“not just the punch line.” by Julia at Bec’s table


Friday December 30, 2016
10:40pm
5 minutes
Humans of New York

Lots of lessons lately
Lots of waiting for space to crack a joke that wouldn’t get any laughs
Lots of holding back opinions that wouldn’t be popular
Especially if spoken
There has been fresh snow
And melted streets
Icy walks
And freezing fingers
Lots of lessons lately
Lots of lessons
Instincts are starting to get creative
Because nobody is paying them any attention
They’re starting to hum or buzz
Starting to soften grip
On everyday existing
Lots of lessons
Lots of lessons lately
And reading about hearts
And educating each other’s
Because we cannot do that on our own
That’s the joy of solitude
After days of being tirelessly ready for it

“without a lot of fragmentation” by Julia on Bec’s chair


Thursday December 29, 2016
12:39am
5 minutes
Misery
Stephen King


I haven’t slept in a week. I asked my wrists if they wouldn’t mind staying quiet tonight for a change so I could heal. They remained restless. They don’t know how else to be and I don’t blame them for that. The pillows have ranged from perfect to perfectly fine so that’s not it. Alone or not, still can’t do it. Might want to stop eating so late at night. Might want to stop snacking enough to curb hunger and trick my body into perfect or perfectly fine. Might want to forgive myself for not forgiving you. Might want to keep screens to a minimum and stick to real pages for once. Might want to call you and tell you that you were right and I was wrong but now that I’m over the dramatics of this week I can admit my shit better.

“without a lot of fragmentation” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday December 29, 2016
9:47pm
5 minutes
Misery
Stephen King


How much can I get
for cheap
without a lot of filler
without a lot of
get my fuller
How much can I get
no longer
How much do I need
How much can I get
two for the price of
five fingers and toes
the grace of birth
and the dance of death
How much can I get
for a blow job and
a stick of gum
How much do I need
Just this
The warmth of a blanket
around my feet
Broth spitting on the stove
Just this
A blue sweatshirt with
a white elephant
My spirit animal
two dimensional across
my chest

“That was a jolly good time!” By Sasha in her bed


Wednesday December 28, 2016
8:15pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the farm

You’re changing faster than the sea levels rise
and I’m wondering about stability and whether that’s just
another lie that we’ve been told to make us click
and subscribe.

Bought the wrong laundry detergent this one kills
bears and deer and might give us chicken pox.

Blankets over heads as girls we told ghost stories
prophesies that we didn’t know were coming true.

Rain comes and goes but the sound of your voice
on my answering machine reminds me truly of winter.

“I can’t really imagine” by Sasha in bed at Bowmore


Tuesday December 27, 2016
11:11pm
5 minutes
From an old journal

I can’t really imagine what he might possibly look like. I’m waiting on the third bench at the station he wrote about at the exact time, in fact, I’m early. He was the one who taught me that hunger is often thirst. He was the one who told me to never eat a peach or asparagus out of season. He was the one who told me that it can’t be a bad day if you’ve made your bed and flossed your teeth. I’m waiting. Train after train goes by and it’s getting cold in the station. I see many men that look like him. We all look more and more alike, wouldn’t you say? I stand up, when I see him, and I smile in the way that I know he thinks I look like my mother. It isn’t him. It’s a man with a beard that looks like his beard, but he’s taller, with broader shoulders.

“Semi-bush vines, very sweet,” by Sasha in her old room at Bowmore


Monday December 26, 2016
2:12am
5 minutes
From an old tag

Semi-bush vines, very sweet,
very, very sweet with red berries and purple blooms.
We trace the veins on the leaves, and imagine
our waterways are mirrors to theirs,
greens stretching towards reds.
Semi-bush vines, tart ovals,
very, very sweet with open hearts and gracious faces.
I kiss the point of each leaf and thank the weepy
heavens for this year.

“Can you please bring me my water?” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Sunday December 25, 2016
6:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.

Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.

