“Mixed Media-Pastels-Drawings-Photos” by Julia outside her apartment

Tuesday July 10, 2018
11:02pm
5 minutes
http://www.johnmcalpineart.com

Tells me he can’t decide what kind of artist he wants to be
I wonder if he really has a choice
Not to say you can’t do more than one kind of art
That’s like saying you can’t ever cut your mushrooms tail first
There’s no one way to do art but I want him to know
the kind of artist he is
What he stands for
What he looks at
What he sees
What he wants to say
Or fuck
What he must
He can paint and take photos and write
He can dance and sing and sew
He can sculpt and build and carve
He can dream and drink and draw
He can also be true to himself
He can cut the mushrooms lengthwise
Down the middle
In slices
In quarters
In bits
Regardless
Mushrooms are a part of this
The dish called for them
It wasn’t really up to him

“Let us briefly consider the back” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday June 5, 2018
7:05pm
5 minutes
The Other Side
Sarah Ball

Built for carrying heavy all up and down the stairs
Used to holding tension in the crevices that can’t be reached without injury
The smoothest skin on the weakest part of me
The softest muscles bending forward and forward and the other way
Let us, if we might, consider how we can’t see it but must trust it’s there
even when it feels like it’s been buried under all the heavy
carried up and down the stairs
I would watercolour the shit out of yours, painting tiny villages along your spine
planting flowers at the base of the hinge that folds you
I would write you the sweetest words with the nicest flowing pen
straddling your hips, using your bum as a seat
and I would breathe life into you that you will never see without the help of a mirror
but will have to trust is there

“it was a god that acted through me.” By Julia at her desk


Sunday August 27, 2017
12:02pm
5 minutes
Disgrace
J.M. Coetzee


I found a home on a shape shifting cloud
hung up my dreams
put away my human skin
You could say that this one is mine now
here all the time
even the angels know my name
When I look down I can see it all
The places I used to burrow into my own flesh
trying to find a tunnel to an alternate reality
the shops I stole from
Candy, jackets, a single tampon
the secret leafy groves where I asked for forgiveness

And without warning I was shooting upward
my body buoyed by the possibility of knowing something sweet

“also fun” by Sasha in the basement at Bowmore Rd.


Tuesday June 6, 2017
1:02am
5 minutes
From a tweet

Lisa is serious, a squiggle in her brow most of the time, eyes focused, down on her page. She is also fun, knowing how to roll down a big grassy hill, knowing how to draw animals in 3D. On the night she was born, her father was hit by lightning. He missed her birth. She never knew the difference, but her mother did. Her mother resented that bearded, stout man until he took to the bottle and never looked back. Lisa sometimes wonders where her father might be, mid shade of an eyebrow or sketch of a lion’s mane. And just as soon as the thought arrives, it’s gone.

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 20, 2017
8:48am
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


hours at the round kitchen table
pencil crayons building

bungalows making circles
and roofs the paper

my playmate my confidante
my lover my dreamcatcher

embroidery thread spun
into small balls

the summer of the hair wrap
the friendship bracelets

Layah and I had a store out of the living
room where our parent’s friends would

purchase anklets for a quarter

“First we marched” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 22, 2017
8:18pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

And then we cried and
then we cried some more because the road, though paved with many,
is a long one and we will travel it far…
But then we wrote
and wrote and then
we wrote some more
because the pages were begging
us to:
new history books in the making
New essays to recount and remember
new letters to fight
to will.
New anthems to cling to
New poetry to heal by
We wrote out our deepest hurt
and bled the deepest
divide
We told ourselves in cursive or in print to remember

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


Wednesday January 4, 2017
2:10pm
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.”

“How I came into being” By Julia on her couch


Monday September 12, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
poetryfoundation.org

How I was birthed twice in this life by my mother and twice by me. How I have started over. How I have changed destinies and opinions. How I have grown bigger in this year alone than I have in all my years prior combined. How I realized I could draw. How I realized I could sing. The moments of myself split me open like a decision, like a soybean.
I met myself one afternoon in July. I was outside my house and inside my body. I sipped on scotch. I wrote a letter to the me I was becoming. I wrote music for my tired self’s funeral.

