“STAY THOUGHTFUL” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 29, 2014
7:45pm
5 minutes
The Holiday Inn note pad/em>

According to Dale, women shouldn’t have to pay for their own meals. Carmella agreed with this notion because she worked as an underpaid nanny and couldn’t avoid the trap of wanting and needing free things.
Dale and Carmella met at the carnival two summers ago when Carmella was struggling to find enough coins to pay for her burrito-dog and Dale had watched with a glint in his eye from a distance. He waited till it was the right moment and came up, placed 2 dollars on the Carny’s counter and began to walk off.
Obviously Carmella had chased after him, wanting to thank him for his heroic act, and Dale knew exactly how it would go.
Hi.
Hey.
Thank you for..you know, you didn’t have to do that..
I know.
(turns back to keep walking)
Wait. That was..
It’s okay.
No, that was nice. Nobody’s ever..done anything like that–
It’s totally fine, really.
For me before. So.
So.
Can I buy you a drink?
I don’t know can you?
(embarrassed laugh, shy eyes)
I could in a couple weeks?
So let’s do it then.
What?
Drinks.
In a couple weeks?
Yeah, why not.
I’ll take you up on that, you know.
I hope you do.
(turns back to walk away)
Sucker.
(turning back)
What was that.
I said I can’t believe I got so lucky…

“Absolutely everybody gets a little something” by Julia at Bull Street Gourmet and Market in Charleston


Monday April 28, 2014 at Bull Street Gourmet and Market
1:23pm
5 minutes
Slaughterhouse Five
Kurt Vonnegut


Toni-Marie-Belle, she said with a crispness in her voice. She should be expecting me in five minutes from now. She sat down and pretended to care about the Garden and Gun magazine that was staring up at her from the coffee table. Ooh, she said out loud, in case someone was overhearing her moments of mostly silence in this waiting room. Love this one. She leaned back breathing out heavily, trying to suspend the air and she exhaled slower than she had planned. Toni-Marie-Belle, she said again under her breath as if she were trying to convince herself that that was in fact her real name. Someone approached her and asked if she wanted water or anything while she waited. She shook her head and at the same time asked, Sweet tea but mostly unsweetened? The small garden gnome lady cocked her head to the side and examined her for a brief moment in time. It means half and half, she told the confused lady. Right, the lady said. Right, yeah, okay.
The garden gnome lady walked away muttering something to herself in a way that was incomprehensible and yet totally audible.

“Absolutely everybody gets a little something” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Monday April 28, 2014 at CSI Coffee Pub
11:54am
5 minutes
Slaughterhouse Five
Kurt Vonnegut


“What the fuck is this, Nick?”
“Uh…”
“What the fuck – ?!”
“It’s a… dick pic – ”
“A WHAT?”
“A pic of my… dick.”
“Ohmyogod. Go to your room. Right now. Go to your ROOM!” You’re grounded. You’re fucking grounded.”
He starts to go.
“What the fuck, Nick?!”
Angie holds a picture, clearly taken using a cellphone, printed on a black and white computer printer.
“I didn’t mean for you to… see it.”
“That’s all you have to say for yourself? SERIOUSLY?!”
“I sent it to Julie…”
“I know you sent it to JULIE. JULIE’S Mom came over this afternoon and I was in the middle of my Yogalates video and she comes in and she shows me… this… and she says, “This is your sons.”
Nick looks at his feet.
“This is probably assault, Nick!? Did I raise you to be a rapist?!”

“The heat is bad, the water’s bad” by Sasha on the bed in Mississauga


Sunday April 27, 2014
10:54pm
5 minutes
Knocked Up
Henry Lawson


When we made up our minds it was for real, it was for sure. It didn’t matter that the heat was bad and the water smelled like swamp muck, we were home. When I met Terri she’d just shaved her head and was massaging sunscreen onto it. She laughed when she saw me watching her and said, “I never realized how white my damn scalp is!” We were instant friends, the kind of friend you bring to Thanksgiving with your family and it somehow satiates their constant questioning about a boyfriend. She was enough, she was everything. “Let’s move to Alaska,” Terri said one night, when we’d smoked half a joint and eaten mac n’ cheese from the pot, feeding eachother using a wooden spoon. “Okay,” I said, and she looked confused that I was suddenly impulsive, like she was. We both knew I wasn’t, really, but I was trying it on, like a fuchsia prom dress at Salvation Army. We hitchhiked partway and took a bus the rest. Terri’s uncle Berry lived in Anchorage and we crashed at his place until we found an apartment of our own.

“and the world steps in” by Sasha on the Jane bus


Saturday April 25, 2014
1:24pm
5 minutes
Revelation Must be Terrible
David Whyte


The smell of the rosemary is the same. The smell of the cedar is the same, a little damper, a little more fragrant. I’m more afraid of darkness, but that’s just because there’s less of it. I’m tired, but I know it’s because I’ve been eating too much chocolate and bread and some might say I’m allergic to both but I love them so I just keep trucking. My favourite blanket is dotted with marks of it’s history, and it’s rarely around my shoulders or gripped tightly in my clenched fist. It sits at the foot of my bed and only gets pulled up on the coldest nights. I’m no longer worried about grey hair at my temples, or bits of celery and broccoli clogging the drain of the kitchen sink. I’m no longer fighting for the last word.

“The heat is bad, the water’s bad” by Julia on Sullivan’s Island Beach


Sunday April 27, 2014 at Sullivan’s Island Beach
4:12pm
5 minutes
Knocked Up
Henry Lawson


Ellis looked down at her foot encrusted in tiny sand sparkles. She decided then and there that she would stop caring about how fat she looked in her new summer dress and focus solely on her new endeavour: feed decals. Ellis wanted to design a foot stencil that would cover all the toes, and then come down the middle of the foot like a hanging chain. She would make the “non-sandal-sandal” and it would look a lot like a foot bracelet that glimmered in the light. She could hear the skinny girls behind her laughing as she took photos of her elegant looking feet. They might have been laughing about her muffin top—and they might have been laughing about the dog behind her that was burrowing himself into the sand each time one of their boyfriends threw a potato chip into a tiny hole of sand.
Ellis would be famous for her foot decorations. She’d try to sell them at farmer’s markets by wearing an example decal on one foot, and a completely different design on her other.
People don’t care about your muffin top. They’re only worried about their muffin tops.
Ellis could hear the voice of her mother in her head-she also heard her saying, If you hate it so much, you could start exercising or stop eating entire bags of Dorritos for breakfast.
Ellis tilted her feet into the sunlight-she wondered if she’d be able to source local sand particles for her first peel on overlay.
She vowed to ask Uncle Lars as soon as she got home.

“and the world steps in” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Saturday April 25, 2014
12:04pm
5 minutes
Revelation Must be Terrible
David Whyte


Right when you think it couldn’t get any better, that’s when the world steps in and reminds you that you’re a part of it. A part of the magic, the memories, the moving, the making, the creating, the loving, the living, the beauty of it all.
So you have to leave room in those kind of moments. Leave room for the world.
Dance with your arms outstretched and your eyes closed so you can let the world slide in and dance along side you. So you can feel alive today, tomorrow, and everyday.
Because what a better body guard.
What a better way to say, Yeah, I think I need to keep myself good because I’m a part of the bigger picture.
The world doesn’t have to be in the shape of a globe, in a blue and green Earth Day costume.
It’s just the gold flecks and the negative space between you and life. It’s everywhere. It’s not a circle. It’s not an object you can hold.
It’s big and getting bigger.
It’s got to hold a lot of love so it just keeps expanding.
And when you notice its presence, when you make way for your happiness to braid its way into your skin,
you won’t need something tangible to prove it all to you. Tangible no. There is no need.
It gets very positive around you when you start to breathe deep and choose love.
It gets very spiritual very fast and there’s no slowing down because the good keeps procreating with itself and causing more opportunities to be great.