“Hurry down the chimney tonight” by Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Saturday December 24, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the radio

I bake bread because I believe bread
and I believe in sourdough starter that sits in
a jar in the back of the fridge until I remember
to feed it asking so little
I believe in natural yeast
and the power of time passing
I bake bread because it takes so long
and going to the store is so easy
I bake bread because it’s expensive and messy
and flour always ends up in my hair
I make bread because
I believe in the ancient
traditions of kneading and rising and baking
I believe in the slow task of refining the recipe
of making it my own
of weighing rye and red fife
and measuring salt

“Can you bring your shredder?” By Sasha on the couch in Mississauga


Friday December 23, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
From a text

Viv: George! Bring me the shredder!

George: You’re supposed to be resting?

Viv: Screw resting. I have shit to do!

George: Okay, okay. Hold on… I’ll have to unplug it and –

Viv: It’s an emergency!

George enters the bedroom, where Viv is propped up. He kisses her on the forehead.

George: The doctor said that for the first two weeks you are supposed to rest, my love.

Viv: I know. I am resting. I’m rested. And now I’m going to shred that whole filing cabinet!

George: But all the stuff from your taxes?

Viv: Who needs it!

George: What if you get audited?

Viv: What asshole is going to audit someone on their deathbed?

George: Touche.

Viv: And when you bring the shredder, my dear, could you please bring me a glass of sherry?

“people who called themselves atheists.” By Sasha on Nadeem’s bed in Mississauga


Thursday December 22, 2016
11:35pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino


We’ll go to Church on Christmas Eve, with the whole family. Mass at four, with the children’s choir singing carols. The priest will say what he always says. He’ll talk about Bethlehem and the black sheep of the family and we’ll say, “Peace be with you”, and shake hands with strangers and kiss cheeks and pat backs. I’ll sing harmonies on hymns, a small subversiveness. I’ll pray for all we’ve lost and all we’ve gained.

“their grass-stained skin” by Sasha in the Kiva


Wednesday December 21, 2016
11:36pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher


We thought we were sisters until we were
too old to take baths together and we started
hissing and picking the knobs off
backs instead Sometimes you’d paint my nails
a colour that I would never choose
Lavender or indigo or charcoal
I’d refuse to wash dishes those weeks
or bathe because I didn’t want the you
on me to chip I didn’t want the choices
you’d made to fall away from my fleshy form

We rubbed grass-stained skin together and
started a fire that our fathers and their
fathers fathers couldn’t put out

“Did I miss the theatre?” by Sasha in the Kiva


Tuesday December 20, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Simon’s been wishing for a mentor, someone who could teach him how to tie a bowtie and cook an omelette and cross country ski. Someone who would take him to the theatre. He knows that his father wishes he were that, but he isn’t. Simon doesn’t begrudge Paul, he tries his best. “You two are cut from different cloths,” his mother, Oleanna, says. Simon used to wonder if maybe Paul wasn’t actually his father. Oleanna might’ve had some tryst with a neighbour, or a bartender, or a colleague at the hotel. Once, he asked his mother, and she laughed in his face. “Honey, your father was my first and he’ll be my last,” she’d said. Simon thought that was the saddest thing he’d ever heard.

“That was a jolly good time!” by Julia at Joe’s farm


Wednesday December 28, 2016
11:15pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the farm

You haven’t called in 3 Days and I thought you had the time of your life and you obviously hadn’t. It might as well be 10. I wonder if you’ve gotten into trouble. I hope you have. Because then then it doesn’t mean that you forgot to love me. Or you. Or that you were trying, Or that I meant enough to you that you wouldn’t let anything keep you from me. I had a good time too. I really believed we would be something. I really believed we already were. So I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt because this is something I hope I’m wrong about. I want to trust you. I want to believe I’m seeing the real you.

“I can’t really imagine” from an old journal” by Julia on Amanda’s bed


Tuesday December 27, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from an old journal

That time you told me about the cops and highway 7-you know when you told me about when you got arrested or written up or ticketed or yelled at or blah blah blah? I listened to maybe half of it. Maybe 3/4ths because sometimes randomly they’d be different enough but for the most part you didn’t really care that you had told all your stories but didn’t hear any of mine. That’s okay. I’m not mad. I’m just thinking you owe me one. Cause I can’t imagine a time where you invite me over to your house and I end up just talking the whole time about me and all the times someone’s given me a dirty look or told someone they didn’t like me or something completely random like that time my friend Natalie pieced my ears in the 11th grade and the right one never really healed properly or blah blah blah. I don’t think you would have enjoyed yourself. I think you would have liked the chance to even interject maybe with an anecdote or a moment offering me something to drink to distract me.

