“accepts what it is” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday February 27, 2013
11:21pm
5 minutes
August
Mary Oliver


I have a problem. It’s called doughnuts. It’s not eating them. That has one possible ending. Bad. It’s making them. Vats of oil, bags of flour, cocoa, sugar. My kitchen is filled with all of them. I have a problem. There. I said it. Doughnuts. No, I don’t want to open a shop. No, I don’t plan on selling them. I give them to my neighbours, to my co-workers, to the guy selling papers outside the liquor store. I eat half of each kind I make. Quality control. I don’t know why I started. I don’t know, I said. No idea. No. Absolutely not. Had nothing to do with that. The only sure thing in the human experience is that we’re all intrinsically alone. Is that the right word? I don’t know. I’m not a writer. I’m a doughnut-maker. People don’t even know what to do when you hand them a fresh doughnut. There’s nothing like it. There’s both glee and disdain on their faces. Glee, because when are you handed a confection made by someone who you barely know? Disdain, because they’re a bit afraid it isn’t in accordance with their new years resolution to cut out sugar and carbs. Glee always wins. I stay around for the first bite. Then I leave them to their private pleasure. My work is done. No. I don’t want to open a bakery. I want to give people free damn doughnuts, okay? Is that weird? I don’t care. I really don’t. Excuse me, I need to flip the batch of Old Fashioned’s in the fryer. Excuse me.

“the TTC has no” by Sasha at Cafe Novo


Tuesday February 26, 2013
4:26pm
5 minutes
the GTA section of the Toronto Star
Monday, Feb. 25th edition


He keeps telling her she’s beautiful and at first she believes him and then she starts to second guess it. She’s got the tickle of intuition behind her neck, in and amongst the tendons there. He keeps telling her that he likes her long eyelashes and her red cheeks and she regrets the new mascara and curses the minus eighteen temperature. She wishes that she’d never said, “Yes…” He picks up a nacho and places it in his mouth with such immeasurable pleasure that she’s not sure whether to laugh or get up and go. “Have I told you about my one hundred turtles?” He says. He hadn’t. “I think so?” She says, unconvincing. “They’re rescue turtles. I have my sources, I mean, I won’t get into it, but people are doing very cruel things to turtles these days…” Are his eyes filling with tears? Is his voice shaking? “Oh my God,” she says, under her breath. “I know…” He says, “it’s a tragedy greater then the Amazon deforestation.”

“feeling my legs” by Sasha at R Squared


Monday February 25, 2013 at R Squared
11:21am
5 minutes
Chaos Comes Again
Wilhelmina Baird


You’re feeling my leg like there might be something hidden in there, aside from muscles and tendons and bones. I can’t decide if I like it or if it irritates me. “What?” You ask. I guess my facial expression is revealing my great inner confusion. “Nothing…” I say, curling up the corners of my lips, “I’m all good.” You keep feeling and feeling and it almost tickles, it almost prickles, I want you to stop. “Are you going to the gym in the morning?” I ask. “Maybe you should go back to your place tonight… so that you’re closer…” “My place isn’t closer,” you say, smug and feeling feeling feeling. “It’s equidistance.” I shudder. “Equal distance?” “Yeah…” You say, leaning in to kiss my neck. “That’s what I said.” There’s a moment where I consider not going forward with this. “Actually… You said equidistance. You seem to have forgotten the ‘L’.”

“I’m doing good.” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 24, 2013
12:31am
5 minutes
Mick Unplugged
Greg Nelson


She calls me in the middle of the night. For the fifth time. I have a hard time getting to sleep. I wouldn’t call it insomnia but I wouldn’t deny it if you happened to call it that… So, when she calls I’m… not at my best. I answer. I mean, I promised her that I’d leave the phone on the nightstand so that if she needed me I’d be right there. But… You says these things, I mean, we all say these things and we rarely expect people to actually listen, or, take advantage of them… So, I answer. She’s crying. “Hi honey…” I say, groggy, forcing the “honey” because it’s not the word I really wanted to use. “He’s going crazy again, Nell,” she whispers. I sit up. I keep my eyes closed but I do sit up. “You want me to come and get you?” I yawn. “No, no, no, no, NO.” She says. “You probably have a lot to do tomorrow and the last thing you need is a middle of the night drive to Brampton…” I lie back down. “What happend?” She pauses, trying to catch her breath. “It was actually a pretty decent day… but after we got back from the pet store all of it went to shit.” “The pet store?” “Yeah,” she says, and I can hear the smile in her voice. “I thought things might get better if he had something really delicate to care for, like a bird, or a fish, or something…” Sounded like a terrible idea to me. “And?” “He doesn’t want a pet! He hates animals! He told me that I treat him like a child!” She was talking louder now and I found myself worrying that he might find her, that he might hurt her again. “I’m coming to get you,” I say, getting out of bed. “Nell, NO! He doesn’t like it when I disappear…”

“an orange (photo dip)” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 23, 2013
10:56pm
5 minutes

IMG_4832


You’re forgetting where you came from. You need to remember your roots, goddamnit Cathy! There was a time, a time that wasn’t all cagey, when you weren’t a birdlady, when you would have called yourself a hypocrite and a liar. But, let’s not get stuck on the past. Let’s not do that. Let’s look to our future. Cathy. She’s dying. If you don’t go back, you’re stomping some big puddle dust in the direction of your whole family… and that includes me. I am your family. And that includes Esther, and June and Bernadette, and the whole lot! And your father, not to mention your father. Cath, I love you, but you can be such a stubborn damn cow, that sometimes I don’t even… know what to say to you. Bottom line? Bottom line is that if you don’t go down there, if you don’t go back there for at least a week or two you will, I guarantee, regret it. And, if you regret it, I will hear about that for the rest of our damn lives. I don’t want that! Cath… I love you… I didn’t mean to call you a “cow”… Don’t get stuck on that.

“Instant teller” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Friday February 22, 2013
1:34am
5 minutes
CIBC at College and Grace

Bernie chased real’ good. He knew just when the one he was chasing was gonna get tired and when they might buckle and when they might really slow down. He’d pace himself. Bernie knew that running is an art like sculpture-building or stucco. I met Bernie through his best chase of all. He was chasing a Anne of Green Gables down the side of the highway, real dangerous, you know? Dodging long trucks and mini-vans with bumperstickers. I was trying to get from here to there, you know? Minding my own business. And there goes Bernie. We were stopped, traffic-locked, and so I got out and yelled after him. “Why are you chasing that girl?” “She’s a runaway!” called Bernie over his shoulder. I could only imagine where he found that freckle-faced rag-doll.

