“I overheard” by Julia on her couch

Sunday March 1, 2020
9:03pm
5 minutes
My Book Life
Sparrow

I overheard a young woman last night discussing her desire to go off the grid and learn how to survive off of corn-bread and tree sap.
I think she is onto something. She’s not the only person who mentions running for the hills. Although someone else I overheard said that everyone is going to rush to the mountains in a crisis. Tsunamis, earthquakes, he says we should be on solid ground, but that’s not what everyone will think about first.
I, myself, will not be rushing toward any one group of people, I don’t care which direction they’re headed. Sure, things are going to get hard in a state of emergency, you know, when disaster strikes, and you’re not necessarily going to want to be alone–but there are a lot of stupid people in groups and I don’t think that’s the time to follow the crowd. I don’t want someone panicked and stressed, and making bad choices out of fear take away from what my instincts are telling me to do.
I think it might be time to get an escape bag packed and near the door just in case. My friend Annah says she’s got a granola bar and a pair of socks in hers. A bit lame, she says, but she’s doing something at least. I’m with her. I don’t want to be cold or hungry either.

“We try in a polite and partly exhausted way” by Julia in the fishbowl

Monday February 24, 2020
3:17pm
5 mintues
Gooseberry Marsh
Gretchen Legler

I hate everything until I don’t.
It is not the other way around.
It could be innocent till proven guilty.
But that’s not how it is given that I don’t trust anybody.
Later some people are coming over to my place and they signed their names up but I don’t know if they’re coming for them or for me and I wonder if they feel sorry for me.
I don’t trust people who feel sorry for me.
I don’t like people who think I need their stupid help.
Everybody needs help, I know this, and I am not saying I am not everybody, but you’re getting it all wrong.
You’re judging by the wrong hair.
You’re sensing some tightness.
You’re making assumptions about me because I’m being prickly and you assume it has to do with something else but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
And you’re sitting there trying to figure me out because you don’t like it.
You don’t like having someone be prickly to you for what you consider to be No Good Reason.
I guess I hate you until I don’t.
I guess I would rather you avoided me because I am sitting here avoiding you.
And I hate myself too in case you were wondering about that.
That seems like the only way to get so good at hating you.

“In the moonstruck dusk” by Julia at her desk

Monday February 17, 2020
8:42pm
5 minutes
Wolf OR-7
Natalie Diaz

It has been over said but I will say it again:
I do not recognize that man, I’m tellin’ ya, Jerry,
I don’t know the guy from a can of paint!

These guys are tryna screw my lid so I can’t think
straight and if that’s alright with you, then you’re
no different than those bone heads.

I’m not gonna tell you what you should do, alright,
far be it from me to weigh in on how you should do
your job, Jerry, but I’m tellin’ ya, if it was up to
me, which I can honestly say, no disrespect, that it
is not, you’re gettin’ your berries stirred and it’s
not gonna be a fancy fruit salad, you understand?

In this moonlight, Jerry, it’s romantic, people got their
notions all tied up tight and they let them get yanked
around by a little dusk blindness. That’s all it is.
They pick a guy like me to yank the wool, you understand, Jerry?
A guy like me!

“a performance of about two and a half hours” by Julia in the fishbowl

Tuesday February 11, 2020
3:06pm
5 minutes
Nibelung
Devon Code

Welcome to the show.
Tonight you will be seeing the masks come off.
You won’t realize there were masks to begin with because they are excellently made.
Crafted by the very best internal monologue the theatre has ever known.
These masks are not the kind tied with string or easily removed.
They’re made of skin. It’s pretty freaky actually. They’re built to look just like us!
But tonight, we will be taking them off. Not right away, of course, because what
conflict are we even talking about then. Not right away or abruptly.
After you see us with the masks on a bit, after you see us reflecting your mask back to you a bit…
Oh you didn’t know? Our masks are visible if they’re similar to yours. That’s so funny, isn’t it? Curious, even, let’s make a show about it, ooh look we are!
Tonight we’ve gotten tired of wearing them. We’d rather let our true faces breathe because after all this time sporting them to every function, every event, every scary moment, it gets exhausting.
You’re tired too, I bet, from carrying it around on your cheeks.
It’s not uncommon, actually, for us to want to take off a thing that separates us from everyone else, but here we are keeping them close as if we can’t live without them.
Tonight, though..
We dance.