“Semi-bush vines, very sweet,” by Julia on her parents’couch


Monday December 26, 2016
2:02am
5 minutes
from an old tag

I was waiting for the perfect lull of eventual inhale that my mother would have to take before continuing on in her way about the planters and the balcony hangers. She always got so excited about the possibility of me becoming more self-sufficient in a way that no one would have thought twice about when she was my age. I didn’t exactly have the heart to tell her hat I didn’t have a green thumb or possibly any thumb and this would all be a moot point. She was too busy telling me I could do basil and parsley or tomatoes even, because then I could “at least make a proper sugo.” What I really wanted was for her to stop talking long enough for me to tell her about the poem that had just gotten accepted into a Canadian anthology. Maybe she would be excited that I managed to make some kind of art..or maybe she would think it didn’t matter if it couldn’t be added to an eggplant parmigiana.

“Can you please bring me my water?” by Julia in her childhood bedroom


Sunday December 25, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

Young one is half laying beside me, nodding off and meeting sleep somewhere in the middle so it doesn’t have to come all that way.
Older one is propped up against the fire place, figuring it out pen in hand or holding space for the opportunity in case it comes knocking.
Fire starter keeps banging on the wood, offering silly comments, and roasting chestnuts even though they’d taste better if we were still hungry.
Happy heart is stuffed into the love seat, smiling at me every time something deserves an eye roll or a gut laugh.
You are on the other side of me, keeping my leg and my spirits up, holding my water and my elbow, lifting more up than you ever could hold in your two hands.

“Hurry down the chimney tonight” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport


Saturday December 24, 2016
4:05pm
5 minutes
overheard on the radio

When we met you told me I had a sparkle in my eye that made you think we would get into some kind of trouble together. You liked that. You wanted to be bad. You said that I was vicious but you meant it in the way that suggested you couldn’t avoid it; that you saw yourself enjoying my corruptness even if you knew maybe you were too old for those kind of things. Those kind of things being powders and showers and going down on you in a public washroom. Told me you liked my sense of adventure and that it made you more adventurous. You suggested we get tattoos. You wanted something to remember me by. Something more than just an old tattered copy of Leaves Of Grass with some hearts drawn around the lines I liked. You wanted to keep me forever even after I told you I couldn’t stay. Maybe you saw that sparkle in my eye when I told you I was going-that our story ends here, and thought, maybe, just maybe, it meant that I didn’t mean it. Surely I had something else in mind other than a kiss and a long hug goodbye.

“Can you bring your shredder?” by Julia on the 99


Friday December 23, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
From a text

I was checking my closet for items that would work…she did say “shredder” right? I threw every sparkly thing I owned onto the bed and went to town on my drawers that were full of crap from God knows where. Pulled out some satin gloves, a tasseled thong, a couple of giant buckles for whatever the fuck I was planning to do with those. “Shredder?” I repeated it to myself over and over. I looked it up online, I couldn’t find anything that matched the description. No one was talking about “shredders” and if they were, it was very deep in the dark web and I didn’t exactly have time to venture there. “Can you bring your shredder?” I asked myself one more time. My what, though?

“people who called themselves atheists.” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 22, 2016
8:25pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino


I never thought I’d put myself in the very box that I couldn’t for the life of me understand when I was younger. It made sense to my 9 year old brain to put my 9 year old trust in God and scripture and behaving with good intentions. It made sense for me to wake up each day and know my place, this road I was traveling, the one I had chosen wisely. And then maybe it was the lava lamp that put me over the edge. The one Pastor So And So offered up as a prize to the youth who could rally up the most sinners and bring them to Friday night service. I didn’t sign up for a church built out of bribery and attended primarily by a bunch of self-righteous teens. I wanted to find friends who wanted to know the Lord, not who wanted to make religion into an elitist club that only the truly good could be a part of. How is that the point of religion? Aren’t we all good and therefore all bad? I didn’t like giving so much of my youth to an ideology that didn’t want everyone just as we were.

