“How could she comprehend what it was like” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday December 5, 2017
4:42pm
5 minutes
Super Sad True Love Story
Gary Shteyngart

The oven keeps setting off the fire alarm.
Somebody (you) spilled cheese and forgot to
clean it up. You told me it wasn’t you.
I don’t really eat cheese.
Every time we take something out of there,
even if it’s a slice of bread at 350 for
2 minutes, the smoke gets the yelling
started.
I want to tell you to clean up your mess
but I am afraid you will tell me that
there isn’t anything to clean. I hate being
right about you.

The stove keeps setting off the fire alarm.
Somebody (me) left a penne noodle underneath
the burner and refused to take it out.
I told you it wasn’t on purpose. It was.
One day I discovered that if you leave a
penne noddle close to the burner but not in
a pan, it will cook it crispy enough to eat.
Everytime we boil water the smoke gets the
screaming started.
I want to tell you to take out the battery
but I’m afraid it might be too easy to
burn the whole place down with you in it
if you do.

“to bring supportive people into your life” by Julia on the 99

Monday December 4, 2017
6:57pm
5 minutes
Feng Shui Dos & Taboos
Angi Ma Wong

I forgot to draw a card from my Angel’s deck before performing in my show.
I needed guidance. I needed to know how to stop spiraling out. I thought of
the shoppers drug mart bag that I packed too full. I heard it slowly bending.
Knew that it was gradually colluding with gravity. But I didn’t releieve the
load. I kept glancing over thinking, don’t you dare. And then it was too late.
I had chosen something else like finding the right boots to wear instead.
I suppose I would have ensured the safety of the contents had the contents
been worth ensuring. I wish I had a card to tell me to check the contents.
To look inside and see what was at risk of spilling out. I guess I did get
the guidance afterall. If you look at everything as information, that is.
The bag was going to topple regardless of me. I could have stopped it if
I had valued it enough. If I was ready to get off the dead stool and do
something.

“It depends how aware you are.” by Julia in F’s kitchen


Saturday August 19, 2017
9:53pm
5 minutes
Lennon on Lennon
edited by Jeff Burger


walking eyes ground walking walking
don’t stop moving eyes ground further further

count cracks sidewalk busted bruised gum gum gum somebody’s bad decision spit shit cigarette butt

empty sky sun alone head no where near the clouds but in them with them nothing around

five dollar bill twenty cigarette butt shopping list bus pass toothpick

hands stuffed into jeans pockets bursting ripped and bleeding bang into the cyclist crossing chipped lips

shuffling pushing one foot next foot walking running listen for the lights to change beep beep at your own risk

seagulls pigeons balloon string toilet paper hat full of coins people people everywhere there here up down

“Not even sure” overheard on 14th Ave by Julia on Bec’s couch


Sunday July 9, 2017
2:07am
5 minutes
overheard on 14th Ave

We haven’t talked since Maeve’s funeral. A bit strange, since we live together. We have been weaving in and out of the hallways to avoid our skin brushing. It helps that there are mirrors. You don’t know I’m watching but I know when to move. I don’t miss your voice and that’s also a bit strange. I thought I would but it turns out I’ve never known silence. Neither have you. My quiet is different than yours. Mine is settled. Yours sounds like bees, dying. Maybe if you didn’t kiss my sister while everyone else was burying my step mother. Maybe then yours would have sounded lighter.

“beating my lazy part” by Julia in her bed


Saturday June 24, 2017
11:53pm
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


if there ever was a time to play dead it’s now.

in the heart of being asked to set the table.

when the baby’s diapers need changing after too much yogurt.

after the good dinner and the good dishes.

before he mistakes the long kiss for long love.

in the state between here and decided which friend to disinvite.

during the production of Pay Attention To Me off off off Broadway.

when he asks for proof on why you like his song but you’re not prepared for a test.

“Part of the explanation” by Julia on F’s couch


Friday June 9, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail

I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.

Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
She laughs.
Then later she cries.
We both do.

