“more than anything else, men and women seek happiness.” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Sunday November 10, 2019
8:09am
Happiness Revisited
Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi

A: What do you want?

B: For me and those around me to be happy.

A: What does “happy” mean?

B: You know it when it’s there and you know it when it’s not…

A: Hm.

B: Hm?

A: Yes. “Hm.”

B: What do you want?

A: I care less now about “happiness” than ever before.

B: That’s funny becuase people always tell you how “happy” you are.

A: Yeah… I know. 

B: … Go on…

A: I care more about presence and am I living in a full hearted way, am I trusting myself…

B: Right – 

A: I wasn’t done – 

B: – Oh, I thought – 

A: Don’t you think that happiness is a state that we long for but it’s the longing that actually takes us out of the moments where we might truly be happy? Like, there’s always more we want?

B: Maybe. I don’t know. I think that when real happiness is present for me, I know it’s there. And then it goes, and I know it’s gone. It’s more about recognizing when it’s there, however fleeting.

A: Mmm.

“how are you feeling?” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday January 12, 2019
10:42pm
5 minutes
From a text

A: How are you feeling?
B: Today. Shitty.
A: How shitty? What kind of shitty?
B: I saw someone who is too afraid to face me, who can’t meet me how I need to be met, and I was tired and sad and I saw someone, and it was –
A: Take a deep breath?
B: I’m fine. I’m breathing fine.
A: Okay…

B: How are you?
A: I’m good. I’m great!
B: That’s nice.
A: When you’re shitty, I can still be great. It’s not a competition.
B: I know. I’m glad you’re great.
A: Why can’t you just be happy for me?
B: I am!

A: Dad said that Ming is off dairy so we can’t do rice pudding on Sunday.
B: Good for Ming.
A: Ha!
B: She always feels sick. It’s good she’s doing some investigating. I’ll bring something else. I’m sick of rice pudding anyway.
A: But we always have rice pudding for dessert –
B: Yeah, and sometimes things have to change. Sometimes change is healthy.

“Got a call from a flower shop.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 9, 2017
8:16am
5 minutes
From a text

“Had the weirdest dream last night…”

“Oh yeah?”

“Mhmm. I was riding this snake, like it was pretty much a crocodile but it looked like a snake? And I was riding it, totally naked, riding it into this forest, but the trees were all silver, like the leaves were silver and so was the bark – “

“Please stop.”

“What?”

“I will actually die if I hear one more of your dreams. I will die.”

“What are you talking about?”

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!”

“I always tell you my dreams…”

“Yeah, you do! And I fucking hate it! The only person who is interested in your dreams is YOU! You’re such a fucking narcissist that you just assume that other people are going to care what your mind involuntarily comes up with?! You know that dreams mean nothing, right? Freud was an idiot!”

“What’s your problem?”

“YOU AND YOUR DREAMS! You and your need to talking non-stop about your dreams! Weird shit happens in my dreams, too, but I write it down in my fucking private journal if I really have to get it out, I don’t bore someone who I supposedly care about with every agonizing detail!”

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Sasha on her porch


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:54pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

A: Let’s roll, babycakes…

B: I’m not ready to go yet –

A: Come on, this place is dead.

B: I’m, I’m having a good conversation with –

A: I already called a taxi.

B: You go. I’ll meet you at home.

A: No.

B: Excuse me?

A: I’m not leaving without you. That’s ridiculous.

B: Well, I’m not ready to go yet so either cancel the taxi or –

A: Excuse us, Elizabeth. We just need a minute.

B: No. Stay. It’s fine.

A: You are being really crazy right now.

B: Liz. This is what I have to deal with. Daily. Now you know.

A: I don’t know why –

B: Excuse us
.

“Night night” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, April 7, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
From a text

Hey. Can you talk? Ugh. I just hung out with Brian and it was… I don’t know – it’s just like, I like him, you know? I liked him. But then he just… I’m not gonna lie, I was thinking about him too, like, I was excited to hang out again, I had a good time the other night but… He’s weird, man… I don’t know…

Jen? What are you doing? Are you in the bathroom? No, no, it’s fine.

But, like, after what happened last time, when he ghosted, when he… I think he might be a closet player. You know those guys who just – yeah – who, like…

Did the toilet just flush again? Are you sick?