“the origins, the history, culture” by Julia at Charleston Tea Company


Friday April 24, 2014 at
11:45am
5 minutes
An e-mail about grappa

Well I’m in a place in my life right now where all I want to do is tell other people how I got here. You know, there’s a history and origin story within each of us, and I’m just at that hippy dippy stage where I want to share it. I also have more urges to pet strangers’ dogs, which is very unlike me so I know I’m going through some sort of transformation. If you asked me anything, I’d probably find a way to bring up the summer I spent in Berlin, or the Pilates class I took while I was in Amsterdam, or the amazing little girl in Africa I filmed wearing her brother’s prized soccer jersey. I’d also tell you that I brought her brother that jersey, and that I made their lives better just by being in it. It would be inflated and I would be doing it purely for my ego, but that’s just the life check point I’m at, you know? It’s so weird, I spent all this time trying to be who I was for others, and now I’m being who I am for me. And I take a lot of selfies because, hey, I’m worth it. And I post them on the internet just because I think people should see the process of life, right? That some days are better than others, but that doesn’t mean the bad ones are any less worth documenting. Those are the days I inscribe onto my heart and put a tacky frame around it when company is over just to prove that I am, in fact, as lame as the mural in my front foyer that says “Live, Love, Laugh.”

“you’re obliged to keep living” by Julia at a park in Charleston


Thursday April 23, 2014
4:29pm
5 minutes
Locked In To Life
Mark Brazaitis


Keep pushing, keep moving, keep trying trying trying.
Don’t believe you’re stupid. Don’t believe that because nobody believes that and you don’t want to give them any new ideas about it.
Keep.
Pushing.
Yeah, it’s hard.
And yeah there will be lots of crying.
(With you, there’s always lots of crying. Get used to it.)
And there will be lots of laughing.
(With you, there’s always more laughing than crying. See?)
But there will be no regrets.
You don’t have time for those.
You don’t even have enough time to call your mother.
Or send that postcard to your boyfriend.
Or apologize to your inner person for being so damn-self-deprecating on a daily basis.
You don’t have time for that stuff.
So you most certainly do not have time to wish you did it differently.
The universe can be cruel.
I know that. You know that. Everybody knows that.
But it can also be kind.
So be a little nicer.
Be a little less quick to place the blame.
Be a little less okay with believing you’re mediocre.
Even when you forget how to spell “Disappointment” without an electronic device correcting you.
And even when you convince yourself you can’t do simple math in your head when trying to tip the server.
Be a little more confident.
Because you’re here.
Because you’ve made it this far and because if you didn’t want to be alive, you just wouldn’t be.

“Maximize your chances” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Wednesday April 23, 2014
12:55am
5 minutes
http://www.zerve.com

Wendy had a thing for counting. She counted the stars visible from her bedroom window, she counted the number of steps it was her room to Park’s room, from her room to any room, really, and from the basement to the attic. Even numbers were her favourite. Sometimes she’d count again just to make sure she didn’t count wrong because those odd numbers always seemed so odd. Wendy was also very interested in grouping objects in front of her in categories. She grouped gum wrappers according to life story, bread crumbs, according to size, and pennies according to amount of dirt. She was interested in organizing these things and everything, and Park made it very difficult for her because he had a personality that refused to be contained. Park couldn’t even remember his own birthday. He was a disaster of a 3 year old. Wendy tried to teach him the basics but Park was a bit of an idiot and would just wander off into walls and burst out in hysterical laughter. Wendy never understood why he didn’t just count the steps from the coffee table to the kitchen– That way he wouldn’t have that stupid problem every time of banging into something so clearly avoidable.

“a wise man” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 22, 2014
1:22am
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

A wise man once told me to never drink vodka without a mixer, a chaser, a plan to get home, and parental supervision.
That wise man did tell me that when I was living under his roof, and after the first time my parents needed to lecture me about safe drinking. He was very nice about it. Thankfully. He was joking around thinking I had gotten enough punishment from the sheer fact that I woke up in somebody else’s clothes with part of my left tooth chipped, a busted nose, and a hangover to rival some of my university days. He was right. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. But neither was being 15 and not knowing what being drunk felt like. When you’re 15, even though your parents think you won’t be a problem, you have a bunch of stupid ideas and you scoop them all up in one handful and you make stupid choices. Then you suffer the consequences. And you live the rest of your life remembering how disappointed your mother was when you walked into the kitchen after realizing you couldn’t remember 80% of Lindsey’s party, and then remembering that your father was just slightly okay with giving that life lesson in such a capacity.

“Health and Beauty Aids” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Monday April 21, 2014
12:07am
5 minutes
A sign in Parkdale

Haven’t considered Oshawa? Wow! You’re gonna be in for a treat! One of those places you really oughtta see before you die, eh Margie?
Oh exactly, you just have to visit. Great for your health and one of a kind landscape! And the people! Don’t get me started on them!
You guys, stop it. I’m not going to die! And even if I were I don’t think I’d put Oshawa on my top destination list.
You’re being a bit rude, Liam! It’s a beautiful place. Your mother and I wouldn’t talk about a city like that without anything to back it up, huh Marge?
Oh honey, your father’s right. He’s always right. But if I can be candid, he did have to convince me too!
I wasn’t always aboard the Oshawa train, but now I’m on it and it’s full steam ahead!
Choo chooo!
Oh Peter, I love it when you do that! Chugga chugga chugga chugga.
Chugga chugga Choo choo!
Okay, okay, stop.
What, honey, is it too much? We just get a real kick out of it.
I know.
And I don’t think it would kill you to visit us every now and again, that’s all.

“First Sunday in May” by Julia at South Philly Bar and Grill


Sunday April 20, 2014 at
8:01pm
5 minutes
Blue Cross Broad Street Run sign

I envisioned arriving with orchids for her cause those are her favourite. I was hoping she’d forget I forgot to call her on her birthday, but more importantly that I “forgot” to tell her I was moving to Kelowna. I wanted to tell her, and I was planning to but then she got sick and I thought that if i told her she’d get sicker. This way she’d think I was just some snot-nose kid who didn’t have time for her, instead of believing that I was leaving even after I knew. I guess she knows now. I guess either way I lose and she thinks she raised some terrible version of the kid who was actually going places a few short years ago. She asked me one night how I thought I was going to get away with it, and I told her I was planning on being better at faking all the bullshit that she wouldn’t have approved of. So then when it was Mother’s day, I was going to surprise her with a visit and tell her I was sorry cause it was a pretty selfish thing to do. And it would be a real sad story if the sickness had gotten the best of her and there was no first Sunday in May for me to make amends. That would have been real sad. Instead she just moved from her house that I grew up in and “forgot” to tell me where she was going. That’s the problem with not having a telephone number. Things don’t always work out the way you envision.

