“improve life for their families.” by Julia on Jess’s couch

Wednesday January 4, 2017
5 minutes
From a Kiva.org card

You could call them and tell them you miss them you wish they didn’t have to be so far you could write them and tell them you love them even if they don’t like letters and don’t write you back you could send them a song with a joke in the middle and make them laugh with how good your rhyming is or you could ship them a box of something that you baked while you were waiting for the news and include them in the experience somehow you could call them and say you miss them and that you love them and that Christmas is not the best time you’ve ever chosen to stay away or you could tell that you need them to come and visit you so you can show them that the life you’re living is still a good one even though they aren’t as close as they used to be you could hold them when you see them and stay forever in the heart of the place that keeps you young

“improve life for their families.” By Sasha at her desk

Wednesday January 4, 2017
5 minutes
From a Kiva.org card

Kevin starts blowing glass in his sleep. Tom isn’t sure whether he should chain him to the bed or let him, which is a greater risk. At breakfast Kevin wonders how he has burns on his fingers. Tom pours more orange juice and kisses him before putting on his jacket and going outside to warm up the car.

“I’m not sure moving the studio into the house was the best idea,” Kevin minces garlic later that day, before dinner. Tom opens a bottle of Merlot. “Why’s that?” he asks. “I keep dreaming about work,” Kevin glugs olive oil into the cast iron pan. “It’s like I can’t escape… And then when I do go into the studio, during the day, my stuff is shit. Really. Total shit.”

“two or more writers” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday January 3, 2017
5 minutes

“Gather your things and meet me at the streetlamp on 12th,” Mother Lang says in her strange accent. “Where is she from?” I ask Elizabeth, who shrugs. I gather what will fit into the bag Mother Sherman gave me yesterday evening when she visited for the third time this month. It’s hard to know what to pack, but I imagine I’ll need at least seven pairs of cotton underwear, three blank notebooks, a lighter, and some shampoo. “No one ever clarified about toiletries, did they?” I call Elizabeth from the toilet. There’s no time to waste.

“Your grandfather” by Sasha in the basement at Szos and Jenny’s

Monday January 2, 2017
5 minutes
Overheard at Cowichan Bay

Grandfather hands me a book bound with lightning
and maybe it’s because I’ve just turned old enough
to travel by train alone Or maybe it’s because I’ve
only now realized the importance of the remarkable moment.

The book shakes in my hands and I open it only when
I’m alone in my bedroom amongst baboons and posters
of the Jackson Five.

The first page shows how the earth was born and then
how the dinosaurs really became extinct and on the
third page I rest because every Wednesday should
include a nap.

“They will be sent” by Sasha at the kitchen table in Cowichan Bay

Sunday January 1, 2017
5 minutes
A Google Drive notification

Viville smells like pine needles, bourbon, and the kisses that toddlers give to relatives they’ve just met. I arrive in the afternoon, via the back of a station wagon with wood panelling, driven by a man named Jacques. He picked me up three towns West. I hadn’t planned to hitchhike, especially on this leg of the journey, but the more I learn the more I don’t. Jacques asked if I wanted some coffee from his thermos, but I couldn’t sit up properly in the trunk and wasn’t sure how drinking something hot would go. Besides, maybe it wasn’t a good idea just in case there was dairy or drugs in there. When we arrived in Viville, Jacques asked where exactly I was staying and I said, “I’m not exactly sure yet,” so he dropped me off at the Seven Eleven.

“Hit the road Jack” by Sasha on the couch in Cowichan Bay

Saturday December 31, 2016
5 minutes
From a record

Jack’s packed this car like a master puzzler, every box and bag filling any open space. “Will you be able to see?” I ask, putting our turkey sandwiches into old yogurt containers.

I kiss the doorframe and Jack says, “Goodbye, sweet spot.” We hug for awhile, before I lock the door and slide the key through the mailbox, like we told George, our super, we’d do.

Halfway to the highway, I start to cry.

“not just the punch line.” By Sasha in her bed

Friday December 30, 2016
5 minutes
Humans of New York

Jimmy thinks he’s funny but he’s not. It’s the worst, that, right? He keeps texting and saying that he’s doing the Open Mic at Dooney’s and why don’t Jen and I come… I’m like, “Um, I think we’re busy!”

It’s not just his punch lines, it’s his set up. And the whole story that he tells… It’s everything! It’s awful! He doesn’t go for the jugular. He makes a mockery out of this whole place and all the guys that we grew up with. Like they have any other choice but to work in the mine? I mean Jimmy worked there too before he got that stupid job at Toyota! Why does he come back here to do the Open Mic if he thinks this place is so dumb?