“The letter should be read out loud” by Julia in the fishbowl

Friday February 7, 2020
2:00pm
5 minutes
Anger, Boundaries & Safety
Joann S. Peterson

Dear Anyone,

Are you listening? I’m wondering because there have been a few people asking and you haven’t responded yet. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. I want to give you the opportunity to take your time and to give your best answer. I’m not asking you to have the answer, please, anyone, don’t get it twisted. I’m looking for voice, for acknowledgement, I’m looking for something along those lines if you have it. Do you have it? Is this letter being read out on the Loud Speaker? Is it being broadcast all the way to you, wherever you are, wherever you are? I think it should be stated that there’s a lot of different ways to do this, a variety of options for you, anyone, to show me, someone, that you give a shit. If I swear harder will you blast it on the radio? FUCKING PLEASE, anyone, PLEASE. Is begging the same as swearing? Is it getting your attention yet, don’t you see I need this connection the way all of us do? I’m not sure why I have to convince you, I was told anyone could love me, anyone would be honoured to know me, and what are you doing then? What is more important than replying to this?
Is it about something else?

“Instead, the deer step carefully” By Julia at her table desk

Saturday January 25, 2020
6:04pm
5 minutes
The Return
Rick Bass

So if it’s a game about strategy I don’t really want to play.
I know the word is ‘game’, and not ‘real life’ but there is nothing fun sounding about revealing myself while other people around me skillfully craft their turn.
I don’t think it’s because I have no strategy. You could check my track record and I’m sure there would be occasions where I’ve enlisted my tactical thinking, but this feels different. Like parallel parking in front of a bunch of race-car drivers when you haven’t practiced since getting your G licence back in 2003.
I get nervous that people will find me out and consider my IQ lower than they expected since I usually conduct myself with clever quips and strong insights.
I don’t need people seeing that I crack under pressure and would therefore be the first one voted off the island.
It all comes down to purpose.
I don’t want to be useless in a time of need. When people are all out there trying to survive and keep the team alive, I want to be a valuable member of the team, not the one they use as sustenance after they decide to roast my flesh and eat my senseless brains.

“Naturalists are generalists.” By Julia on her couch

Thursday January 23, 2020
9:50pm
5 minutes
The Art of Wandering
Ann Zwinger

Not an expert at anything. never specialized so what do you expect?
I never had the foccus to go all the way with one thing. except emojos. I am an expert when it comes to selecting the most apprpriate emojo. So, for instance, I know how to punctuate using the right one, and I’ll be honest, when I don’t know what to say, I usually just put the sunset emoji. That or the unicorn. Or the dinosaur. Or the spicy pepper.

“Thanks to electricity” by Julia in her office

Wednesday January 22, 2020
3:55pm
5 minutes
World At Dawn
Diane Ackerman

I have been thanking inanimate objects all day. I have been thinking deeply about this and so it comes as no surprise that here it is, the ‘question’ as if it’s supposed to throw me off guard! I have come prepared, Ma’am! I have already practiced this one. The thing that I could absolutely not live without is not electricity, or Britta filter, or my car! I’m more of a reading by candle light, mason jar using, walking kind of person. I am thankful for those things, don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful. I enjoy having things plugged in when I need to and charge things, I think I’m getting off track. Yes, so the thing I couldn’t live without would be a spoon. You’d think I would say knife or fork before spoon, but knives are overrated, and spoons are gentler on the mouth, but ultimately I just can’t stand getting my hands dirty! I hate touching things, actually, anything, because you don’t know where those things have been or who has touched those, and you know how many germs are out there floating around?

“No one knows what the” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday January 21, 2020
2:02pm
5 minutes
Lost Dog Creek
Brian Doyle

Don’t call me Dottie, only my lover calls me that. It’s Dorothy to you, and I will stand by it. No one knows what the reason is and that’s because it’s just none of your business. I’m supposed to be a lady, is that right? I’m supposed to follow some invisible set of pre-determined rules made for me by whom? Men? I won’t give you the pleasure of thinking you’ve had me beat. I don’t follow rules no matter who sets them, I play my own game. If you knew me, you would know that I stay true to my word, but you don’t so you won’t ever get that great luxury.