“periodic assessment” by Julia on her couch


Sunday March 19, 2017
8:54pm
5 minutes
from a contract

There was a scrawny boy, from my teaching days, who used to come into my office for extra help on his map reading at recess. He was very worried that he wasn’t picking up on the navigation unit as comfortably as the other children so I worked with him as best as I could and showed him plenty of examples. He seemed to always wear that same confused face even after I felt I had made things very clear. I tried not to get frustrated that he’d come in every day to work on the unit that everyone else had figured out with relative ease. I asked him one day if he thought coming in to see me was helping him. That’s when he told me he had understood the whole time but was afraid of recess because of Tyler, who sometimes tripped him while he ran.

“the meltdown” by Julia at her dining table


Friday September 16, 2016
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail
September 16, 2016


Now that she had a name for her pain it was easier to feel it. Started in the tip of her nose and found roots in her stomach. She had been carrying around the seeds of it. Of the pain. Of the pretending. It had been harder before when things sprouted up because the leaves were all so similar looking. No one was identifying the loss of her inside of her. She had first to grow it into something people could recognize. That’s when the naming started. No growing thing can be complete without a name. An identity. The power of believing it to be. Then things got worse. She tried to avoid it but this swaying thing with long branches was always moving around inside her begging to be remembered. She tried to put other things in her stomach to keep the thing company so it wouldn’t make her pay all of her attention to it when she needed to be smiling and get things done.

“creamed corn with beer” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 4, 2016 at Starbucks
6:57am
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Only had one plan for the entire weekend and that was to roll out of my house and down the hill to the corner store and buy a banana or two and maybe a variety pack of mini travel cereals. Frosted Flakes. Had some nostalgia for times past, for the flavours of my youth. I turned off my phone and I bundled myself up in flannel and wool. I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t expect to. Hart had been gone for almost a month. He wrote me a letter saying it would be his last and that I should probably do my best to move on and not take the break-up too personally. Okay, Hart, I thought, I will only take it medium-personally. The teenager working the cash was on her phone and I was not in the mood for kindness anyway so it was fine. Then I heard my name being hollered from behind me. I turned around reluctantly and saw Hart’s oldest daughter, Carmen. She was holding a can of creamed corn and carrying a case of Labatt Blue.

“within the high-rise’s stairway” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday June 7, 2016
11:01pm
5 minutes
Flushed
David Delisca


Ellen told Brody she wouldn’t be joining him on the hike this year but she didn’t give him much notice. She had been holding off on saying anything until she knew for sure if she could or not. Brody didn’t think to ask if there was a reason. He focused on the fact that Ellen bailed on him so last minute and he had already put his money down. Brody sent a lot of passive aggressive messages telling Ellen that he wished he could “find a way to make some much needed cash asap–life is so unexpected, you know?” Ellen didn’t have the heart to tell him what was really going on in case he decided not to go all together. The last thing she needed was her best friend giving up something he had looked forward to every year just to stay at home and offer some unwanted pity. Ellen toggled between telling him the whole truth, and avoiding anything but.

“I do and I don’t” by Julia on the 250


Sunday May 8, 2016
3:59pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 2 bus

By the time I have to decide whether I’ll go and visit Tracey in the hospital, I’ll probably know if Tracey is even still there. Last time I heard from Tanya that Tracey was fighting with her tubes and didn’t want anything “touching her blood”. I told Tanya I would come and relieve her but I didn’t end up going because I am actively avoiding the hospital. Tanya told me not to come if I don’t want to be there but Tina thinks I’m not pulling my weight. She says if I’m not going to come relieve them I should at least give 24 hours notice. Tanya had someone just in case I decided not to so everything was fine and Tina doesn’t scare me. Tina calls me everyday and so I make sure it goes to voicemail. She likes to give all the gory details like “Tracey only has a few good days left” and “you better show up for her” or “Tracey vomited in her sleep because her intubation wasn’t done right”.

