“occupational hazard” by Julia at her desk

Saturday December 7, 2019
9:03pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Tracee Ellis Ross

It’s going to be hard to forget your birthday tomorrow. When
for the last eighteen years I’ve wished you a happy one.
I’ve thought of you. I’ve hoped you were well. And now this.
It’s maybe easier for you, I don’t know. I say maybe because
anything is possible. Not being in each other’s lives is
possible, as we’ve already established. Maybe you don’t think
of me at all. That would also be possible, as anything is.
I dream about you still. You’re angry in my dreams, at me, and
you’re trying to make sure the whole world knows how shitty I am.
I am avoiding you in my dreams for the most part but sometimes
I yell. Sometimes I tell you just where to shove your misguided
notions about me or in general. I don’t usually feel good when I
wake up, but I do feel alive. And like I’m processing this massive
shift that you and I both know will take as long as it takes.
Or maybe you don’t consider it at all. I’m not underestimating you.
I know how awful that can feel. If you’re reading this, which is
possible, know that you didn’t get erased from my memory. I still
consider you.

“You are going to have to give and give and give”

Wednesday November 20, 2019
9:41pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Anne Lamott

What you want to say is the truth.
And you don’t know who’s reading this now after all the times you’ve talked about it.
Here’s a place where you do what you do and then afterwards another thing. A new thing.
A new.
What do you want them to know?
How ready you are? How sure?
Or the thing that scares you more.
How desperately you want to be a part of the ecosystem and how afraid you are that it might take more than a day.
How you want nothing more than for them to hold you useful, for them to know you good.
Is this where you tell them you’re ready but you give a damn so you feel shaky behind the eyes?
Is this where you say that you asked for them and the universe was good to you and gave you what you needed?
When do you tell them the truth?
That you don’t know everything and that you’re willing to learn?
That this whole thing is messy but you’d rather spoil your shirt than sit around waiting.
You are going to have to give and give and give some more.
But you are going to have to receive some too.
You’re going to have to fill up on what they have to offer.
You’re going to have to let them evolve your heart and your hands and your mind and your soul.
That’s the fear. That you will be different.
But I promise you that you will able to handle that.
You have always done this.
You have always found a way.

“Come visit me in Halifax soon!” By Sasha at her desk

Tuesday July 30, 2019
1:32pm
5 minutes
From a thank you card

Dear Becky,

Does anyone write letters anymore? It feels so old fashioned. I’m trying to use up this stationary my grandma gave me (RIP, aw Midge) before the move so thought I’d spend the afternoon catching up on correspondence. This is the first letter I’m writing. Things are okay here… I’m thinking a lot about white supremacy and performative allyship without actually putting in the real work. Social media posts and stuff but how most people don’t actually show up. I’m not talking about a rigidity in being PC or anything, just doing our part to dismantle the shit that’s gotta go! I remember when we used to talk about the micro-aggression racism we’d both experienced growing up in small towns. Those were fundamental steps in my work as a baby activist and I’m grateful to you for that! Running out of space so… How are you?! I miss you. Come visit me in Halifax soon! I think you’d really dig it here.

“Seems stressed always.” by Julia at Platform 7


Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at Platform 7
5:12pm
5 minutes
from a text

You can find me in the poorly lit coffee shop scratching at my scalp, tiny flakes of dandruff floating into my keyboard as I type a letter to your mother that I will likely never send. I have escaped the confines of our bachelor apartment, spent the $2.75 on a coffee that reminds me that people are dying in places all around me, and have been here since the place opened. Miller is working a double and doesn’t ask me to leave or buy a sandwich. When he sees my crumpled forehead and my dandruff start to pile up in between the space bar and the track pad he knows to keep his distance. I am writing a letter to your mother and in it I am breaking up with you and I am breaking up with her. I am telling her why first so you can’t spin the story. I don’t want her to think less of you but I think she should know the truth. It’s taken a lot of my energy to think of the right words. I already have the right reasons. They’ve been living inside of me as long as your Taco Bell leftovers have been sitting in the fridge, collecting mold, being avoided like the plague.

“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?

“I FIND MYSELF SO INTERESTING” by Julia on Jess’s and Rick’s couch


Saturday, January 2, 2016
2:43am
5 minutes
Mickey
Chelsea Martin


Dear Self,

Damn good job so far. I am proud of you. I have enjoyed being the voice inside your head, but also the fly on the wall that listens when you’re focused and thriving. I think your determination to find yourself inside yourself is incredibly inspiring. You should be proud of you too. You have not given up on your quest for truth and I like that about you. It makes things fun. I especially like it when you challenge your previous notions, opinions, behaviours, and desires. It’s very thrilling! Sometimes I hold on tight and secretly wish that you drove more gracefully but I have to admit that I would resent you for never risking anything. Nice balance! It’s a little new, isn’t it? But I’m impressed with how little the newness prevents you from investigating and fighting for yourself. I love you a lot. I’m excited for what’s next.