I’m a damned good friend, I’m loyal as they come, and I’m a lion when I need to be–and sometimes just because! If I were man would you be waiting for an explanation? If you didn’t have your own set of preconceived and limiting notions would you be expecting anything at all? I don’t care if you don’t think me sweet, or nice. In fact! I’d prefer it. I don’t like those silly labels, some sort of map that I’m supposed to study to know which place to head, left or right or, let’s be honest, back back backwards.

If you knew me, which you don’t, you would know how lucky you really are.

“I find the result” by Julia in her office

Thursday January 16, 2020
9:30am
5 minutes
From a quote by Mark Twain

The result of staring into the window of other people’s stories is that it’s a window. Not a door. You can look all you want, but there’s a connection that calls you at the bottom of that longing, and looking isn’t enough. We think it’s enough, and sometimes, sure, it is, but when we want to see others and be seen, we don’t mean ‘what they’re doing’ or ‘what they had for brunch’. We want to see the hearts, the human underneath the facade, the spirit underneath the human.
This is because we have gotten good at believing that it’s the quickest way, the easiest way to bridge the gap, cross the ravine, is to log in, put our feet up and watch other people live their lives. We think this because it resembles a bonding, a gathering, but it’s not all the way there. We don’t know what’s real and what isn’t anymore. Or we know, and we ignore it. Or we don’t care, and what is worse, my friends. My ‘friends’, my ‘likes’, my online bubble of bursting potential…
The window is not a door.

“The insufferable arrogance of humanity” by Julia on her couch

Friday January 10, 2020
8:08pm
5 minutes
Big Picture
A. Whitney Brown

Babe says that he doesn’t trust people anymore, cause they like, wear their MO a little too loud. Like Babe says that you can smell some people’s try-hard like they bathe in it and that is so relatable. Like, think about it. You can tell when someone’s trying to like, butter you up, or get in your pants, or like, get you to smuggle some low grade shit. And you can tell when someone’s like performing instead of being. There’s a really big difference actually, and Babe says the insufferable people are the ones who name drop and shame shop. Babe says that shame shopping is like, who’s buying, you know? Like who’s trying to be better by taking on all the bullshit of the known world as if they could carry it on their own?

“But where is your life jacket” by Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 8, 2020
9:00pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

Bev and I stopped watching the flight attendants do the safety demonstration on airplanes. I guess they lost our interest! Bev joked to me the last time we flew that she wished they wouldn’t have to interrupt our show to show us something we’ve seen before! Look at our frequent flier miles! You’ve seen the way some airlines really put a lot of thought into it, right? That’s the kind we’d be interested in. But what are the chances that something bad will even happen? You know how many times I’ve flown, and the worst thing that I encountered was a screaming baby? That’s the worst! Nothing to even worry about. Why put that negativity into our heads?

“God is a really famous spirit” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday January 7, 2020
1:15pm
5 minutes
OMG! How Children See God
Monica Parker

Okay hi God, I know you must be really hard pressed for time these days since you became such a famous spirit and all. I get it, people want things, need things, expect things from you. I also know it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Sure, you answer prayers and smite people, sure when we see your crib it’s decked out in pure gold and you have angels everywhere. But that daily stuff can be brutal. People are blaming you for things and it’s not your fault, your ideas are misinterpreted, and you’re like held to some unrealistic standard to be on all the time and to be perfect. I’m not here to ask for much, but if you’re not hiding out today from all the stress, would you mind gracing my sister? She has been struggling lately to find meaning and I think a tiny reminder from you would go a long way. Even a bit of sunshine or something like that.

“The first was of Saint Gabriel” by Julia on her couch

Saturday December 14, 2019
7:53pm
5 minutes
Courtesy
Hilaire Belloc

I fell in love with the messenger. There are no addages about not kissing them, only shooting. He arrived with flowing hair and a scroll tucked under his arm. Romantic. I wanted to watch him slowly unroll it, revealing only one line at a time.
He arrived at my door like a whisper.
He was a figure from a painting, his smile a twig snapped from Paradise itself.
I thought about his mouth unfolding the news. It did not take much for me to want him, truth be told. A man bearing a letter in my name. That was all I could ever ask for.

