“He wants me out.” By Julia on her bed


Friday, August 30, 2013
1:38am
5 minutes
A Lie of The Mind
Sam Shepard


He wants me out
Told me so over slices of cantaloupe and prosciutto
After we made love for the first time in weeks
After we discovered that there is never a good enough excuse
And I agree with him
There is nothing perfect between us, just electric, which is different, and we’ve learned to understand what that means
Electricity doesn’t equate love, or happiness
He wants me out
Made it very clear that he was serious
That he wasn’t willing to put his naked self on the line for me or for us “just to see”
That he wasn’t ready to let me in

“No wonder” by Julia at The Common on Bloor


Thursday, August 29, 2013
4:05pm at The Common on Bloor
5 minutes
Film Festival Preview
NOW magazine Aug 29-Sept 4, 2013


Cabbage town, she thought. I wouldn’t mind living there. Avery was excited to tell jay about her decision to take the new position at the firm. She was reticent at first, unsure of what he’s say to moving across the city just so she could stay true to her “anti-Ttc” mentality. Now, she thought, how could he refuse. He’d see how excited I am and he wouldn’t be able to say no! He had been good about living close to Avery’s work since they started dating, and never once asked her to try riding a bike because he knew of her immense fear after being seriously injured in an MVA. He’d been good about a lot of things, she mused. About planning the unreal for Buddy in the backyard and inviting all of Buddy’s friend from the dog park, about waking up every night at 2:30 am exactly to calm her from her night terrors and rub her back slowly until she fell asleep again, and about finding a home for the abandoned ladder she rescinded from the side of the road.

“It’s time” by Julia at her kitchen table


Wednesday, August 28, 2013
1:27am
5 minutes
The membership renewal card from National Geographic

Walruses know best. I grew up thinking that. Because of Alice in Wonderland, obviously, and that poem. What a soothing thing. “To talk of many things…” And now is the time for that. What things? Any things? Good things? Bad things? Of your wildest dreams, your biggest fears, your sorriest regrets, your untold secrets. Whatever things you wanted or needed or felt pulled to talk about, now was that time. It made it seem like the walrus just knew that. That now is now and now is the time. That there is no need to wait. That there needn’t be a special occasion the way we save outfits and bottles of particular wine. Now. The time. To talk. Of many of things! Whichever are floating in your head, whichever make a good story, whichever bring three strangers from opposite sectors of the universe together…the things that help you realize you’re not a thing but a person who talks about–well–things…

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 27, 2013
11:37pm
5 minutes
the back of the Almost Famous DVD case

Eva had forgotten why she had come into the office. She stared blankly at her desk trying to remember but she was ever so unsuccessful. Since Rodney…went…she had been trying to busy herself with work and with deadlines. It was her fault he was even gone in the first place and if she hadn’t decided to leave the back door unlocked for those two minutes that she was downstairs in the laundry room this whole thing could have been avoided. Everyone told her that she didn’t know what could have been outside her bathroom window, or that someone could have no problem sneaking in after stalking her home. Eva wasn’t prepare for any of that. They don’t tell you that the guilt follows you and follows you until you die. No one ever mentions things like that.

“It’s time” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, August 28, 2013
8:44pm
5 minutes
The membership renewal card from National Geographic

When you turned out the light, I lay there, eyes open, trying to find the hole in the ceiling. I knew that that this time, usually, I could see a star through there. Spring had gone and sprung, and it was the first warm night, the first night when I wanted to sleep on top of the down duvet. You were under it, as always, sweaty, but happy as a clam in his shell. I looked and looked, until my eyes stung from searching. No star. I got up, the droop of my naked breast catching the eye of the streetlamp peeking through the blinds. You stirred, and I stopped in my tracks. You made a small moan, and I turned to see the soft curve of your nose, the tip of which is one of my favourite things to kiss. I tip-toe into the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water from the glass jug in the fridge. I hear our neighbours laughing. She shrieks and he tickles, or at least that’s what I imagine. I creep back into the bedroom and step over you, careful not to squish a knee or an elbow. I settle into my pillow, that sacred spot between you armpit and your shoulder.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday, August 27, 2013
11:23pm
5 minutes
the back of the Almost Famous DVD case

Lil was wearing two old cans like a coconut bra. She’d punched holes in the sides with a nail and tied string through. She was, technically, wearing a string bikini. On the bottom, she wore checkered pyjama pants. “Nice look, Lil…” I said.

“Goin’ down to the truck stop for some Coke and a ciggy,” said Lil, the first time I met her. I’d started volunteering at the shelter one night a week, to relieve my friend Beth who was a social worker there and hadn’t had a day off in three months. Beth had warned me about Lil. “She’s a talker,” Beth had said, sipping chicken noodles soup from a big mug, leaning back in her desk chair. “Opportunity of a lifetime,” whispered Lil, leaning in real close. “Never know what you’re gonna find down there.”

She refused to take her meds, even though they threatened to send her down to CAMH night after night. We’d hear her shrieking out, calling for “Bunny” whoever that might be.

“Harmony Organic Dairy” by Julia at her desk


Monday, August 26, 2013
1:49am
5 minutes
from the milk jar holding the purple flower

we got one of those flyers in our mailbox (and by our mailbox, I mean the communal one that’s hanging outside the communal entrance to our shared, communal house), and without thinking twice, took that bad boy inside and starting making plans with it. We didn’t think that maybe one of the other 5 tenants might want to take hold of the opportunity to use this flyer, and the services it provides, nor did we think of them at all. At all. AT ALL. We took it inside, read it, shelved it, refound it, re-read it, re-read it aloud, together, and with gusto, then decided we wanted to partake, posted it on our fridge, then never talked about it again. Now, we did and still do want the organic bounty delivered to our door weekly because we thought/think it would help us expand our normal “non-cook” attitude and actually make something different (AKA something that does not or will not include/feature bulgogi meat and broccoli). We were serious about it for maybe one hour, and then we made sure it had a good magnet to keep it company on the front of our fridge (or should I say, freezer, as the part we view less frequently because we only have ice cubes and bulgogi meat inside it).

“I remember” by Julia at the TUA Artists’ Retreat at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday, August 25, 2013
2:02pm
5 minutes
From the writer’s workout warm-up

I remember the feel of your morning skin more than the taste of your kiss. It’s something that eases me, that keeps me from spinning into the unknown. You lay there, sleeping, mumbling something to me or yourself, about me, or yourself, and I know you. Your skin: cool from the ever-blowing fan because of the air conditioner we never ever purchased. Your skin, inviting and honest, cloaking your masculinity, your desires, your rage. I remember that feel, that cool sticky skin feel, when I hate you. When I wish you never told me you loved me. When you break my bracelet because you can’t help yourself but play with the dainty things that are strewn across the dresser we share. That’s when I crawl back into those pretty morning moments, and I’m still, laying there behind you, counting your freckles and believing that I could not want for anything but this.
Your heart, a beating, living thing beneath the skin. I’m intrigued by its rhythm and the secrets you hold close but only let me see when you’re sleeping away. I remember.