Maybe he’s one of those guys who pretends to be the caring, sensitive, easy-going, kinda, like gentle type but really he’s this weird, awkward, asshole player?

Shit, it’s the other line…

I’m gonna let you go. Night night.

“She didn’t need to tell me.” By Julia on her brother’s old bed


Wednesday, December 30, 2015
12:18 am
5 minutes
The Globe and Mail – Facts and Arguments
Monday, December 28, 2015
Yasmin Halfnight


She didn’t need to tell me I was being an asshole to her. I knew. I laid awake the whole night thinking about how kind my mom is and how short I can be when things don’t go exactly my way. Trying to prove myself to the woman who made me, sees right through me, detects my bullshit, and still loves me boundlessly anyway. In my mind I was just expressing myself, feeling impassioned by my need to be heard and understood, offering a lesson that otherwise might never have been found. But when I played back the sound of my voice, it was not compassion, though I believed it was, but the desperate attempt at impressing her, the woman who made me, sees right though me, hears my bullshit, and still loves me anyway. She didn’t need to say anything at all.

“technically I could be there by” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday November 28, 2015
7:37pm
5 minutes
From an email

Harriet prays that Kendra might, by divine grace, arrive early. She’s been alone with Sam and Leah for three days straight. Vic had to take the job, their financial woes causing her eczema and him lock-jaw. “I’ll only be away seven days out of the month, hon,” Vic had said, picking a chunk of oatmeal off her sweater.

When Kendra gets there, all rosy cheeks and perky breasts, Harriet considers kissing her. She hasn’t kissed a woman since college, when she experimented with lesbianism via a three months relationship with Luella, her Spanish TA. She decides against it, she needs Kendra, in a practical, supercharged way that trumps saviour lust.

“methodological, theoretical, practical” by Sasha at UBC


Thursday November 19, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
From the back of a theatre theory book

With a moustache of icing sugar, when Caleb talks puffs of white billow onto the front of his shirt. Doughnuts are his religion, his one true desire. When Caleb wants something, he’s incredibly skilled at berating you until you cave, like an avalanche, even though you think of yourself as stubborn. You never knew stubborn until you knew Caleb. You answered an ad in the newspaper. “Looking for a care worker for a strong-willed teenager with developmental disabilities. Experience required.” You didn’t have experience, really, but you knew that you could do it, what with Dev, your younger brother. Your mother wrote your reference, but Cynthia didn’t need to know. On your first day, Caleb told you that he loved you. Cynthia thought that was a good sign. You weren’t sure, at first, but now, seven months later, you agree. Hindsight.

“the stakes couldn’t be higher” by Julia at Melriches


Wednesday September 16, 2015 at Melriches
11:45am
5 minutes
from an article from Maclean’s

Okay so these two idiots have been staring at me for a total of 17 minutes. I know they think they know me, but they don’t. Not the first to make the mistake! I know I have the hair, but I am not who they think I am and I will NOT give them the satisfaction of looking up and saying so. Come and ask me, fine, but don’t sit there, whispering, shhmush shmusshing about me, going silent, then staring some more. I suddenly wish I could throw up on command. I would just stand up, lean over, and barf right at them. Then without wiping my mouth, I’d maintain eye contact, and sit back down. My best friend Treena used to make herself vomit all the time. When she was little and she didn’t get what she wanted, she’d just stand on an expensive carpet, or over a pile of clean laundry and she’d throw up. I think that’s hilarious. The only things stopping me from pulling a Treena are a) the fact that I know staring is not a crime, and b)that I physically cannot make myself hurl in less than 30 minutes.

“all-day softness” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Monday September 14, 2015
9:19pm
5 minutes
from a tube of hand cream

Lounging around the house with my slippers on, feet up on the couch, and you lean in deep to kiss me.

-Whatcha reading?
-The Bible, what does it look like?
-Ohhh, recipes.
-Big surprise, huh?

You hunch your back and drag your right foot as you slouch back and forth in front of me.

-Would you still love me if I walked like this?
-No.
-Not even like this?

You start to flap your arms wildly by your sides, still dragging around your dead foot.

-Almost yes, but still no.

You grab my arms and you place them around your waist. You sway, and you shimmy hard under my hands.

-Wanna dance?
-Oh we are dancing.
-I’m dancing, you’re resisting.
-I’m reading!
-And she multi-tasks, everybody!