“Was she already dead” by Julia in a van in Philadelphia


Saturday April 19, 2014
1:08pm
5 minutes
Her Room
Anja Garbarek


i knelt down close to her unmoving body. i wasn’t about to touch her just in case. i didn’t know why, but just in case seemed like the most appropriate reason. she had on the scarf i gave her. she thought she was borrowing it, but i was planning the whole time to just say, keep it, annie, it looks better on you. i never really got the chance to tell her. now she’s probably on her way to dying thinking that she was dying in my favourite scarf. i would have liked for her to go in peace; still haunts me that i didn’t let her know sooner. all the memories of us stealing earrings and toothpaste filled my head. i can’t remember now whose idea it was to take all that stuff but i do know that i haven’t felt a rush like that since. neither of us really wanted those shitty earrings. we just liked the idea of taking something with some kind of value. the toothpaste, i’m pretty sure we just needed. i reached out to let my energy sort of drip off my fingers and into her scalp just in case. i didn’t know why, really, maybe just in case that was the one thing keeping her from being already dead.

“the origins, the history, culture” by Sasha at Early Bird Espresso and Brew Bar


Friday April 24, 2014 at Early Bird Espresso and Brew Bar
11:26am
5 minutes
An e-mail about grappa

“What are you afraid of?” you ask me, our heads on the same pillow, that sacred space, where noses touch and breath swirls together. “Oh God, how am I supposed to answer that?!” I say, a bit too loud, given that we’re tired, and it’s been a long day, and we’re using bedtime voices. “What’s the first thing you think of?” You’re so encouraging and patient and wise. Goddamnit. “I’m afraid I’ll never be “in the best shape of my life”, that I’ll never be able to actually connect with that phrase… Shit. That sounds so superficial – ” You interrupt me by kissing my nose. “So, tomorrow,” you’re setting out a plan for me, “let’s go for a run… I’ll show you those crazy squats that Simon’s been doing. You should see his ass! It’s totally insane!” I can’t believe we’re talking about your bother’s ass right now. “I’m also afraid that you’re going to realize how fucked up I am, but that’s only going to happen once we’re actually married and then you’re going to want an annulment and I’ll truly never be able to recover from something like that.”

“you’re obliged to keep living” by Sasha at Early Bird Espresso and Brew Bar


Thursday April 23, 2014 at Early Bird Espresso and Brew Bar
11:21am
5 minutes
Locked In To Life
Mark Brazaitis


There’s a funny contract we all signed
The day we were born
(Not funny “ha ha”
but the other kind)
We’re obliged to keep living
Having a sister like Colette
Having a sister who is sick
Having a sister who has tried to kill herself
Too many times to count
Makes me think about this
Obligation
She came to me and asked if I would help her
“I don’t want to be here”
She said
The longing in the shaking of her lower lip
The smell of her desire
Fresh
for once
I paused and said
“I’ll have to think about this, Colette”
She didn’t like that answer
She slammed the door on her way out
I got an e-mail from her later that read
“Dear Suzanne,
Thank you for having me for tuna melts today
It made me angry that you wouldn’t help me
But I get it
I get that I’m asking a lot of you
I’ve always asked a lot of you
I love you
Let’s go to the Island the May long weekend”
I thought
“I wonder if you’ll still be here then?”
May is a long way away
Twenty whole days

“Maximize your chances” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday April 23, 2014
12:56am
5 minutes
http://www.zerve.com

I was the kinda kid that wanted freckles, I wanted to be better at football and I wanted parents that cared enough to stick around. My Nana raised my brothers and I. She was the kinda lady that always had a bed for you and some leftovers staying warm in the oven. My Dad was busted for some criminal activity at the lounge he was managing and had to spend sixteen months in a minimum security prison. My Mom was “following her heart” and find Jesus on some farm in the Midwest. My oldest brother Donny went on a lot of dates. He was only allowed to go out on Fridays and Saturdays, though, so he had a wait list of girls… Or so he said. I’d watch him get ready, clenching his jaw as he looked at himself in the mirror, rubbing hair gel between his palms and smoothing it over his head. Donny wasn’t even the best looking of all of us, but he tried the hardest. He spent an hour lifting weights and doing pushups and sit ups in his room every night before bed. I knew it because Paul and my room was next to his and Karl’s and we could hear his grunts and he struggled and counted – “fifty six, fifty seven, fifty eight…”

“a wise man” by Sasha at iDeal coffee


Tuesday April 22, 2014 at iDeal Coffee
3:12pm
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

You ever get that feeling you wanna run away? You ever get that itch, but it’s inside you and to get it scratched you gotta bust out?

Isobel?

I been saving, baby, I been saving. I been saving my money since last year, since we were back home.

I got $15,000… Over $15,000… $15,213.

Isobel?

I’m gonna find us our own house. None of this sharing a room with other people. How are we supposed to really love eachother? I’m tired of listening to Jerry snore!

We’ll keep it so clean. Our home. You won’t have to work or nothing. Maybe we can have a goat and some chickens!

“Health & Beauty Aids” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar


Monday April 21, 2014
11:46pm
5 minutes
A sign in Parkdale

You ever seen one of those cadavers all dressed up like they be ready for prom or something? So, like, that’s what she looked like. All made up, all plastic. She didn’t look like herself, nope. Mostly around the mouth. Above the lower quarter of her face, she looked like herself but not above it… Above it she looked like a different… woman. It’s strange to call her a… woman because I think of “woman” as, older than twenty and she was… twenty. God damn, it’s sad, isn’t it? God damn. She was a real “Belle”, you know. She lived up to her name. You know what I mean? She was a pretty thing, right. She was a natural beauty though… None of that schlop that them other gals like to put on their face. Belle and her Old Man came to town when she was about eight… or nine… And she came to pick up her Old Man’s order every Friday. They’d do up a big Sunday Roast, you know? Every week. Her Old Man would… Aw, man, I feel so bad for him, you know? Can’t imagine he’ll stay here when every damn thing reminds him of her? Can’t imagine. She invited me to come to one of those dinners and I did… I went… Lived in the tiniest little cottage. The smallest little spot you ever did see, right? Almost bumped by head walking through the door… Like the place was built for midgets or something.

“First Sunday in May” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday April 20, 2014
10:23pm
5 minutes
Blue Cross Broad Street Run sign

The first Sunday in May is Penny’s fiftieth birthday. She’s going to take the ladies to the King Eddie for high tea. They are all going to dress their best, but in shades of Spring. Penny specified this on the invitations, which she wrote by hand and delivered in person, each with a single purple tulip. She invited twelve ladies in total but three had to decline due to previous plans, so there would be nine of them. She hasn’t done a birthday high tea since she was fifteen, and that was entirely pushed upon her by her mother. Funny, she thinks, that now, when it’s all said and done (said, “I’m sorry for causing you so much grief, Mother…” Done, the permanent move to Florida). Penny looks up the high tea menu on-line and decides that she’ll pay for the whole thing and though the ladies will try to stop her, they won’t. She’ll insist. At forty two dollars a person, Penny just couldn’t assume that each of the ladies would be willing to pay that for tiny sandwiches, Devonshire cream and buttermilk scones spread with elderberry jam. They wouldn’t drink champagne. They’d drink tea. Penny closes her eyes and tastes the Ceylon.

