“KEEP REFRIGERATED” by Julia on her bed


Saturday February 27, 2016
8:12pm
5 minutes
From the tetra pack of arugula

Darling waits for me outside the gym after I’m done my sweat with a big juicy bag of fresh spinach and a muffin devoid of anything delicious in it. Darling really knows me; knows I’m desperately trying to value myself and stop feeding my fears with unnecessary carbs or sugars.
I swat my hand at Darling as if it were no big deal at all that I had just cycled all of my aggression out for the 2nd time today. Darling smiles and offers me a perfect little towel with the tag snipped off. I know I’ll never have to go one single day without Darling picking me up after a sweat, or a shop, or a mental breakdown on the I-5. Today I want to cry but I don’t know if Darling has brought the necessary preparations for it…

“KEEP REFRIGERATED” by Sasha at her counter


Saturday February 27, 2016
10:56am
5 minutes
From the tetra pack of arugula

“You can keep your shrubs and your sourdough starter and your kombucha mother!” He says, throwing his cup at me. Luckily it’s tin and so it just sort of bounced on the floor a few times. I laughed. He didn’t.

I love Chris, but like, he isn’t the one. I always knew that. He was a good bang and had a great beard and he knew how to give amazing foot rubs and make great spaghetti sauce.

I don’t think I’ll get on Internet dating or anything. I’m going to get really into infusing… Vodka, vanilla… You name it, I’ll infuse it.

“How cool would this be?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday February 26, 2016
10:56am
5 minutes
Overheard on Yew St.

How cool would it be if we knit identical toques and used the same wool and everything and how cool would it be if we never really took them off, only to shower and stuff?

We would absolutely have to go up to where the snow is to roll in it cuz what’s the point of toques if we aren’t in snow? The twinkle lights would be twinkling and we would bring a thermos of tea and a bar of dark chocolate and our heads would be warm and our fingers would be cold but we’d kiss under the stars and we’d feel more alive than ever.

“SUPREMEBEING” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday February 25, 2016
11:29pm
5 minutes
Treasures & Travels Blog

Close your eyes and picture the SUPREMEBEING, faceless but smiling, genderless and all-knowing. Close your eyes and picture the SUPREMEBEING, in all their wordless, worldness, nothingness glory, with the glow of the harvest sky in their non-existent eyes. The SUPREMEBEING knows your secrets and your lies, your treacheries and your victories, the birth and death of this moment and the next, the almost of the future and the sepia tone of the past. Close your eyes and breathe in through your open heart, down to your root, up to the scalp and beyond. Close your eyes and say to the SUPREMEBEING, “I am enough.” Say it. Picture the SUPREMEBEING and say it: “I AM ENOUGH. I AM ENOUGH!” Raise your voices and say it all together so that the SUPREMEBEING might hear us!

“It’s all my fault.” By Sasha on her couch


Wednesday, February 24, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
From an e-mail

It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. I did it. I did it. I didn’t do it, but I did it because I wasn’t there and it’s all my fault.

Shhhh… Shhhh… Shhhh, little honey.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault. It’s all my fault.

It’s going to be okay. I promise. It’s going to be okay. I would never let anything bad happen to you.

It’s already happened. It’s all my fault.

“How cool would this be?” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 26, 2016
5:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Yew St.

You and me
?
midnight hiking!
Nothing on our backs…
but the idea…
that we couldn’t….
And the wouldn’t
?
Gone long and far because
We chose to set it free
Not worth
Keeping
Repeating
Glorifying
But now is
good!
And!
wide!
And!
invigorating!
because we chose to give ourselves
over to the truth
So no more lies
?
If we say so
We can could do-
We can anything:
Be
Do
Anything anything
Until we decide–
Stand firm–this
way
or
sideways

“SUPREMEBEING” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 25, 2016
11:27pm
5 minutes
Treasures & Travels Blog

You yelled in the car ride over to Tessa’s gallery opening and I had to beg you to pull over so I could get out before you killed us both with your rage. When I got out of the car I wiped my eyes, reapplied the lipstick I had chewed off and walked so fast ahead of you it may have seemed like I was trying to lose you. For the record: I was. I forced a smile to peel onto my lips and I strut through the trendy studio space like I invented the idea of putting so many pillars everywhere. Tessa was happy to see me and she hugged me tight and said How are you though?! I lied through my teeth and said Your art makes me want to be a better person. She was thrilled and then she left me alone. You finally entered the gallery and by that moment I thought you had decided not to come at all. I was planning my way home in my head and how when I finally got back, if you were still awake, I’d just walk straight to the bedroom and close the door. You saw that I saw you and even when I turned my back to you, you came right over to me and kissed me so sorry I forgot for a second how scared I was just minutes ago. I didn’t mean it, you cooed in my ear. I didn’t mean any of it.