“not quite ready for viewing” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 2, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
from leoawards.com

Miriam is working on a masterpiece she is not quite ready to show. She has been behind the curtain for 7 years and she is inspired every day to try and improve it, to make it better, to make sure that it’s perfect. She is getting so good at making the mistakes go away that the masterpiece may soon be on display without flaw and will of course be appreciated more. Miriam does not consider that people waiting for her to complete this masterpiece will have many expectations. She does not let that bother her as she is preoccupied with ensuring that her art is living, breathing, and winning. It must win what ever ribbon is awarded to the winner of the production of a masterpiece. Surely a blue ribbon for dedicating so much time to one thing because there was a vision? Miriam could use a blue ribbon. It’d be nice to be reminded why she stays inside creating without ever showing others her work. Must be a reason why she never feels like it’s good enough to offer.

“passionate artists” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday March 17, 2016
12:21am
5 minutes
from a program

I woke up. Not, like, from sleep. There was no stretching, or coffee, or yawns. Well, maybe there was, but that’s beside the point. I realized something, something huge. Something so huge that it completely transformed everything about me – from the size of my baby toes to colour of my heart.

From the time I was a little girl, everyone said, “you can be whatever you want to be!” This was well intentioned. This was meant to be a good thing, to be freeing… “Are you going to be a nurse like your Dad?” People would say. “Are you going to be an engineer like your Mom?” They would ask. “I just want to be a passionate artist!” I said one day… And it just kind of stuck. I kept saying it. Suddenly, that’s what I wanted.

“She said she was an actress” by Julia at Grange Park


Friday, July 3, 2015
3:48pm
5 minutes
said by a Valens customer

She said she was an actress
Her heart the bleeding kind
She said she was a change maker
Her heart the bleeding kind
She said she was only half living
Her heart the tortured kind
She said she was only half being
Her heart the tortured kind
She said she was a lover once
Her heart the open kind
She said she was mother once
Her heart the open kind
She said she was an actress
Her heart the beating kind
She said she was a slave to the art
Her heart the beating kind
She said she was unhappy
Her heart the breaking kind
She said she was wasn’t done yet
Her heart the breaking kind

“Reducing your taxes” by Sasha on the deck at Horseshoe Bay


Monday May 18,2015
1:30pm
5 minutes
http://www.finance.ubc.ca

Across from him I’m all “What are we going to barbecue for dinner?” And he’s all “How much did you make last year?” I got here forty five minutes ago and I was cracking jokes for the first twenty. Twenty minutes. He’s all “When did you move here?” And I’m all “We got bumped up to first class!” And he doesn’t want my stories. He wants numbers. Okay! Okay. Numbers are a scary place. Numbers under the bed. Numbers hiding in the depths of the sea like the Loch Ness Monster. Numbers are extra time after school because I JUST DON’T GET IT. Give me a soul to sooth and I’ll do it with my eyes closed.

“This is a highly competitive, adjudicated process” by Julia at the Bloor/gladstone public library


Monday March 30, 2015 at the TPL
5:46pm
5 minutes
The BC Arts Council website

I have never been so nervous! I’m sweating behind my knees and I’m gassy like a bagel on a cow’s hip. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? BECAUSE I CARE WAY TOO MUCH?? IS IT MY FAULT? I just want them to like me. To accept me and recognize me for my efforts. I think that’s a normal human thing to want. But this is big. It’s not just like, oh, you didn’t gain approval, it means, oh, you didn’t get funding, validation, encouragement to continue trying, etc, etc. I’m fully aware of the competition. I don’t want to be the kind of person who competes with the people out there who compete in these things for sport. But can a nobody compete against his or herself? Can this be turned into a positive somehow? I can’t think, I just want this. But did I do enough work to earn it? I don’t know, I’m sitting here waxing ridiculous to a bunch of overly medicated rich people who all equally believe that their kid deserves this over me.