“Was she already dead” by Sasha at the Dundas/Jane Toronto Public Library


Saturday April 19, 2014
12:35pm
5 minutes
Her Room
Anja Garbarek


I live on Virtue St. I have a solarium filled with plants, and sometimes cats. Two of them. I have a collection of china dolls in the hutch in the dining room and a fifteen road signs stolen from a wide assortment of places that decorate the walls. My favourite sign says “MOOSE CROSSING” and Herb sound it in Jasper when he was working the Western Parks. He brought it all the way back for me, even though he hitchhiked most of the way. Herb lives in Espanola now and doesn’t come around much, but when he does, he usually brings cheese from the dairy farm close to him. That’s a real treat. Cheese that’s not purchased at a supermarket is one of life’s greatest delights. I live on Virtue St. I took over the house when Mum died. She bequeathed it to Bethany but Bethany didn’t want it so she signed it over to me without even a blink of the eye. She doesn’t come around much, either. Vancouver is far away.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Friday April 18, 2014
7:03pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Queen St.

Last time I sat there for you like an idiot with a death wish. It was that bad, and don’t try to tell me that it wasn’t. I mean, I waited and waited for you, or for a sign, and you just kept making me into a bigger and bigger fool. Or I made myself into a fool. I guess that’s how it happened. You didn’t quite ask me to do it, did you? I mean, you didn’t not ask me. And you certainly gave off the impression that it would be “worth my while” even though you didn’t say that outright. You didn’t have to: I inferred. And I wish I could take it back, but instead I just hope I don’t fall into that same trap again. You know, like tomorrow when you make me want you all over again just by wearing that oversized wind breaker that you look so darn good in. But then you have your ways with me, the way you do with most women. Everyone always wants to be around you and you bring them close, but then when one gets too attached, you do some weird gymnastics dismount away from the situation and distance yourself with a kind of cruelty that I do not have the patience for, nor the ability to resist.

“that they might have life” by Julia in a van in Lansdowne, PA


Thursday April 17, 2014
4:40pm
5 minutes
John 10:10

Weston had his hands full. Couldn’t think about all the things he needed to get done without his head exploding right off his body. He was supposed to be applying for university and supposed to be tutoring Nebraska, the albino girl with ADHD, in chemistry, and supposed to be mowing the lawn for his father, and supposed to be organizing a court yard clean up for his school so he could count those hours toward community service instead of spending his thursday mornings and friday afternoons refusing to braid Nebraska’s neck white. He had a lot of trouble saying no, which was starting to really weigh on him. He didn’t have time for sleep anymore, and wondered, often aloud, if he was even cut out for university. How could he hack it when there’d be far more to do when he got there? Or when he eventually got around to applying to a decent set of schools in all his down time.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice” by Sasha on her couch


Friday April 18, 2014
11:21pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Queen St.

“Don’t make the same mistake twice, Shirley,” my sister, Emma, said, as she squeezed a slice of lemon onto her salmon. We sat in our parent’s backyard. We were both home for Easter, our stepmother Veronica’s favourite holiday. “I don’t plan to – ” I heard the Finn barking, our father pulling into the driveway. “If you move again, who is to say that the same things won’t happen?” Emma lined up the tiny bones along the edge of her plate. “”Wherever you go, there you are…”” It’s like she thought that suddenly she was wiser, now that she was a property owner and was even leasing-to-own a Jetta. Shit. “There are opportunities in Halifax,” I said, hearing our father baby-talk Finn in the kitchen. “Hey girls!” He called, “I’m going to take a shower and be right out to join you!” “Okay!” We called, at the same time.

“that they might have life” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 17, 2014
4:02pm
5 minutes
John 10:10

This is the time of year for fiddleheads
Or it should be
If winter would finally melt away once and for all
This is the time that the fiddleheads grow on the banks of the river
Peeking through the moist ground
I’ve heard that if you close your eyes and listen
You can hear the earth opening
They can grow four inches in a day
Fiddleheads taste like asparagus’ illusive cousin
Related distantly to mushrooms
And broccoli
They are my mother’s favourite
She used to steam them
Half an inch of water in the bottom of the pot
Just a few minutes
They should still crunch
She’d spoon a bit of butter
A sprinkle of salt
Fiddleheads are coming
There are no fiddlehead farms
Really
Just foragers who find them
And sell them
Who can make a pretty penny
On those early spring days
When we so crave something from the earth
Close by to where we life

“Make a green choice” by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus


Wednesday April 16, 2014
4:59pm
5 minutes
from a Sheraton Hotel Voucher

Remember back to the time before you were afraid
Remember the place you used to fall asleep?
The train
Taking you to your friend across town
The treehouse
Built by your father’s hands
Remember back to the time before you were afraid
When you felt your feet on the earth
And their roots going down
Your ancestors
Reaching up
Laughing at how seriously you take yourself
Remember the smell of your pillow
The smell of your birthday party
The one where you collected and then painted rocks
The smell of your mother on Date Night
Remember the time
You forgot who you were
And sat in the back seat
While your supposed best friend’s boyfriend
did doughnuts in the parking lot
of the subway station

“Make a green choice” by Julia at Bodhi Coffee in Philadelphia


Wednesday April 16, 2014
4:55pm at Bodhi Coffee
5 minutes
from a Sheraton Hotel Voucher

There was a sign that she couldn’t help but stare at. It looked like a child had drawn the font, cut out each letter one by one, and pasted them akk to it without adult supervision. She was captivated by the colours, the shapes, the unique feeling it made her connect with. It read “Do The Right Thing. Do It ‘Till You Die.” It seemed like US Army propaganda from the 40s, but it looked like it was made only yesterday, or this morning, even, not giving the glue enough time to dry properly. The rest of the font was too small to see from where she was sitting. She didn’t want to move just to go up to it, feeling a little self-conscious that the sign, the poster from yesterday or today, had worked its magic on her. So she stayed where she was and glanced over at it hanging in the window only every other minute, and only after first looking all around it to make sure it seemed like she just had a curious and inquisitive eye. Nobody was looking at it. She wondered if the person responsible for making it or posting it up was sitting in the cafe with her, watching her watch the damn thing.

“roasted fennel” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Tuesday April 15, 2014
11:09pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Mama liked it when her drinks tasted like Italy. It reminded her of home, of her mother, of her doggie, Stella, and her doll-friend, Cicio Bello. When mama took a sip, she’d slip, then slide, then land back in a time where farm animals woke her up each morning, and where Figs grew as big as your face in September.
She stocked up on the stuff just in case they ever decided to stop making it. Not that anyone would, it was a beautiful thing. But just in case, she always said, just in case.
We knew she could say whatever she wanted and we’d never say a thing in return to her about it. We didn’t want Mama to feel like she had a problem. We didn’t want anyone to think she couldn’t handle it on her own, just the way she wanted to. Nobody mentioned a thing when we’d find bottles of her nostalgia hidden under the sofa cushions, or planted deep in the soil of her dying rosemary bush. Nobody said anything when Cicio Bello started appearing again in Mama’s life, her old friend whispering things to her no one else could hear; keeping her company through the storm.