“It’s all my fault.” by Julia at Platform 7 Cafe


Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at Platform 7 Cafe
3:19pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I have asked for clarification for the last time from Robbie. He is toxic and hearing his explanations of why he’d prefer to be with Patricia over me has stung for the very last time. I used to need to hear it from his mouth. I’d say, Let me hear it from your two lips, Robbie, tell me exactly why you need her. I want to hear the truth about the tiny heartshaped birthmark next to her left eye that has “cast a fucking spell on you. His earnestness is poisonous and it gets into my veins deep where it can torment me long after I’ve turned off for the night. Gets in my dreams. I thought knowing the words, hearing his reasoning would put this whole thing to bed. I thought it would give me closure or at least act as a critiquing sounding board. I wanted an excuse to get better. I think I also wanted an excuse to blame myself. I am good at taking on Robbie’s shit. I am so good at it I’ve carved out a special place in my life where I store all his stupid behavior and his shitty treatment of me. I take it off the shelves of my heart when I need a reminder that I’m so deeply human when it comes to him—or maybe because of him.

“always easier to leave it at home” by Sasha in the Student Union Building


Tuesday February 23, 2016
7:00pm
5 minutes
http://www.abeautifulmess.com

He offers me MDMA. I say a reluctant “yes” but make him split up a tablet so I can have less. I vomit for two hours. This is the reason I don’t do drugs. I always end up hugging the toilet bowl, wondering why I put this poison inside me. He holds my hair and brings me water in a glass jar. Exhausted and shaking, I fall asleep on his lap on the couch. When I wake up I feel good, the nausea is gone, and my body is humming, electric.

We are sitting on the same cloud together, for once, and it feels magnificent. We kiss for the rest of the night and he tells me secrets and I laugh and it finally feels okay.

“that you already know and like.” By Sasha on the 9


Monday February 22, 2016
10:16pm
5 minutes
gnoosic.com

I arrive at his apartment above the bike shop, with the deck that looks like a pier and the tiny plastic, dancing monkeys on the old reel-to-reel, with the roommate that is only a voice on the other side of the door, who I’ve never actually met. Ben meets me at the front door, shirtless in old grey sweat shorts and a brown hat. He whispers in my ear when I hug him,

“I’m really high right now”.

Ben has recently broken up with his girlfriend of five and a half years, Sonja. She’s in Paris doing an internship at a gallery. I imagine her to be really beautifully, thin, knowing an a whole lot about Marina Abromovic and fancy cheese. Ben speaks of her often. He clearly still loves her. I know what he’s doing, replacing the woman’s body beside him in his bed. I wonder if I’m the only one.

“always easier to leave it at home” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Tuesday February 23, 2016 at the VPL
6:49pm
5 minutes
abeautifulmess.com

Been fucking trying to leave it at home. Been fucking trying not to swear anymore either but as you can see, things have been a little bit rough these days. My asshole of a manager has decided that not only are we no longer allowed on our phones during work hours, but now we have to write a fucking positive message about the “team” each night before AND AFTER our shift. FUCK. How do you not swear when your life is a complete fucking joke? Tad, his fucking name is TAD. And Fucking TAD has so many fucking brilliant ideas for community building, such as embodying bullshit in the most unappealing human way this century has ever seen, or for making us walk through the back doors before we sign our lives away for 4-8 hours in a “light” and “baggage-free” way. Fucking Tad likes to tell me, “Leave your bad attitude at the door, Tegan, this place is a “frown-free” zone!” I want to fucking punch him with a fork. In the throat. Repeatedly. Until fucking forever and ever Amen.

“tossing rolled oats” by Sasha standing in her kitchen


Sunday February 21, 2016
1:34pm
5 minutes
From a recipe

I show you I love you by toasting the pecans before putting them on top of your fruit and granola I show you I love you by making you chocolate you can actually eat with coconut oil and honey and cacao nibs I show you I love you by flipping your eggs over easy I show you I love you by making bread with sprouted flour and pumpkin seeds I show you I love you by leaving you a salad in the fridge with as much protein as you’ll need after a workout I show you I love you by buying you so much peanut butter (I never knew someone could eat so much peanut butter)

“So sorry mine is late” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 20, 2016
5:13pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I get there and I’m sweating like a fucking Olympic athlete (which I am not) and all the doors are locked and I’m like, “SHITSHITSHITSHIT!” But inside my head, because there are probably cameras or something… There are probably cameras outside those doors. I have that sinking feeling like when you know that something bad happened, when you know you fucked something up really bad.

I’ve been unemployed for seven months. Things just start to get vortex-y when you’ve been out of work for that long.

I scroll through my emails and finally find the one from Kendra:

“We would like to see you for an interview. Are you available at 9:30 on Monday?”

Nine thirty. Nine thirty. Shit. Nine shit thirty.

“to be euthanized” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Friday February 19, 2016 at Culprit Coffee
4:37pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday February 18, 2016


the politics are closing in
closing up closing down
shut in shut up shut
down
the voices are loud again
trumpet blares and speaker flares
bass line like boot stomp
bass line like poison

the aftertaste of something you
didn’t mean
said too loud
too sweet
the stink of a lie
heavy on handmade lips
heavy on furrowed brow
laughlines like fingerprints
smudged in ink
in soot
here’s my identity baby

your thoughts
curling smoke around the hope
for something more
you are deserving of all
that goodness
you are
your mother
holding your hair back
holding her hair back
squatted over the porcelain tea cup
shut up shut down
bass line like boot stomp

“I love failure!” By Sasha on her couch


Thursday February 18, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
From a text message

P. is alone, late at the office. She sees that her boss, Stupid Face Jarrod, left his computer on, and that the desktop with the photos of his trip to Honolulu are flashing all the over damn the place. She huffs a bit. She thinks about that forward that Stupid Face sent all of the employees, even the temps, about how computers snoozing mean they are sucking energy from the grid. That SFJ thinks he’s some sort of progressive enviro-man, makes P. laugh. A small, snail chuckle. She massages her temples, the way that Sam taught her, when she splurged and got them aromatherapy massages. P. goes into Stupid Face’s office. She’s never been in there alone before and this gives her a rush. She’s just going to shut down the computer. She’s just going to – … OH MY GOD. Open on the desktop is a top secret confidential notification from Head Office. Oh my God.