“I’m doing good.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 24, 2013
12:53am
5 minutes
Mick Unplugged
Greg Nelson


He called me on the phone, he said, Well wow, it’s been a long time. You free later? You want to grab a pack of smokes and meet me in the park in an hour?
I said, I don’t know who this is, I only have a number attached.
He said, You can’t recognize my voice? It’s me, it’s Alex.
I said, Alex who? you know how many Alexes I know?
Then I could hear him getting impatient, sort of breathing faster and faster. Erin, he starts, Stop pulling my leg. I’m being very serious here: I want to meet up.
I said, Alex, if it’s the you I think it is, what makes you think I’m going to want to see you right now? I’m doing good, okay? Seeing you right now would just put me over the edge and I’m not ready for that. I’m not ready for you.
I looked down at my call display, it said his name, and even if I wasn’t lying about not knowing who it was, I still would have recognized the number. Practically had the thing tattooed into my memory.
He said, Erin, please, things don’t have to be weird, can you just try to be normal around me for once?
I said, Alex, look, you’re in a new place right now where you think you’re entitled to everything you ever wanted. That’s fine, but I happen to still think you’re being a huge dick and yanking my heart around even if you think it’s in a nice way. I’m sorry but any yanking of hearts, Alex, can not be done in a nice way.

“an orange (photo dip)” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 23, 2013
2:44am
5 minutes

IMG_4832


It scared me from when I was a kid. Half of the stringy stuff got caught in my throat and I choked on it. I guess that’s how you learn. You almost die before you realize that it is not the right way to eat an orange. Couldn’t someone have showed me that it was improper? I’ve had an issue with these things for a long time. It would be nice if someone noticed and just helped me along. I used to think you had to peel an artichoke the entire way to its core before you could eat it. But I kept peeling and peeling, and eventually all the layers were sitting on a paper towel and the heart of it was missing. Someone could have mentioned it then…but they thought it was endearing. I will never forget it. I thought it was the same as opening up a chocolate Kinder Egg to get to the little toy inside. But nothing was inside, I was just disappointed. Oranges are the same way now. They could have easily been a favourite but I think I’m going to go about eating it the wrong way and never think to buy them on my own unless they’re pre-cut.
Choking is not a fun feeling, so. I guess it’s residual fear or something.
I wonder if it’s just a life lesson I have to experience my own way. Like learning everything the hard way; burning my hands on the stove to know that it’s hot, and eating too many spicy peppers to understand my body just isn’t meant for that kind of thing.

“Instant teller” by Julia at her desk


Friday February 22, 2013
11:13pm
5 minutes
CIBC at College and Grace

I had a wish, or a dream, or something in between, and when I woke up, it was nothing nothing nothing.
Wished so hard for it to come true, with my loose lashes glued, top finger or bottom, wanted to sleep right through.
Someone stole it from my cheek, asked me if the future was something I could see, wishing on a tiny hair, it belongs near my eyes, not floating somewhere. I closed them tight anyway, hoping a true wish would come, but nothing ever did, and it stayed empty on my tongue. I had no words, but a lie in the expression, told them, yes I’ve been thinking, and no it’s not a concession. It told them I had my plans and my hopes and my goals, it didn’t speak the truth that I was just closing my eyes to avoid their eye rolls. I was sitting in a blanket of lost wishes sung, and I held onto that lash, like kids do when they’re young. I grew old in an instant, forgot to believe in the magic, and now that I admit it, it sounds all the more tragic. I was not of the mind that one great thing could be earned, with two eyes closed tight, and all the bridges around me burned. It was nothing nothing nothing. I woke up from that dream. I had nothing nothing nothing, and it was all because of me.

“He blushed and sat back down.” by Sasha at Ideal on Ossington


Thursday February 21, 2013 at Ideal Coffee
5:55pm
5 minutes
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
David Eggers


He asks me to watch his computer and his jacket, red and blue plaid. He goes down the stairs to the bathroom. I have the undeniable urge to slide over the restored church pew and read whatever his screen says. I don’t even care if it was something anti-climatic, it would be so clandestine. Beirut play on the coffee shop stereo and we all, every one of us, bob our heads, unquestioning and assuming only the regularity of the heartbeat of the song.

He returns. His hands must be a bit wet. Can’t have had time to dry them. He smiles a sideways, “thank you.” I realize that I know him. Oh my god. We danced together at a bar once, twelve hudred and a handful of days ago.

“He blushed and sat back down.” by Julia on the 506 going east


Thursday February 21, 2013
5:10pm
5 minutes
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
David Eggers


He was a shy boy to begin with, Jeremy. He had liked Lisa since grade one, and for a whole year wrote in his binders, both her name and his, no hearts, and a hundred tiny question marks. Not that he wasn’t sure about Lisa. About Lisa he was very sure. But he wasn’t sure that she would be sure about him in the same way that he was sure about her. He began to question if he was good enough at a very early age and being a self-aware child, it didn’t help that he was forced, by his own brain, to look inward on a momentary basis. Lisa was taller than Jeremy by two whole inches and she had a constellation of freckles across her face in a way that made her look like a pretty human zebra with blonde pigtails and bright honey eyes. Jeremy wasn’t even very good friends with Lisa, wich, if asked about, he’d admit that it was one of the areas that kept him from being sure about Lisa being sure about him. Lisa knew his name, that was certain. She handed out valentines to everybody in the class and even Jeremy got one. The name not a problem. The inner turmoil, maybe a bit more so. By Grade two Jeremy had developed a more mature adoration for Lisa. Since watching her tap dance to “Lollipop Lollipop” at the school talent show at the end of last year, he knew that he would not be getting over her very easily.

“and not mercy” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday February 20, 2013 at Starbucks
4:29pm
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


And not mercy, that’s not what I want. If you have it to give, fine, that’s one thing. But I will not ask for it. I will not beg. I don’t do things like that. I never have. I never will.
I woke up one cold morning and blamed the snow for cooling my skin. I had left the window open. Did I not invite it in? I did. I did. I realized then I was to blame for the misfortunes, the misguided ideas.
I offered once, to the man of my dreams, please take half of this shortbread. Take half and I will have the other. He forgot it and left the whole thing on the counter. I ate it all. I felt bad. Why? Did I not invite the guilt? That was one half that I had already offered up. How dare I pretend not to notice my promise?
That is why. That is why the mercy may come, but not if I request it. I do not deserve it. I do not want it if it comes falsely, if it comes because I can’t stand being in a room by myself surrounded by mirrors.
My skin, chilled from watching snow flakes hit it, my soul, ridden with the guilt that I burned in it myself. I am a mosaic of mistakes and regret and unfortunate decisions. I wasn’t thinking of anyone but myself.
Pain will come to those who cross their fingers tightly and wish and wish and wish for it.

