Jodi Hills

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


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Rolling and tumbling.


It was our first real restaurant date a decade ago. His first time in Minneapolis, he wanted to see the Mississippi River. We sat outside on a sunny day. My heart was all jimbly – that feeling of not falling, but rolling and tumbling into love.

We had been exchanging emails. My first said, “I hope our worlds collide.” I can’t say why I used that word – I had never before. But I did. And he came to Minneapolis from France. We sat by the river at the Wilde Cafe. Eating. Drinking. Rolling. Tumbling. We went inside after eating, to pay and use the restrooms. There was a small table with postcards and advertising. I came out of the bathroom and he was holding one. Smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Across the top of card it said – Collide.

Routines can set in through the years with coffee and croissants. And while they provide comfort, sometimes, you have to take a minute and remember why you started the journey. Why you jumped in, heart first. Sitting in the same place yesterday, I, we, could feel the “wilde”. I loved the restaurant. The coffee. The plated food. Delicious. My city. The city that let me in, and let me go. I loved it more. The sun. The breeze. The river. This man. All knowing my name. My heart. All willing to collide with me – heart to heart. And perhaps even more importantly, willing, joyfully, to keep rolling along beside me.

A new day is beginning. I want to keep that feeling alive. I encourage you to do the same. Taste the coffee. Smile at the sun. Fall in love with your life. And keep rolling.


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And then I see it from your side…

I read the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, in the first bedroom that I remember. It was small. I shared it with my sister. Already a teenager, she didn’t appreciate my still childlike enthusiasm. I suppose it took up too much space. But it WAS big. This love I had for words. This adventure it was taking me on. Books. Stories. It was just so magical. The books didn’t just show you the river, they took you for a ride. And oh, how I wanted the ride. I suppose I still do.

Seeing the Mississippi River, in Mississippi, Louisiana, it’s not the same as in Minnesota, where I grew up. Yes, the water, the banks, I guess they are not that different, but the stories it rolls along… The stories. If you pay attention, you can hear them. And if you really listen, with any luck, (more grace, I suppose) you can feel them. But that takes up space. And only an open heart and mind has room for that.

Our country is divided. You could say by race, or religion, or politics, but maybe it all comes down to understanding — learning —education — seeing the other side of the river.

Tom Sawyer said, “Right is right and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” I want to do better. I know we have many rivers to cross. But my heart is open. My mind is open. Tell me your story. I’m listening. Let’s ride!