“this music has more religion in it than any church” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday February 17, 2016
10:52pm
5 minutes
From a YouTube comment by GB3770

“This music has more religion in it than church ever did,” Holly says, leaning in. Her breath smells like wine. I wonder if she’s drunker than she thinks she is.

Way back when, Holly and I did everything together. We had sleepovers both nights on the weekend, did blood sister ceremonies more than once, wandered the graveyard behind her dad’s house, snuck vodka from my parent’s stash in the freezer.

“Liquor doesn’t freeze, you know,” Holly said.

I know that Holly knows that Jake and I broke up, for good this time. I don’t have to tell her that kinda thing.

“Why aren’t you having any of this?” She asks, topping up her glass.

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Tuesday February 16, 2016
3:05pm
5 minutes
From a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

P. is on a date at a Painting Cafe. You know, those places where kids get all messy during the day and then adults get flirty at night? One of those places. She’s never been to one of them before. Her date suggested it. She wasn’t sure at first, and then thought, “Why not?”

P: I’ve never painted before…
A: Oh, me neither.
P: Not even as a kid?
A: As a kid?
P: Yeah.
A: I guess I did as a kid.
P: Not me!
A: No?
P: My mother is a total neat freak. She wouldn’t let me paint at home or at school. Too messy.
A: Wow.
P: I had to stay inside at recess if it was muddy, snowy or raining. I had a special doctor’s note.
A: Woah.
Silence.
P: Anyway, don’t judge me if my thing looks like a six-year-old did it –
A: I won’t. This is just supposed to be fun…
P. starts painting. Silence.
A: Nice use of purple.
P: I love purple.
A: Purple Polly.
P. laughs but is very engrossed in her painting.
A: So, did you grow up here?
P: …
A: Polly?
P. cocks her head towards A.
P: What?
A: I just –
P: I’m trying to focus.
A: Oh –
P: Sorry, I just –
A: No. No…

“Is the client’s wish achievable?” by Sasha at Platform Seven


Monday February 15, 2016
1:12pm
5 minutes
From a treatment plan at Black 2 Blond salon

Michael comes in and says he has “something to tell me.” I nod. My voice is tired from work yesterday so I’m trying to rest it. No need to use words when my head can do the job.

“I don’t know why, but for some reason you have always called me “Michael” and that’s, that’s not my name.”

It looks like it’s hard for him to say it. I feel badly for him. I wonder how dominant his mother is, in her parenting style.

“What is your name?” I whisper.

“Mike.”

“Mike?”

“Yes.”

“What does it say on your birth certificate?”

“Michael J. Johnstone.”

I nod again, to save my voice.

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday February 14, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


How to shake hands with the first ever Woman President
(who just happens to have long peach coloured fingernails and three very large rings on)

Shake her hand like she’s any other woman.
She is, in fact, an-other woman.
She too uses tampons.
She forgets to pluck a stray chin hair.
She sometimes smokes when she’s drunk.

She too wonders about frizz, and sexism, and avocado in smoothies.

Shake her hand like you mean it.
Like through your palms you’re able to transmit all of your heart’s yearnings.
Who knows?
Maybe you can.


Shake her hand and look her in the eye.
No one likes a watcher – you know the kinda person who looks at the hand their shaking.
There’s too much intimacy there,
Especially for a first meeting.

Shake her hand with power and attention to how her
particular hand wants to be shaken.
Don’t project your own desires on to her.
You’ll only learn her shake style a few shakes in.

 

“I worry for a moment that he’s coming back” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday February 13, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
The Valley
Joan Macleod


I can see Jon so clearly in my mind. His voice that boomy bass, his hands wide like the Alberta sky. I can see Jon and for a moment I wonder if he’s walking towards me. For a moment I think maybe he’s saying something.

When I wake up, I feel the weight of his body beside me. He still sleeps there, I think, one leg hanging over the side of the bed.

He didn’t want a funeral, you know. His mother insisted that we do something, even though he didn’t want it. He wanted his friends to go to the beach and have a bonfire, roast some marshmallows, drink some beers. I fought her on it, but at a certain point you just kind of go, “Okay.”