“UHAUL” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, August 24, 2013
12:58am
5 minutes
From the front of a UHAUL truck

calendar had the days all crossed out, it was the 1st, she was moving out.
made lots of big plans for the dresser she no longer wanted.
had called a couple guys to come in and do all the heavy lifting.
was looking forward to the new bay windows, the counter space, and the balcony.
promised herself she was never going to live in a basement ever again.
no matter how much debt she was in.
and she was in debt.
she had refused her parents’ money when they offered to pay off her student loans so she’d be interest fee.
she said she was trying to make a name for herself and couldn’t do that if she was relying on handouts.
little post-its-remember-me notes were tacked on every single box.
some of the notes to herself, written by herself, were directions on how to hold the box, or where to place the box.
she didn’t have any faith in the couple guys she’d arranged to have.
she didn’t want any of her precious furniture to be scratched because some muscle bound monkey wasn’t capable of being gentle.
she was panicked, but excited.
she was looking forward to this new house, new home, new life, that she was creating.
maybe, she considered, firing the movers. just doing it herself just in case.

“CREATIVE SOULS” by Julia on her couch


Friday, August 23, 2013
12:31am
5 minutes
From the Arts Market business card

It said on the sign that it was umm…a gathering of sorts. You see, the bold type face was really eye catching and. Well. I was intrigued. I’ve never been one of those cats killed by curiosity or whatever the phrase is- umm. It was just one of those days. I went there, I saw the thing, the, the sign. And it made me feel welcome… It..welcomed me. With it’s intriguing wording. And then that’s where I found myself. Just sort of there. Stuck, I guess. But, I should say, that, at the time I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. I felt right at home, umm, I felt good. The man running the…the whole event, umm, was beautiful. He was wearing linen pants which I didn’t even have a problem with, and uh, that’s rare for me. I tend to be really critical about wardrobe choices. In a man. So. I was cognizant that…He wasn’t like other men at all.

“Harmony Organic Dairy” by Sasha at Cafe Novo


Monday, August 26, 2013 at Cafe Novo
2:31pm
5 minutes
from the milk jar holding the purple flower

When you’re brother tells you, over coffee on the front porch, that he’s enlisted and starts Basic Training next month, you choke back a sob. You choke it back and you transform it into a “Congratulations”, just like your Granny taught you, just like you’ve been practising since you first said “Yes” instead of “No”. Your brother is seventeen months younger than you, which means there was only an eight month gap between your home, her womb, and his home, her womb. Which means, there’s the ghostly feeling of twin-hood between you and he. Him and you. There’s a fleeting desire to ask him why, to ask for a reason, to stand up and dump the potted daisies onto his lap and bury him here, on the porch, so that he might not ever go. You remember finding the glossy pamphlet in his room and laughing out loud, bringing it to her, your mother, and her laughing too. “Yeah right!” She’d said. Yeah. Right. It’s been quiet for awhile. He stares at you. “Tell me how you really feel, Emma.” He says, but he doesn’t mean it. He goes inside, the screen door slamming behind him.

“I remember” by Sasha at the TUA Artists’ Retreat at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday, August 25, 2013
2:02pm
5 minutes
From the writer’s workout warm-up

I remember the moment the first star came onto the sky, like a genius idea, like the “Ding!” of that lightbulb moment. From where I stood, looking up, the trees were like giant pillars in the cathedral of the forest. I remember thinking I heard footsteps and realizing that it was my heart, my blood, the wish of joy holding fast. I watched each star appear – Ding! Ding! Ding! – until there were hundreds, thousands, millions and trillions, until I could’ve paddled the Milky Way like the Spanish River. Only then, when they were all there, when we’d all gathered, did I lie back and let the earth hold me. It was cool and firm, it was strong and wide. I didn’t want to blink. I didn’t want to miss a minute of the show.

“UHAUL” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, August 24, 2013
12:46am
5 minutes
From the front of a UHAUL truck

Francesca is tall, and wide shouldered. She gets called “Amazonian” and she hates that. She doesn’t make her bed because she doesn’t have to, no one’s going to make her. She skipped two grades. Five and nine. She thinks Rob Ford is kind of sexy, in that blonde bear way, but she would never admit that to anyone. Not even her cat, Topher. When Francesca sleeps, she dreams only of colours. She doesn’t laugh at things she doesn’t find funny, she’s not one of those people. She wishes for the willpower to stop eating chocolate covered almonds. She wishes she believed in the Goddess, like her sister Florence does. She knows the name of every single part of the brain, beyond “left cortex” or “right cortex”. She’ll draw a diagram on that napkin, if you like.

“CREATIVE SOULS” by Sasha on her couch


Friday, August 23, 2013
10:48pm
5 minutes
From the Arts Market business card

I am feet under thigh
Bum on couch
Toes curled under
Breath
high
I am singing inside
The operatic aria of the ink stain
on my fingertip
I am Friday
Full and round
I am change
Like what you’re begging for
Day after yesterday
Day after tomorrow
I am this night
Stretching like a ginger cat
In the moonlight
On the windowsill
I am the paintbrush
Of the flowers
Of the bees making honey from each precious centre
The pollen
The sting
The pollen
The sting
I am the peach on the table
In the jar from a friend
Whose birthday I forgot

The wall at Ezra’s Pound (photo dip) by Sasha at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday, August 22, 2013
12:48am
5 minutes
IMG_5424
Ezra’s Pound on Dundas

I asked for a mixer on my tenth birthday because I was convinced I was going to be the “cupcake girl” and that everyone would invite me to their birthday parties because they knew that I’d be bringing the best dessert. And even if they didn’t like me, they would never exclude me. I thought this. I guess I figured it would be like Alicia who gave twenty dollar bills in fancy singing cards to anyone who invited her to come. Her parents owned a vineyard in Italy or something. I was good at baking.

Then I turned ten, and I got the mixer, and I planned every person in my grade’s cupcakes, and I even prepared some things preemptively depending on the month and the theme I assumed they’d be using. I wasn’t invited to a single party. I was confused about how my fail proof plan to cater my peers’ birthday parties could go so awry. It was a sad year. I gained 19 pounds the first month.

The wall at Ezra’s Pound (photo dip) by Sasha at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas


Thursday, August 22, 2013 at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas
4:24pm
5 minutes
IMG_5424
Ezra’s Pound on Dundas

I found myself a Last Supper hologram piece of art and I’m gonna put it in the bathroom. Right across from the toilet. So Jed can look at it when he’s on the can, instead of reading Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. Got it for $15. It was on sale… Marked down from $50. Can you believe that? When you look at it from one angle, it looks totally normal. And then you walk a bit and Jesus looks at you! He moved His head! It’s friggen amazing. Jed is gonna be resistant, you better believe he is, but he’ll eventually comply. For sure. He’s only been an atheist for seven months… I mean, come on. When he talks in his sleep, he’s usually talking about God, or to Him, directly.