“Letter Writing” by Julia at her desk


Thursday November 26, 2015
11:44pm
5 minutes
from the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear guy from the Turkish market buying one kilo of sun-dried tomatoes while wearing a safety vest,

You may have just stolen my heart, permanently, and I’m okay with that.
See I was looking for someone new to give it to, after I got it back from the guy I lent it to without knowing. I was tricked into telling him things about me and letting him see a version of me that most people don’t want to see, or shouldn’t see, or…Oh…now I wish I hasn’t mentioned that part at all cause it’s a bit embarrassing…..
Umm….If I hadn’t written this in pen, I would have erased the aforementioned weirdness but because I hate the way stuff looks scratched out, I will leave it in hopes that you don’t actually mind a little oversharing every now and again.
Back to the important matters at hand, guy wearing a safety vest.
I love sun-dried tomatoes so much and to see you buying them in such a large quantity is incredibly heartening. I can only begin to imagine what you’re planning to do with so many beautiful tomatoes. My biggest fear is that your wife or girlfriend or mother sent you here to buy them for the big party you’re announcing your future plans with a woman other than me at.
….Oh boy.
I wish I could erase that part too.

“wrote a long great piece” by Julia on her bed


Friday, July 17, 2015
2:47am
5 minutes
A tweet by Sheila Heti

Dear Edith,

Your last letter was hard to read and yet I find myself rereading it every day; sometimes twice. I didn’t know there were so many things you found unpleasing about me. After all this correspondence, I suppose two people can fight just as they would if they saw each other face to face as often. I am understanding of our closeness and though I’d like to believe our relationship is immune to the casualties of constant interaction, I see now that it is not special or unique at all. Part of me likes that it is not because it takes some of the pressures of perfection away. I know now that if you can hurt me, I can hurt you, and that doesn’t make us love each other any less. What I struggle with is the fear that you have felt this way for some time and my once beloved qualities have now added up to an amount that is undesirable to you. Please, Edith, if you would, respond in honesty: Have I been bothering you for long? Or have you just recently noticed my flaws? I wonder this for if it’s the latter then I have to ask: Is everything in the right place with you? Sometimes, my dear Edith, we see ourselves in others…

“I sent you an email” By Julia outside Darkhorse on Spadina


Sunday, July 12, 2015
4:14pm
5 minutes
from a text message

Of course you haven’t responded yet! I’ve only sent you the most life-changing e-mail of all time. I shouldn’t have to resend my thoughts, but your lack of response is truly IRRITATING to say the least. How do I know where I stand. It is more important to know where I stand then how you feel as I’m the one who has put my heart out on a limb here and now it’s just DANGLING, don’t you see? I don’t know if you’ve drafted a response or not even because I refuse to log into your account like last time and check for myself. We all know it ended badly last time, and let’s just say once you know, you can’t unknow. But I am going a bit mental waiting for you to either confirm or deny your feelings for me. I know it sounds trite, but do you think of me the same way I think of you? Don’t answer this question. This one is riddled with self-doubt and neediness. Just answer the one I thoughtfully crafted for 3 and a half hours. YEAH! THREE AND A HALF HOURS! It took a long time to articulate. I wanted to be clear without being over-explicit. You are ALIVE, right???

“read in the privacy of one’s study.” By Julia at her desk


Monday, July 6, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
“What is creative nonfiction?”
Wayne Grady


I have locked myself in Martin’s study where Tizz won’t think to look for me. He hates confined spaces and Martin’s study is exactly that. It looks like a secret hideout, converted from a closet. I think that’s actually what it was before it became Martin’s study. I think Martin likes to pretend that this house came with a room specifically for him. He likes a place to put his papers and his legal documents. He doesn’t study in here. He doesn’t even read. He just likes to have a place that people associate with power and mystique. Well now I’m in Martin’s study executing my mystique and power. I alone know where I am and Tizz won’t have a clue. I had to read the letter without the chance of Tizz finding me. I’m only a good liar until I get caught and Tizz has always been an investigator. Should have joined the police force but they just couldn’t take someone with the severity of Tizz’s brain injury. I think they called him a liability. So he might not have a badge but he knows how to keep me in line.