“can’t go a day without” by Julia on her bed


Monday March 9, 2015
9:27pm
5 minutes
from a comment on YouTube

thinking about bread
wishing i was better
praying to a god i no longer believe in
touching my hair
remembering
examining my fingernails
snagging my ring on the inside of my jacket
sighing deep and audibly
dreaming about chocolate
playing with my earrings
singing to myself
communicating with my love
apologizing for something
tricking myself into stillness
cracking my back
touching my face
biting my lower lip
smiling
holding space for pain

“The days will be longer” by Julia at Zia Kathy’s house


Sunday March 8, 2015
12:29am
5 minutes
http://www.skam.ca

I suddenly became the girl who sits cross legged at her typewriter with her lamp weirdly perched on the bed beside her knee. It happened in the moment where I wanted to feel alive and well and proper and good. The lighting wasn’t right and somehow being closer to it felt more rustic. It felt the way a real writer would sit. Propped up against a few pillows, wrapped in an itchy couch throw. I knew that I was okay with the emptiness that was leaving my body because I could feel my lungs filling with a golden breath after so long without activity. In and out, lights on and bright. The days, I realized, would be longer from that instant on. There would be an abundance of abundance. How beautiful and mysterious and possible it all began to appear. You and your day will work together. You and your night will snuggle up and sleep soundly.

“nothing has ever summed me up so succinctly” by Julia at her desk


Saturday March 7, 2015
12:54am
5 minutes
from a caitlinjstasey Instagram post

Put me in a bottle, ship me out to sea
I float along like a magic little oyster pearl
and I found the freedom there in a wave’s whisper
caught up real high in conversation
with the night
with the night
She sang “don’t come back again”
but I was long gone by then

Put me in an envelope and ship me out to sea
I bob along like a magic book inside of you
And I found the freedom there in a wave’s anger
Up up and away down
up up and away down low
Cause I would be a million miles away from me

Put me in a memory and ship me out to sea
I’ll crash along the shores all the way there
And I found the freedom there in a wave’s evening dress
she pulled out a letter saying
Who is this from? A letter to my soul…

How does she know
Just what I’m looking for?
And she was caught up real tight in conversation
about lost oyster pearls
With the night
with the night
with the night

“a wonderful future beckoned and winked” by Julia on her bed


Thursday March 5, 2015
11:59pm
5 minutes
The Fig Tree
Sylvia Plath


“I’m ready for something bigger.” I took a deep gulp of air and I said that to myself. I did. I was, in that moment, feeling very existential. I wanted to know things about myself. I realized I wanted to enjoy my own abilities instead of waiting, forever waiting, for someone else to tell me that they enjoy them. “How is that living?” I exhaled and I said that to myself. “How is it?” If I might, I’d like to paint the scene for you so perhaps you’d see how silly it is too.
You wake up, you dread enjoying your own gifts because you’re afraid someone else might disagree with you or have an opinion about what you’ve made. You make a bowl of quick oats and banana, and you tell yourself internally how bad you are for wanting to spend time doing the things that bring you joy and amusement and pleasure. You clean the dishes and you imagine a world where there is applause for you, but you see it as its own entity and not attached to the doing. Then you put on your jeans and you notice that you don’t ever see the part where you’re actually enjoying your own ability. You can’t envision the perfect happiness that comes from simply doing that thing, and you can’t fathom for even a split second what the feeling of truly expressing and connecting would mean for you.
So you throw on your winter scarf and head out of the house to once again avoid doing what you know your heart bleeds for.
Bizarre, isn’t it?

“She’s a super creative super babe” by Julia at her desk


Thursday February 19, 2015
12:32am
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I thought she was younger than me when I first met her cause of the way she only talked about guys finding her attractive, which party we should go to on the weekend based on which guys would be there..and I mean, yeah, she was beautiful and she obviously had lots of guys interested, but it was the attitude of a 20 year old, and then all of a sudden, I find out she’s 32. It rocked my world. And I’m not an agist, you know? Because when I thought she was younger than me, I was still cool with hanging out with her. And then she was older, and the level of respect I had for her didn’t match anymore. So that’s why we stopped being friends, you know, not cause she’s not nice, cause she is, or at least she was or whatever, but it was me. I couldn’t get past it. I don’t know. It sort of just got inside my head and stuck around. Maybe it was also because she was a self-proclaimed “true artist” and I never saw her create anything.