“Night Beauty” by Sasha at TAN Coffee on Baldwin


Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at TAN Coffee
5:48pm
5 minutes
From the title of the photograph by the same name
Eva Lewarne


The dark circles her ears like a hood, and she shivers. She hears an owl call, louder than before, and wonders what time it is. She’s been keeping track of the days on a tree, hatching lines into the birch bark. Her stomach growls. She pulls her sweatshirt tight around her and leans up against a rock.

“When will you be home?” Mom asked, over the cellphone that had been a Christmas present, the fancy one, the one from the catalogue. “I don’t effin’ know!” she’s coughed back. She’d gotten sick in November and hadn’t been able to shake the mucus in her lungs. “Should I expect you for dinner, Nell? I just want to know if I should expect you for dinner.” Her mother had been exhausted since 1987, when she thought she’d won the lottery and then realized that she hadn’t. She’d never recovered. “No. I won’t be home for dinner…” Nell paused. She thought about the cloud-like potatoes atop her mother’s Shephard’s Pie; her homemade croutons; the clink of silverware on bone china. “I won’t be home.” She hung up the phone.

“Night Beauty” by Julia at TAN coffee on Baldwin


Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at TAN Coffee
5:48pm
5 minutes
From the title of the photograph by the same name
Eva Lewarne


There was a spark in her eye, telling me to tread lightly but to still tread anyway. I knew she was interested but she was trying hard to pretend otherwise. I looked at her with the same eyes she was giving me and in my silence I told her: this is your decision. This is up to you. She stepped in closer, the spark growing brighter (or was that just the angle of the moon hitting her perfectly?). She was panting heavy like she was out of breath from the exhausting need of me. I stood there taking every part of her in, the beauty mark on her lower lip, the led in her chin from when she stabbed herself with a pencil tip. On purpose. I waited there and I waited there, acutely aware, as if for the first time, of the tingling of my skin and the sensation my arm hairs gave me when they stood up on end. She took a confident step closer and I watched her spark turn from to silver to gold.

“broke down under the pressure” by Julia in her backyard


Tuesday, August 20, 2013
11:24pm
5 minutes
The program for 7 Important Things at SummerWorks

She’s gotten into the habit of spitting. It’s a gross one, and she knows it, but somehow it’s stuck and she likes it better than the skin picking. I have to agree with her. The skin picking thing made her look like a meth-head and she swears she’s only done it twice. She just didn’t know what to do with her hands because she was anxious and worked up and all that. Now it’s like she doesn’t know what to do with her words so she keeps spitting onto the ground just to get them out so they’re not stuck inside her skull. Sometimes there’s nothing even to spit out but she grinds her throat together from the inside to make it rough and hurt. Then when she has enough throat juice, she spits it out without waiting to see what’s around her. She did that with the skin picking, only with that she was flicking her scabs and bloody epidermis around with reckless abandon. We’ll see if this is just a phase; just a coping mechanism for the mental break down she swears she only told me about.

“COLORED EMOTIONS” by Julia on her bed


Monday, August 19, 2013
12:56am
5 minutes
Night Moves record

I can hear sounds from the neighbours in my dreams. I remember specifically asking them not to join me there, but there they were all dressed in their Christmas dinner clothes and trying to impress my mother. In my dreams my mother is almost always a southern belle with a chip on her shoulder. I don’t know why. She was born in south western Ontario. But the neighbours, they’re the real problem. They kind of do that thing where they come on in without knocking and then just start talking to me while I’m counting money, or making detailed plans with my future self. They don’t get the hint that I’m busy and they just start humming and blabbing about who stole who’s bike basket. In my dreams they’re less obvious. They’re buttering up my mother and making her laugh while I’m stuck there basting the turkey over and over again because she says ‘they’ll’ enjoy it better. ‘They’ being the neighbours. And I’m certain they’re vegetarians.

“broke down under the pressure” by Sasha at The Good Neighbour


Monday, August 20, 2013 at The Good Neighbour
3:36pm
5 minutes
The program for 7 Important Things at SummerWorks

When Isabel left Peterborough, she almost broke down under the pressure. But she didn’t. SuperWoman in a white owl sweatshirt and tear-away pants. Her father, bless his heart, reminded her day in and day out that she was abandoning him, reminding her with his narrowed gaze and unsatisfied grunts. Thirty two and never having left the small city, Isabel felt the walls of her heart caving in. Every day she woke up at seven fifteen. She went downstairs and fixed breakfast for her and her father, usually Raisin Bran, sometimes bacon and eggs, always coffee with cream. She woke her father, she changed his diaper, she bathed him, she massaged and lotioned his feet and hands. She left for work at the bank after Ceelu arrived, his part-time caregiver. She worked until six, picked up the ingredients for dinner, drove home, perhaps stopped at the gas station for a top-up on her way. One of her greatest fears, is running on empty. She would make dinner, whilst listening to CBC radio, her father in his chair watching her peel the carrots, baste the chicken, pepper the potatoes.

“COLORED EMOTIONS” by Sasha on her couch


Monday, August 19, 2013
10:22pm
5 minutes
Night Moves record

I see the emotions
Before they arrive
I see the water break
Liquid yellow
Oozing magenta
Blue red green and fuchsia
Swirling like gasoline in water
Like food colouring in cream cheese icing
Moving like rainbows on the waterfall
Then they come
The things that allude us
The ones that shake fists
And curl toes
The flush of the cheek of your lover
In love
I want to kiss your anger
Right on the lips
Slipping tongue into rage into azure blue
I want to paint your sadness
With my paintbrush
My elbow
Smearing all the colours
Making the very best brown I can

“Door in Montreal (image dip)” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Sunday, August 18, 2013
5:21pm
5 minutes

20130819-014942.jpg

Okay, like, I don’t mean to brag but, like, I’m probably the tallest girl in my class and, like, I don’t mean to sound all, like, full of myself, but like I definitely have the biggest boobies, like, I’ve pretty much outgrown my training bra and I need to get promoted to the full cup bra. Victoria says that I might even, like, fit her Mom’s type of bra with the lacy sides and the little bow held in place with a jewel in between the cups. Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret but you have to pinky swear not to tell anyone… Okay?! Okay. Ohmygawd. So, me and Victoria were having a sleepover and, like, her Mom said, “Girls, I’m going out for a bit! Be good!” And we said, “Okay! No big deal!” And then when she was gone we went into her closet, but, like, Victoria says it’s not even called a closet, it’s called a “walk-in”. So, like, we went in there and Victoria said I could choose a dress off of the one rack but that the other rack was, like, off limits because all the dresses there were so expensive and from the Holts Renfrews. But she did! She chose one of those dresses! So we took off all of our clothes, except our underwear. At first! Then we even took off our underwears! Victoria gave me one of her Mom’s lacy thongs and a matching full cup bra… She took a satin-y type thong and a matching bra! I didn’t even know they made these things! My Mom wears Fruit of the Loom underwear and a light purple Elita-type sports bra pretty much all the time… Sometimes she doesn’t even wear a bra at all! She has tiny boobies, so, like, I guess it doesn’t matter, but, like, I think it actually does matter. A lot.