“roasted fennel” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 15, 2014
8:40pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Sam made salmon and roasted fennel last night. “I’m gonna make you dinner,” he said, a carry bag over his shoulder and the car keys swinging around his index finger. He returned from the market with a grin and a wink. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be an Oscar,” he whispered into my ear. “Don’t be a grouch,” he means. What a dweeb. I was working on a deadline for an editor I am desperately hoping to impress. “I’m going to keep the house exceptionally clean,” said Sam, mopping the kitchen floor. “You’re an angel,” I repeat daily. He is. He is an angel. “Dinner’s ready!” Sam calls and when I enter the kitchen, a few minutes later, he’s using his grandmother’s dish-ware and has lit three candles. He’s turned the lights down and he’s poured me a glass of wine. “You’re so dedicated. You inspire me,” he says, kissing me. He tastes like he’s been testing things, making sure they’re flavoured just right. A dash of paprika, a stroke of miso on the fish, roasted garlic, fennel brushed with olive oil and rosemary.

“chicken liver pate”by Sasha at her desk


Monday April 14, 2014
3:08pm
5 minutes
The Grid
April 10-16, 2014

When Jon got here, he looked nervous. Most people do. He was how I expected him to be, in some ways, but in other ways he surprised me. I didn’t expect the lisp. Or the combed hair, to be honest. He had light blue eyes… Almost like that actor that played Jesus in that Mel Gibson film. You know that guy? I don’t remember his name. Anyway, he sat down, stiff, like, he wouldn’t even lean back against the couch. I asked him the usual questions… The questions I always ask a new client. “You come very highly recommended…” he said. “By whom?” I asked. There was a long pause. “I can’t say,” Jon looked at the carpet and I wondered when I’d last vacuumed. “Alright…” I sipped my green tea, I think. I said, “What brings you here, Jon?” He remained very quiet for quite some time and I wondered who it was who might’ve recommended me to him. “It was Larry Pickford,” Jon said, his voice louder. “I met Larry in a chatroom. On the Internet. A special support group…” He stopped speaking and left the room. I called him a few hours later and left him a voicemail, asking him to come the following week. It took him a month to call me back. I know what you’re thinking…

“chicken liver pate”by Julia on the plane to Philadelphia


Monday April 14, 2014
2:59pm
5 minutes
The Grid
April 10-16, 2014

He said he’d return it if it got sent over to his table. Said he thought it was inhumane. Said don’t even bother trying to impress him by sending over your best items. It was already too late having things like that on the menu in the first place.
When I met him I thought I was going to shoot myself in the face. Out of just being so tired of dealing with his ever present presence and his attitude toward the waitstaff. I wanted to shoot myself in the face. I wanted to shoot him him the face. But instead I smiled politely and I worked harder then I thought I would just to distract myself from his persona.
I knew about his disdain for foie gras. I knew he hated it and was making a big scene. So I’m the one who got it sent over to his table. I admit, I wanted to see what he’d do. I wanted to see what he’d do when the cameras weren’t rolling, when the reporters weren’t reporting, when he was alone, or thought he was.
And I watched him look around and take a bite. And then I watched him smile and take another.

“Must be used” by Julia at her desk


Sunday April 13, 2014
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a TTC transfer


To help others to help them so hard they don’t know what to do with themselves. That’s what I want. You ask me what I want and that’s the only thing. Give give give. It’d make my mother proud. She was a giver too. Only not in that way. She just had that spirit. She was always helping out where she could. But gambling got the best of her. She was a good person till the day she died, but that gambling, boy I’ll tell ya, it really hooked her in and kept her tight. Now if I don’t gamble and I give give give I can make my mother so happy. So happy that she saw that the good that there was in her could be transferred and that the bad that was in her didn’t have to go beyond her. And I haven’t started yet. I haven’t been able to sink my teeth into any old fashioned kindness. I mean, that’s what I want but I also have to make rent and some other stuff.

“Return for redemption” by Julia at Belly Acres


Saturday April 12, 2014
6:41pm
5 minutes
from the can of Magners

I wanted to be seen in a particular light so I used to say certain things and have opinions about things that I would then speak out loud about. I wanted people to believe that I was one way. That I was only one way. And I suppose now that I think back on it, I think I wanted to be thought of a certain way because I didn’t want to do any more learning about myself. When people think of you in a certain way you start to behave in that manner and you start to embody what it is others see. Then you don’t have to do any more work. You just have to do what people expect and say what people think you’re going to say. It’s easier. And harder. Because as soon as you have your own thoughts or epiphanies about the outside world, you have to keep those to yourself. Nobody wants you to be what they don’t know how to label.

“All it takes is time.”by Julia on her couch


Friday April 11, 2014
12:38am
5 minutes
From a quote by Kurt Vonnegut

I had a diary when I was young filled with the same name over and over again. I thought I was going to marry this human being and I thought the song Mmbop by Hanson was going to play at our wedding. I was thinking first dance because I was also assuming that this human would love the song as much as me and he’d practically beg me to have it playing on repeat. He was obviously as into me as I was into him and he probably also wrote my name in his boy diary the way I wrote his.
Then I grew up.
But before that, I wrote him a note in the fourth grade and asked if he Liked Me Yes No Or Maybe and he wrote back Kinda and I screamed internally with all my girl parts dancing a choreographed routine out of joy and love and acceptance. I took it as a full invitation. I wrote back (with balls I might add) When Did You Start Liking Me? And he wrote back I Don’t Know. A While?

“line ’em up and shoot ’em.” by Julia on the couch


Thursday April 10, 2014
12:23am
5 minutes
From a quote by John Grisham

Franky used to be a real prick. He’d line up my Barbie dolls and shoot the heads and the tits off each one. One by one by Barbie dolls would undergo their painful transformation as my brother Franky (who obviously didn’t believe women existed as human beings), would ruin their bodies and their faces satisfying his cruel desire for violence and nudity. He grew up one day and I told him that he should really try to make sure his own kids didn’t do that to their sister because it was actually pretty traumatizing for a 6 year old to witness her precious little dolls experience such a travesty without an explanation that it’s because some men just hate women.

“Must be used” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday April 13, 2014
12:02am
5 minutes
A subway transfer

When Mama makes a grocery list, she uses a piece of stationary that she got in Chicago. She went with her second to last husband, William. He did lots of business in Chicago. William only wore clothes in the pastel palate, no matter what the season. William was from Georgia and sounded like a grandma, with a high pitched voice. “He gives me lots of TLC,” Mama would say with a wink. When Mama writes a grocery list, she uses that real nice stationary with the little blue birds. She parades it proudly in her hand as she marches the aisles of the Food Mart, her pumps clicking on the linoleum. Her lipstick is pink and her cardigan is tied around her shoulders. She might put it on in the frozen section, leaning into the freezer for peas and vanilla ice cream.

“Return for redemption” by Sasha on the Keele bus


Saturday April 12, 2014
6:10pm
5 minutes
A can of Magners

When he makes his way back into the classroom, the letter “F” has fallen from the felted alphabet that’s pinned up above the blackboard. He wonders if its a sign. “F” for “Failure”. “F” for “Fucked”.

He hadn’t meant to do it. But he had. The rumours circled faster than vultures to a dead deer.

