reach out. They don't make that effort. So when one person does, that's an indication that you're reaching more than you think, you know, at least I feel like, sorry to interrupt you. 

[00:41:26] Jill: No, no, no. And, and literally we were co worker, we weren't close co workers, you know, we'd say hello and, but we hadn't seen each other in so long.

[00:41:34] And for him to do that, I just, I loved it. Um, I also do so 

[00:41:38] Jenny Leigh: gratifying that you're on the right path. 

[00:41:41] Jill: Absolutely. And so. Well, I don't think everybody quite understands what creative self care is and what we mean by that. And there is a lot of talk about journaling and meditation and some of the tools that we both kind of reference.

[00:41:54] We're coming at it from a different angle with our music and with our poetry. I think it's [00:42:00] a sort of exciting avenue that I know a lot of people just say, Oh, I just listened to it. I just. I walk in the park or whatever, and I just, I put on your podcast and it's just like an experience. And so in that sense, it's not a, you know, top 10 tips on personal growth or, you know, it's not one of those traditional kind of like, uh, we have the latest science on happiness.

[00:42:21] You know, it's, it's not that it's something more to me, it's more. Transformational, which is a word that you used, you know, it's trying to transform and really touch one person to another the life of somebody else and to allow them to sort of think, how am I growing? How am I changing? How am I different than I was?

[00:42:44] Six months ago, a year, and what ways do I want to continue on that growth path?

[00:42:49] Jenny Leigh: I wanted to say something about something you mentioned earlier. And first of all, before I forget your article in the Tiny Buddha on the hopeful side of grief and how you become a leader through that. I will definitely drop that in the show notes.

[00:42:59] [00:43:00] So, listeners, if you're interested in that you can check that article out. Going back to this idea that we were talking about earlier too, in terms of how we can make more effort to embrace diversity and how we can use our creativity towards supporting that topic, basically, and how you were talking about one of the things that you can do for self care and creative self care, which to me kind of goes hand in hand with the earlier discussion on listening to different, to diverse voices.

[00:43:31] If you don't know where to start, in other words, with creative self care, one of the things that struck me, and I've done research on it myself and a lot of my past podcasts talk about this, the gist is fresh ideas. When you're listening to something that you've never listened to, like Jenny, listening to hip hop or whatever, that, that experience of doing something completely different or listening to a perspective that is completely different, for me, this, that, [00:44:00] that kind of segues into my intent to learn more about how I can be more respectful to diversity itself, you know, black and brown, Asian people that are different from me, basically.

[00:44:11] And when you immerse yourself in something different. That actually, even though sometimes it can be challenging and, and uncomfortable, you know, and when you're trying something new, but by doing that, you actually scientific, you know, there's science proving that you actually are creating new pathways in your brain and that sparks your own creative ideas.

[00:44:35] So, just immersing yourself in new things and new conversations and different kinds of people and listening to their authentic perspectives, those are ways to boost your own creative self care. You were talking about your podcast being, not necessarily fitting into a specific niche that might be more specific, you know, that you do creative self care, you use caregiving, personal reflection, [00:45:00] journaling, meditation, all these different things.

[00:45:02] And it may not fit the traditional track of self care or whatever, you know, that's out there, but it just struck me that just like new music, new ideas, you know, hip hop came out of and jazz came out of, you know, connecting different types of ideas and creating a new idea, a new path. That's right. You're on the, you're on the cutting edge.

[00:45:26] Jill: And I think, you know, to what you said prior to that. Once you discover that, once you discover that there is, that you like poetry and sort of a beat, you know, or some sort of hip hop influence, and then you share it with other people, particularly when you live in a, a community that does not have a lot of diversity in it.

[00:45:47] So, you know, in New York it, it's extremely diverse place. If I go out and say, I, I really like hip hop, it's no big deal, you know? But if you're in Kentucky, it may be, it may be, oh. What about your classical training? There's not [00:46:00] a community or a culture around that that's sort of supporting it. But when you come out and say, I really like this.

[00:46:06] I like this blend. You know, I'm classically trained, but this is sort of hitting me in a different place. And you talk about it, and you share it with your community. That's how you spread that sense of belonging. That that music also belongs to you. 

[00:46:22] Jenny Leigh: That's great. That's great. 

[00:46:23] Jill: That not only classical music belongs to you, but that hip hop or dance music or whatever it is, also belongs to you and people, Oh, Jenny likes it.