“happy hour” by Sasha on the subway heading West


Saturday , August 17, 2013
5:43pm
5 minutes
from the sandwich board at McLean’s pub in Montreal

I hadn’t expected him to be there, sitting in a light straw-coloured fedora, wearing his sunglasses, tracing the outline of his lips with his pinky. It was a habit he learned from Charlie, but that’s a different story. “Alexander?” I said. It was a question because maybe he was new now, maybe he’d changed his name. Heck, we weren’t in Kingston anymore. “Holy shit, Julie?” He stood up quickly and knocked over the pint of beer on his table. There was a lot of fussing and fretting and the double D waitress slopping a cloth all over the place. “Join me?” Alex asked, pulling out the chair opposite his own, droplets of beer still dripping from the table side. “I, I…” I didn’t know what to say. Truth is I was meeting my sister to talk about funeral arrangements for our (step)father. Truth is I really didn’t want to make small talk to get all the way to big talk and for him to ask what I was doing back in the country. “Shit, you look the same, dude… You really do…” He was staring at me with those wolf-eyes, the eyes that used to send me in a tizzy, the eyes that made me swear and drink and laugh like a maniac. “Thanks, I think…” I sat down. Crap. My sister would be late, would pull up in her Chevy Cherokee and make a joke about the smallness of the world.

WRITER’S WORKOUT AT THE TORONTO URBAN ARTISTS’ RETREAT!


Hello friends of these five minutes!
We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Writer’s Workout on Sunday August 25, 2013 as a part of The Toronto Urban Artist’s Retreat.
We will lead the group through a series of timed writing exercises, using our “dips” as well as other various prompts.
TUA is going to be an amazing day filled with writing, yoga, meditation, and inspiration.
Click the above link for more information, and please don’t hesitate to share this event with those that may be interested.
We hope you will be joining us!

-Sasha and Julia

“just horrible” by Sasha at High Park


Friday, August 16, 2013
6:02pm
5 minutes
overheard at the metro

“Just be honest with me,” Sam says. He’s putting aloe vera on his sunburned shoulders. “I am!” I’m whining and I’m sorry/not sorry. “Ever since I got back you’ve been horrible,” Sam says, less angry, more matter-of-fact. “Just horrible.” That repetition was a bit angry. Sam decided that he wanted to take the train across the country. He’d take six weeks off of work, bring a bunch of books he’s wanted to read and download some new albums to his iPod. He’d have his camera ready for lots of “out of the window” shots. He’d eat in the Dining Car. He doesn’t care about food like I do, clearly. He sent me an e-mail a few weeks in that read:
“On my seventh pizza pocket. I’m good. Don’t worry. XO”

“Door in Montreal (image dip)” by Julia at the Marriott in Montreal


Sunday, August 18, 2013
1:35pm
5 minutes

20130819-014942.jpg

Had a dream and you were in it, we were skating down a frozen river in July and the sky was pink with yesterday’s sun. We counted to 500 then showed them all how to dance like they do on those videos. We were the best thing about that town and it was a wonderful feeling.
I woke up with the light of the day ticking my cheek, asking me if I’d rather have an asparagus and Swiss crepe or eggs Benedict. You weren’t there but you were close by. I wanted you to know that I was doing okay but instead this dream re telling is what I’m doing. You always liked those doors with the big knockers and the stunning foliage surrounding it. I saw one of those today and then I thought of you.

“butter chicken roti” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, August 15, 2013
12:11am
5 minutes
from restaurant sign

“Let’s get roti!” Sam says, picking at a scab on his elbow. “Is the plural of “roti” “roti”?” I ask him, sure that he knows. He is one of those people that has facts about the home videos that Nixon made during Watergate, who knows the dates of when wars began, who remembers when asparagus is in season. He squints his eyes and looks up. “I don’t know!” He proclaims. I wish that he’d say that when it was consequential, when I was invested, when I was heavy with resentment and a cramping ego. He says it now. Maybe it’s a good start. We ride our bikes to Gandhi, Sam’s favourite spot. He gets a Butter Chicken and I get a Saag Paneer. We eat quietly, something that I used to think meant we were sad but no think means we are safe.

“PERFORMANCE” by Sasha in the Factory Theatre courtyard


Wednesday, August 14, 2013
5:21pm
5 minutes
from a business card

They’re singing a duet, full volume, on the corner. A song you’ve heard before, a song your father used to play on the guitar around the campfire. The tall one has a bag of cinnamon toast under her arm and is wearing a wide brimmed hat. The short one is wearing yellow rain-boots and pink lipstick. They’re talking about making jam, which they’ll do tomorrow. They’ll get an early start. Neither of them has preserved before, and they want plenty of time. The tall one, her name is Amanda, she’ll bring a wagon to the Hardware Store and buy the jars. The shorter one, Val, is buying the peaches, the strawberries, the ginger, the sugar, and the lemon. Val’s mother makes jam, and earlier this morning Val called her to ask for her secrets. Her mother lives on Salt Spring Island. She makes jam that she sells at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. She usually sells out by mid afternoon.

“happy hour” by Julia at the Mariot in Montreal


Saturday , August 17, 2013
5:35pm
5 minutes
from the sandwich board at McLean’s pub in Montreal

Kaleigh came up to the terrace with her lap top and a bottle of merlot. She was expecting to finish everything before Aidan came to join her for a drink and a shrimp skewer. Aidan had promised Kaleigh the shrimp skewer ever since losing a bet about Swiss Chalet and the contents of their gravy. Somehow the shrimp skewer was more of an acceptable payment. Maybe because Kaleigh liked Aidan, and maybe because she hadn’t eaten since last night thanks to her refrigerator that was on the fritz again, along with her water, her Internet, and her cable. She was greeted instead by a group of idiots without shirts, enjoying their own personal happy hour overlooking the city, popping not bottles, but cans, of Coors Light.Kaleigh waited to start her wine but also felt like an exhibit, still dressed in her blazer and heels.

“just horrible” by Julia on her front porch


Friday , August 16, 2013
5:09pm
5 minutes
overheard at the metro

She was sitting with her legs up, just barely touching the table. She was trying to make a point about how she didn’t need to be big to feel at ease with the big guys. A lot of them were busy rolling their own tobacco and laughing about Sweeny who allegedly turned in early because he thought he had “food poisoning”. She was hoping they wouldn’t make such a big deal about her being there, knowing full well she’d have to fight even harder just to break free of their expectations. She was waiting for her turn with the tobacco. Her father used to roll so she knew what she was doing. She was just waiting for her chance to show them she was more than just a well dressed and manicured woman. They didn’t say anything, but she knew they were thinking it. She could see it in their eyes every time they spent a little too long looking at her skirt, and her shoes.