“as an introvert” by Julia in her office

Monday December 2, 2019
11:33am
5 minutes
from an article in open-book.ca
Natasha Ramoutar

It’s been hard lately to smile out loud.
I am smiling on the inside but if I’m not making it loud
then everyone thinks I’m not happy.
This is a problem. My insides are not matching my outsides.
But I don’t want to twist my mouth into a shape that
hurts me, then I really won’t be happy.
But not everyone gets it.
Out loud makes me tired. It feels like I’m wearing
a mask because I have to have it on.
I think happiness looks all kinds of ways and can be
quiet and can be still and can be about the feeling
and not about the performance of the feeling.
Maybe it’s because I feel happiest when I’m by myself.
I feel like I can recharge and regroup and reset.
When I have to go out into the world I have to be
more of what people expect and that gives me a headache.
When I’m by myself I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.
Annie, my best friend, is the opposite of me.
Everyone wonders how we got to be such good friends.
Annie is different. She can smile on the outside with other people no problem and with me she can be still.
We smile together too but it’s not because we think we have to.
I wish I could be more like Annie when I’m with people.
I think having that skill would make things easier.
But I wouldn’t want to trade everything.
That’s the thing with comparing.
You have to trade your whole self for someone else’s
and you might not want to give up some of what you have.

“I have eaten his emptiness” by Sasha at the kitchen table on Nassau Street

Saturday November 30, 2019
9:11am
Visit from an incubus 
Laura Murphy
Look, I’m glad that you reached out to Barry. I’m glad that he responded. I’m glad that you met him at the Starbucks on Queen Street. I’m sorry that he didn’t mention how different you looked, how different you feel, how much you’ve changed, how much you’ve become yourself. Some people aren’t looking, not really. Some people like Barry. But, you’ve done it, right? You’ve done it now. It’s done. It can stop taking up so much brain space, right? You can give that space to something else, something more meaningful, something more of the present… Barry left our lives a long time ago, buttercup. Sometimes people go when they are meant to, and things don’t get wrapped up… just how life goes, right? I’m sorry that I yelled when you said that you wanted to get in touch with him. You had your own relationship with the guy. My relationship with him doesn’t have to dictate yours. I guess it just caught me off guard.

“Don’t let the exclamation point fool you.” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 24, 2019
5:27pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Not Happy. Not thrilled. Not at all okay.
Okay? Get it? The question mark is rhetorical.
Don’t answer that. Read the room, you know?
you know. Not happy. Not thrilled. Not great.
Could it be about passion, hmm? Could it be
anger? DO I HAVE TO SHOW YOU THE VOLUME or does
the rage fall flat when all you see is the blasted !! !!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I see how you can get it twisted.
Good liar. Good at feeling the thing but not in front of anyone.
Not good at hiding the feeling, but excellent at lying about it.
That’s even worse, now you know, now you know, but you’ll say
you don’t if you see the s m i l e !
See? SEE? SEE?! All different.
I am all different and all angry and all the opposite of okay.
Not thrilled. Not happy. Happy during rage but not about the rage
that now I feel because of you not being able to read the room.
The rhetorical question. Don’t answer that. No question mark.
Not an invitation. Not something for you to hang your dumb old hat on.
See the rage, feel the not okay now?
See what’s being tossed around?
Don’t let that shit fool you.
Don’t be so naive out of convenience.
Who is fine anyway.
Who is ever fine ANYWAY.

“everything seems to happen to music.” By Sasha in her bed

Monday October 21, 2019
1:49pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Tennessee Williams

The good stuff always happens to music, right? The first kisses. The quiet goodbyes. The waking up on your birthday. The Christmas dinners. Music is the thread that holds the beads of what life is. I truly believe that. I bought us a record player at a garage sale a few years ago and we’ve been slowly adding records to our collection. We aren’t doing it to be analogue or ironic or anything. We’re doing it because the act of placing the needle, of blowing dust off the surface, of flipping a record over… it’s sacred. It really is. Lying on the floor at the end of a shit day is made okay as soon as the volume gets turned up. I feel my body sink into the carpet and the music fills me, it fills me up.