“I will go to the river” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Sunday September 13, 2015
12:36am
5 minutes
Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts
Tales retold by Jane Yolen


If you close your eyes and stretch out your hands I promise I’ll lead you to safety. Trust me. I’ll sing that to you until you believe me. I’m in no rush. I’m in no hurry. I’ll take you to the river and I’ll wait with you there. When you’re ready you can expand and when you’re ready you can lift up and soar. I’m in no rush. I’m in no hurry. Trust me. I hear the water in my sleep and it calms me, draws me in. I know the route to the moments worth keeping like I know my own nail beds, like I know my own smell. I will go again and again because I never tire of its medicine. I never tire of the healing that sets me free.

“A boy in my algebra class nicknamed me “terrorist”” by Julia at English Bay Beach


Saturday September 12, 2015
8:01pm
5 minutes
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/life-as-a-hairy-muslim-girl-after-911

I think Luke heard it from his dad or something. Luke is always coming into class with his big words and his big hate and it sounds like stuff his dad says. My dad says that Luke’s dad is a vessel of pure sadness. I don’t get how he thinks he’s sad, cause Luke’s dad is always yelling and screaming and swearing and stuff and that seems like he’s pretty angry to me. Sad is when you cry and when your nose leaks and your stomach gets that empty feeling. How do you get that sad empty feeling when you’re always filling your stomach with cans of beer?
Luke is always saying things to me or to Ruby about our skin and about our voices. He laughs and his face goes all red when he holds my arms behind my back and calls me a “terrorist.”

“What kids want” by Julia at Kibune Sushi


Friday September 11, 2015
6:48pm
5 minutes
from the front page of the Globe and Mail
Life and Arts section


What kids want is to be born into a family that wants them. Then after they’re alive in this world, after they’ve traveled from one distant universe to the one we all share, they want to be held and warmed up, and spoken to very softly. They need someone else to carry their spongy bones for a while so they can rest after their long journey. That’s not asking too much. That’s the least we can do. And after they feel like they’ve been shown a kindness or two, they start to want a couple more things. They want love and they want home and they want patience and they want security and they want comfort and they want ice cream and they want to cry and they want to laugh and they want to shriek and they want to imagine. These and all the other things they want, are the things we can give them. They don’t ask for everything. They don’t need that. We do all the complicating. We do all the blaming.

“your mother’s sewing machine” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Thursday September 10, 2015
12:33am
5 minutes
from Sasha’s transcriptions

My mother didn’t know how to sew so I’d spend hours at my Aunt Winnie’s house watching her hem skirts, and braid old mops to use as hair for the dolls she’d give out at Christmas. Aunt Winnie liked to talk to herself while she worked, mumbling “Okay Win, this time, straight lines, straight straight lines.” Or, “One thread, two thread, three thread, four.” I would watch Aunt Winnie get herself over any hump, or out from any rock she found herself under. And if clothes got ruined she could fix them! The most self-sustaining thing I ever knew to be in my family was having the ability to sew. She would show me on her sewing machine, sit me on her lap so I could watch up close how to install the bobbin.

“Distant, tired, but holding her hand” by Julia in the car


Wednesday, September 9, 2015
5:06pm
5 minutes
http://lennyletter.com/lena-dunham-first-short-story/

He coughed into the crook of his elbow and tried not to make too big of a deal of it. She glanced at him from the side of her eye, the way she did when she was trying to read his e-mails without him noticing. He was growing tired of her testing him and she was growing skeptical of his patience.
Maybe if you didn’t worry so much about EVERYONE else for a change, you’d be—
He hadn’t prepared himself for a blow out. Had been priding himself on containing it all and picking his battles, in fact.
Forget it. He walked a bit in front of her.
What would I be? JUST. FUCKING. SAY IT. She was shaking now, trying to make direct eye contact. She realized when she asked him if he still loved her earlier she didn’t look him in the face when he gave his response.
How fucking easy I make it for him to despise me, she thought. I never look to see if his eyes are lying.

“Distant, tired, but holding her hand” by Sasha at 49th Parallel


Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at http://49thcoffee.com/
12:33pm
5 minutes
http://lennyletter.com/lena-dunham-first-short-story/

Jenny hands me the list of what everyone wants and I give it a glance. I don’t want too appear to unfamiliar with my purchases. I don’t want to set off any alarm bells. I’ve done bought booze for everyone before, with my sister’s old drivers license, so I shouldn’t be nervous, but I am, and when I’m nervous I blush and when I blush I stammer and when I stammer I sweat. I’m doing all of these things when I get inside and the bell on the door goes.