“benchmark of excellence” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday February 19, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:34pm
5 minutes
A Jackson-Triggs bottle of Merlot

I met a man the other day, had an umbrella for a hat, had a cane for a baseball bat, had a smile where a smile shouldn’t be.
He told me two things: One, you are not alone. Two, if you really wanted to be full, you should eat something.
Said it with his interesting eyes, glancing inside of me without any effort.
I didn’t like his wisdom. I didn’t like his quirky way. I liked that he thought he had the right to tell me what to do…stranger…
He laughed at me when I shook my head, he said, oh dear, you think too much.
I think he’s right. There I go again. He told me that I was searching in the wrong garbage bin.
I think even then I said, I’m not into people’s leftovers.
He laughed again, he said, you thought about that. You were trying to impress me. You should care more about leftovers and less about your little wit. I was not trying to be witty, I was trying not to cry, but yeah, he was right, his umbrella face all yellow from the shadow. I was thinking too much and a strange man in a strange place was telling me what I needed to hear.
He told me more than one, two, three things. They kept coming like the words off his tongue turned to gold as soon as they hit the air.
I looked around myself and realized he was no longer there. He was not ever there, to begin with.
My soul is a man who wears rubber umbrella hats and knows what it is to be human…

“and not mercy” by Sasha on a bench at High Park


Wednesday February 20, 2013
2:23
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


Oh Lord! A guitar plays the riff of life and death. There’s a whisper, a mama, a dream of a snake. Thunder poetry knows the bounds here. She thinks about what she’d like her labor to be like, she thinks about how she’d like a warm bath, she thinks about how the hum of a daughter might feel on her chest. Have mercy! Have mercy on her, who sits, who rocks, who makes tomato soup. Oh Lord, I’ve been sending you e-mails, go straight to junk, drink away this worry with a whisss (and a) keyyyy. I see you’ve got something that I want and I’ve got nothing that you can’t find at the eighty eight cents store. Better than a dollar! Better than! I’ve been sending you e-mails, Lord, about the trackmarks on my stomach, about the puddles round my feet. Have mercy. I have sinned, oh Lord! You’re turning up the volume. You’re celebrating. You’re dancing the one-two step, one-two steps down the ladder and just grab my hand. I will reach for you because you’re the one with the soft voice, you’re the one with a whisper and a slide down the fret to salvation.

“benchmark of excellence” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday February 19, 2013
1:02am
5 minutes
A Jackson-Triggs bottle of Merlot

There is a din of this busy town
People’s choices colliding
I’m getting here and you’re getting there
And maybe we’ll be side-by-side but we probably won’t smile
We probably won’t share a fingertip touch
Or a belly-laugh
Even though we’re moving in the same direction
I can’t shake this feeling of sadness
Of a murky basement smell
On my birthday one New York ago
I promised that things would be bright
Mostly they are
Mostly I see people connecting the dots without colour
I see people sipping without tasting
I “Ohh” and “Ahh” over the deliciousness
And I look for others that might be coo-ing in agreement
The remaining snow is caked with dirt and salt
My boots are muddy and wet
I’m hiking hills and valleys
Relentless
Looking for a reason
A ready-to-go
I have faith in your boundless now

“as long as there’s a laugh in it.” by Sasha in her bed


Monday February 18, 2013
11:47pm
5 minutes
Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery


The tallest tree in the world is in California. You’d cut a picture of it out of National Geographic and had tacked it to the wall in the bathroom. I would trY to count it’s boughs as I plucked my eyebrows or took my before-bed pee. We made plans to climb it, a long time ago, when my hair was still long and you still called Heather every Sunday night at seven our time, ten her time. You’re gone now, but that plan still lives somewhere inside of me, below my sternum, nestled near the strawberry shortcake birthday. I book my ticket for my sixy seventh birthday. I’m landing in San Francisco. My nephew will pick me up from the airport. I haven’t seen him since he was fifteen, and had hands bigger than my head, a basketball gripped for dear life. I’m so nervous I can’t sleep, the night before I’m set to leave. My suitcase is packed with a few T-shirts, cotton underwear, well-worn jeans, new hiking pants, running shoes, one bra, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, moisturizer, my old Minolta. I find myself thinking about where you are now, wondering if I’ll see you there, climbing our tree.

“But time is short.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday February 17, 2013
10:12pm
5 minutes
To The Actor
Michael Chekhov


Macy’s not caring about the “how’s” she’s caring about the “when’s”. Asks me to go with her down to the bank and see what all the fussin’ is about. Macy has made up her mind and she don’t need a man to do it. The nurse at the bank looks us up and down and thinks we’re together or somethin’. She asks which of us is going to do it. “Me!” Says Macy. “Her!” Says me. We sit in a room with paintings of windows lookin’ out onto oceans and such and Macy starts going through the books of donor files. “Handsome man, good DeeNNNEhhh…” Macy keeps muttering under her breath, poppin’ her gum and clickin’ her nails. “Gimme on of those,” I say, grabbing a book from the stack. Macy glares at me but knows she can’t say nothin’ cuz I took the day off work to be here with her doin’ this!

“as long as there’s a laugh in it.” by Julia on the subway going west


Monday February 18, 2013
11:45pm
5 minutes
Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery


Stop saying you find me cute or humorous. I’m not either of those things. Right now I am IRATE. IRATE. Not cute and irate. Irate and irate. So, yeah, I’d really like it if you stopped trying to paint me. Everyone would be happy about that. When we were in Europe together last July I wanted to murder you and everything you stood for. Somehow, we made it all the way back to London, Ontario and we’re both still alive, which is crazy, and I haven’t followed through on my threat yet. I don’t think I get any pleasure from you thinking I’m cute even though I’m begging you to stop perceiving me that way. I don’t think I like it in the slightest that you don’t care if I have toothpaste on the corners of my mouth or that I look scraggly in the morning before I’ve showered. You are perhaps the best known liar in the history of the universe because when you look at me, I only see love and that can’t be one hundred percent consistent. Not for any human could that be a thing. Because when I look at you I remember how linty your belly button is, and I recall right away the time you forgot to buy us a garbage can every day for a month.

“But time is short.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 17, 2013
2:12am
5 minutes
To The Actor
Michael Chekhov


A lot of things are great. Want to hear a list? I’m good at making lists. It’s all about the punctuation…
Just kidding.
Great Things.
A List by Addie Pierce
Number 1) Elbow joints!
Number 2) Surprises!
Number 3) Collective sighs..
Number 4) Family bbqs!
Number 5) 20 extra dollars!
Number 6) The boneless chicken bites from KFC!
Number 7) When young people marry old people and then their house have to be post modern.
Number 8) Peanut butter sandwiches with the crust cut off and a note in my lunch! Or a lunch in general!
Number 9) Counting to 10!
Number 10) Wishing that it took less time to think of some really really great list items.

“For residential customers,” by Julia at her kitchen table


Saturday February 16, 2013
1:44pm
5 minutes
The back of the Toronto Hydro bill

I haven’t wanted to live in an apartment building since 2012. It was a stupid incident, really, not even a big deal. It was just sort of haunted, I’m not going to get into it, but it really was, so I left my complex. I’m not saying that houses or condos are not haunted. They for sure can be. But they’re the kind of place that ghosts like to hang out. Again, I don’t know why because I’m not a ghost buster or anything like that. I’m not really even the kind of person who believes in stuff like that. I just sort of know what I know and that’s enough to decide whether I want a new place or some rickety old apartment building with blood stains in the bathroom…I didn’t, for the record, find any blood stains in my apartment. That wasn’t the kind of haunted I mean. The kind I mean is the kind that makes you want to stay up all night without sleeping, and only eating corn chips and Mike and Ikes. Together. Like mixing them so they tasted like fruit loops cereal. The kind that makes you forget to bring your second pair of running shoes to the gym even though the ones you always remember are the ones that smell like Krispy Kremes and vomit. It’s just the kind of place that has ghosts of productivity past. The ghosts of almost but not quite because YOU’RE JUST SO BUSY SETTLING FOR NOT GREAT STUFF.