[00:46:33] She's been playing classical piano all the time. Well, you know, jazz has, has a lot of, you know, classical elements and, and really technically skilled people who play the saxophone and the, and the piano and, and all. So it's really not that far a leap, you know, you're the conduit for kind of, you know, Having that discussion and because you care about it and you are going to voice that you're going to have people like me on your podcast, you're going to talk to other [00:47:00] people about it.

[00:47:00] You are going to start to spread that knowledge. And I remember the first time I was talking, I've talked to some. People and, and they've said, you like hip hop, but it's so like, it's so derogatory towards women and I am a feminist. And so there are definitely elements that, that, uh, disturb me, but there's some part of me inside that kind of likes the music and some of the storytelling.

[00:47:26] So I kind of. You know, it's not as though all of it lands on me. Sometimes I'm like, Oh, this is ridiculous. This is crap, you know, so I definitely have feelings where I'm just like, Oh, that's just, that's just crap, you know, and that's my right to have my own opinion. But, and the misogyny and all of that is not my favorite part of it.

[00:47:44] But at its roots, when you look at like a rapper like Tupac Shakur, for instance, who also wrote a lot of poetry or Kendrick Lamar, people who, who really care about the words and the message. Oh, it's beautiful. It's beautiful. And when you put it together with the right beat, [00:48:00] it is so super authentic and it is enriching.

[00:48:05] It feeds the soul. 

[00:48:07] Jenny Leigh: That's lovely. And I want to clarify, too, that I could say the same thing about a lot of classical music. Ick! Like, why did you write that? But also, and I want to clarify just, yes, I had a classically sort of traditional background, but my music is sort of a mix of musical theater, pop, classical, contemporary.

[00:48:28] almost because I've done film score, like little indie film scores and things for back. So it's based in, in classical, but it's not purely classical. I just want to, 

[00:48:36] Jill: So we might get some hip hop in there yet, right? That's what you're saying. A little soul, a little funk might just sort of sneak its way in there.

[00:48:43] Jenny Leigh: It would be poorly done. 

[00:48:46] Jill: Maybe not, you know, like you'd never know, like play around with it and see, you know, who knows what, like, you know, I think that's one of the exciting things about getting older. Is that there aren't so many rules you throw the rule book away and [00:49:00] you say, I'm going to do this because I want to 

[00:49:02] Jenny Leigh: true 

[00:49:02] Jill: and I'm going to just see where it goes.

[00:49:04] I have no idea what's going to happen with my podcast. I really don't. I just know that every other week I'm going to release an episode that I'm going to, yes, that I'm going to meet people like you that I'm, you know, that I'm just going to put myself out there. 

[00:49:17] Jenny Leigh: Yeah. And I will start by listening to hip hop. I'll start there.

[00:49:28] As we wrap up today's episode, I want to express my gratitude for your continued support and engagement. Your feedback and reviews for the podcast truly make a difference and help me reach more listeners for YourCreativeChord podcast who can benefit from the uplifting messages shared. If you haven't already, please leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

[00:49:51] Together we can spread the joy of creativity and inspiration far and wide. Thank you for being a part of it. of YourCreativeChords community [00:50:00] and for joining me on this incredible trek of authentic self expression and creative growth. This is my four episode series on the poetic spirit. Join me next week for part two of my captivating interview with poet Jill Hodge.

[00:50:15] Also, please mark your calendars for June 4, 2024 when my poetry and lyrics collection book Kaleidoscope of the Heart officially launches on Amazon. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes in which I'll share an exclusive sneak peek into my forthcoming poetry book. If you need a little dose of spiritual optimism, you won't want to miss these sneak peeks from my book, Kaleidoscope of the Heart.

[00:50:43] Let my poetic verses permeate your spirit with optimism and help you tap your inner resilience. Download your complimentary four poem sampler e book, excerpted from my upcoming book, Kaleidoscope of the Heart, when you join YourCreativeChord's [00:51:00] community and Creative Currents newsletter at yourcreativechord.

[00:51:05] com forward slash poetry. Stay tuned for the conclusion of this poetic series, including personal readings from my upcoming book, Kaleidoscope of the Heart, the Poetry and Lyrics Collection, which launches on June 4 at Amazon. If you'd like to support YourCreativeChord podcast and my book launch, please share YourCreativeChord podcast with others you think would enjoy the inspiration.

[00:51:31] Thank you so much. And thank you for listening. Remember, your creativity has the power to transform your heart and positively impact your corner of the world. Until next time, keep creating and let YourCreativeChord resonate.