“Don’t turn off your computer” by Julia at Platform 7


Wednesday April 13, 2016 at Platform 7
4:47pm
5 minutes
from the update installation screen

For the first time in a month of coming here, the man with obnoxious voice and even more obnoxious ponytail is not working in the cafe that I am borrowing as my office. I don’t mean to say I miss him-I don’t- but I’ve come to expect him and now things feel a bit off.
I spilled coffee into my laptop bag, and into my laptop keyboard, and onto my table, and into the self-deprecating narrative that I’m the kind of person who spills liquids on all the things that should never get wet.
I waited in line for the single-stall bathroom for the duration of “Another Day” from the Rent soundtrack because I could hear someone doing a million weird things inside and I didn’t know how long was reasonable to wait before I decided to stop waiting.
Nothing else bad has happened. I don’t think it’s obnoxious ponytail accent’s fault for not being here- I was just trying to connect some dots that don’t need connecting while my computer updates itself and tells me not to shut off until it’s done. It’s done now. It doesn’t take long to restart or update but I always think it will. Maybe that’s a reminder for me when I make excuses for staying married to bad habits…

“Professional photography” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday, March 27, 2016
9:13pm
5 minutes
from a flyer

Abigail got my parents a professional photo session for their anniversary. I told her not to waste her money on something like that cause it would be more of a gift for her and not them. She told me that everybody likes having nice photos of themselves and that was literally the end of that. Abi can be so stubborn sometimes. She once hired a clown to entertain at her own kid’s birthday even though he’s scared to death of clowns and spent the whole afternoon crying in the bathtub. She doesn’t want to listen, she just wants to do what ever she thinks will be best. I have stopped questioning if she ever thinks past herself and considers putting somebody before her. I know the answer. She doesn’t. My parents did the photo shoot to appease her because her temper is as unpredictably violent as you can imagine, and they are the most awkward and cringe worthy photos you’ve ever seen, let alone that my parents have ever been in. I want to take her into a sound proof room sometimes and shake the living shit out of her while just screaming NO to her over and over.

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“Paul had known” by Julia at her table


Thursday, December 24, 2015
5:11pm
5 minutes
Dune
Frank Herbert


It was hidden in the secret stash, tucked away deep in the back of her closet.
She didn’t want anyone to see. She didn’t want to be reminded.
Paul had known the whole time that Lara was keeping a shoe box sealed with a red ribbon tied in a hundred tiny knots. He had known and he had attempted many times to open it up. He knew Lara didn’t want it to be opened. But his curiosity was bigger than both of them.
One day Paul sneaked to the closet while Laura was napping on the couch in the living room.
He brought with him a Swiss Army knife and a plastic bag, just in case.
Paul didn’t care about the photos Lara kept, or the notes she liked to hold onto from her high school friends.
He slipped out the dusty shoe box and flipped it upside down. Paul held the knife carefully and began to draw a fine line on the box’s seam. He was nervous. He wasn’t sure if what he was doing was worth the findings. Worth Lara never trusting him again. Worth Lara not being able to deal with what seeing the contents might bring up…

“see discuss contemplate” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, October 17, 2015
10:55pm
5 minutes
A Toronto Public Library card

Can I ask you something?
I say this to you right in the middle of a long and delicious make out.
Right now?
You ask, eyes still closed and hands still wandering.
No, I’ll wait a couple weeks, as you were.
I keep kissing you, a little more preoccupied than before.
What? What? You have to say it now.
You are no longer kissing me. Your hands have found a stagnant position on each side of my face.
Nah, forget I said anything. It was stupid! Where were we?
I shove my tongue down your throat and you reel away from me like I just tried to lick your eyeball or something.
Hey, hey, what are you doing? What’s going on with you?
You’re still holding my face, searching deep into my eyes, hoping to find something better than what I’m giving you right now.
I just wanted to ask you….If you…I wanted to ask you if you ever…fuck…just if you…
I am looking anywhere but your face. It’s harder than I thought it’d be.

“When, Finally and inevitably,” by Julia at Barb’s house in Vernon


Tuesday, September 1, 2015
5:28pm
5 minutes
Bits
Louis Taylor


I’ve seen the sun, he was locked away, hiding.
I whispered to him often, reminding him to take his time.
I said hello to him every morning, and I bowed my head down deep.
He didn’t want to come out.
He didn’t want to be my guide.
Sometimes facing the day is hard for everyone.
But he was there and I could tell that he needed to set himself free.
I knew because I had lived that way before.
I knew because revealing feels bad before it feels good.
I knew because in the shadows no one can see your smile, or the one you think you’re wearing.
Then after all my meditations and salutations and exaltations, I asked him quietly if I should go.
I leaned in close to catch it: he didn’t want to be left alone.