“3,200 year old” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 15, 2013
2:28am
5 minutes
National Geographic pull-out feature

There’s a girl I know, we call her Heather but I’m pretty sure her name is Marlene… I don’t know why she hates her name so much. It’s not a bad name just sort of an old one. There’s been a lot of teasing of Heather Marlene because she’s so quiet and likes to wear dirty trench coats. When I first moved here they said she smells like pee because she is too poor to wash her clothes that she peed in. I smelled Heather Marlene and it wasn’t that bad. She sort of reminded me of camping or cottage smells. I told them, maybe her mother does her laundry while she’s at the cottage, and they laughed at me too saying her and I should be best friends. I was nice to Heather Marlene right away because she looked sad. I didn’t want her to eat her white bologna sandwich by herself at recess. My mom likes to toast my focaccia bun and put prosciutto and mozzarella on it for me. I sometimes trade with heather Marlene so she can taste it. And also I have never had bologna before. I never asked her why she liked to go by Heather instead.

“For residential customers,” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 16, 2013
12:03pm
5 minutes
The back of the Toronto Hydro bill

He wouldn’t mind seeing her again, against a backdrop of raindrop windows and peacock feather, Bon Iver and a tin roof dancing with thunder. He wouldn’t mind forgetting his sister, eighteen, (looking more like his mother than his mother did at her age), his sister, in her first semester at University, posting pictures of herself in booty shorts and a bra. He wouldn’t mind finally going on that ten-day silent meditation retreat, even though everything inside of him is scared and screaming, “I can’t ever be quiet!” He wouldn’t mind leaving his thirteen hundred dollar a month apartment, and his stainless steel appliances, and his bookshelves filled with books with barely creased spines. What would he have then? What would he have if he didn’t have his carton of twelve extra large brown eggs, and his cologne from France that his uncle sends him (purchased at the Duty Free in Vegas), and the framed photo of he and her on Khao San Road, looked sparkly, tanned, and smarter, even though they were younger.

“3,200 year old” by Sasha at her desk


Friday February 15, 2013
2:12am
5 minutes
National Geographic pull-out feature

ALl I can smell is burning but I really don’t think anything is on fire yet. You’re ready to go in your black Adidas track suit and running shoes. “Where are you planning to run to?” I ask again and again. You smile like you’ve got a secret, or an excuse, or a reason. “Countdown to destiny,” you say, for the twelfth time since Gatorade. “Don’t forget where you came from, Danny…” I respond. You’re stretching on the carpet in the living room and little bits of lint are getting on the knees of your pants. “I can’t focus with you staring at me, Ma!” You yell and I jump. I didn’t realize that you saw me. I had been thinking about how much you look like your father now, with the extra weight and the receding hairline. “Go make a sandwich or something!” You start to lunge and I envision the crotch of your pants ripping. What would you do then? “Who taught you to talk like that?” I say, walking into the kitchen. I take peanut butter from the cupboard and bread-and-butter pickles from the door of the fridge.

“RAIN (on someone’s statue)” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 14, 2013
11:22am
5 minutes
The Vampire Cat
Robert Thomas Payne


Make believe that we’re swimming with big waves in the ocean, like the one in Florida, like the ocean near Grandpa’s condo, like those waves where I’m not scared and we’re just, like, floatinggggg. And then this fish swims by, a Nemo fish, but not low down, like, we can see him. And he says, “How’re you today, human beans?” And we laugh because, he’s, like, a funny little fishy! And we say, “We’re having a great time in Florida visiting our Grandpa! And our Mom in on a Christian Singles vacation in Miami! And we get to eat Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast with Grandpa! And we don’t even barely ever miss our Mom!” The funny fish laughs because he totally understands what we’re talking about. And then, like, our legs get tired so we find a more shallow spot and we just, like, stand, and let then sand eat up our feet a bit. But not in a scary way? And then! Then! Then, it starts to rain. But it’s so warm out that we don’t even care and, like, we’re already wet, so it’s just fun to be in the rain. And then you start to sing that song about your “Bonny” and how she’s over the ocean and I even sing some because I know the words now from hearing you sing it so much.

“Before & After” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday February 13, 2013
1:03am
5 minutes
http://www.buzzfeed.com

Before, you would shake your head when I said something like that and now… you just look at me like a blank sky. Before, you wouldn’t turn on the AM radio when you made bacon and eggs for us… you would listen to the silence of the forest. Before, you never forgot to ask how it went at the doctor and now? Now you barely even look me in the eye. Before, you would always make sure the house was tidy when I got home from a long day, because it was important to me, because it made me feel like we had it together… Now, there’s socks on the sofa, tallboy cans by the bed, and an overflowing trash can under the sink. I guess I’ll do it all tomorrow. I guess tomorrow might be different, after the Northern Lights.

“creating a tension” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday February 12, 2013
6:14pm
5 minutes
Sex,Drugs,And Cocoa Puffs
Chuck Klosterman


Let’s not even go there, okay? I know that you’ve got all your priorities lined up like rifles but… I’m not ready for that shit. I joined because I wanted a better life for my wife and my kid. End of story. Life is about sacrifices. I learned that the day that my Mom got breast cancer and had to give up everything… including this ride around the merry-go-round. Sorry… I’m trying to keep my emotions in check here, but it’s hard. I didn’t have a ten-year-plan. I was thinking, “I can’t keep bartending, I never get to see my kid because I’m sleeping all damn day…” I didn’t go to college, right. I don’t have that many options. I got a sales job for a few weeks but I couldn’t handle that kind of hustle. I was… let go. So, I enlisted. Went down to the recruitment centre on Runsway and by the end of that meeting I was on the top of the world. When I got home, Amy, my wife, said that she hadn’t seen me that happy since our boy was born. I hadn’t told her why yet. I had to wait for the perfect moment. She’s a pacifist, right, so it’s tricky.

“RAIN (on someone’s statue)” by Julia on her bed


Thursday February 14, 2013
12:28am
5 minutes
The Vampire Cat
Robert Payne


Raining love and stuff, which is nice. It’s unusual, I’ll say that. Don’t usually feel much love on a regular basis. Not his fault. Doesn’t know how to love me. Maybe it’s mine. The fault. I’m sometimes only pretty after eating breakfast and using the mascara wand. He comes home, brings some nice love in. Some donuts, one flower. Also brings in those nine dollar steaks so I know we’re in for a treat. Put on my best dress, the red. The red one with the single bow in the middle there. It is nice. Festive. He thinks so too. Tells me I went and looked nice for him, which I did. Then just pouring out more and more love. Nice comments, which I’ll never forget. Says he is lucky, not sure if he means it. Sounds good anyway. Then sit down beside him at the table. This time beside, usually across. Not really sure why not always beside. Special occasion or something. We are eating the nine dollar steaks, and it’s so very easy. I’m blushing behind my cheeks, don’t want him to see he’s making me feel this nice. Don’t want him to get any self-conscious and stop the nice sayings.
Then he sneezes all big. He doesn’t cover his mouth, just sneezes real big. It’s all over me too now. The sneeze that’s less like love rain and more just like snotty rain.