“that you already know and like.” By Julia at her dining table


Monday February 22, 2016
9:11pm
5 minutes
gnoosic.com

I am having a party
putting up balloons
decorating the whole house with streamers
and pictures
to celebrate the journey
to congratulate for not giving up
giving away loot bags at the end of the night
filled with moments of strength
examples of accepting imperfection
honesty
some vulnerability tossed in for good measure
I am inviting all my past selves
Like a reunion
But better
I will tell them
DRESS CODE IN EFFECT
And they will show up
wearing their sorrys
and their lessons
on their sleeves
carrying abundance and respect
in each jean pocket
I am saying farewell to fear
Sending her off on vacation
Killing three birds with one stone
honouring growth
A goodbye party for that which no longer serves me
And a good excuse to celebrate
Because the hill was high
but I’ve climbed it

“tossing rolled oats” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday February 21, 2016
12:19am
5 minutes
from a recipe

Karma comes calling, knocking on my door, middle of the night, full intention of awakening, startling me from my sleep. In the form of a dream, in the guise of a nightmare. I get the message: loud and clear and painful and frightening. I don’t know what I did but I’m paying for it, I can assure you. Tossing in my bed like rolled oats in a bowl of coconut shreds. I am not good at the thing where I see one thing in my head and compare a real life thing to that to express myself, describing something. I am maybe suffering the consequences in more than just sleepless nights. Feeling inept, not having the right words to say, to feel, to communicate. I am being punished by Karma in a way that doesn’t feel so obvious. I know how she rolls. In and out of view, thinking she’s gone for a little bit, then rushing right back in to remind me that I am not rid of her yet and that I am not safe in my alone. I am least protected when I leave the comfort of crowds and people with worse problems. She knows that and comes in when I’ve shaken off the possibility of seeing her at all today.

“So sorry mine is late” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday February 20, 2016
2:13pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I didn’t want to hand in a piece of shit and to be honest that was exactly what I was doing because once again I didn’t do the proper thing of giving myself enough time to complete an assignment.
I wish I was better at keeping my shit together but for some reason mine is the type that crumbles upon contact like a gluten free brownie and then it’s everywhere and there’s a huge mess so it’s better not to touch that shit in the first place because its disaster is a bit unpredictable. These days.
So as I was shaming myself for becoming a useless sack of wasted potential, hearing my mother’s voice ringing in my ear saying “you see you do very well even when you don’t try but imagine if you only applied yourself once in awhile you could be thriving honey really thriving,” I start formulating a half smile that depicts my insides as accurately to my English Lit teacher as humanly possible.
“I’d rather accept the consequences than try and prolong the inevitable again so here it is in all its tarnished glory and tied with a stupid little punctual bow.”

“to be euthanized” by Julia at Culprit Coffee


Friday February 19, 2016 at Culprit Coffee
4:37pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday February 18, 2016


Bitty and I found a little cat cat down by the lava house. Bitty’s the one who named it the lava house. I asked Rodney and he told me it was just a sewer. I like when Bitty calls things different because then we have a secret language and it feels like cookies and cream or picking out a splinter from your big toe after limping all day. Bitty picked up the cat cat first and told me she was going to take her home and I said, you mean “him” home and she said, this cat cat can be whoever she wants to be. And I said, yeah, well, I can see his thingy so maybe this one can’t. I didn’t want the cat cat until Bitty said she wanted her. Him. Ugh. But as soon as I couldn’t have him I needed him. More than I’ve ever needed anything. I needed to pretend like it could be her way, like it always is. But that was hard because it was staring to burn inside, like throwing up too much cookies and cream or getting a giant splinter lodged deep into your big toe.

“I love failure!” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 18, 2016
9:06pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I love failure. I do. I didn’t before but I love it now. Like a long lost sister, or a cousin you used to fight with. I think before there was this understanding that I could make it pretty far in this life without actually leaping, jumping, risking anything. I think I wore a lovely outer mask that said, I am confident I am going places, but on the inside a traumatized child had the fear of how much longer were we going to play make believe. I think, now, maybe for the first time, I can hear both voices at once. Things are suddenly less hard than they used to be. Because living truthfully and unafraid of being wrong? That’s the most freedom you’ve ever felt. Because it connects you with the spirit of your surroundings, the integrity of your self-love, your deepest soul. It’s such uplifting necessity. I do not understand now how I thought feeling confined in my skin, trapped in all my conjured narratives, was easier than letting anything go; than lightening my load; being kind to myself.

“this music has more religion in it than any church” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 17, 2016
9:54pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment by GB3770

I pray at the church of kindness, I can’t settle for anything less than that as my temple. I don’t believe in a God that won’t invite us all to play, that condemns for ignorance, that promotes the weak and bludgeons the strong. I don’t believe in a God that withholds, that accepts money as the only currency, that won’t forgive us for very arbitrary, yet non-negotiable acts. I bow my head at the alter of generosity. It’s the only home I ever feel safe enough to lower my shield in. It’s the only thing that moves me to a state of rejoicing. Don’t give me that hearsay scripture, that haunting, beautifully crafted by poets rule book. I worship at the church of soul music. The kind that lifts your skin off your bones just enough to make room for grace.

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday February 16, 2016
11:05pm
5 minutes
from a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

I liked him because he thought my name was Vanessa.
I liked him because he’d make excuses to talk to me.
Because he’d serenade me in the funniest ways and always show up in my doorway without a reason.
Because his smile hasn’t changed one bit since he was little.
Because he knows how to communicate me to me.
Because he can educate without agendas or judgments.
I liked him because he was charming.
Because he was funny.
Because he was the best looking thing I’d ever seen.
I liked him because he wore truth-manifesting, subliminal foreshadowing on his funny old t-shirts.
I liked that his favorite shirt used to be the one that read “WORLD’S GREATEST DAD”.
I liked him because I believed he believed he would be.