“I met my first savant 52 years ago” By Julia on the A train


Saturday, August 1, 2015
3:30am
5 minutes
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com

I didn’t want to meet him. I wasn’t really in the position of meeting someone outside my own brain let alone someone outside my own comfort zone. I tried to be sweet but I came off as this precious little bitch with an agenda and a superiority complex. He was kind. He played me the song he wrote on his banjo and asked me if I thought if sounded genuine enough. I couldn’t lie to him so I told him it sounded like heaven and I wished he’d never stopped to ask me about something I was clearly already thinking about. I hate when people push their shit on you. I didn’t really know sweetness. What I knew was that he cared about my opinion and what I knew was that he didn’t actually need to hear what my true one was. That should have been enough of a warning sign but I stuck around anyway. I waited till he sent me a photo of him wearing army pants to call it off.

“It is impossible to live without failing” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Tuesday, June 23, 2015
5:23pm
5 minutes
A quote by J.K. Rowling

She came home huffing in and out like she was attached to a ventilator. It was exaggerated and annoying and I wanted to punch her strong in the throat to get her to just shut up and stop bragging about how gassed she was. She had seen me earlier on the couch with the TV blaring and I guess she thought I hadn’t left that spot all day or something? I did, for the record, in case anyone’s actually keeping tabs on me. I’ve been working more than ever, more than I should be, more than her and I combined, but sometimes it doesn’t look that way at all. She was smiling at me as if she pitied me and was trying to include me in something. Conversation, self-improvement, something like that. She asked, “How was your day?” And I pretended I didn’t hear her. She repeated herself, “How was your day today?” And I refused to turn around when I said, “Oh. It was fine. Thanks so much for asking.”

“heated rivalry and the jealousy” by Julia on her bed


Friday February 6, 2015
12:35am
5 minutes
http://www.mtv.ca

Karma’s a straight up bitch. Man, I’ve been saying that for as long as I can remember..like to other people, cause, hey, that’s what you say. But today I actually feel the bitter truth of it coursing through my veins like a sour drug. It fills me up so high my head pops off and my brains shoot out. It’s this epic battle between knowing that it’s deserved, and feeling one hundred percent blind-sided. I have realized, maybe for the first time ever, that I never want to be on Karma’s crazy bad side ever again. Cause right now, I’m at the lowest I’ve ever been. I don’t want to talk about why I’m at the bottom of the barrel because it feels like it gives my behaviour more power than it should have. On the other hand, I know avoiding it is cheap and cowardly, and I don’t want to be either of those things. So I guess what I’m saying is, I did it. I started the rumours about Tia because I was so jealous about her and Jay I couldn’t even see straight.

“Sunday’s paper still lies flat open from earlier” by Julia a St. Vital Curling Club


Sunday January 25, 2015
2:36pm
5 minutes
adult-mag.com

Sunday’s paper still lies flat open from earlier. Hard not to have a glance at it. Even harder not to read it. But that’s what I’ve done. Walked past an open Sunday paper. Ignored the headlines and the information. Pretended like the words were part of a big print painting. An impressionist’s grand masterpiece. And that’s what I’ve done. Avoidance. It was big in my family so I have half a mind to blame it on them. Sitting pretty in an airtight bubble of blissful ignorance. We talk about movie stars and phone bills, garlic powder and cobwebs. The time for learning is now and it haunts me. If I passed by my sister’s journal, lying flat open on the kitchen table, would I steal 3 minutes just to read it? Or would I ignore that too?