“butter chicken roti” by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday, August 15, 2013
12:06am
5 minutes
from restaurant sign

she told me to meet her at the restaurant around the corner from Bobby’s grocery. She said, wear a suit and tie, I’m going to tell you something good, and if you love me you’ll pre-order the chicken marsala and ask for extra sauce.
I told her I would rather get some meat on a stick from one of those local trucks that look more like wagons than motor vehicles. she laughed as if I were kidding and told me, don’t be late, or I’ll know who you are and once I know there’s no changing my mind.
So I went to the restaurant around the corner from Bobby’s grocery and I waited for 6 minutes before I ordered the chicken marsala for her (even though they said it wasn’t their specialty and highly recommended I ordered something less like..well..chicken marsala).

“PERFORMANCE” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, August 14, 2013
10:33pm
5 minutes
from a business card

one of those top tier things you hear sporting coaches say.
they tell you
EXCELLENCE
they tell you
BELIEVE
they tell you
GOLD
you hear them better when it comes from them.
From the people who see your potential in the most appealing light.
they see you
SUCCEED
they see you
WIN
they see you
PERSEVERE
and it always feels right.
it always feels like they have some crystal ball and can gauge your true capabilities.
they make you
FIGHT
they make you
DREAM
they make you
PUSH
but you’re not playing a sport.
you’re not long jumping, 200m sprinting.
you’re not competing with nations, or for a title.
you’re simply just trying to get from one day to the next so you can be
PROUD
so you can be
POSITIVE
so you can be
ALIVE

“viciously funny” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, August 13, 2013
11:58pm
5 minutes
from the SummerWorks Performance Festival guide

I was told once I could make a whole room laugh. I took that as a compliment. But then I met Andy, and he could make the whole city laugh. He didn’t even know he was funny. He had blue hair on either side of his head that made him look like Bozo the clown in a less creepy and sad way. He was my running instructor and used to wear neon socks every Wednesday because it just made him feel better. He’d take myself along with 4 or 5 other women, and he’d jog us around the park until we were sweating like crazy, and a little less focussed on our current divorce situations. Andy was a motivator, and a hilarious story teller. But he didn’t understand how. I suppose he was just that good at it; at believing in the truth of everything, that he didn’t seem like he was in it for the glory. I think that’s what separates people from the good, the bad, and the bitter.

“viciously funny” by Sasha at R Squared


Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at R Squared
6:31pm
5 minutes
from the SummerWorks Performance Festival guide

They are eating chips for breakfast. They have freshly washed hair and are wearing variations of the same khaki shorts – hers are lighter in colour, his are longer in length. She has sunglasses on top of her head. When she puts them on, they’ll be smudged. He holds a brown manila envelope. She sits. He stands. They feed each other chips. I’m not the only one watching when she sucks his finger and he blushes. The enormously tall man sitting beside me, wedged in, really, he’s also looking. He is not charmed, like I am, thinking back to myself at twenty, thinking back to the firsts. Enormous Man has downturned lips and a deep wrinkle in his forehead. He gets off the train. Boyfriend kisses Girlfriend with salty lips.

“ready for the winter season” by Sasha on her couch


Monday, August 12, 2013
11:29pm
5 minutes
from http://www.bernhelmets.ca

Every time cans of garbanzo beans are on sale at No Frills, Tucky buys one. When the world ends, he’ll be ready. When he prays, before bed, he thanks God that he scored a basement apartment. It’ll be easier. He’d got the Boiler Room. In the Boiler Room he’s got his cans – garbanzo beans, yes, and tuna, corn, turkey, condensed milk. You never know what you’ll need. He has his Emergency backpack with the following contents: underwater camera; a flare; six lighters; gauze; a dictionary; a pack of spearmint gum; a thermal blanket; band-aids; his passport; a candle; a solar powered radio and one hundred dollars cash. Tucky calls his mother when it looks like a storm is coming. “Remember to lock the windows,” he says.

“you fit the part” by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:12pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I am sitting on the bus. It’s late, not the witching hour but late enough that there’s a tickle of tired in everybody’s eyes. A man is slumped in a solo seat. He is asleep. There’s a baby carriage near him, with a sleeping boy, two or three. They both sleep. It’s peaceful and disturbing. When the bus starts to pull away, the carriage goes lurching forward. I gasp. I put my foot out to stop it, I grab at the side. The boy doesn’t wake. Neither does the man. “Uh…” I say, mostly to the bus driver, a little to the woman with a shaved head sitting across from me reading her Kindle. I want to take the boy out of the carriage and sing to him, I want to adopt him, I want to start his university fund. The man sleeps. The bus driver tries to rouse him, unsuccessfully. “Is he drunk?” I ask. “No,” says the driver, matter-of-fact. “He’s sad.” I don’t ask how the driver knows this man is sad, perhaps there is a code of understanding reserved for those that encounter people day-in-day-out of all corners of this city. Perhaps it’s a “guy” thing. He’s sad. He’s sleeping. He’s sad. Okay. I get down on my knees and put the lock on the wheel of the stroller.

“EXIT HIGH PARK AVE.” by Sasha on the subway going East


Saturday, August 10, 2013
9:12am
5 minutes
from the High Park Subway station

Whenever I climb stairs I think about climbing ladders
Which makes me think about letting go
And that reoccurring dream of


LETTING GO

When the second hand passed the number ten
I knew that I was saved
I was free
I had a pass
To collect the tax
Of my own volitions
Then
When you interrupted
When you called my bluff
“What are you doing?”
I shook loose the hair my mother and father gave me
And felt much more


FREE


L
E
T

M
E

S
H
O
C
K

Y
O
U

It’s the permission
That the teacher gives
When the kid asks to go to the bathroom
A basic thing

“she’s obliged to protect you” by Sasha at her desk


Friday, August 9, 2013
11:38pm
5 minutes
Unsafe Convictions
Alison Taylor

MoMo has green eyes that remind of plates one might find in an antique store. When he looks at me, I question things I haven’t ever questioned before, like philosophical stuff, big universe stuff. MoMo has long legs that seem to dangle no matter what he’s doing. He’s got good teeth. The kind of teeth my Bubby would have whispered about. “Look at those teeth…” She would’ve said. He popped too many pimples when he got acne when he was eighteen. There are little potholes in his face. But it adds to his mystery. It dots him with experience. It makes me trust him. He used to roll his own cigarettes but he stopped smoking when his daughter started. They cycle of life. The circle of nicotine and sunsets and diapers.