“Is the client’s wish achievable?” by Julia at the salon


Monday February 15, 2016
4:12pm
5 minutes
From a treatment plan at Black 2 Blond salon

I haven’t asked for permission since Charlie left. She used to make me feel like if I could just stop waiting for other people to validate me, I would start excelling in my own life, at work, in everything. Charlie knew how to get what she wanted, waltzing into corner stores and convincing the cashiers to give her something for free each time she went in. It was inspiring. But it also seems like it required a particular person to achieve such positive results. I didn’t think I could get away with it–just based on my demeanor, my fear of not being liked. Charlie used to say, it’s out there for the taking. Every single last bit is there for you, you just need to start acting like you deserve it. I’ve been doing that. I’ve been working hard and being free. It is almost better that she’s not here to watch the progression. I’m getting better but Charlie would be pushing me for more extreme results. She was good for motivating but she didn’t understand that everyone has their own pace. It feels good. To do what I’m doing. It’s faster than I thought I would..

“Help us fight the flu!” By Sasha on the 99


Friday February 12, 2016
12:38pm
5 minutes
From a sign in the elevator at VGH

it’s okay
i’ll just find something at the clothing swap
mama took my last twenty i was gonna use to get a dress
for the wedding
charlie’s gonna wear his dad’s old suit he says
nothing borrowed
nothing blue
he says

the swap is at allison’s place and i’ve never been there
get nervous taking the bus
get nervous when there are more than three birds on a wire
above me
get nervous when merna calls and says that beth’s come
down with the flu

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“I worry for a moment that he’s coming back” by Julia on the 4


Saturday February 13, 2016
6:10pm
5 minutes
The Valley
Joan Macleod


I have this spine tingling hair whispering feeling that I won’t be alone here for long. The way I know when my body needs to throw up: the cues, the signals, the deep understanding of when things are in order and when they are even slightly off. I read the room, literally, spiritually and I know that if I want it I have to move fast. I can do it safely if I do it now. I can avoid being caught in the act, avoid improvising a reason, response, defense, if I just focus and mind over matter everything. I scan my surroundings, two doors, one camera, three potential stations for pick up, four paths to and from said locations to confuse and distract. I choose route two and I walk with a clip to station one. I pick up necessary tools in completing future steps with most ease and comfort. I scoop my hands into the deep bag, careful to only pull out enough to fit in both of my hands when cupped.

“Action plan” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday February 11, 2016
11:13pm
5 minutes
from a sign at Commercial-Broadway station

We have an action plan, I can assure you of that. There’s a whole team working on it, in fact. That’s not why we’re here today. I called you all in because there’s a rumour going around that compromises my leadership. I wanted to bring you, you especially, in because this is a prime example of what it’s like to be a woman and be a boss. I want that for each of you, if it’s what you want. If not – great, keep working here. I’d love to have you. If I let these scared men who pretend to be powerful tell me what to do, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. That’s just a fact. This isn’t something I like, this isn’t something I tell everyone but I want to tell you.

“Help us fight the flu!” by Julia at her dining table


Friday February 12, 2016
12:51pm
5 minutes
from the elevator at VGH

I am sitting motionless but moving on this perfect log facing the perfect sun peaking out behind the perfect mountain. Everything is wonderful. Everything around me is alive and I am still alive to experience it. There’s a difference between living and not dying. I come out here to remind myself exactly that when things feel uneasy. I ask myself, am I still alive, or am I living until I die? I am hoping to find clarity around that; peace, even. Asking myself as often as I can if this life is holding space for me or if I am holding space for it. It should be the former, shouldn’t it? Should. Huh. I know, I’m working on that too. Working on coming to perfect stillness and looking at perfect views and thinking so many imperfect thoughts. I am alone but not lonely. I feel supported from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I decide to keep them closed for the night. And I am not dying. Not yet. Not today. Although if the timing were right, this wouldn’t be such a bad last spot to be in; not a bad last feeling to have–one where I am myself inside myself inside a moment of deep desire to understand.

“Action plan” by Julia on the 99 bus


Thursday February 11, 2016
11:08pm
5 minutes
from a sign at Commercial-Broadway station

Okay let’s stay on this path let’s pick all the berries and watch the sunset from here cause it’s safe here under the canopy of jungle under the protection of soft light let’s pack our tiny bags full of notebooks and truth juice to sustain us but not delay us to suspend us but not limit us we can sip sparingly and save some of that for tomorrow and when we get to tomorrow let’s write a new song about the afternoon or turn dusk into the chorus we can sing it out cause we know the words and bang on the drum of our chest cavities to keep the rhythm going to keep the music alive let’s stay on this path and pray to the star gods to keep us happy and in love in case tomorrow’s tomorrow surprises us.

“imagining our future.” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 10, 2016
10:19pm
5 minutes
CBC.ca/books

When I think of our children, we only have 2, you win, I see one with little curls, one with glasses, and both with big innocent loving smiles. How bad would it be if I pictured our kids frowning? They’re not, though. They’re so happy. They have your heart. They have your never ending optimism and your family first attitude. They have my temper, both hilarious and terrifying. I like that they snarl at things as much as they laugh. They don’t give up when enough is enough. They don’t understand “enough.” Maybe I shouldn’t be proud that they’re miniature versions of a trait I’m trying to eradicate. But I am. Anger is an emotion that creates change, carries it, lifts it up, and shoots it to the moon. I think Alanis said that. The part about anger being the vessel for moving forward.