“ADDICTED?” By Julia at ITIT Il Sandwich Shop


Thursday October 16,2014 at ITIT Il Sandwich Shop
6:52pm
5 minutes
from a Sandwich board at ITIT

WHY WERE THEY YELLING AT ME? I WAS FINE BEFORE THEY STARTED WITH ME! I WAS SO FINE I COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE. BUT NOT, THEY HAVE TO DO THAT DANCE. THAT STUPID “YOU’RE MAD” DANCE AND THEY ALL KNOW I WASN’T EVEN MAD. I WASN’T MAD UNTIL THEY STARTED ACCUSING ME OF BEING MAD! WHY DON’Y PEOPLE GET THAT? WHY CAN’T THEY READ THE ROOM? THEN SUDDENLY, WOAH, SERENA, THAT’S TOO MUCH. THAT’S TOO FAR. YOU’RE THE ONE WHO CAN’T TAKE A LIGHT ISSUE WITHOUT TURNING IT INTO A FIRETRUCK OF SENSITIVITY.

WHO EVEN THINKS SAYING FIRETRUCK AT A TIME LIKE THIS IS CLEVER? WILL SOMEONE CALL THE COMEDY POLICE AND ARREST THESE BUSH LEAGUE IDIOTS FOR WASTING THE PRECIOUS SPACE OF MOTHER FUCKING HUMANITY?

AND THEN IT WAS JUST DOWN HILL. SO FAR DOWN I COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEONE. AND THEY WERE LIKE, WOAH, SERENA, ARE YOU OFF YOUR MEDS AGAIN, AND I WAS LIKE, NOOOO, ARE YOU???

“study and travel” By Julia in her bed in Bologna


Sunday October 5,2014
10:50pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I am at the part of the journey where I want to turn back because my head is swirling and my heart aches a bit. It’s the part you’d recognize in a relationship where right after the Honeymoon phase, it turns into a troubling time. Where the fruit isn’t as sweet, where the “out loud” ideas are nowhere near as good, where the smell of feet begins to make itself present in every room and conversation. I’m there now. It’s like, yes, I know I love it (you), and it’s going to be worth it (us) in the end, but right now the only thing that will make me happy is laying in bed with a stack of dark chocolate and a bottle of limonata. Alone. Completely alone. It’s the hard part where things are really different. You just start seeing the world without that rose and laced veil. Mostly because it’s a lot of work being absolutely and utterly alone. Even though it’s what you want most for yourself so you can be yourself.

“Tutti liberi!” By Julia in Piazza della Mercanzia, Bologna


Saturday September 27, 2014
5:41pm
5 minutes
Street graffiti on Strada Maggiore in Bologna

When the missus takes my hat I fall in love with her hands and the silky smoothness of her fingertips as she lightly grazes mine. I fall in love with her in this instance and in all her past instances-her befores, her before thats. Her shadows following closely behind her-I see them and I love them too, for they know her intimately from the back, even though she barely turns her head.

She doesn’t say a word to me but with her silence I can tell she senses me more than she’d like to. She won’t meet my eyes but her skin is lit up and it radiates a heat that comes from fear disguised as indifference. She’s done this before and I’m aware that she knows this too, but old habits die the hardest. She doesn’t wish it were different, she doesn’t try to kill the thing that eats her. I wonder what the missus would have looked like as a girl and I picture her strawberry blonde curls frizzing in the midsummer’s heat.

“Try and make a few local friends” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 18, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
girlinflorence.com

My motha, she calls me in the middle of the night. She tells me, Keltie, don’t be that girl. I am not that girl, whatever girl she thinks I am, so I say, motha, please, don’t lump me into that group, for the love of christ. She says, Keltie, I don’t want you to be one of those loser girls who sits on her computer all day checking e-mails and how to blogs about growing vegetables indoors but doesn’t actually buy the seeds to do it. I have to take a moment to think about that one, but she doesn’t stop talking. You know, Keltie, you’ve got to be ahead of the crowd and ahead of yourself. Don’t try and hide behind your looks because you’re not fooling anyone and one day someone other than me is going to expect you to actually do something. I’m sitting up in my bed chugging a glass of day old water, trying to watch the tiny fuzz particles as they hid my teeth. I’m staring at the mirror. I’m plucking out stray hairs on inner thigh, fucking Carla forgot to get those white ones we talked about. Yes, uh-huh, I’m still here, I tell her, but she’s hardly even listening. You want to be one of those sad girls who doesn’t make any friends? Keltie? Promise me you’re going to get drunk at least once so you have the confidence to talk to someone other than your vagina. Ma! My vagina? What fresh hell is this conversation right now? She doesn’t answer for the first time. Promise me, Keltie.