“He’s a fat fag! Look at that fat faggy nasty ass face!” He’d walked in, just before Jay punched Alfonso in the nose. More blood. More broken. He’d seen it since September, one thirteen-year-old picking on the other, bullying the other, rallying the other eighth graders with the power of an army general. He’d been patient. He’d dutifully given detentions and sent home notes. He’d even called in Jay’s father for a meeting. He’d been stood up.

He moved faster than he knew he could. He pulled one boy off of the other, face covered in tears and snot. He threw all one hundred and three pounds of Jay Eiserman up against the wall. The inspirational quote calendar fell to the floor. “You lay a hand on Alfonso again, you little shit, and I’m gonna kill you.” Jay dropped to the floor, rage shooting from his eyes. He ran to the Principle.

“All it takes is time.” by Sasha on her couch


Friday April 11, 2014
9:27pm
5 minutes
A quote by Kurt Vonnegut

You’re comforted by the past – “I was the captain of the Basketball team!” You say. “I was Prom King,” you smile, “and I got early acceptance to all six universities I applied to…” You relish in those “good ol’ days”. “I beat the record time for the hundred metre dash,” you tell me. “I used to be able to slam dunk, did you know that?” I did, but I shake my head.

You were born in an age where these things mattered. You were born in a place where when you were there, everyone felt good, felt glad, felt warm, felt lucky. It’s no surprise that I’m the only one that you haven’t alienated, my mother (your daughter) can hardly stand to think about me coming over every Sunday and taking you grocery shopping. “Grandpa, tell me the story of how you met Grams?” I ask, trying to get you out of your narcissistic spiral. “Oh, that’s a good story. That’s a very good story…” You smile and sigh. You rub the bridge of your nose. “I met Rosemary in the doctors office at the University of Toronto. She had the brightest red hair I’d ever seen. Her cheeks were flushed. I sat beside her, frozen peas on my sprained ankle, and I asked her what was wrong. She was taken aback! She was a shy girl from the country, you know. And I was there on full scholarship, starting point guard, top of my class?”

“line ’em up and shoot ’em.” by Sasha in her bed


Thursday April 10, 2014
9:43pm
5 minutes
A quote by John Grisham

When my brother, Glenn, died, I didn’t mourn. That was in ’74. That was forty years ago. But today, when I was at the market buying oranges to bring to my daughter’s (they are her favourite), I saw a bottle of barbecue sauce and I broke down in tears. A very sweet stock-boy offered me a napkin. “I’m okay, I’m okay…” I said.

My brother, Glenn, was not a warm and fuzzy kind of guy. He used to pinch my breasts and my behind, my cheeks and my thighs, whenever our parents, or younger sister, weren’t looking. He would knock on my door and when I came to answer it, he would throw water in my face. At Christmas, we never expected anything from Glenn, he would rip out a crossword puzzle from the newspaper and give one to each of us. “Don’t take his behaviour personally,” our mother would say. I just wanted a regular older brother, one that would offer me a shoulder to cry on when I was screwed over by a boyfriend, or did poorly on a test.

When my brother, Glenn, died, I didn’t mourn. I was twenty-four and living in Halifax for the summer, guiding bicycle tours. I got the call from my father. “Glenn killed himself, Becky,” he said, “Shot himself in the head.” “How did he ever get a gun?” I asked.

“Entry at the front doors only” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday April 9, 2014
11:35pm
5 minutes
said by the streetcar conductor

In Essaouira, we met a Parisian man named Francois. I wish I could show you his picture. He looked French, he sounded French, everything about him felt French. He was a screenwriter, on a working vacation, trying to finish a script. He rolled his own cigarettes. We stayed in a small hotel, in a room with french doors on the second floor. Francois was on the ground floor, just around the corner from the dining room. He was desperately attracted to the friend I was travelling with, but he liked my spunky sense of humour. I could tell. In that French way, he quietly respected each of us, her, with her otherworldly beauty, and me, with my wide smile and my jokes. When he ran out of tobacco, he asked if we wanted to accompany him on a walk into the main square. We did. In the blur of steamed trolleys and donkeys and brightly coloured carpets, the three of us help hands like pre-schoolers, and laughed as women clucked and men gave Francois high-fives.

“Entry at the front doors only” by Julia on the 501 going west


Wednesday April 9, 2014
11:28pm
5 minutes
said by the streetcar conductor

I knew I was doing a bad thing, trying to get my baby brother, SJ, on the train without a ticket. I knew I was doing a bad bad thing. But mama never gave me any coins for savings. I had to use all my money just to buy my ticket alone, and I read the rules. And I read that baby brothers still need to pay. So I knew what I was doing but I had to do it anyway. Cause life or death is sometimes a pretty okay reason to do something wrong. So I told him to go by himself. I told him I would be right there when we got there. He was old enough and I told him that too. Didn’t want him to think I was leaving
him. Not even close. But what were they going to do? Try and find his parents? They weren’t going to find that. Better luck that he’d sneak into my car when it was time and hide under my body during ticket checks. So I told him no talking, no noise making. Just walk on and walk around and come to the third car from the front and I’ll be there. He was not happy. Not happy one bit.

“microcosmic model” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday April 8, 2014
10:50pm
5 minutes
Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice
Kristin Linklater


I guess Steve was talking about humans and their relation to the universe again, and I guess I got bored because I fell asleep a little bit the way I do when I watch movies after 10pm. I can usually make it to 11pm on weekends, but it depends on what kind of a day I had. It’s not my fault that Steve’s mid section is the perfect pillow, or that his breathing patterns lull me into an eternal and blissful sleep. In fact, Steve likes it. Well, he likes when I sleep on him, not when I fall asleep during movies. He only really likes it when I sleep while he watches the News so that when he tells me what is going on in the world, I always agree with his opinion because I never hear any other ones to make an informed decision. Steve actually wants to talk about the movies, about the plot, about the characters. He’s into that stuff. Maybe because he’s an artist and he really likes things he can see himself doing later on in his life. You know, if he understands this movie and this story arc and this conclusion, then he’ll be able to make his own someday. I didn’t mean to fall asleep while he was talking about his worldly theories. That was a special case cause I had just finished running the half marathon and my body was in absolute shambles because I pushed myself really hard.

“the good life” by Julia on the 506 going west


Monday April 7, 2014
9:25pm
5 minutes
from a GoodLife Fitness sign

started off with a bang and i thought to myself, why do i live so close to other humans?
you rolled over and you said the same thing, only in spanish, and we both yawned like it was the answer to the universe.
we tried to get back to sleep but the banging persisted. was a saturday morning sleep-in just far too much to ask? i wondered about it with my eyes shut tight, trying to keep the light out. i groaned and thought to myself, next time we should close the blinds before the weekend starts.
you rolled over to face the wall and you said the same thing, only in spanish, and we both yawned like it was a signed contract for future weekends to come.
the banging. the banging. why can’t those tiny bottle-seeking women just come back after 10am after the lazies and the tired have forced themselves to get up?
finally i had had enough. i got up from our warm cocoon and hobbled over to the window holding my bare boobs with one hand. it wasn’t a human at all. It was a squirrel trying to get into our garbage bin.
mother fucker, i said out loud.
you rolled over and said the same thing, only in spanish.