“imagining our future.” By Sasha at the UBC Learning Exchange


Wednesday February 10, 2016
7:08pm
5 minutes
CBC.ca/books

I imagine our future as orchids
as shooting stars
as bits of sand when
under a microscope
the whole universe

I imagine our future
can’t help myself
I’m a dream junkie
arm bruised with pockmarks of
maybe and when

I imagine our future ceilings
catching wishes in open laughter mouths
I imagine our future claw foot tub
warm water swirling down the memory drain
I imagine our future babies
All cheeks and nerve

“beyond borders” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday February 9, 2016
10:57pm
5 minutes
From a Curl Ambassadors business card

Mae got lipstick in this goodie bag and now all she wants to do is wear it. I feel like a dick for taking it away from her, you know, but, like, nothing wigs me out more than little girls all made up. I told her, “Save that for when you’re older,” but she doesn’t even get that concept, right? I hid it from her and she friggin’ found it! She friggin’ knows all my hiding spots… She’s six! What’s it gonna be like when she’s sixteen?

“the window is open” by Sasha on her couch


Monday February 8, 2016
10:14pm
5 minutes
from the song playing on the radio

Dear Jazz,

Here’s a picture for you. Shitty chow mein is on it’s way from this little hole in the wall place on 14th. I am not wearing pants. The window is open and I’m smoking inside because I am a badass and I HAVE MY OWN APARTMENT! I can’t believe it’s actually happening – this moment that I’ve dreamed about for the last century. I don’t miss the smell of my Mom’s stupid perfume and I don’t miss my brother’s asshole face in the morning and I DO NOT MISS sharing a house with idiots! It is pure peace and serenity and independence having one’s own space – a whole bachelor! A whole five hundred square foot refuge! PLEASE tell me that you’re coming for Thanksgiving?

“slow motion fireball” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 7, 2016
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card

you came in like a slow motion fireball
wheeling and turning like a tumbleweed
bumping into a crow and a willow
diverting directions until here
you are
blowing kisses into my breast pocket
putting jokes inside cookies and taking them
out of the oven when they are still gooey
still soft
you cam in like a slow motion fireball
my life
i thought it was whole as it was
turns out it was missing the deliberate steps
the smoke
the sparks like aurora borealis across the sky of this place

“beyond borders” by Julia in the car


Tuesday February 9, 2016
6:57pm
5 minutes
from a Curl Ambassadors business card

I have pushed past the point of pain and now I spend most of my time lingering on regrets. What if, what if maybe, maybe if. They all sound the same. I know I have exhausted the semantics on this. It’s better, honestly, than trying to live in the hurt. Now I live in the past and keep myself afloat with dreams of what could have been. I am a master of this disguise. I am fooling everyone around me. I know how to dress to keep attention away from the truth. But I don’t know how long I can keep this up. It sounds great on paper but on paper you miss the whole, heart thumping out of tune thing, the deafening silence, the whimpering over hot tea turned cold every morning.

“the window is open” by Julia at her dining table


Monday February 8, 2016
9:44Pm
5 minutes
from the song playing on the radio

I can hear them singing my sweet song, Alina! Those little chickadees outside my window are humming me a get well song. Can you hear them? Hear them sing my name? Loiiiiiisssss. Ha ha! They’re singing me back to good health. Oh now, listen close, you hear that thumping? The knock knock knocking? Woodpeckers! Rattling out their best wishes for me too! I feel so loved, Alina! When your brother calls tell him the forest is taking good care of me and not to rush over here.

I don’t think he’s coming, ma.

Of course he is! He hasn’t been to see me yet because of all his work, you told me that, but he’s still going to come!

Ma, he’s not. He’s not coming. I’m sorry.

Well did you speak to him? Did you?

No.

Well then I’m sorry but how on earth could you know what he is or isn’t doing?

“slow motion fireball” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 7, 2016
12:02am
5 minutes
from a thank you card

Kirby started playing basketball in the 6th grade. Mrs. Trenton told her she had something only the greats have and she mentored her all throughout junior high. Kirby won a lot of awards, most sportsmanlike, most valuable. She was a shoe in for her high school team, someone well rounded, talented, driven. When tryouts for the junior team rolled around Kirby felt like she’d have no problem, picturing herself making all kinds of new basketball friends and becoming a part of a real team that grew together on and off the court. She could see herself belonging in a place that held such fear and unpredictability. The night before the tryouts Kirby’s mom told her that Mrs. Trenton was in the hospital and suggested she go see her. Kirby agreed, not knowing what was wrong. She assumed it was something small like a broken ankle or a fractured toe.

“used to cook turnips” by Julia on the 4 bus


Saturday February 6, 2016
6:13pm
5 minutes
A quote by Rumi

Pine doesn’t like to eat anything with a fork. Like some weirdo with a weirdo name, she’s my mother in law incarnate. I swear when Krista wanted to name her Starcup I had to intervene cause she was hellbent on turning our kid into a a damn lightening rod–someone sticking out like no tomorrow. Krista wouldn’t settle on anything more normal than Pine. And Pine only eats with her hands cause Krista likes to tell her “challenge the system” or something.