“ready for the winter season” by Julia on her couch


Monday, August 12, 2013
11:04pm
5 minutes
from http://www.bernhelmets.ca

Heidi was drying her toenails with a blow-dryer because she wanted to be ready for when Donald picked her up. She was debating whether or not she should even go out with Donald…because his name was just so goddamn lame. Was he a car salesman? Donald. Was he an accountant? Donald. Was he a mama’s boy? Donald. Ugh. She couldn’t get over it. If he hadn’t made her laugh so hard that fettuccine alfredo shot out of her nose the first time they met, she wouldn’t even have considered him. Donald. Ugh. Was sweet. And he had a nice head of hair. And he probably wouldn’t be opposed to being called Don, Heidi had just never asked about it yet. He suggested the board-game cafe, and she also only agreed to that because it was effing freezing out, and she swore to herself that she wouldn’t waste a patio-season night being indoors. She always felt those kind of places were winter-friendly only. And if they weren’t, it would just be a bunch of lame-os. Heidi was hoping Donald was not as lame as his name.

“you fit the part” by Julia on her couch


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

I’ve heard it’s hard to paint ringlets, and if so, get researching. I have a head of hair that could combat the storm, and it needs to be perfect, perfect.
you have the fine lines of an artist, the deep set brow lines that let me know you’ve been examining again. The off colour in your cheeks when you prefer painting in your garage and not with natural light. The lonely things you say sometimes that remind me you spend most of your days by yourself.

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

Let me help you out. I’ll come in, read books to you, massage your shoulders, and prance around in tiny pyjama bottoms that show of my legs so you can be inspired. Or I’ll bring you your deep dish pizza from Dominos and we can start a fire with all the scribblings you’ve done that don’t quite capture my smile or my spirit.

“EXIT HIGH PARK AVE.” by Julia on the Greyhound


Saturday , August 10, 2013
11:30am
5 minutes
from the High Park Subway station
Writing a new song
Don’t want you to try to learn it
I’m a good friend of your mother
From a long long time ago
I met you at the Ferris wheel one fall evening bright
You were wearing your favorite jacket looked like you borrowed it from your mother’s closet
It was her favourite too
I remember her
I remember you
I didn’t want you to know who I was so
Iied about my name and my living situation
Told you I was in investments and you smiled and said oh how nice that is
Everyone you meet lately is a struggling artist like yourself
I knew I was singing to you right then
Making this truth song play out in my head just for you
My little inspiration wouldn’t know my intentions
Wouldn’t know who I really am
Too painful for all the memories of me
and
her
That you will never see

“she’s obliged to protect you” by Julia at Alison’s


Friday, August 9, 2013
3:20am
5 minutes
Unsafe Convictions
Alison Taylor


Haven’t you heard? There’s this new thing that keeps your phone locked unless it senses your fingertips so no one is able to read your private messages! Isn’t that cool? It’s expensive though, so it’s like a huge investment, but at least it works. I mean it should work. I mean, it hasn’t fully been tested yet. God is there anything worse than being hungry? Yeah having intruders read your messages and be able to hold that against you! There are protective measures we can be taking and I’m just saying it’s worth it to be prepared and to pay the money. I saw it on the news! Or I read it maybe in a magazine, I don’t remember now. I just know it’s accurate because my friend Marcus is incredibly tech-savvy and he said that if it worked it would make us millions. Hahaha! I mean the company. I mean whatever who cares what I mean I’m just excited. But like, do you think it’s a smart idea? It’s like having a breathalyzer built into your car so that you can only get into it if you breathe under the blood alcohol level. And it’s expensive, like 800 dollars just to install..and it’s for people with DUIs but you get the idea.

“my dog’s shitting all over your stuff” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, August 8, 2013
7:21pm
5 minutes
The Flying Troutmans
Miriam Toews


My dog’s shitting all over your stuff and I’m not sure why winter is still here and all I hear is banjo music and Jesus H Macy I am at a total loss as to what to do. I’m not interested in ramblings or Barcelona side streets or burning a bicycle wheel in an attempt to be ironic or confrontational. I am neither of these things and no matter how hard I try by purchasing fluorescent colours or whatever I will never be I can never be I am not the coolest one. My arch-nemesis is the sound of my downstairs neighbour coo-ing to her record player like she knows the words. I’m working on my shit and I’ve even started that belly-dancing class to try to embrace my curves and you don’t hear me complaining about anything because easy isn’t even in the vocabulary they taught me.

“Softness, protection, control” by Sasha at Blazac’s in the Distillery


Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at Balzac’s
6:56pm
5 minutes
from the macadamia oil bottle

Barry started… knitting. Don’t you dare fucking laugh. I’ll kick you in the tit. His shrink told him to do it. Said it’ll calm him right down. When he’s wigging out, when he’s about to lose it? He should go on down to the fucking family room and practise his “softness”. Her words, not mine. His shrink. Never met the lady but she sounds like a real piece of work. Barry says she’s got this big ol’ nose, and big ol’ hair to go along with it. She’s “plump”, that’s what Barry says. She gives that real nurturing vibe. He must love that. Must get real gushy with her. So, we’re getting in this nasty fight because I get home and I see he hasn’t even left the fucking couch all day, watching Eddie Murphy movies or something, and I’m losing it, I really am. Barry is about to scream, his veins are popping in his forehead, sure sign he’s gonna scream. He walks away. Next thing I hear is them needles clinking. Says he making a pot holder.

“A deliciously wicked pleasure.” by Sasha on the TTC


Tuesday, August 6, 2013
11:35pm
5 minutes
ad for The Silent Wife
on the TTC


We lay, our hands covered in raspberry juice, our shorts stained and evidence of stolen red pearls dripping down the front of our T-shirts. Yours was bought at a Neil Young concert and has since faded considerably. You’re sad about the thought of going home and scrubbing out the raspberry juice, but it’s okay, you’ll never forget this. Mine was found in a Free Box left over after a Yard Sale on Brunswick Ave. It’s ripped along the neck, but I like that. It wasn’t the first time we snuck into Kleinman’s patch, knowing that he was taking his afternoon siesta and no-one would find us amidst the high bushes. Your mother would smile, later, when we brought her a basket and commissioned a pie. She liked that kind of thing. Mostly because she knew it was fleeting, there wouldn’t be many more summers like this one. We lay, our hands covered in raspberry juice, and you told me about the secret freckles on your shoulders, the big ones, the patches of darker colour. I beg you to show me, but you don’t. Not yet. “You go,” you say, picking a tiny seed from your bottom teeth. We’ve gorged on berries. You’re convinced we’ll be shitting jam. “I don’t believe in secrets,” I say, looking right into your blue/black eyes. “Bull…” You tickle me until I pee. There. There’s a secret. I won’t tell you that.