“exhale passively” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday March 19, 2019
4:21pm
5 minutes
Physiotherapy Instructions

You always learn things the hard way, Patricia, and that’s just not how it has to be! When I was your age I was cautious, I was careful, I was paying attention to what was happening around me! I see you, all a mess all the time, running around like a chicken with your head cut off and, frankly, I feel bad for you. Why don’t you take a page out of Gin’s book? She’s really got her life together, and she’s three years younger than you! Virginia knows what she wants and she isn’t afraid to go for it, but not at the expense of her pride or self worth… or reputation.

“I don’t want to sit” by Julia on the 16

Friday December 1, 2017
9:29pm
Overheard on the 16

I don’t want to sit and I don’t want to stand. You do the math. Tonight a friend charmed the crowd with her offbeat, non threatening quiet and her sex dripping metaphors. Mmm.
I was getting wet just listening to her talk about egg yolks dripping down the blender. And I thought of you. How one childhood fantasy and a couple thousand viewings of The Show Must Go On has lived inside me for decades and maybe I would like to finally see if you’re down. I think you would be. It was fucking gross but I have a feeling you’d be into it. I used to think about having eggs mashed all over me. I want to tell you more but first you need to sign off. You need to tell me one of your deep secrets. You need to prove that this won’t get wasted or chopped up into tiny pieces or used against me. I mean if I knew already I would let you use anything against me but that’s a BONUS. That’s for good little exhibitionists.

“White-sand beaches” by Sasha in her bed


Monday March 7, 2016
10:46pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

He says to me, “don’t get righteous”. Righteous?! I am probably the least righteous person in the whole world, right? So I look at him, I look him dead in the eye and I say, “Richard. Would you please just fuck off?” And you should have seen his face! It was priceless! It was totally priceless! He was shocked. He didn’t even know what to say. For once in his life, the man was speechless. So I just stood there and of course I immediately wanted to backtrack and apologize or something but I didn’t I didn’t I just stood there and we kind of just stared at eachother. Finally he walked away from my desk. Then I just started cracking up, Gus, it was horrible. And wonderful. I couldn’t stop laughing. So Richard hears me laughing, hysterically, because I can’t help the fact that sometimes my laugh gets kind of caught in my throat and sounds a little barky! I can’t help that! I just imagine that we get to fuck this stupid nine to five life and that we can spend winter on those white sand beaches, those ones you see in the ads on the subway? Who says that that can’t be us!

“winexpert” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 12, 2015
3:12pm
5 minutes
from a wine cork

When I opened my eyes and looked out the window, though, I
jus’… I lost it! I mean, all those little squares a earth an’ shit! An’ snow, all that white an’ the little cars and the little houses and my Ma was all, “What the fuck the matter witchu?!” But, I, I… We’re tiny, man. I know I’m a XL guy, but, like, we’re all this big.

I don’ know if I believe in God or what, man… I seen some
fucked up shit go down an’ I wonder about if this God would
really let that all happen… If this God is cool with Dad’s
runnin’ out, an’ kids bein’ hungry an’ on the street because
their Mama’s sellin’ themselves in their bachelor apartment,
like… Is that the God you want?! Is that the fuckin’ God
that everyone is prayin’ to? That’s a fucked up God, man.

“The stress that I have been carrying around with me” by Sasha at Kafka’s


Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at Kafka’s
11:30am
5 minutes
Teach Only Love
Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.


I been carryin a stress around with me like a trekking pack. You know the kind them backpacker hikers wear? With all the strings and straps and pockets? I got that stress from my Mama, right, and she didn mean to give it to me but she jus did.

Mama worked at the hotel on the highway, ya know the first one on the right? She’d work the desk all night so when people’s come cuz they forgets their toothbrushes and condoms and stuff she’d have that covered.

“There’s something I need to explain to you.” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday, July 19, 2015
10:14pm
5 minutes
Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami


Made it back just in time for tea. Mama made those blueberry muffins with the crumble top and we gobbled up more than we shoulda but whatchu gonna do! They are yummy! No one asked about the train trip but that’s okay… Not like I had anything great to say bout it anyway.

The next day was Church and Mama told me I should tie my hair back. “No one wants that hair flying around in their laps, Darlene!” Daniella and I wore matching pink sweaters and someone asked who was older and I hate it when that happens. Daniella loves it. She was grinnin’ ear to ear. Mama had a look sweep over her when she say Paster Earl. I hate it when that happens. I elbowed Danielle when she was singin’ too loud. Everyone was staring!