“microcosmic model” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb Coffee


Tuesday April 8, 2014 at Cherry Bomb Coffee
5:59pm
5 minutes
Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice
Kristin Linklater


Well, here we are. You’re taller than you looked in your picture. And your beard! I like it! You look… rugged. More rugged than in your picture… I mean, your picture is good, I could tell you put effort in but… How long have you been on Plenty of Fish? I’m new to it. I’m new to all of this actually. I’m married. I mean, I was married. I’m… separated. And you should also know that my husband, my ex-husband, excuse me, we, we still share a house. It’s complicated because we have a business together? We work out of our kitchen. We make chocolate. We make chocolate bars. Fair trade. They’re, like, the best. ChocoLove. Have you heard of us? They carry our product mostly in health food stores but we’re in talks with Lawblaws to get in there too. But keep that on the DL. Chris would kill me if he knew I’d told you. Do you want one? I always carry a bar or two in my bag, for moments like this. When someone isn’t familiar with our product, you know? I have Caramel Crunch and 75% Dark? He knows I’m here. He knows I’m dating… Chris, my husband, ex-husband, shit, I really need to stop doing that. He knows. He actually encouraged me to go on one of those sites… My sister-in-law, God! My ex-sister-in-law, she met her partner Liz on LavaLife. There’s a lot of inspiring stories.

“the good life” by Sasha in a taxi on the way home


Monday April 7, 2014
12:15am
5 minutes
from a GoodLife Fitness sign

The clock on the stove reads eleven fifty three. Marge wasn’t able to make the book club today because Bruce was in the hospital with pneumonia. That just left Irene and Nina. They’d never really liked one another, these two women, with greying hair and slender frames, but they respected their differences and were civil and friendly. “But we aren’t friends,” Irene told Brent, as she folded the laundry and he ironed his ties. See the three ladies of the Iroquois Falls Book Club, Marge, Irene and Nina, were married to the Morningstar boys – Bruce, Brent and Bobby. If they were going to be sisters, they might as well connect through the one thing all three of them truly loved – books. They took turns choosing which book they’d read each month – Marge gravitated towards quirky stories of redemption, Irene preferred non-fiction with a political bent and Irene was partial to historical fiction. They’d grumble through the first chapters of a book they thought they’d hate, but then, part-way through, each would realize they had something to learn from it they had something to learn from one another. They took turns hosting, although between May and September, the Book Club often ended up being at Irene and Brent’s place, as they had the nicest garden, buzzing with bumble bees and smelling of wild flowers and lavender. In the warm months, the three women would sit outside on the deck, shawls over their shoulders so they didn’t burn, sunglasses perched on their noses.

“do not expose” by Sasha in her bed


Sunday April 6, 2014
12:34am
5 minutes
from the back of a pack of gum

He found a letter from his father, to his mother, in her underwear drawer. It remained in the envelope in which it had arrived. The postmark read “August 2001”. Thirteen years ago He was looking for a bra, one with three small hooks on the back. He wanted to practise opening it. He’d put it on one of Ella’s life-sized dolls and try his best. That way, when it came time to take off Katherine’s, he’d be really good at it. But, he got distracted. he found that letter from his father, to his mother. Her line had always been, “Your father took off when you were five, and that was that.” Ella asked questions, sometimes, but it just made their mother pissed off. “That was that,” was supposed to suffice. He felt the hot rush of adrenaline, of being caught, of finding out the truth. He felt bad for his mother. He felt bad for himself. He tucked it into the pocket of his shorts and went up to his room, bra completely forgotten. He sat on his bed and read the first line. “Dear Reece, I’m sorry I’ve been such a stranger.”

“used to make them” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday April 5, 2014
11:02pm
5 minutes
from the box of envelopes

When the truck hit, my spine broke on impact, but I didn’t feel pain. Blood gushed from the side of my body, and I thought about my son, Louie, at daycare, playing with play-dough, mixing all the colours together. He’d be waiting for me. I’d never been late for him. This would be the first of many times I broke his heart. I break. I broke. I woke up in the hospital, machines whirring, my boyfriend, AJ, kissing my fingers. Louie slept in his stroller at the foot of the bed. AJ cried. I’d only seen him do it once before, when Louie was born. A doctor came quickly and smiled blue eyes at me. I closed my own. It was too much, too bright, to achey, too broken. “Lilly,” Blue Eyes said, “You’ve been in a coma for three months.” I tried to sit up, to see Louie. I missed too much. Shit. “Please don’t try to move. You suffered exceptional injuries – ” and AJ stands up. He kisses me on the forehead. And I can’t feel his lips there, and I can’t smell the fear on his breath.

“do not expose” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 6, 2014
12:14am
5 minutes
from the back of a pack of gum

Ok so I’m
Sorry about two things
I’ll tell you
But first know that I’m
Sorry
Ok so
In order if I have to?
Number 1)
I should not have taken your blue scarf out of the car
I thought you wouldn’t notice
Now I’m sorry
For more than two things
I won’t say anything
but apologies
From here on out
Sorry for
Stealing your blue scarf from your car
Sorry for thinking
You wouldn’t even
Miss it
Sorry for believing
You were a
Fool
Sorry for not giving
You enough
credit
Because you deserve
All the credit
In the whole world
Sorry for then
wearing
Your blue scarf
To
Mark and Tracy’s wedding
And getting vomit on it
And getting shrimp
cocktail sauce
on it
Sorry for not asking
Sorry for not telling
Sorry for being careless
Sorry
For
Everything
Number 2)
Sorry for letting your plant die

“used to make them” by Julia at her desk


Saturday April 5, 2014
1:42am
5 minutes
from the box of envelopes

Sitting down with my origami paper and my origami instructions and I’m staring at my origami pictures and my origami table. I’m going to make a bunch of birds. What else do you make with origami? I want to make them small and large and smaller and larger. I want everyone to ask me to make one for them for Christmas or Easter because flight is really symbolic in both holidays. I will write a little message on each origami bird’s wing about “flight” or “magic” or “guidance” or “freedom”. I used to make things like this all the time when I had time and when I had to exorcise a lot of my personal demons on my own. I put them all into birds. I didn’t give those ones away because they would be too powerful in a negative way. Instead I’d make them and write words on the wings like “out” and “vanish” and “please” and “evil” and then I would take them up to the roof and burn every single one of them with a different match and a different glass jar. I found it therapeutic to give each bird its own holder so it could live out its issues without contaminating or influencing the other ones.
Now I’m much better so I’m giving happy thoughts out to the people I really like having around.

“skill testing question required” by Sasha on the King streetcar going West


Friday April 4, 2014
5:03pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

Answer the question correctly, Angel, and we might actually get somewhere! We might actually get out of this hell-hole of a trailer park! Think really hard. Please. Think the best you possibly can. We might actually progress beyond communal showers and deep fried hot dogs. I love you, Angel, but… It’s harder when you’re old, like me, to really feel like you’ve got much of anything. If I can offer you one word of advice, it’s this… If you let them chain you, they will. Don’t let them chain you, Angel! I guess that’s more than one word. Shit. I got chained, I got chained too young. Barely seventeen and I was chained to that bald man for fifty three years! Can you even imagine?