“Like sands in my feet” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Monday, August 5, 2013
11:14pm
5 minutes
In My Shoe
Tee’k Aminu


Dear Penelope. No. Dear Henrietta. Crap. Nooo. Dear Beatrice, “Bea” for short, when we’re feeling cuddly. Dear Beatrice, it is with a heavy heart that I must write on your most pristine of pages. I have decided to leave school – to depart from the fluorescent lights of the cafetorium, from the obnoxious and pimpled boys who have yet to be blessed with a growth spurt. I bid “adieu” to the one ply toilet paper and the sticky pink hand-soap. Never again will I hear that most dreadful sound, that shrill scream, the recess bell. Bea, I have simply had enough. There I was, minding my own business, separating out the bits of sweet pickle from my egg salad, sitting on the bench by the gate, where that questionable student teacher usually sits and sexts on her phone. Miles McCormack, smelling, as usual of tuna and body odour, said, “Bet you can’t guess what my Dad said about your Dad?” And I could. I could guess. Of course I could. But I didn’t. I contained myself. I kept throwing those tiny pickle pieces on the ground. It became hard to ignore him, however, when he came right up in my face, crouched in front. “What are you talking about, Miles?” I asked, as though I hadn’t heard, playing dumb. “Your Daddy got sent to PRISON!” he screamed, a bit of spit flying out of his mouth and landing in my eye.

“my dog’s shitting all over your stuff” by Julia on the Greyhound


Thursday, August 8, 2013
7:27am
5 minutes
The Flying Troutmans
Miriam Toews


My dog is an asshole. I never thought I’d hear myself say that but I swear to god it’s true. I mean sure he’s young and he doesn’t know how to not be an asshole quite yet, but there are certain things he should just know. Like going to the bathroom in the designated area, which is outside, and not just all over everything as if he owns the place. He also should know that the neighbour’s dog, Emmy-Lou, is very off limits even though she seems like she may be interested because of how she looks at him when she thinks no one is watching. He should also be aware that when I want to cuddle that’s what he’s supposed to do. To love me unconditionally even though he’s tired from a long day, or not in the mood because his favourite show, Emmy-Lou, is on outside and he can’t keep his stupid eyes from popping out of his stupid head. I’m not saying Emmy-Lou is not a nice looking dog, but she could try hiding her tush every now and again.

“Softness, protection, control” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, August 7, 2013
6:55pm
5 minutes
from the macadamia oil bottle

Sheena was practicing her mindfulness. She was channeling light and focussing on dying her hair a magnificent shade of midnight blue by the end of the week. Her skin was soft, her eyes turned inward. Sheena was breathing slowly, thoughtfully. She had started meditating when Christopher died because it seemed like the only thing she could do without hurting herself. Midnight blue, and then maybe turquoise by December. She let her thoughts glide to Christopher and then back again, without punishment. She was allowed to miss him. She was allowed to see other men and be reminded of him. But that was not always easy. Sometimes she’d forget where she was or who she was and start hugging strangers. It was something, her therapist calmly told her, that was not okay. Sheena knew that anyway. She just couldn’t help herself on certain days.

“A deliciously wicked pleasure.” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 6, 2013
1:02am
5 minutes
ad for The Silent Wife
on the TTC


It’s a rocky road to somewheresville. Don’t know won’t care somewheresville.
It starts with a blurry line and ends with someone without a license free riding on the midnight highway.
With the windows down just a crack; enough to let the demons out. Enough to let the soul creep out and into the sky.
It’s a beautiful and and deliciously wicked pleasure. The path to uncertainty wrapped so tightly in a bow it suffocates. They would let that happen. Because it’s bigger than stopping it.
It’s a rocky road to somewheresville, with a stack of rebellions so high the Empire State Building starts to wince from anxiety. Toppling into the streets, the youth and the present all at once. The search is on for great and grand. The road is a rocky one…

“Like sands in my feet” by Julia on her couch


Monday, August 5, 2013
11:34pm
5 minutes
In My Shoe
Tee’k Aminu


That’s the memory of you, right there. See it? It’s on my mantle kind of and it needs to be dusted. I saw it needed a cleaning last winter but I was like, whatever about you, and at the time I didn’t care. Now I’m like, oh shit, there’s a butt ton of cobwebs and like, false details on it. So I’ve decided to clean it, I just don’t know when cause I’m so busy and annoyed by the stupid and intrusive memory of you. It’s not in a frame, you can remove frames. It’s not in a box so it’s hidden. It’s just where my mind put you. And it’s also why I can’t go to the beach without crying. You would be alright with me putting other memories around it, right? Wrong. You’re very possessive with my brain space and that’s so typical of you I can’t even stand it. So like, whatever about you still, and don’t forget that I’m great at lying and I will just pretend like you’re not there. OITMOFY…Operation Ignore The Memory of You commences now.

“work hard for their wins” by Julia in her back yard


Sunday, August 4, 2013 at Cafe Novo
5:08pm
5 minutes
Julia’s High School Yearbook

Amber had dreams of making tiny crochet hats for everyone she knew for Christmas this year. She started planning which colours and which patterns she’d use in July, and began taking measurements (discretely) in August. She was hoping this would send a message to her recipients that she was very thoughtful, considerate, prepared, and accurate in her gift giving. Amber worried for a total of 13 seconds that people would only make her gifts from now on if they thought she liked that kind of stuff so much. She wondered in that 13 seconds if she would ever receive a store bought gift again. Then she realized why she wanted to make these hats: to warm people’s heads! And also to show her loved ones just how much time they really were worth. She was allowed to have fleeting thoughts of material items sometimes too…

“against the kitchen window” by Julia at the The Box


Saturday August 3, 2013 at The Box
7:55pm
5 minutes
Fall On Your Knees
Anne-Marie MacDonald


He was leaning against the window with his head knocking slightly, and repetitively against the pane. He was thinking about her, and she was nowhere to be found. He wondered if maybe she’d come back home tonight and apologize for her behaviour, for hitting him in the jaw, and for running out on them in the middle of a really important conversation. She probably wouldn’t be doing that, but he waited patiently just in case. He had just started to become really comfortable with her. He thought about telling her about his Mother’s death, and all those documents he had hidden in the attic to protect her from public scrutiny. He was past the point of doing what he’d do in private, like rolling his toe lint between his fingers, or picking his nose and flicking it in various corners of the room he was sitting in. He was ready to begin living honestly and openly and letting her see all his quirks, his flaws…but then she left. He didn’t know what else to do other than lean there, head on the window, and think about that cute smile she had the first day they met. One of her teeth was chipped. She had gotten hit in the mouth with a tennis racket and he had never seen anything more charming.

“work hard for their wins” by Sasha at Cafe Novo


Sunday, August 4, 2013 at Cafe Novo
2:10pm
5 minutes
Julia’s High School Yearbook

She’s counting grains of rice. She’s making a pile of one hundred.

Another.

Another.

He finds her like that – the table dotted with white ant hills.