“Pumpkins are awesome,” by Julia at her desk


Friday October 31, 2014
2:55am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Carlos came over and he had this great idea to carve each other’s face in our pumpkins this year. He said it would be more fun, and I was like, Carlos, I already know how this is going to go, but sure, fine, let’s carve. So I sat behind my pumpkin like I would behind an easel…or what I’m assuming I’d be sitting like cause I don’t paint or anything. It was just an example. And I looked at him, I studied him and all his features. I wanted to carve his face perfectly, and for someone who doesn’t ever do things like this, it was going to take all my concentration. I looked at every part of him: his eyebrows, his slightly larger left ear, the groove in his chin, the scar near his eye from the fallen icicle 5 years ago. I knew this face and still I was like, who are you? Like not to Carlos, cause I didn’t want him to get weird. But it’s like that when you look at a face for a long time. New things appear. Old things too, but mainly lots of new ones.

“I am not sure at all” by Sasha in her garden


Thursday July 10, 2014
8:34pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Erica Jong

You think you’re so cool with your street art and your tattoos and your ironic name. “Joan”. Your parents didn’t know that you were going to get that haircut, okay. They didn’t. When you were a baby they probably thought that “Joan” was a sophisticated, pant-suit kinda name. They definitely didn’t think about the fact that, twenty three years in the future, you were going to take MDMA like calcium, and forget the difference between “high” and “low”. I’m sorry, I know I’m being aggressive, but… I’m so fucking angry at you! You come in and you say, “Americano,” but I know what you really mean is, “I’m better than you.” And, you are. Or, your art is. How street art can be in a gallery, earning you sixty G’s a year is really beyond me, but… So are a lot of things. Joan. Next time, say “please” or “thank you” or chuck a quarter in the tip jar. Please. Thanks. Oh, and my name is Andy. Like, Warhol.

“microcosmic model” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday April 8, 2014
10:50pm
5 minutes
Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice
Kristin Linklater


I guess Steve was talking about humans and their relation to the universe again, and I guess I got bored because I fell asleep a little bit the way I do when I watch movies after 10pm. I can usually make it to 11pm on weekends, but it depends on what kind of a day I had. It’s not my fault that Steve’s mid section is the perfect pillow, or that his breathing patterns lull me into an eternal and blissful sleep. In fact, Steve likes it. Well, he likes when I sleep on him, not when I fall asleep during movies. He only really likes it when I sleep while he watches the News so that when he tells me what is going on in the world, I always agree with his opinion because I never hear any other ones to make an informed decision. Steve actually wants to talk about the movies, about the plot, about the characters. He’s into that stuff. Maybe because he’s an artist and he really likes things he can see himself doing later on in his life. You know, if he understands this movie and this story arc and this conclusion, then he’ll be able to make his own someday. I didn’t mean to fall asleep while he was talking about his worldly theories. That was a special case cause I had just finished running the half marathon and my body was in absolute shambles because I pushed myself really hard.

“customize the formula” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday April 3, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

She thinks about her future, yeah, she sees the colour of her life. The mornings are blue, yeah, soft, yeah, like cheek, yeah. The afternoons are yellow, yeah, like a daffodil, yeah. The nights? The nights are velvet red, rich red, yeah, like lips. She thinks about her future, yeah, and she sees that wide colour palate, the one that stretches across the horizon at sunrise, yeah, sunset, yeah. She mixes midnight herself, yeah, she forgets about taking away and only adds. She adds, yeah.

“guest starring” by Julia on her couch


Thursday March 20, 2014
9:16pm
5 minutes
The opening credits of a TV show

Do you ever feel like you’re guest starring in your own life? I know that’s one of those loaded questions that make you think far more deeply about things. But I had this thought earlier this morning and I couldn’t shake it. I’m wondering if I am just passing through….
Makes me sound a bit like a ghost doesn’t it? I’m not saying I’m a ghost. Not even a little bit! Just gliding a bit above the ground of where my life is taking place. Kind of watching it from the outside with an understanding of the inside but without fully being able to get a handle on things. I feel like I’ve been paid to be present for one or two episodes of my life each day and then I’m free to do my own thing like sleep or procrastinate or complain. I’m not required to work that hard to maintain some semblance of consistency. Like the main cast does.