“When ur cat is more” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 5, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
A meme on Facebook

I’ve been dreamin’ about Jeanie again. She’s comin’ back to haunt my sleep! Purrin’ like a pretty cat does. I think she’s tryin’ to tell me somethin’ important cause I keep on missin’ her and she keeps on comin’ back. Tonight I’m goin’ to try to ask her some very dreamy yet respectable questions. Jeanie never talks but maybe that’s cause she’s waitin’ on me to lead the way. That’s how she was when she was alive anyway. Always movin’ so slow just to let me go ahead of her. She was very chivalrous! Always waitin’ for me, lettin’ me go first. That’s real love cause cats don’t usually want to go anythin’ but fast, sept when they’re creapin’ up on prey! Oh Jeanie! Tonight in my dreams I am gonna ask you for the first time if you’re happy. You always asked me. You always made sure my answer was yes!

“used to cook turnips” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 6, 2016
10:20am
5 minutes
A quote by Rumi

When Isabel invites me to her house for “tea and hangz” (her words, not mine), I feel like I’m floating in the sky for the full seventy two hours leading up to the event. We’d known each other since junior high and up until a few weeks ago (January 21), I’d watched her from afar. My sometimes fuck buddy Tom is friends with her twin brother Isaac, so we’d sometimes see her at various social things. (Tom refuses to be my boyfriend but loves to make me cinnamon rolls, bring me flowers, and eat me out). Isabel and I smoke a joint together at Isaac’s place, sitting on the roof. She looks at me sideways and says, “You’re actually so cool,” like it’s a surprise or something. We’d eaten plates of brisket and turnips and I was massaging my belly to help my digestion.

“When ur cat is more” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 5, 2016
10:50pm
5 minutes
A meme on Facebook

“What are you doing?” Vee asks, holding her nose.

“Eating my snack,” I say, feeling like maybe I have something to be defensive about.
“Is that… a cabbage?”

“Yes.”

“I’ve never seen someone eat a cabbage like that…”

“First time for everything!” I’m overly excited. There’s no reason.

I’m eating the cabbage like I always have, peeling off the layers, rolling them into a cylindrical shape then eating them, like one might a small carrot.

“You’re weird, Liz,” Vee walks away, her bum swinging back and forth all the way down the hall until she rounds the corner and is out of sight.

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 4, 2016
10:16pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


Michael smells like mustard. Maxin smells like broccoli soup (and not the cheesy kind, the vegan kind, with cashews instead of dairy). Moses smells like burnt hair. Mel smells like dirt, but healthy damp dirt, but dry dirt. That’s just the “M’s”… I could go on but I won’t. I save you that particular pleasure.

“I like the part with the guitar solo and that’s pretty much it,” Zach says and he means it. He hates the rest of the song. I only played it for him once, so maybe it will grow on him. Maybe on Wednesday he’ll love it, and want to put it on repeat on his iPod shuffle (if that’s even possible). I’m guessing that’s probably what’s going to happen.

“Are you sure about that?” by Sasha on the 16


Wednesday February 3, 2016
5:15pm
5 minutes
Right Hand Man
Stacey Kaser


I sleep with a book under my pillow. It started when I was five and my parents were fighting and the dissonance of that lullaby needed to be somehow interrupted.

When lovers find the book (Anita Rau Badami or Miriam Toews or Saleema Nawaz or Madeleine Thien or Ann-Marie MacDonald Esi Edugyan or Michael Ondaatje or Joy Kogawa), dripping in sleep, they curl eyebrows into question marks. Some understand, a small smile spreading. Most don’t.

If I wake up and my mind starts talking too loud, too fast, the usual, I take the book, such easy access and I fall in.

“awaken in the morning’s hush” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Tuesday February 2, 2016
4:18pm
5 minutes
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye


I awaken in the hush of morning
Sleep stretched like a thin veil across the sky
Tiptoe out of the bedroom
so as not to wake you
so as not to break the spell of sensuous silence
The wood is cold under my feet
Nipples harden
Are the blinds down?
Will a neighbour catch a glimpse?
Fill the kettle with water
Fill the glass with water
Slice into the acidic flesh of the lemon
Watch as the juice mixes
Watch as the water boils
Watch as dawn becomes day

“No, I’ll never come back down,” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday February 1, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
Salt
Portugal.The Man


Guilty pleasures? Oh god. I don’t have those! HA. I do. I really do. My life is a guilty pleasure. No. It’s not. But I wish it were! HA.

Fried chicken? Cigarettes when I’m drunk? Molly? Salt water taffy?

No. Actually. If I had to choose just one it would be snooping into other people’s stuff. Fridges are my favourite. No! Pantries. Have you ever just like gone to town looking through someone’s pantry?! It’s a riot! And, if you ever do, help yourself to a thing or two! They’ll never know because who in their right mind does that? A kitchen is sacred. It’s personal. It’s intimate. I once ate a handful of mini peanut butter cups from someone’s (who shall remain nameless) secret stash and saw them lose it but they’d never guess it was me! Blamed it on the roommate. Poor soul. HA!