“Before & After” by Julia in her bed


Wednesday February 13, 2013
1:06am
5 minutes
http://www.buzzfeed.com

It all started with a slice of pizza and then it went downhill from there. To a creepy man at the subway station, the one who used to make jokes through his missing teeth slots. To a corner store being held up by a fake armed robbery. That’s the change. That’s the before and after, only if we go too much before the first, everyone starts getting bored. There’s always a thing before the thing. But now, here and now, before and after, there’s a thing before the thing’s thin. Why can’t we all just admit that everything is relative. That slice of pizza would have been the best part of the night if it weren’t for the fake armed robbery. It would have been if pizza was everything. That’s how we do things, you know? We just compare so much we can’t help it. We can’t. I’m prettier than so and so, she’s prettier than you, therefore I’m prettier than you, but it doesn’t mean any one of us is pretty to begin with… just in relation to.

“creating a tension” by Julia at TAN on Baldwin


Monday February 11, 2013 at TAN
5:13pm
5 minutes
Sex,Drugs,And Cocoa Puffs
Chuck Klosterman


Dear friend,
I’ve been better, Hannah. I really have. I am looking back on my life right now and can only safely say that I have been happy a total of 3 times in my entire existence. What happened to me, Hannah? Was I not full of life in our youth? Don’t you remember me wishing on stars and running around without shoes? All that hard work trying to be free has not paid off. I’m a solace to no one. I am a slave to the society’s fixed price life option. Beginning. Middle. End. Nothing in between, Hannah! Nothing to set me apart from the status quo. Oh and my mind aches. I am so tired from all the poor decisions and lack luster ideas I’ve been having. What changed, my dear Hannah? What could possibly be different now. Have I aged without grace? Have I chosen a path trodden by too many? Am I an embodiment of my own regret?
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And you, Hannah, how are you?

8. Open your closet.” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 11, 2013
11:31pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


He was staring into my hairline as opposed to into my eyes. I think he was scared because one is green and the other is yellow like the sun. If he didn’t know how to handle it, I don’t blame him. I still don’t know how to handle it. I keep thinking my left side is possessed by the devil. When I see myself in the mirror I get a little worked up. Anyway he was avoiding my eyes. He was trying to invite me to his event. He was being awarded for something, thought it’d be nice if I could go with him. But I stopped listening and started counting out my outfits. 7. Black dress gold trim makes me look sexy. 8. Black dress black trim makes me look generic. 9, black dress no trim makes me look? Did he even say this was black tie optional? If it’s optional I’ll be wearing jeans. Maybe I’ll ask my hairline. She’ll know better than me.

“8. Open your closet.” by Sasha on her couch


Monday February 11, 2013
10:05pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


A one-two-three list for you, when you feel a bit lost.
1. Make a smoothie of your best intentions, blend them up, and drink them down, smooth and cool.
2. Remember your first phone number? A landline phone, something with a chord, attached to the wall, recite the number until you remember your childhood best friend’s number too.
3. Make valentines with shiny paper, sparkles and glue. Give them to strangers and maybe even one ex-lover whose kisses you particularly enjoyed.
4. Write down your dreams for six months and then put them through the shredder at work, collect the paper pieces and make dream pillows for each woman in your family.
5. Roast your fears, on low heat, never basting, never even opening the oven to see what they smell like.
6. Go for a run in the snow, up and down hills, and don’t turn back when you fall. It’s good practise.
7. Stop hiding behind irony and trying to be like that person you saw on the bus who you thought was probably cooler than you.
8. Open you closet and put on only your best clothes. Give the rest to the Salvation Army. Wear your best clothes to the grocery store and to a breakfast date with your Mom.

“We are not captives” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday February 10, 2013
9:39am
5 minutes
Mud, River, Stone
Lynn Nottage


I made you chocolate pancakes and you didn’t say “Thank you”. You didn’t even say, “Wow. Chocolate pancakes.” You ate them, quietly, while I waited for any assortment of verbal affirmations that you might, finally, be happy. Debbie read somewhere that we have to detach from the whole concept of “happiness” because it’s a bag of lies. I didn’t say it to Debbie but I’m thinking, if happiness is a bag of lies than what have we got? If happiness is a big ol’ sack of bologna than where does that leave me, a forty-one year old accountant with weak lungs and a penchant for fondue? I refuse to detach from the “concept” of happiness. I will not become a captive, like Debbie, of a stupid yoga teacher who has a suspect strand of brown beads around his neck and back-hair suitable for lawn bowling! I just nod and smile when Debbie tells me about the wisdom he imparts, only to her, only after their private session. I am an intelligent woman and even if I didn’t go to graduate school and do the Peace Corps, I am the one making the top-notch decision to be HAPPY, regardless of the fact that you, my beloved son, my depressed beloved son, are incapable of expressing gratitude.

“We are not captives” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday February 10, 2013
1:51am
5 minutes
Mud, River, Stone
Lynn Nottage


Getting a bit hazy in my head.
Had a million questions to ask before bed.
Wished you would have stayed.
Instead you just left.
There’s an empty space now.
Ow Ow. My empty space hurts now.
Where are you in this moment.
On a cloud, I hope. That would be nice.
It would be a shroud of doubt.
It would be nice.
I hear violins and I like them.
You never left a note like all the other men.
Didn’t know how to sign your own name?
That’s what I’ll tell people.
Fear of dyslexia and that is okay.
You won’t have an airport bar all to yourself in any other life.
So HA!
Ha! Things taste good when you’re not tasting.
Things taste good when you’re not wasting.
We are not captives!
You said that in your sleep once.
I listened, I wrote it down, I framed it, and put it on the mantle in the living room.
You never even saw it. Never noticed. Those were your words!
Getting a bit hazy in my head.
Had a million questions to ask before bed.
Wished you would have stayed.
Instead you just left.
There’s an empty space now.
Woah, woah, my empty space is singing now.
Songs of you, wouldn’t that be nice?
Wouldn’t that be something to tell your friends.
I can prove I’m enough.
Give me half a chance.
Come back and I’ll promise to do your laundry until we both fall down dead.
I’ll let you wash my hair the way you always wanted.

“He might get lucky” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 9, 2013
1:26am
5 minutes
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul
Jack Canfield


I’ve been holding it in. My pee. I know that sounds gross but if you had asparagus for dinner then you would understand and you would be holding in your pee as well. Whatever. Pee once a day, that’s fine. Except it’s NOT fine and I know the more I go the less the asparagus thing will bother me…
He might get lucky. I’m talking about Adam. He might accidentally whack his head off the corner of the table that sticks out in the dining room and suffer a mild concussion, and then some sort of short term memory loss. Or better: long term. Then he’d forget that I was a little bit of a crazy and he’d never stop loving me. Is that a thing? Any of this? Like, I want to know if anyone has ever had to wish an injury on a loved one so they would forget how weird their partner is. He picked me, or something like that, whatever, so. It’s partially his fault. He could have asked me before we went out the first time if I had anything weird about myself that I wanted to tell him. And yeah, if I were trying to be honest, I would have said something like, mmhm, some things. Here and there, might be deal breakers, not sure. And he’d have had the chance to ask more specific questions and then I could tell him then and there that I don’t like peeing when I’ve eaten asparagus, and therefore don’t really enjoy eating asparagus, and also that when I was 6 I locked my baby cousin in a dark room to make him cry so that when I finally opened the door, he would cling to me because I “saved him”. I could have told him all my things in one shot and he could have decided early on about me.