“INSERTED” by Julia on her couch


Sunday August 17, 2014
10:19pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I haven’t known what day it is since last week. That’s not usually like me. I usually know dates and times and names and faces. Lately I’ve been forgetting. I can’t tell if it’s later in the week or earlier? I can’t tell if I have something I need to get done, or not? Maybe because I’ve been doing nothing for so long it suddenly feels like there’s no way I could still be doing only nothing. Haven’t I scheduled some amazing plans yet? Haven’t I figured out something great to do with my time? Surely I’ve missed something! But that would be even worse, knowing that the one and only time I did have plans, I forgot to write them down, or just got the dates confused and ended up doing something mundane instead! Maybe it’s a defence mechanism so I don’t have to go ahead and deal with the dates I know are approaching. August 21: our last night. August 22: our last day. August 23: The first day without you in months. August 24: the first Sunday without cuddling you in the morning because we made sure to observe No Alarm Sundays every other weekend.
I don’t know what day I’m on because I’m in preparation for a longing that can’t be cured simply just by making other plans..

“By a man’s fingernails,” by Julia on her “deck” steps


Tuesday August 5, 2014
9:54pm
5 minutes
a quote by Sherlock Holmes

It was unnecessary, really, for them to be so curt with their neighbours. They had, the neighbours that is, up until that point, made sure to smile each time they saw them and to greet them with a tiny wave-usually the small female neighbour did the hand gestures; the small male neighbour liked to nod his head ever so slightly. They hadn’t come over with a casserole or any baked goods out of kindness or welcoming. They simply said hello with their body language and were probably a little too hopeful that they would eventually be met with a similar greeting by the new couple who had moved in just down the hall. They did, after all, share a kitchen wall and a parking lot. When they saw the small female neighbour pacing back and forth in front of her kitchen door, they could tell she was distraught. A hello wouldn’t have been appropriate anyway. They knew exactly what had happened between her and the small male neighbour just moments before. Their shared kitchen wall was anything but thick. She had yelled at him because she had burnt her hand on the hot pan straight from the oven. She had already been having a bad day, and they assumed that was the straw that broke it. She looked up from her puffy eyes, sensing the newly arrived couple’s presence. Hopeful. Always hopeful.

“they are content with burning my books” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, July 13, 2014
4:42pm
5 minutes
Freud, 1938, Vienna
Lou Lipsitz



So I come home (hard day), the radio’s blasting (of course it is), and Jeremiah is sitting cross-legged on the cold linoleum (of course he is) surrounded by a perfectly stacked circle of all my books. I stand there in the doorway (leaning) just looking at him (confused), while he hums the alphabet song (leaving out J and S, I can only assume), and touches each book as if for the very first time. He’s deciding (magically) which ones he’ll discard (burn) at the final moment (3:33pm), while I question every single reason (mole, laugh, orgasm) why I’m still with him.

“I watch a news clip of” by Julia at Jessica’s kitchen table


Wednesday July 9, 2014
8:43pm
5 minutes
We Should Do Something
Laurel Leigh


On the radio there is a big discussion about will we go to war or won’t we
I sit on the bathroom floor with a towel over my head and a stick of beef jerky in my mouth
I haven’t spoken to you in days
I haven’t spoken to anyone in weeks
The radio man plays the same songs and the same commercials and the same sound effects
He asks us about our days but doesn’t wait for a response
He asks us about our fears but
doesn’t give us a chance to answer
I haven’t spoken to you in days
I haven’t spoken to anyone in weeks
The war is on the war is off
I sit on the bathroom floor just thinking about it all.