“their grass-stained skin” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday December 21, 2016
8:34pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher “


I would have given my right arm to spend my afternoons with Alison the way Casey got to; the way everyone seemed to get closer than I was ever able. She was the most beautiful funny person I had ever met and I was in love with her. Everything she said made everyone laugh. Everything she wore set the trend for the rest of us. Every song she liked was automatically my new repeat ballad that I would dedicate myself to on nights I stayed in laying on my bedroom floor by candle light. I watched them play at recess and make up fun dances or do cartwheels down the hill. I wanted to know where she got the rule book-where she found the secrets to the universe all while still being a kid like the rest of us.

“Did I miss the theatre?” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday December 20, 2016
7:22pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Frankie and Mel were sitting on the bus in their vintage coats, fur framing their curls and red lips pursed from the cold. Frankie told Mel that she was going to break all the hearts, maybe more than she usually did with her hair like that. Mel told Frankie that it didn’t matter who else was there as long as Donald saw her. Frankie warned Mel not to get her hopes up that Donald would be there. He hadn’t been in town much on account of work and his brother Laird was busy taking over the shop, which he conveyed to Frankie the other day when she went in to buy better soil. Mel told Frankie that she knew he wouldn’t but couldn’t she just let her have that moment suspended in time?

“hello sacred fire” by Julia on the 99


Monday December 19, 2016
10:59pm
5 minutes
from Hello Sacred Life by Kim Krans

I go over to Didi’s house and she makes me watch the fireplace channel. Says it gets cold in there if she turns it off. Says that she needs it on to keep her sane.
I go over to Didi’s house and she makes hot tea that’s so hot it’s too hot to drink even after waiting for hours. Says her tongue doesn’t mind it anymore. Says her bones sing for it now that she’s lost part of her Ship. Says her Ship stays afloat with hot tea steeped just right.
I go over to Didi’s house and she makes me listen to her new poem that she wrote about the sirens.
Says she can hear them in her sleep now. Says she dreams about them as if she was a siren herself and doesn’t know if the wails are coming from inside or outside her heart.

“hello sacred fire” by Sasha in the Kiva at Macdonell


Monday December 19, 2016
5:04pm
5 minutes
Hello Sacred Life
Kim Krans


The clock’s talking. Keeps telling Amy that time is running out. Tells her to “go faster” and “slow down”, too, but less often. She takes the one on the wall by the piano and puts it in the recycling. Two hours later, sat at her desk doing the inventory that should’ve been done yesterday, she wonders if you can recycle a clock. She puts it in the garbage. The one on the stove is a real fucking issue. She went at it with the hammer around lunchtime. Just the clock part. It bugs her when she’s cooking, especially starches like potatoes or rice. Pasta is the worst. “I’m running out…” it whispers, and she’s not sure if it’s inside her head or out, but then the mouth on the 1:14 starts frowning and it’s all over. Pete asks if she’s been taking her meds and she says she’s not really sure, but since starting to work from home things have been getting better. A whole lot better. Pete nods and eats his meatloaf.

“Ridiculously simple directions” by Sasha in the Kiva at Macdonell


Sunday December 18, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
From Grand Slam Mad Libs

“Go left at the fork in the road,” you’d said. I’d made a note in the margins of the dictionary that I take everywhere I go. It’s full of scribbled recipes (mostly soup and muffins), directions (mostly how to find you), quotes (mostly my mother, John O’Donohue, you, and Rilke), predictions (tea leaves, tarot, strip mall palm readers), weather reports (“Don’t forget long johns and mittens”). I go left, like you’d said and I wonder where you’ve ended up this time, through a fir forest, through knee high snow. I make an angel for old time’s sake.