“I detested him for other reasons” by Julia at her desk


Friday February 8, 2013
1:28am
5 minutes
Possible Side Effects
Augusten Burroughs


If you think about what things keep you from living, you might come up with a short list. It might be wonderfully accurate and appropriate for everyone, but chances are, it’s only a good one for you. It might have some things about “not drinking enough water” on it, or perhaps, “exercising too seldom”. It might say “horrible boss, horrible job, unhappy”. It’s not up to you to judge your own list. Everyone knows you’re already unhappy. That’s why you’re making the list in the first place. On mine, for example, there is nothing about my job. I didn’t say I love my job. I just don’t want to write it down in words because then it’s more official: not doing what I want to do. However, instead of saying “I hate my job”, I say “lacking ability to decide when it’s worth it to stop trying here.” This is terribly ambiguous. It allows it to apply to more than one thing without hating and worrying more than one has to. More than I have to. On your list, it might say “fear of going outside.” Mine says “Fear of going to sleep.” That keeps me from truly living. Truly. Living. Like the two words don’t even go together the way they should. I should also mention that dry hands may or may not be on my list. Some lists are longer than others. I tend to save the long lists for things I need to accomplish that day. This way, I can include “waking up”, “eat lunch”, “hug someone” and it doesn’t seem that hard.

“He might get lucky” by Sasha in her bed


Saturday February 9, 2013
2:11am
5 minutes
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul
Jack Canfield


There was never a man better than Clever Clive. He was born to a banker and a nursery school teacher in a bungalow on the outskirts of the suburbs of an unimportant city. He was named for his maternal grandfather who’d died a hero in World War One. His mother had intended to have Clive in hospital, as was customary at the time. He came in quick, though, and after assorted huffing and puffing, his umbilical chord was cut and he was wrapped in a blue flannel blanket. Clive was glad that he was born at home, even though his mother had worried relentlessly about the hygiene of it all. He never liked hospitals. He never liked the sheen of the floors from the constant mopping or the glare of the florescent lights. Clever Clive was dubbed so on his third birthday by a friend that is no longer a friend. He was reading Chaucer to the other children when said friend crept into the kitchen and said to his mother, as whipped the cream for the Trifle, “You’ve got a very clever boy on your hands, a very Clever Clive.”

“I detested him for other reasons” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 8, 2013
12:47am
5 minutes
Possible Side Effects
Augusten Burroughs


I wasn’t sure about the smell of the place but the look of it was half decent, I guess. Kind of run-down chic, a little auto-body shop turned Holt Renfrew. A man (or was it a woman?) came over in sparkle-pants and holding a clipboard, and asked my name. This is usually an easy question to answer but I wasn’t sure if he/she wanted the last name first or the first name first. I gathered I’d only have one shot at it. “Williams.” He furrowed his brow, wrote something down and walked away. There were no chairs. There was a faint hum of a light bulb about to blow. This is not how I imagined it. A set of pony-tailed twins in tuxedos carrying trays of canapés began to circle. “Am I just not seeing the other people here? You’ve got enough food to feed an army! I know I’m tall but… I won’t be eating all of that. Thanks, but…” I said all of this to one of the twins, taking a mini smoked salmon quiche and a napkin. He laughed and kept circling the room.

“boyfriend’s oversized sportscoat” by Sasha on the subway going West


Thursday February 7, 2013
6:15pm
5 minutes
http://www.thesartorialist.com

I feel sick to my stomach but I know I won’t throw up or anything particularly messy. I feel naked and alone and sick to my stomach, but I know I won’t buy a ticket to Guelph and take my four-man tent and do something stupid like pitch it on your front lawn. I feel sick to my stomach. It can’t be anything real yet. I can only be a dash or a semi-colon or a mite sized maybe. I found myself running down by the lake really early this morning. The sun wasn’t up yet. I took off my shoes and ran through the sand because it was harder. I needed a physical thing, a physical hard thing, to make what’s happening seem easier. My toes couldn’t get traction. I hate running. But I did. I ran all the way to the Leslie Street Spit. I saw a woman with a Great Dane. She smiled at me and said, “Be safe.” I thought about answering, “Too late now!” But I couldn’t find my voice. When I got home I saw your sportscoat in my hall closet. The blue one that goes with your dress pants, that you wore to Hugh’s wedding. I took off my sweaty running clothes and put it on.

“boyfriend’s oversized sportscoat” by Julia on the 506 going East


Thursday February 7, 2013
3:15pm
5 minutes
http://www.thesartorialist.com

He stepped into the rain with his umbrella half closed, thinking to himself, things could be worse. He waited for Dana to come out of the house. Waiting was something he did well because being late was something Dana did professionally. She couldn’t be the first to arrive at a party and be seen waiting at a table, or at the bar. She liked to make an entrance, but mostly because she didn’t like to be kept waiting. She wasn’t insanely late, just never on time. Tonight, he knew early on, Dana would surely want to arrive only five minutes after the scheduled time because it was important. The rain began to come down a little harder, Dana still inside the house. He opened his umbrella all the way and stood at the end of the driveway, humming to himself. She did this so regularly that he knew if he stayed inside with her, he would get stuck answering questions about which shoes went better, the nude or the black, which earrings, the dangling ones or the hoops, which purse, etc. He eventually began to lie to her, saying yes to whatever thing she was wearing at the time to reduce the time it would take for him to be honest and for her to change yet again. He’d rather wait outside, light a little fire under her ass, and then be surprised by how beautiful she managed to look anyway, even after so much time deliberating.

“big red sneakers” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 6, 2013
12:36am
5 minutes
Women of Manhattan
John Patrick Shanley


She was a meanie, Mrs. Appleton. She wore big red sneakers and I HATED THEM. Why would a woman her age wear sneakers for children and try to teach a classroom OF children? Obviously it was so she could “get on our level” but I saw right past it, yes I did. She was a loser. THERE. MRS. APPLETON WAS A LOSER. One of those ‘failure at life’ types. She tried, boy did she, but it wouldn’t win us over because we were smart. Such a meanie. Just one of those people who would give Donnie Kits a C just because she didn’t like that he was chewing gum during his history presentation. And once, when I was trying to be ARTISTIC, I ripped the edges of my pastel tree drawing so it would look like the EARTH, she completely made fun of me in front of the whole class and told us all that it was lazy and we should learn to use scissors like adults. I HATED HER THEN. And you’d be sitting there, just minding your own business, just working on multiplication tables, and really for the first time understanding the 9 times tables, when all of a sudden, squeak squeak. There she was behind you, Mrs. Appleton and her snarled up lip and her squeaky too young for her red sneakers. She’d make you feel like you were doing something wrong just by BREATHING on you. And her breath. Ugh! Even her breath was mean!