“What are you doing?”

“Organizing.”

“Organizing what?”

“The tiny.”

He doesn’t get it.

She smiles, secretly in solidarity with the garbage man who told him to “fuck off” early this morning.

He doesn’t know that she didn’t take his side.

He goes out to the backyard and returns to digging.

They’re putting in a hot tub.

She wants it in the earth.

They fight for their wins.

He finally gives in.

He’s happy to have dirt to throw, to have a pit to stand in.

It reminds him of the mine.

“against the kitchen window” by Sasha at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas


Friday August 2, 2013 at Ezra’s Pound
1:22pm
5 minutes
Fall On Your Knees
Anne-Marie MacDonald


Mr. Lee felt more proud than the day he boarded the boat to freedom, to glazed doughnuts and late night TV. He licked his finger and rubbed a speck of dirt off of the sign. “Under New Management”. He called to his wife, but she was in the back and couldn’t hear him. He walked back, to the counter, and opened the newspaper. He couldn’t understand a word. His eyes danced over “q” and “s” and “v”. His wife, named Elizabeth, newly chosen in honour of the Queen, came in from the back with a steaming pot of tea. “Sit down,” he says, in Mandarin, in the language of their hearts, their home, and the language of their leaving. She obliges. “Why are you looking at that Canada newspaper?” Elizabeth asks. “I’m learning,” Mr. Lee snaps. Even she calls him that, “Mister Lee”. He asked her too. She rolled her eyes, behind his back, but obliged. She’d learned, after twenty three years of marriage, to choose her battles more carefully than a stalk of broccoli from the market, than a filet of fish from the grocer, than a gold chain from the pawn shop.

“Variations may also occur” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Friday August 2, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:58pm
5 minutes
McDonald’s Ingredient Facts

I’m starting to regret a lot of my life choices. Number one being the pants I bought from my friend that I thought I could turn into really cute cut-offs. Number two being that I’ve decided to document all of my bad life choices.
They say when you reach a certain age, you start to care about different things. When I heard that I laughed. Out loud. Of course you care about different things. Is there no more obvious thing “they” could say? You get older, you change your clothes, your thoughts, your hairstyle. You work hard to figure out who you are, and start to find that certain things just don’t hold your attention. Or your heart. I’ve never heard such a stupid thing. As if I didn’t know this thing in life we call “LIVING”. But even if it’s obvious, and stupid, and so damn predictable, it’s true. And what we don’t usually recognize is that we discover new things without really being aware of them in the moment. We wonder why certain friends don’t do it for us anymore, and why certain clubs make our skin crawl, ‘all of a sudden’. It’s not sudden at all. Neither are most poorly made life choices. It seems spontaneous or abrupt. It’s just not. It’s buried deep in the veins of what we truly want. What we, without eyes to see inward at the time, really need.

“Variations may also occur” by Sasha at The Holy Oak from McDonald’s Ingredient Facts


Friday August 2, 2013
3:54pm
5 minutes
McDonald’s Ingredient Facts

That intimate moment when one stranger, a man, tall and tanned, in a white turban and a red Tommy T-shirt, lights the cigarette of another, a man, short, with a leather page-boy cap and a denim knapsack, Ray Bans and a sleeve of rainbow coloured tattoos. One man leans into the other in this shared moment of physical intimacy, brought together by need, by fire – ancient aspects of humanity. Driftwood meets on the shore of the lake, one side rubbing another, smoothing like sandpaper. For a hundred days, the water-logged pieces come to know one another with a quiet calm, with the sunrises and the loon calls, these stubborn bits of birch and pine, find sameness, find common ground, find connection. Skin to skin. One man’s finger brushes the others’. Turban cups Leather, makes sure the wind can’t work her wiles. The cigarette burns. And the moment is over before it’s even started. “Got a light?”

“one morning in late July” by Sasha on the Megabus


Thursday August 1,2013
5:36pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


She moves one hand over the other, like a grasshopper. She’s listening to the cello in the apartment beside her, how is carves into her gut and reminds her of her sister. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror near the entrance way earlier and thought, “What’s my mother doing here?” It took a blink of her eyes, long and deliberate, for her to jog that sliver of memory. My mother has been dead for twenty-two years. She went to the bedroom then, to see if her african violet was blooming. It wasn’t. She is waiting. She wonders if she should go for a manicure, what with the wedding on Saturday. She realizes that Saturday is a whole week away, because today is Saturday and not the Saturday when Lilly and Charles will get married. She should wait to get a manicure until Thursday. She wonders what she’ll do with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Sunday is taken care of, she’ll go to the Basilica and then have lunch with the ladies. She isn’t sure how she feels about Midge’s new hair colour. She is sure, but she won’t admit that even to herself. She hates it worse than dirty toilet bowls and the smell of the hospital.

“I really cannot tell you with what it was filled” by Sasha on the dock at Knowlton Lake


Wednesday, July 31, 2013
4:23pm
5 minutes
Kwaidan
Lafcadio Hearn


When my dream broke, a Camry full of Mexican boys was cat-calling, as I pedalled as hard as I possibly could. It was a slow incline, the kind that you don’t even feel when you’re driving. The dream was that I would be tough enough, strong enough, focused enough, committed enough, to ride my bike across the continent. I had sworn off the tank top because it drew too much attention, it was reflective and fluorescent, and I didn’t need anything else drawing eyes to me, a pull that I’d never had before. I was roasting in my black cotton T-shirt, soaked through over five hours ago. I had to put on the tank top, I had no choice. The Camry boys liked it, the tank top, they told me so, at least I think that’s what they were saying.

I felt the dream break like a meringue. I felt it fall off of me, onto the road. Crumble, break, crumble. I couldn’t even look over my shoulder and take one last look at it. I could hardly breathe, suddenly, which was strange given that I’d already been riding for over two months. I was in the best shape of my life. What was next, now? Now that my dream was being eaten by a donkey?

“one morning in late July” By Julia in her backyard


Thursday August 1,2013
5:23pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


One morning in late July, my friend, my old friend, came home. He was tired from all the lying and all the dodging bullets. He didn’t want to answer questions about his personal life, or his new found freedom, or new found captivity, depending on the day. He didn’t want to go roller blading on the promenade or take pictures of newborn baby birds. He was gone a long while. Some said he spent his time fishing on the Grand or entertaining stories of his sister’s brush with death last December. I believe he was just sitting in his room waiting for the seasons to change. Waiting so he could emerge again with a restored sense of faith and discovery…something to mask his insecurity and guilt with. He was missed, surely, sorely. I was the one who spread rumours of his existence to all our mutual friends. I told them, each and every one of them, and never tired of it, that he would in fact be returning soon enough and that we should call upon our patience so we could be all the more ready to receive him when he arrived. It was one morning, it late July. The tiger lillies were everywhere and the kale grew in abundance in Alan’s backyard.