“Ridiculously simple directions” by Julia on her couch


Sunday December 18, 2016
5:19pm
5 minutes
from Grand Slam Mad Libs

He asked me to keep his plants alive over the Christmas vacation and I smiled like a lunatic and told him I would have no problem! I only said I would do it so I could have an excuse to sleep in his bed and be in his house without him. I had a million things I was going to snoop through: his desktop, his Netflix, his bedside drawers,his old notebooks,his fridge. It was going to be great. I figured it would be easy enough to Google “how to keep a ficus alive while my new boyfriend is away with his family in Amsterdam thinking I am more capable than I am”. Apparently it was the hardest thing in the world according to all of the online forums I found myself getting lost in-Don’t let this temperature this, don’t let the ficus that.

“gracefully tragic” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 17, 2016
4:44pm
5 minutes
from the BOOKS section of NOW magazine

I hadn’t thought about them since New Years…as if I had released them with the magic of a fresh start. I don’t remember whose idea it was to each write a list of all our personal tragedies this year and then accept them somehow before lighting them up and letting them burn. To be fair (and maybe a little post-reflective) we were using the term loosely. Nothing was too small but everything seemed so big to not include it. I remember losing myself this year being on the list. It was traumatic because it kept happening. It kept happening in smaller places than a Walmart super store or a Costco. But when I found the list again and reread what I was calling my tragedies, I realized I had luckily lumped some truly graceful ones in there as well.

“gracefully tragic” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore


Saturday December 17, 2016
3:14pm
5 minutes
The Books section of NOW Magazine

She thinks of her life,
when she’s reflecting
on it, over the long
twelve days before
she goes, she thinks
of her life as graceful-
ly tragic.

She wishes that she’d
called her daughter more
especially in the years
when they were estranged.

She wishes that she hadn’t
dyed her hair, that she had
let it go grey, like wise women
everywhere.

She’s glad that she ate a lot
of pizza, and had sex outside
three different times with three
different lovers.

The tragedy comes out of the
fear, all the fear, circling her
throat like a snake.

“test audience” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 16, 2016
9:41pm
5 minutes
from a recruiting email

My favourite herb is cilantro and I HATE when people call it coriander. I asked Jedene if she wanted me to stay and take notes but she didn’t think it was necessary-the first graders either liked the thing or not. They either thought it tasted good or like dish soap. I told her I would be happy to stay and record the data for her pro bono. Really I just couldn’t risk someone fucking it all up by writing “coriander” in any of the boxes, or heaven forbid two people shared the task and wrote the different words interchangeably. Jedene was hoping to get out of there by noon but I secretly projected 1:35pm as first graders are not highly cooperative and especially when in groups of other first graders. I know this because I was once, unlike Jedene, a first grader. Jedene skipped the first grade. She has no idea how stupid it was to do that.

“test audience” by Sasha at the little desk at Bowmore


Thursday December 15, 2016
6:25pm
5 minutes
From a recruitment email

The clock in the entrance way is off by seven minutes and it aggravates you. When it chimes you wonder where on the list it says that one of your duties is to wind it. You wore sensible black shoes today, after Mrs. Smithers commented on your red boots yesterday.

“Well, well, well…” She’d said, looking you up and down. Her roots were showing, clawing their way back in. The kettle had boiled and she’d made herself a Jasmine tea.

“Are those appropriate for the office?” She’d asked, dropping a sugar cube into her “WORLD’S BEST MOM” mug.

“I thought so,” you’d said, peeling a clementine.

“Can you take that out of the oven?” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore


Thursday December 15, 2016
6:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard in my mother’s kitchen

“Can you take that out of the oven?”

Betty calls from upstairs. June is sitting at the kitchen table, the new one from Sears. She wonders how Betty and Earl afford new things every year, what with Earl getting laid off last summer.

“Of course!” June puts on oven mitts and takes the cake out. It’s Earl’s fortieth birthday and Betty is throwing him a surprise party tonight. June offered to help. It’s what neighbours do. She curses herself for not having arranged to have a conflict.

Betty comes downstairs and she’s wearing a lavender dress.

“No no you go ahead.” By Sasha on the plane


Wednesday December 14, 2016
9:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the line at airport security

Craving the punch of vodka like a mutherfucker. Craving the punch of a fist in my chest. My father’s speciality. It’s funny, what you crave, when you’re lying on the floor of the kitchen and the kids are screaming like the assholes that they are.