What the fuck? Nelson works here? Damn shit mutha –

“Hey Sadie.”
“Hey Nelson.”
I put the id in the back pocket of my cut-offs.
“What’s up? How was the rest of your summer?”
“It was good. Nothing that exciting.”
“I ran into your brother at the skate park. He said that your grandpa died.”
“I wouldn’t classify that as exciting and I wouldn’t just share that in a moment of aw aw awkward small talk with – …”
“Pardon?”
“You gave me fucking chlamydia!”
“Excuse me?”
“Chlamydia… You gave it to me.”
“Not possible.”
“Yes.”
“I get tested every three months!”
“You gave it to me.”
“Are you… sure?”
“YES, I’m sure! I, unlike you, keep very diligent track of whose penis I put inside me.”
I’m crying then, all of a sudden, like a snowstorm in October.

“good energy vibes” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, July 16, 2015
12:31am
5 minutes
From a text

When you walk into a room I can hear you without knowing you’re there. It’s funny, this feeling. I know you’re around yet I haven’t seen you at all. What do you call that? What kind of connection is it when your skin perks up all tingly and awake without fully understanding why? My back is to you and your presence greets me. I wonder if you feel me the way I feel you. Is it your smell? Are we horses, sniffing each other’s flesh and taking each other in? I don’t know if it’s because I want to sense you so I do. I read somewhere that we never can fully know someone else, but I think I know you. I think I know when you’re near because I know you like I know me.
Because you are me.

“that’d be a mess” by Sasha on the 99 going East


Monday, July 13, 2015
2:10pm
5 minutes
In The Boom Boom Room
David Rabe


As soon as you meet someone do you add them on Facebook?
No. Nope. I don’t think I’ve ever done that.
Do you follow more celebrities or real people on Twitter?
Celebrities aren’t real?
Usually not.
I think real people? But I’m not really sure. I do enjoy Amy Schumer’s tweets a lot.
Fair enough.
You?
I don’t do Twitter. I’m too much of a rambler.
Oh. I see.
Are you an only child?
Yes.
Uh oh.
What?
Only children are sometimes… selfish.
I’m not –
I’m not saying that you are. Studies show that –
Look. I feel like you’re interviewing me! This is… weird!
Sorry. I’ve been on three hundred and sixty nine dates this year –
Uh –
Yes. That means some double date days –
Oh –
I know what I’m looking for.
Okay –
I know what I want –
I can see that…

“that’d be a mess” By Julia on her patio


Monday, July 13, 2015
7:10pm
5 minutes
In The Boom Boom Room
David Rabe


I’m thinking about what I’ll make you for dinner when I see you again.
See, I’m debating between ribs and chicken cause you really liked them both the last time. Maybe I’ll make you both with the special sauce and the arugula salad. You went crazy for the arugula salad. Or the chili shrimp. I could make you the chili shrimp. I want it to be special. Seeing you again after all this time, I mean, It has to be special right? It can’t just be thrown together. It has to be thought out. What a mess it’d be if I made all the dishes you liked but not well because there was a lack of focus. I tend to focus poorly when there’s more than one thing to focus on. I’m thinking about seeing you again, and kissing you again, and cooking for you again, and that’s very hard for me. It’s very hard not to let my mind wander. My mind’s a mess. You know it feels especially cluttered these days. Need someone to go in and do a spring cleaning, get all the cobwebs down, reorganize all the big issues so I don’t have to trip over them just to get to the good ideas.

“within 15 days” by Julia on her bed


Thursday, July 9, 2015
11:42pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

“Or maybe we could rent a van and pack it up tight with all our stupid stuff that we don’t care about and just drive it across the country like we did last time?” She says this, rubbing an ice cube side to side across her collar bone, making him sweat, making him want her even more.
“Yeah, we could, or we could purge all our stupid stuff that we don’t need and just be free and minimal.” He says this with a knowing smirk that she’d never go for something like that.
“You mean minimalistic?” She pops the ice cube into her mouth and lets it melt there for a second.
“I don’t think we need to purge. Maybe get rid of a few things. The waffle iron. We could get rid of the waffle iron, and maybe the second set of measuring cups.”