“Accountants, Tax Consultants” by Julia on Jessica’s couch


Tuesday, July 8, 2014
5:19pm
5 minutes
from a Monahan and Associates sign


-Okay so Ruby called and she wants to know if you want those “files” sent over to the office, or straight to your house.
-Tell her not to phone here anymore.
-I can’t really do that.
-Well don’t answer the phone when she calls then.
-She’s calling from so many different numbers. I don’t have all of them memorized.
-Okay well the next time Ruby calls, just tell her you’ll pass on the message, but don’t actually pass on the message.
-Okay.
-Okay. What numbers has she been calling from?
-Area codes?
-Yes.
-Umm..519, 647, 204
-Really? 204?
-Just the once. That one was a desperate sounding one.
-Huh.
-Should I go back to my desk now?

“I don’t understand why I sleep all day” by Julia in the park


Saturday June 28 2014
5:27pm
5 minutes
No Rain
Blind Melon


Maybe because the rain doesn’t stop here or because waking up means having to plan something to eat. Maybe because the sounds of the wind coming in through the holes in the bedroom walls means that if it’s not okay in here, the one place where it’s supposed to be, then it most definitely is not okay out there.
Maybe because the ego is a sensitive and fragile organ and if it’s wounded, even mildly, it takes days and days to recuperate. Maybe because the skies are vast but filled with grey clouds and looking up at something so big and seeing it filled with something so sad is enough to keep anyone laying under the covers until the sun peeks out long enough to put on pants and go outside. Maybe because if I told you how I really felt you’d stay in the kitchen and I’d have no where else to hide if I wanted to stay behind a separating door. Maybe because I’m a bit broken and disappointed in myself after all the wrong choices I’ve made lately, or made ever, that having to face them in broad daylight feels too hard or too easy and I don’t know which one is worse. Maybe because I’m tired. It could be that simple. I sleep because I have to. Either that or I’m aware that being awake means having to try.

“she wasn’t even funny” by Julia on her couch


Saturday May 31, 2014
1:49am
5 minutes
overheard on queen st west

So I met Brendan’s new girlfriend on Saturday night, cause I accidentally got dragged out to a bar and had to put on high strappy shoes. Tamara said it would be good for me to get out of the house and stop telling myself I was being productive if all I was really doing was reading old e-mails that Brendan sent me while I was in Ottawa last fall. I told Tamara that they were beautiful expressions of love and youth and she didn’t have to understand. She didn’t understand or care to, so instead she kidnapped me with a tube of bright red lipstick and forced me to wear eye glitter. So we’re waiting at the bar and it’s as if I had a sixth sense that it was him, and I looked to the door and Brendan was walking in with a tiny little tanned girl on his arm. She was wearing a ball-cap and had big hoop earrings. She was pretty. She was smaller than me. I adjusted my skirt and told Tamara that I had to leave. No, she told me, I’d have to stay cause I was here first, it was my home field. Then of course, me trying to avoid him for the first 20 minutes made it more awkward when he actually came up to me with his tiny new arm piece in tow. The first thing I said was, I hate this bar! It’s filled with insecurities and perfume designed by washed-up celebrities. Brendan laughed but his little toy didn’t. I was relieved that at least she wasn’t funny too.

“Make a green choice” by Julia at Bodhi Coffee in Philadelphia


Wednesday April 16, 2014
4:55pm at Bodhi Coffee
5 minutes
from a Sheraton Hotel Voucher

There was a sign that she couldn’t help but stare at. It looked like a child had drawn the font, cut out each letter one by one, and pasted them akk to it without adult supervision. She was captivated by the colours, the shapes, the unique feeling it made her connect with. It read “Do The Right Thing. Do It ‘Till You Die.” It seemed like US Army propaganda from the 40s, but it looked like it was made only yesterday, or this morning, even, not giving the glue enough time to dry properly. The rest of the font was too small to see from where she was sitting. She didn’t want to move just to go up to it, feeling a little self-conscious that the sign, the poster from yesterday or today, had worked its magic on her. So she stayed where she was and glanced over at it hanging in the window only every other minute, and only after first looking all around it to make sure it seemed like she just had a curious and inquisitive eye. Nobody was looking at it. She wondered if the person responsible for making it or posting it up was sitting in the cafe with her, watching her watch the damn thing.