Craving a long bath in the tub that someone used to sing in.

“Can you take that out of the oven?” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 15, 2016
9:20pm
5 minutes
Overheard in my mother’s kitchen

-If Rachel is going to be in one of her moods–I’m gonna be honest–I don’t think I’ll be able to be around her.

-Quin. Come on. It’s not going to be like that.

-I’m not kidding, babe,like I’m not going to do well in a setting like that.

-So what are you saying then.

-I’m just saying.

-Okay. But that she’s what?

-I’m just saying that I know she will 100% be in one of her moods and it will 100% destroy my time there and maybe everyone’s. So I don’t want to go if Rachel is there. Not this year.

-I can’t believe you would ditch me and my entire family’s Christmas because my sister is going through her things.

-I need this year to be good. This new year of good decisions and good behaviour and good food and good drugs. I can’t truly embrace my year if I’m anywhere near the things your sister is going through.

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:59pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Could you pick up some ground beef at the Superstore on your way, George? I’m making that thing that Steve likes? With the Hamburger Helper? And a salad, for Ami, I mean it’s not like she’s going to eat the other – … George? Are you there? You didn’t say anything! How was I supposed to know! Drive safely, okay? It’s going to snow a whole bunch and we don’t need anymore unfortunate events this year… Let’s let 2016 peter out with some simplicity? George? Are you there?!

“can you turn the brightness of your screen down?” By Sasha in her bed


Monday December 12, 2016
1:02am
5 minutes
Said by Joe

We’re lying in bed side by side and it smacks me, “This is so sad.” I love this person. We have lots to talk about. We’re staring into our –

“Can you please turn your screen brightness down? I’m going to sleep,” you say. “Yes. Yes. I’m putting this away,” I say. I wonder when we stopped keeping our phones outside of the bedroom. I wonder when we stopped kissing.

It was your sleep app. That was why. You wanted to track your sleep cycles.

“No no you go ahead.” by Julia at The New York


Wednesday December 14, 2016
12:07am
5 minutes
Overheard in the line at airport security

No no you go ahead, he insisted. I was carrying a baby and I was suddenly a magnet. People were stopping me all over the place, being so kind and considerate of me.
No no, please, it’s on me, don’t worry, you’ll pay it forward. I felt like I was getting so much attention because I must have looked like an incompetent mother. People must have felt bad for me. People must have seen how hard it was for me to connect to my own child. I mean, but it wasn’t my child so did I just steal somebody else’s hardship? Credit for something I didn’t even do?

“leftover Hamburger Helper garbage” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday December 13, 2016
5:51pm
5 minutes
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Miriam Toews


Danika and I couldn’t believe her mom would let us have the house to ourselves for the weekend. The ENTIRE weekend. We were drunk on freedom and cotton balls and anything from the medicine cabinet that we could have turned into crafts or art. The first night we both had double chocolate fudge ice cream for dinner and a can of whipped cream EACH for dessert. What a life! We didn’t think to get an emergency number from Danika’s mom before she left, or find out where exactly she was going to be for this long without worrying about her 9 year old kid and her best friend. My mom would never let us stay by ourselves. So we didn’t tell my mom that Danika’s mom left a note on the kitchen table that she had scrawled in messy writing saying “Gone for the weekend, Hamburger Helper on the stove.”

“can you turn the brightness of your screen down?” By Julia in her bed


Monday December 12, 2016
12:58am
5 minutes
Said by Joe

I walk into a room and I own it because I know what I’m capable of and you say first and foremost to calm down
Or to talk quieter
Or to try harder
And then
That’s when I know you can’t handle me and I don’t need you to and if you try to you’ll have to die first
You think I’m a threat so you keep dimming my light
Isn’t that the way it goes?
You too young to know how stupid it is to be a man of jealousy and insecurity?
How stupid it is to be so wounded when lifting her would lift you up even more?