“customize the formula” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday April 3, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

She thinks about her future, yeah, she sees the colour of her life. The mornings are blue, yeah, soft, yeah, like cheek, yeah. The afternoons are yellow, yeah, like a daffodil, yeah. The nights? The nights are velvet red, rich red, yeah, like lips. She thinks about her future, yeah, and she sees that wide colour palate, the one that stretches across the horizon at sunrise, yeah, sunset, yeah. She mixes midnight herself, yeah, she forgets about taking away and only adds. She adds, yeah.

“skill testing question required” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday April 4, 2014
2:42pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I was thinking about it all morning. It was a stupid math one, and I should have gotten it right with ease. Ease. I was good at math up until, what, grade five? Fucking graphs, you know? And ever since then it’s been downhill. I used to win fucking awards for my math. Like class-room accolades and shit. I used to get those lollipops. You know? We’d play around the world with our times tables, and I’d beat every single kid in my class, even the smart ones, and then I’d get a lollipop. I used to win so many times I could have opened a tuck shop at my desk and made 25 cents on each kid. See. Math. It’s all confidence anyway. Did you know that? I mean, sure, reading takes confidence, and whatever, Art. But math. It’s a skill you develop just by being confident enough to develop it. You have one bad teacher tell you you’re worth even a little less than you are, and you just learn to believe that crap. It’s one of those things that keeps coming back to bite you in the ass too. You know, taxes, and leaving tips, and getting the right change back from the damn Wal-mart clerk. Did she even finish high school? I don’t know. Does she assume I’m good at math because most people are at least able to calculate the simple stuff in their heads, and therefore this clerk works harder to be good herself so she doesn’t look like she’s trying to dupe a smart math guy? I don’t know. Maybe she thinks that because she’s bad at math, then I must also be bad at math.
Could have won a fucking car today. Fucking math.

“customize the formula” by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday April 3, 2014
11:57pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

-If we never get out of here, it’ll be all your fault, Rita. If that is even your real name.
-I’m not going to tell you again, I didn’t do it on purpose and it’s my real friggen name. Do you know many people who go out looking on purpose for a name like Rita?
-I don’t believe anything you say anymore.
-Fine.
-Fine.
-I was told you were the best.
-Who told you that?
-I don’t know, Dr. Arnold. Maybe someone else too, I don’t remember.
-He said that?
-Yeah. So then I wasn’t worried, because I trust him, but now I’m not so sure.
-I told you it was an accident. I’m sorry you’re missing it.
-Missing what?
-The ceremony. I’m really sorry about that.
-Right, well your kid only gets one kindergarten graduation. Here’s hoping she makes it to high school or I’m coming after you.
-If it’s any consolation, I missed my kid’s graduation too. On purpose. I was working.
-Oh.
-I know, I’m a bad mother. I wasn’t thinking of him then.
-You feel bad about it at least. That’s a start.
-Not then I didn’t. When it counted.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday April 2, 2014
11:33pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


When Lee was a kid he used to sleep walk into our parents’ bedroom every single night and scare the shit out of them. I mean, I’m laughing about it now, and even dad is, but mom never got over it. She used to think he was going to murder her in her sleep! I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. Just thinking about Lee walking down there like a zombie, and just standing there over their bed. He could have chosen dad’s side, but he always went to mom’s and she was a light sleeper. He’d stand there, and his eyes would be wide open, and he’d lean into her, and just sway back and forth! I’m dying it’s so funny. I’m so SO relieved he never did that to me. I wouldn’t have made it! And now me and my dad, we laugh so hard at my mom, who every night would beg my dad to lock the door so she could sleep, but would lose, and would have to get woken up by Lee’s big bulgy sleep-wake eyes! Then one night, I know, this is so bad, but she locked the door without telling my dad, and Lee slept walked into the yard and stared at her through her bedroom window! It’s so bad, you can’t even write this stuff. Mom was so scared. She didn’t like being left alone with him even in the day time because she thought Lee was possessed by the devil! She made my dad take him to a sleep clinic to see why he had the urge to only stare at her.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday April 2, 2014
10:25pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


1. I am standing beside his bed, watching the dreams escape from his ears, watching his chest rise and fall like the sun.
2. I am lifting a tablespoon of tea leaves in the green, pottery mug, waiting to hear the whistle of the kettle.
3. I am looking out the window, watching the construction change the house next door, watching a tall man saw a piece of wood. I wonder what he’s making.
4. I am reaching for the epsom salts to pour into the bath that’s running.
5. I am listening to him speak to his parents on the phone and tell them what’s moving inside of us and I close my eyes and feel the disappointment in his chest. I’ll make it better with sweet potatoes and coconut rice.
6. I am reading my younger self on lined paper, and I am laughing at my goodness.

“will run as deep as the bloodline” by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus


Tuesday April 1, 2014
11:56am
5 minutes
www.jennylewis.com


There’s a cloud on her shoulder, pinning her down, pinning her to her place, which she doesn’t even enjoy. The cloud shakes its grey curls, making her heart ache, making the muscles tense. The cloud’s been there since the early Winter, since her husky got hit by a car, since she put on fifteen pounds, since she told her family she wanted a divorce from them. “Too much all at once,” I stroke circles onto her hand, hoping she’ll see that this will be over soon. Patchy, dry skin, bigger belly, so many new lines on her face I don’t even know her anymore. Bags heavier than bricks under her eyes. “I’m worried,” I hold her hand and it’s clammy, it’s cold, it reminds me of fish before you put it in the pan to broil.

“MADE IN CANADA” by Sasha on her couch


Monday March 31, 2014
11:03pm
5 minutes
the hotel shampoo bottle

Before I knew it we were drinking champagne and taking off our pants. Shirts stayed on. We just weren’t there yet. You’d been given the champagne as a birthday present from Glen. “It’s nice,” I said, the bubbles going up my nose. You’re wearing undies with purple flowers, boy-short style. I’m wearing a thong, black, a bit stretched out, but I don’t feel weird. “I wish I had Dad’s ass…” You said, and what you really meant was mine, but I have his so… There you go. We laughed. “Don’t fart on the couch,” you said, and I rolled my eyes. “Let’s order pizza!” You were a bit tipsy, you hardly ever drank. “Pizza! It’s friggen Canada Day! Let’s get poutine!” You wrinkle your nose.

“MADE IN CANADA” by Julia on her couch


Monday March 31, 2014
1:02am
5 minutes
the hotel shampoo bottle

I was born here, wishing that I wasn’t, cause, when I was young everything was better when it wasn’t, when I wasn’t, when it just wasn’t. Hoped for the things I didn’t even know were things, but wanted them just cause I wanted them, just cause I didn’t have them, and that somehow made it better. I wanted what I didn’t know. Cause I didn’t have to milk any cows growing up, didn’t have to stay up late watching any infants while mom passed out on the couch watching TV instead, didn’t have to run from my parents after the age of 6 cause they weren’t chasing me anymore, they weren’t out to get me. They were never out to get me. But when I was good and young, I thought everybody was. Didn’t trust the people I should have trusted most. Thought maybe it came from reading, maybe it came from the teachers who shouldn’t have been teachers, who didn’t like kids and so didn’t like teaching kids things teachers should like teaching. But I wanted those things too. Wanted someone to see my stories and tell me they would be great some day. Wanted someone to tell me I’d grow into my face and not to listen to those other kids who had parents who didn’t want to be parents who were teaching them things they shouldn’t be teaching cause they weren’t teachers or the kind of people who could be.