“big red sneakers” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday February 6, 2013
12:21am
5 minutes
Women of Manhattan
John Patrick Shanley


I’d had my eye on them since May. I knew that it might be a few years before I grew into them but I didn’t care. It was the best kind of investment. One with risk. The risk being that my feet may not actually grow. I’m unsure whether or not you can picture me so… I’ll help you out. I’m 4’11”. It’s an unfortunate fate. My mother was Lebanese and my father is Jamaican. Notice the “was” and “is”. It’s an unfortunate fate. I’m an “only” and if you don’t know what that means then you don’t need to and let’s leave it at that. Back to the point of this whole thing… But, I will take a moment to tell you that this won’t be the last time I get distracted. In fact, it’s a pretty common occurrence. Please remind me in a kind and yet firm way that I’ve digressed. I’ll get back on point. Sometimes I just need help. Back to the point, I saw the red high-tops in the window in May and knew that they had to be mine. Had to. Trouble is, I recently got fired from my co-op at the Library. Let’s be a bit mysterious and just say that it had to do with overdue cassette tapes and stolen barcode readers. You may be thinking, but if it was a co-op that means that there was no remuneration and therefore who gives a toot about a “firing”? I may or may not have been promoted. That may or may not have resulted in financial gain and therefore my coveted shoes. When there’s a will there’s a way, I like to say, so I set out to make money in perhaps a more questionable, but far more imaginative, way.

“The only time” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday February 5, 2013
5:23pm
5 minutes
The 4-Hour Body
Timothy Ferriss


A Case Of You is my personal national anthem, if I had to choose one. I like cinnamon toast for breakfast and honey banana smoothies. I’m an Aquarius so usually I’m calm and good and going with the flow but… well, that depends on the circumstances. I figure that I should tell you one or two less fortunate truths, just so you don’t get the wrong idea. One, I have eczema behind my knees. Two, I very occasionally wet the bed. It would only be an issue if I had a particular dream and happened to be sleeping at your place. But that likely won’t happen until a little further down the road so… No need to worry. You look worried. Please don’t be. It’s… not exactly… Would it make you feel better if you saw the eczema? It’s not that bad! I put this special cream on it every day and it’s actually looking a lot better now! You look… scared? Don’t be. What’s your star sign? … Sagittarius. I think we’re compatible? I always forget with that one…

“The only time” by Julia on the subway going west


Tuesday February 5, 2013
11:00pm
5 minutes
The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss

Here’s everything that I’m thinking right now: I’m alone, I’m happy, I’m stubborn, I’m sticky, I’m pmsing hardcore, and I really really miss the way your stubble feels on my forehead. Is that okay with you? That you get to leave and I get to deal with you being gone every single day. I’m happy right now. In this moment. I’m not happy that you left me, or overall that I’m alone. Those two things go together in list format not in realistic emotions and reasons format. I hope you like the new woman you’re with and I hope she never screams out someone else’s name. I said I was sorry about that okay? It wasn’t on purpose and it wasn’t personal. I hope you know that if you had done that to me I would have laughed about it eventually. The only time I’m not sorry about is when I shook your shoulders and made you kiss me even when you said I was the last person on the face of the earth you wanted to kiss. Now obviously that was a good thing because you were lying to yourself when you said that, and it was the best goddamn kiss of your life.

“Offer their two cents” by Sasha on the subway going West


Monday February 4, 2013
11:05pm
5 minutes
http://www.therecord.com

It wasn’t that she hated the smell of brussel sprouts roasting, it was that she hadn’t heard if Lizzie had arrived safe and sound and was therefore terribly grumpy. “For God’s sake! What’s wrong with you?” asked Timothy. He’d been her lover for sixteen years and her boyfriend for three. “Those fucking brussel sprouts smell like feet!” She checked her e-mail and her cell phone and the e-mail on her cell phone. Timothy went upstairs and started knitting. His therapist had recommended it might be good for his anxiety. She heard his needles clanging together. This calmed yet infuriated her. “My best friend might be dead!” She screamed. “She hasn’t even landed in Budapest yet, honey…” said Tim, already soothed by the scarf he was making. “Oh…” She said, more to herself than to him. “I suppose you’re right!” She called. She didn’t like that Lizzie had decided to go without her. She hated that Lizzie had put all of her things, all of her beautiful things, in storage and bought a one-way ticket. Maybe she needed a mid-life crisis. Maybe she needed a Reiki master.

“Offer their two cents” by Julia on her bed


Monday February 4, 2013
1:15am
5 minutes
http://www.therecord.com

Mindy and Alex were roasting sweet potatoes (simultaneously) and they were in completely different houses, in completely different towns, in completely different provinces, and yet, at the same time, without consulting one another, the two (who were madly in love) were participating in a communal activity. The way people who spend a lot of time together start dressing in certain matching colour schemes? That’s this. Only through consciously sent happy and mutual thoughts. She thinks about him making up a song about meditation, and usually, he meditates. He thinks about squeezing her arms and she’s getting her blood pressure checked. Made to be (swoon!). It’s one of those things you either love or hate when you’re not the people doing the loving. If you hate it that’s okay too. But that’s only because you want what they’ve got!

“easy as a rag doll” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 3, 2013
9:26pm
5 minutes
Not Wanted on the Voyage
Timothy Findley


It’s been 18 minutes and 34 seconds. And counting. And wasting. 19 minutes that I’ve been on hold. Do people even wait this long anymore? The terrible music is on loop, it’s blurry, and for the love of god, it’s starting to grow on me. I don’t feel like dancing yet, but for crying out loud, I think I’ve gone crazy cause I’m not too far off. Every time it stops, I think a real human being is going to join me on the phone and engage in this problem that I’ve been so desperately trying to resolve. I’ve been patient, oh have I. I put it on speaker phone. Best damn idea I’ve ever had. Hands free. Still able to peruse the interweb, which, I’ll have you know, is exciting when there’s the thrill of someone interrupting. Not like that. Just retail stores online, that’s all I’m saying. Wouldn’t mind checking out Macy’s. Wouldn’t mind telling my brother to let me spend some of his cash points on a new scarf or something. I even managed to do a load of laundry. Now that’s commitment! I wonder if people are just hanging out across the telephone wires with their co-workers, just sort of keeping me on the line cause they know I’ll wait. Hell, I haven’t hung up yet. I get worried that they’re over there playing Strip Poker or Gin Rummy or, you know, I think about Twister! Are they all twisted up, half naked and tangled, smoking cigars and just having the times of their lives while I sit here surfing online trying to keep myself from dancing to this horrible music? I suppose I could get the pasta water boiling. Emmet said he’d be home soon, but I bet not before I die of boredom.

“small children who sang together” by Julia at the Dunn cottage in Keswick


Saturday February 2, 2013
2:31am
5 minutes
Sicilian
Mario Puzo


Where was I the day that Aggie stopped singing? Was I on a plane to Moscow? It doesn’t matter, I know this, and yet I’m just dying to know. Not that I could have stopped her from deciding, but at least then she would know it was a mistake.
That girl could truly belt out the loveliest notes you’d ever hear. Her and her little friends used to form choirs so they could sing together, but only Aggie ever got the solos. She didn’t want them, even, but no one else wanted to sing next to Aggie to compare. She was that kind of good.
It’s hard to believe now that a hundred times over by the weeping willow, I used to sit and wait for Aggie to delight us all with one of her little concerts.
Not going to listen to her anymore, that’s her choice, I understand that. But I can’t help but wonder if she is making a mistake. Was. Was making. I did myself struggling to remember that this isn’t happening now. There’s nothing I can do.