“through the gateway of feeling” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday December 10, 2016
3:57pm
5 minutes
From a Pathwork card


Maybe I was drinking myself into the feeling of being okay. Sort of saw it through a long hallway kind of telescope that points outward and catches the light very far away. They didn’t give out instruction manuals when I had some big questions so my etchings of trial by error are all I have left to reference. When I see light I am under the distinct impression that I need to be close to it to feel better again. Trial and error. You just find these things out when the rest of your existence bleeds so dark. Maybe I was drinking myself into the feeling of being okay. Of being fed. Of being nursed. Of being missed. I caught the light once but I didn’t know at the time how hard I really was supposed to grip. I didn’t want to hurt it. Or scare it away. I didn’t know that if I let go it would go as far back into the places I can only see with my telescope pointing far far away until it is almost gone. Unreachable, and almost gone anyway. I didn’t know that some people only get one catch. If you miss it…that’s just too bad.

“through the gateway of feeling” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday December 11, 2016
3:33pm
5 minutes
From a Pathwork card


If I was a man, I’d wear clear framed glasses and have a bit of scruff and a bit of a belly and I would wear sweaters that I’d found in thrift shops until they were threadbare at the elbows. I would unravel my sweaters when they could no longer be worn and I would roll the wool into balls and then I would knit myself new sweaters, on the subway. It would be important to me to knit only in public, a small creative subversive act of gentle masculinity. If I was a man, I would learn how to be a better listener, a better ally, a better listening ally. If I was a man, I would sing Christmas carols while walking down the street.

“rub your largest organ” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 10, 2016
10:26pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Honey bee.” “Honey bee a dear and get me some water?” Cleo just learned about knock knock jokes. I taught her that one, so it’s good, but mostly she makes them up and they are terrible. Ben and I laugh out loud, especially when they are bad, because we get to see her mind at work and what a mind it is.

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Largest organ.” “Largest organ who?” “I’m your skin! The skin is the largest organ!”

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?… Okay, honey, get to it…” “Okay, okay, Avenue!” “Avenue, who?” “Avenue knocked on this door before?”

“Welcome Home Party” by Sasha on her couch


Friday December 9, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

used to make signs that we’d stick on the yellow door with masking tape
“don’t use the kind that takes the paint off, girls!”
when did we stop being “girls”?
when did we stop making signs with bearded men and red-haired women?
when did we start counting days of the weeks in underwear rolled in the bottom of a backpack?
used to make signs for everyday stuff not just special occasions
used to make signs with crayons and magazine pieces and words i didn’t
really know the meaning of

“I was so annoyed with Wendy” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Thursday December 8, 2016 at JJ Bean
4:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

When we first got here there wasn’t much going on. I mean the town had three hundred people, something like that. My father was a butcher and he heard that they needed one, and so without really telling my brother and I what was going on my parents loaded us into the car and we left Montreal. They said we were going on a vacation. I was so mad. So so mad. Jaques and I plotted to hitchhike home and never come back to Alton. I know now that my father had a falling out with the guys who trained him, we know them as Uncle Gary and Uncle Ziggy. Anyway, that’s why he needed to leave. Because we only spoke French, and we were arriving in the middle of a school year, it was terrible, at school for both Jacques and me.

“rub your largest organ” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 10, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Marti came to my family in a time of great reducing.
She saw an opening in our fragile hearts, starting lives over in unexpected places, and she burrowed deeply enough that hers leached into ours. She was kind and she was good so it made it more tolerable but she was still implanting her life on ours. She comes to mind when otherwise she would be lost in prayer, when the others were lost to us. After long days and nights she surfaces again. Her kids covered in macaroni, her good intentions folded up in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Welcome Home Party” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 9, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

There was a banner hanging in the front window that looked like his kids had helped make it. I drove by once, forgetting, and saw it. It made me feel sick. I realized why we said we wouldn’t put ourselves in each other’s reality. It was not only dangerous for the one who lives there, but painful for the one who doesn’t. I saw it though, and it sickened me. I couldn’t believe I had played a role in such big deceit of people who missed him so much even though all this time he was sleeping in another woman’s hotel room. And crafting a lie, and withholding the truth. And I helped trick them. I m helped to sneak him away from his family.