“roasted fennel” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Tuesday April 15, 2014
11:09pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Mama liked it when her drinks tasted like Italy. It reminded her of home, of her mother, of her doggie, Stella, and her doll-friend, Cicio Bello. When mama took a sip, she’d slip, then slide, then land back in a time where farm animals woke her up each morning, and where Figs grew as big as your face in September.
She stocked up on the stuff just in case they ever decided to stop making it. Not that anyone would, it was a beautiful thing. But just in case, she always said, just in case.
We knew she could say whatever she wanted and we’d never say a thing in return to her about it. We didn’t want Mama to feel like she had a problem. We didn’t want anyone to think she couldn’t handle it on her own, just the way she wanted to. Nobody mentioned a thing when we’d find bottles of her nostalgia hidden under the sofa cushions, or planted deep in the soil of her dying rosemary bush. Nobody said anything when Cicio Bello started appearing again in Mama’s life, her old friend whispering things to her no one else could hear; keeping her company through the storm.

“while the real work is done outside” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 3, 2014
2:08pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Rumi tr. Coleman Barks


Get on those steal toes, that hard hat, that tool belt. Get on outside where the real world fights its fights. Protected by the construction of our warm and cozy houses, we sit and we contemplate. We fear the windows when the blinds are drawn, we fear the callousness of strangers we have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. We fear the ambulance and its never-ending cries. We stay indoors, thankful for running water and a steady stream of television programs or movies ordered by e-mail. We don’t leave the couch to see the world in action outside of us. There is a whole big thing out there, and it looks just like your imagination dreams it does. Only worse. Only better. There’s no way of knowing if the dead bolt on the front door stays locked. Just a thought. Just a hunch. That we thank those pillars and roofs and hardwood floors for keeping us safe and sheltered and avoiding anything that might cause us even the slightest amount of pain. There are people living in their nightmares all around, and not in a house with books rescued from the streets. Not in a house with a pumpkin loaf baking in the oven. Not that we should choose sadness. Choose hardship. But we should not stay in our pyjamas until noon, just because our jeans are cold from the wind blowing in through the cracks.

“Join the journey” by Julia at her kitchen table


Saturday October 26, 2013
12:15am
5 minutes
the back of the Breton box

I’m very impressionable. I don’t want to see anything I might start to want or think I need cause if I ever do, that’s it. I’m screwed. I’ve tried before to avoid those things, the good, the bad, the everything, but it’s very tricky. It’s hard to live in a box and still try to know what’s going on outside of it. Do I cut holes in the box? Maybe. Do I decide to take the lid off every now and again just to see but tell myself not to feel, not to desire? I know I’m not allowed anywhere near those addictive drugs, or the chocolates that make most women melt. I can’t even try them or I’ll be that way forever: wanting, needing, thinking on, lusting for. I can’t see sunsets or I get depressed when it’s dark. I can’t get daisies for good behaviour because I’ll learn to expect them. I can’t ask anyone else’s opinion before giving my own because if I do that, I’ll never make my own and I’ll just be swayed one way or another. I can’t see images of happy friends or family without wondering why I don’t have those for myself, without wondering if I do have those for myself just not the “right way” or the “right ones”. Like I said, I’ve tried to avoid them all, to ignore them all, to live this life without a single stimulating thing. But how do you unlearn it all?

“hopeful of making amends” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday September 21,2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:50pm
5 minutes
the Fresh Meat 2013 program

I didn’t want to talk to Emily because I was scared of breaking down into tears and forgetting my original point which was that I was hurt by her. She some how always makes me feel inadequate, so I’ve learned to write my thoughts down and make sure I stick to my notes so she doesn’t derail me. That’s what she does! She manipulates me into thinking she’s done nothing wrong..or that I’m the one who should be apologizing instead of seeking an apology from her. So I was avoiding her in general. The first Wednesday we had plans to have coffee together, and I bailed because I was on my period and had been crying over things like bed sheets and olive oil and didn’t want to fall into a pit of uncontrollable water works. The second time we had plans my sister had just called with bad news about my childhood cat and I was not emotionally stable for the whole week. Then when I was seemingly out of excuses, I called her. Got her voicemail and even contemplated just telling her how I felt there.
I chickened out.