“easy as a rag doll” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 3, 2013
3:13pm
5 minutes
Not Wanted on the Voyage
Timothy Findley


The instructor? Her name was Kimmy. Curse the parents that name their daughter Kimmy! She is destined for the stripper pole or, like this one, the aerobics room in the community centre that smells a bit of cat pee. Kimmy was in neon leg warmers and a black unitard. If they measured her body fat I can tell with complete certainty that it would be minus ten percent. Minus. Her hip bones poked out and her tiny, cupcake breasts bounced just so as she jumped and danced around. I borrowed one of Sam’s hockey T-shirts. I strapped on a four clasp sports bra. I wore old, green, men’s waffle long johns that gave me a significant muffin top and were missing one of the buttons at the crotch. Kimmy came over at the beginning, as I was trying to stretch like the rest of the ladies and she said, a little sorry for me, masked by enthusiasm, “Is this your first time?” I wanted to donkey kick her. I nodded. She whispered, “I’m going to suggest that you stick to the back of the room so that the more advanced students can really, you know, guide you through the moves…” “I plan to.” I said. “Did you bring water?” Asked Kimmy, eyelashes fluttering. “No,” I said, “I brought milk.” Kimmy wrinkled her nose. Her freckles overlapped on one another and I wanted to take her face in my hands and grate them right off with a cheese grater. “Ew…” she said, very quietly.

“small children who sang together” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday February 2, 2013
1:32am
5 minutes
The Sicilian
Mario Puzo


I didn’t think that I had any more tears. At a certain point you go, “Okay, there cannot possibly be more tears left in there!” And then, lo and behold, more just end up coming. It’s a curse. These tears. Edward was completely at a loss what to do with me anymore. He wouldn’t even say anything. He would look at me, see that I was crying again, and, most usually, yawn or readjust himself. I went to the market alone this morning. Usually we go together. This morning Edward said that he wanted to sleep in. It’s February, I mean it’s hardly time for choirs… Not like December or April are! I have no idea why they were performing but this… this children’s chorus was singing in the stairway on the South side. My breath caught in my throat. Oh goodness, no! I thought. Yes. The tears came, and the hiccups, and one of the little boy’s, he looked like the blonde version of Ned, he really did, he smiled. He must have a mother like me.

“To be done daily” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 1, 2013
10:13pm
5 minutes
the exercise guidelines from Evolve Chiropractic

Sometimes Stan forgets to breathe. He’ll find himself flossing his teeth, at the end of a day, a fine day, an okay day, a same-as-always day, holding his breath. He’ll find himself on the bus, on the way to a movie with his girlfriend, or coming home from Kickboxing class, and, you guessed right, Stan isn’t breathing. It’s a common misconception that as human beings we cannot live without breath. We can. Stan does. However, it has strange repercussions. Stan realizes he has more of a belly, not a beer belly, or a pot belly, but a belly belly. He realizes that quite often he is dizzy and being dizzy does not make one a very talented conversationalist. His girlfriend becomes annoyed and then, shortly thereafter, distant. He realizes that he’s becoming worse at his job, spending most of the time looking at the spider in the corner weaving his web. Stan realizes that if he doesn’t start breathing more regularly he could lose… Everything. He writes himself notes. He sets alarms on his phone – “Are you breathing right now?” He even asks his father to call him every morning at eight and ask him a simple question. Stan needs to turn things around. Fast.

“Ballerina afraid” by Sasha at Balzac’s in the Distillery


Thursday, January 31, 2013 at Balzac’s
3:16pm
5 minutes
Metro News Thursday January 31, 2013

She didn’t want to do it because she knows what happens. First it’s a leotard and a tutu and then it’s bloody toes and an eating disorder. But Mimi pushed. She begged. She left notes on her pillow in her five-year-old precious penmanship that said, “If I don’t go to ballet class with Stefanie I will DIE.” She had to succumb. She couldn’t let her own experience hold her daughter back. So, for Mimi’s birthday, a snowy February morning, she gave her a box wrapped in gold, glittery, tissue paper. Mimi had happily opened a doll and a set of Playmobile and a Little House on the Prarie. Inside the box was a card. On the face of the card was a Degas painting or dancer at a barre. Her blue eyes widened. “No way…” She muttered. She opened the card and her mother read her what it said. “Six months of classes at The Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre.” Mimi burst into tears and ran around the living room screaming and leaping. She watched her daughter.

“Don’t you dare” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday January 30, 2013
1:06pm
5 minutes
What to Wear section of Fashion Magazine
Winter 2013


We walk into the bakery and my mother starts grabbing the rolls like they are fruit or something. I’m starting to freak, I mean, she isn’t going to buy them! I’m like, “Mom! What are you doing? Those are rolls not peaches!” And she’s all shocked that I’m, like, calling her on her manners. She finally decides to buy a loaf of some kind of rye bread. B-A-R-F. Did you know that the culture for Rye can sometimes be around for hundreds of years? HUNDREDS. If that’s not nasty than smack my cheek and call me Ray-Ray. Jono told me that, about the rye, because he used to work in a kitchen and he knows pretty much everything about foods. He taught me about chewing gum when you are cutting onions? You know about that? You won’t cry one tear. Not one.

“To be done daily” by Julia at the Dunn cottage in Keswick


Friday February 1, 2013
2:56am
5 minutes
the exercise guidelines from Evolve Chiropractic

There are some people that I love. They are to be loved daily. I don’t know how to do that. But I know in my bones it’s what I’m supposed to do. Some of them need more love than others. Not in the amount sense but in the times where hugging is involved or snorting out milk at a very funny joke. Some of them simply just need to be told they are. They are loved. Said out loud. Said directly to their faces. I love them and yet it’s sometimes hard to prove. With home baked cookies with hearts on them? With midnight walks across a frozen lake? I want to say yes. I want to know how easy.
But it’s not that simple. It’s not a solution that requires some balloons and some yarn. It might have something to do with tears and not wanting to be anywhere near them when the rain comes. Maybe. I’m not entirely sure. It’s supposed to be nice.

“Ballerina afraid” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday, January 31, 2013 at Starbucks
2:12pm
5 minutes
Metro News Thursday January 31, 2013

I’m clenching my teeth because when I get focused I really start to hurt myself. Only started cutting when I was finished university, so that’s something I’m truly proud of. Made it pretty far before they had to operate on the disgusting hair ball in my stomach too. That’s from the stress. It’s cause I have a lot going on. Who doesn’t, am I right? My jaw is a mess. My dentist tells me to wear a mouth guard to bed, but I don’t because back in the day, there wasn’t a fix to these problems and people got on just fine without any help.
I’m not saying I want to do this all on my own, I just mean, if my body is reacting to certain things, fight or flight, then I should trust that. Not everyone is meant to have a perfect set of bottom teeth, okay. Not everyone is meant to weigh 108 pounds and lift their legs over their heads. That’s my bag, I guess, I was just sort of thrown into it based on one experience as a child, expressing some vague interest in prancing around in a leotard. Now I do it, I’m not saying I don’t, but I do it, and this is my life. I maintain a low weight, I cut the places no one sees or thinks to see, and I don’t eat my hair anymore, but I want to. We’re all a little fucked up. I’m just worried that when my dad finds out about the cutting he’ll try and quarantine me again. It’s his way of doing a casual intervention.