“I was so annoyed with Wendy” by Julia on the 99


Thursday December 8, 2016
10:56pm
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

I had to act like I hadn’t just spent a year covering her ass every time she drank too much to come into work. Where’s Wendy? She’s sick, she’s stuck at the airport, she’s adopting a puppy, she’s at a doctor’s appointment, she’s at home waiting for Rogers, she’s at home because there’s a bat in her living room, she’s taking a personal day, she’s helping someone do something, she’s figuring out something for someone, she’s not coming in today, she sends her regards, she’s sorry she has to reschedule, she’s not coming in today. And part of me still felt bad that I couldn’t come up with a more convincing lie. Or that people probably knew because I had gotten lazy with my excuses. But what was worse was she was still so sad and there was nothing any of us could do. Or maybe there was. Maybe I could have said something. Or offered to take her out for coffee just so she’d remember people cared about her.

“When we look up” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday December 7, 2016
10:06pm
5 minutes
An interview with Gloria Steinem

I have been wanting to read everything in Meredith Grey’s cadence when she narrates the beginning and end of the episode. Everything feels like a life lesson these days. Everything feels a little bit like a fucking education. She’s gotten angrier. They’ve made her colder, more unfeeling. And at the same time all fluffy and rising up or learning something profound about herself. I think about the character of Meredith Grey and how they based an entire show on the shoulders of the one beautiful individual who couldn’t actually act. Or is Meredith played exactly as intended? Is she that type to a T and Ellen Pompeo is a godddamn genius for the way she interprets her? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I’m not even writing in my own voice, I’m writing in hers. And the main message with the sappy music is spoken in the monotone or maybe perfect cadence of a fictional character. Who is filthy rich in real life by the way.

“When we look up” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday December 7, 2016
10:24am
5 minutes
An interview with Gloria Steinem

When we look up we see gulls soaring towards clouds painted grey.
When we look up we hear Christmas carols, turned up loud.
When we look up we see men hugging, patting each other on the back, hips tilted back so that there’s no way that belt buckles might touch, unlocking.
When you look up you hear voiceover times tables of all the times you were humiliated as a child being forced to say “eight times two is sixteen! Eight times three is twenty four!”
When we look up we have hope but it’s far away, it’s not right now, it’s in the New Year with a fresh calendar pinned to the wall with no pencil scratches or stickers on days when there are birthdays.
When I look up I sneeze because the sun is finally out, the sun is finally here.

“you are not the first” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday December 6, 2016
9:28pm
5 minutes
aware
Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry


Kevin keeps joking about the icy streets and people wiping out but no one is laughing. All I can hear is his stupid voice cawing like a crow. Sometimes I dream about Kevin and I wake up and I’m pissed. I try to stay focused –

“Hello, Milner and Associates, this is Deborah, how may I help you?”

but it’s so hard. If he wasn’t the boss I would report him. We all would. My favourite thing is when he comes and stands behind me and times how long it takes for me to type up some bullshit that he’s asked me to email to Jed.

“Nice work, Deb! You came in under thirty six seconds!”

Douchebag.

“I had a big fight with him” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday December 5, 2016
12:42pm
5 minutes
From an interview transcription

In the months before she died
my mother’s mother ripped herself out of pictures
because she thought she looked fat.
When I was seven and we visited her
in Florida at the apartment by the river
where manatees swam by
I took the Werther’s Originals from her candy bowl
and filled my pockets with them
She told on me to my mother.
I had a big fight with my boyfriend
the day after she died
He was in Toronto and I was Montreal
sitting on pillows on the floor
of a hotel room I shared with my sister.
He said that he didn’t know if he
could get off work for the funeral.

“you are not the first” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday December 6, 2016
9:23pm
5 minutes
aware
Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry


You are not the first to waste me to
get down to the nitty-gritty and decide
it was too true for you to pass up
but too true for you to love
and since then I’ve been crafting
properly this time
the fight I would pick with you
the argument that I would mount
in my own defense
You are not the first to wonder if
there was any more wounding
you could inflict on the dead
or dying because what is the
point anyway and maybe we should
be less naive with our hearts
and stop offering the bottom half of it
up for dessert
You are not the first
if I am