“what I could imagine” by Sasha on the 99


Sunday, January 31, 2016
5:01pm
5 minutes
The New Song
W.S. Merwin


riding down the 405 and you’re breathless
we’re weightless
we’re gone and we’re here and
we’re nothingness
easy to imagine the freedom of escape
the clock ticking time running outing
sand through the hourglass
between our toes
the sun eclipsing the forward thinking
so glad you’ve got things figured out now
better than i ever imagined better than peanut butter
better than a moment of complete silence

“provides clear directions” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday, January 30, 2016
1:44pm
5 minutes
theatlantic.com

Before I die I want to provide clear directions from Toronto to Knowlton Lake by memory, regardless of whether or not I have a driver’s license yet.
Before I die I want to kiss my grandchild’s forehead.
Before I die I want to learn how to make paratha from Nani.
Before I die I want to make art in at least a dozen cities.
Before I die I want to go to Bali.
Before I die I want to have my own garden that gets better every growing season.
Before I die I want to record an album.
Before I die I want to write a book.
Before I die I want to tour a solo show.
Before I die I want to curate an arts festival.
Before I die I want to forgive.
Before I die I want to have all of my families around the same table for dinner and I want to make it.

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“Are you sure about that?” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 3, 2016
7:15pm
5 minutes
Right Hand Man
Stacey Kaser


Kenny carries his wife’s handbag around the house when no one is home. He loves the way it looks. It elevates so many of his outfits. He doesn’t feel ashamed but he doesn’t want to tell anyone. No. Scratch that: he does feel ashamed and is dying to tell someone. Melanie might wonder if he had other things he was hiding from her, but Kenny could promise her without lying that he just thinks he should be able to wear it without any labels attached. Kenny has had this conversation with Melanie inside his head before. It can only go one of two ways. The first being “I wonder what you’d think if I chose to do this.” “I’m totally cool with it because it doesn’t mean you are any less you.” OR…”I have this thing I like to do.” “I cannot be with someone who does what they do without putting all their things into neatly organized boxes.” Kenny believes it’d be the former, but he doesn’t know for sure.

“awaken in the morning’s hush” by Julia at a Sichuan restaurant on West Broadway


Tuesday February 2, 2016
3:18pm
5 minutes
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye


Over the years that I’ve known her, Shawna has never arrived anywhere on time. I don’t think she’s particularly proud of this habit, but I’ve also never seen her try to fix it. She apologizes, sure, don’t get me wrong, but she is always, always late. I wonder what she does every morning before she meets me or gets to her appointments. We meet at 11:30 because she can’t get there any earlier. I seriously wonder what her schedule looks like, what she prioritizes, what she lets slip away. I’ve also never once been to Shawna’s house. It’s so mysterious but perhaps I am more curious because I want to see if any of my speculations are true: does she make the bed twice because she can’t help but jump on it after she makes it the first time? Does she stay up all night, victim of insomnia, and finally catch her sleep when the rest of the world is waking up? Is she hiding a small family of raccoons in her basement that she doesn’t want anyone to see?

“No, I’ll never come back down,” by Julia at her dining table


Monday February 1, 2016
10:20pm
5 minutes
Salt
Portugal.The Man


I’ve been in a heightened state of something other worldly since I got severe frostbite on 7 of my 10 fingers this evening, or since I had a coffee on an empty stomach this afternoon, or since I walked in the house starved to death to find the chicken still frozen, or since he asked me if I was going to die by talking so fast, or since I let myself cry out all the emotions I’ve ever had or felt or experienced in the last 3 days when doing something that mattered so very much to me. I don’t know what started it. I do know that I invited it in like a little lost puppy with a broken limb. I wanted to take care of it, nurture it, finally love something that wouldn’t push my love away, and not just because it couldn’t, but because it needed it. I’ve had to get cozy with all my sorrys and all my old to-do lists. I’ve had to mourn the loss of something…and I think that something was the thing I needed to let go of to let everything else in. It’s not sad but it feels like it. The emotions are similar in their face, their hands, their eyes, their quake.

“what I could imagine” by Julia on her floor


Sunday, January 31, 2016
8:39am
5 minutes
The New Song
W.S. Merwin


As I lay here, invalid, senior citizen before my time, I imagine the ceiling above me holding all my secrets and hanging each one within the perfect distance of one another. It’s like they all float up there when there’s no where else for them to go. They loom, they threaten to fall, or dangle, tease, disrupt. They’re not all bad, not all good. some of them are not so secret: I am a young person stuck in an old person’s body. I injure myself a lot. I am breakable. I am Samuel L. Jackson. I am worried by this. It still gets pinned on the ceiling even though I just divulged it. I think the real issue is that I keep it a secret from myself-not wanting to admit that I need help with my body and I will need more help as I age. You’d wonder, if you could lay where I am, seeing what I see, if I have any secrets left at all inside me. Are they not all on the ceiling? Hanging at different heights, holding space between them all? Do some of them ever co-mingle? They probably do, but maybe they do it in secret too. Like the one where I am on the floor, feeling old and broken, and I actually like it…

“provides clear directions” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, January 30, 2016
1:24pm
5 minutes
theatlantic.com

When I tell you where my heart lives, I draw a map of its outline in the sand with an arrow pointing straight through it toward the ocean. I say, find me here when I am lost, find me here when you are.
You can rest easy knowing that I will never need you to buy me expensive things. Give me seashells and messages in a bottle. Give me soft splash and softer footprints. Give me calm winds and driftwood walking sticks. I will lay myself bare so you don’t have to go hunting for me. I will be as naked as the full moon making love to the night, and on my skin, a thousand Xs marked to remind you that you’ve found me.