“guest starring” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday March 20, 2014
9:19pm
5 minutes
The opening credits of a TV show

I want to switch the order of the credits
Not that that kind of thing really matters
Well
At least
It doesn’t to you
It does to me
A little
But I hide it
Like an unswept onion skin
Under the stove

I want to switch the order of the credits
Not that credit is even relevant
You deserve as much credit
In what I make as
I do
Because if you’re doing the dishes
And buying toilet paper
And folding my underwear into tiny perfect triangles
I am
Writing
I am
Crafting lines and curls into words that I pretend I’ve made up

I want to switch the order of these credits
Because I don’t make anything alone
The couch helps me by holding me when I’m tired
The water quenches my insatiable thirst
The streetcar gets me there
And
Takes me home
The brown rice fuels me
You
You
You hold my face when I want to quit
And tell me it will be wonderful
You paint the walls of the world
And smile when I snap

“a broken-down piano” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday November 20, 2013
12:31am
5 minutes
from the Jared Leto Wikipedia page

If you look closely at him, you’ll see he’s one of those artist types. He plays with his fingers as if they were keys on a piano, trying to make music. Trying to express himself. He doesn’t draw, but he understands lines and colours better than anyone I know. It’s hard to describe someone with the capacity for “lines and colours”, I recognize that, but he really is. He’s never mentioned the word Art. I don’t know if he knows what it means. But he’s authentically him, and that’s more artistic than I’ve ever seen, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of artistic people. He started when he was young. Very quiet. Very observant. He didn’t say much, he just took everything in, and breathed into it like a balloon, giving it shape and understanding. We wanted to put him in music lessons, but he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t his idea even if we could see that he could benefit from it. He’d rather use his dreams to teach him anyway. He was so different like that. I worried when he was little that if he didn’t let us foster his gifts, then he’d grow up one day to be a broken-down piano…a beautiful shell with lots of potential, but without the ability to touch lives with its sound.

“I used to sleep at night” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday November 1, 2013
9:21pm
5 minutes
lyrics of Empty Room by Arcade Fire

“I don’t have any ideas left,” Bob says. “I used to be a genius and now I’m a nothing.” We’re out for Indian Food and I’m stressing about the fact that my hands are going to smell like curry for the rest of the night. “Did you hear me? I’m a nothing.” “”A”?” Dip the kabob into the chutney. Keep eyes down. “I’m being serious, Polly. Don’t mock me…” “I’m not. I’m just wondering what “a” nothing even means?” He angry tears apart a samosa. “You know what I’m talking about. You just want me to feel like an asshole.” “Lie!” I say. “I never want that!” The mango lassi is smooth and sweet. “You have a pretty voracious appetite tonight…” I know he’s trying to hurt my feelings but I won’t let him. Just because he feels like a nothing doesn’t mean I should. “I love this stuff,” I smile. I dip my finger into the raita and make a big show of sucking it off. “I’m in a real rut and could really use your support, Polly.” I think about how I have a bird name. I can’t believe that’s never occurred to me.

“you fit the part” by Julia on her couch


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

I’ve heard it’s hard to paint ringlets, and if so, get researching. I have a head of hair that could combat the storm, and it needs to be perfect, perfect.
you have the fine lines of an artist, the deep set brow lines that let me know you’ve been examining again. The off colour in your cheeks when you prefer painting in your garage and not with natural light. The lonely things you say sometimes that remind me you spend most of your days by yourself.

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

Let me help you out. I’ll come in, read books to you, massage your shoulders, and prance around in tiny pyjama bottoms that show of my legs so you can be inspired. Or I’ll bring you your deep dish pizza from Dominos and we can start a fire with all the scribblings you’ve done that don’t quite capture my smile or my spirit.

“EXIT HIGH PARK AVE.” by Julia on the Greyhound


Saturday , August 10, 2013
11:30am
5 minutes
from the High Park Subway station
Writing a new song
Don’t want you to try to learn it
I’m a good friend of your mother
From a long long time ago
I met you at the Ferris wheel one fall evening bright
You were wearing your favorite jacket looked like you borrowed it from your mother’s closet
It was her favourite too
I remember her
I remember you
I didn’t want you to know who I was so
Iied about my name and my living situation
Told you I was in investments and you smiled and said oh how nice that is
Everyone you meet lately is a struggling artist like yourself
I knew I was singing to you right then
Making this truth song play out in my head just for you
My little inspiration wouldn’t know my intentions
Wouldn’t know who I really am
Too painful for all the memories of me
and
her
That you will never see