“Angel texted” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday July 4, 2018
12:26pm
5 minutes
V.I.P. Tutoring
Vanessa Hua

Angel texted, told me to look where I was going and to read while sitting down. It made sense. The text was very much related to a thing I was about to do carelessly. It came right on time.
Angel is always watching over me. I think she thinks she has to. She thinks she has to cause her name tells her she should. I tend to listen to what Angel has to say. If she tells me to wait until the next morning to make a hard decision, I listen. Angel knows how to get me right in the soft. She sent me an e-mail yesterday after waking up at the crack of dawn. She said the sky was “milk-blue” and it melted me. I love when milk is used to describe things, like the sky. I picture Angel knowing more about the sky than anywhere else. Maybe I think she’s from there and her name was given because her mother was a clairvoyant and there’s magic and stardust in her smile. I might name my kid Sunshine so she brightens up people wherever she goes and everyone thinks she’s ‘of the sun’ because her name makes them believe. I could name her Honesty so people are reminded to look inward. But that might be too heavy a burden to carry. What if there is shame? What if she reminds people they have lived in this life with secrets? Maybe she’d remind everyone that we have all lives our lives with secrets.

“Maybe it felt like too much power” by Julia in her bed

Friday June 29, 2018
1:37am
5 minutes
Motherhood
Sheila Heti

I might go into the open field and kneel down, cry into the open sky and calm down, drink from a stranger’s cup. I might tell someone I’ll never see again that the worst thing we can do is throw away the key to the cage we’ve put ourselves in. Forget to get out of our own way and start listening to time as reminder, not murderer. Not weaker than us. Time isn’t interested in hanging out with people who aren’t good at patience. At taking action, at promises. Cause when you say it, then you’ve said it. Once it’s left you, it’s left. And then what? We must?

“the hypocrites will teach.” By Julia in her bed

Monday May 7, 2018
11:01pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Suzy Kassem

All the voices I’ve been avoiding living inside me are more alive than I’ve been letting them be, more living than I’ve been thinking they are

I was right about you
it’s written in the stars and I’ve been right so many times but I’ve been scared and so I don’t say anything with words but with worlds of voices dancing around in my head

And they are so loud that my skin crawls and maybe you can see it so you ask me what is wrong and the truth is inside nothing is wrong everything is right but it is dangerous to say out loud

It is hard to believe that I know more than I think I do
That I am bigger than I think I am

“Very rarely patients develop __________.” by Julia on the 20

Wednesday April 11, 2018
8:49pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

You’re online again because that’s where the answers are. That’s where you’re allowed to be sick. Because the forums are full of people like you looking for inches to turn into miles. Itches to turn into conditions and you’re convinced you’ve been cut by the hidden incision bit by the bug that borrows its fangs into your skin and then buries its offspring underneath it. You’re sick and you know it. The rash you developed shows it, the hard lump in your throat chose itself and you tell the world you did not make this up. Where all the people like you play, looking to lose at another game, maybe this way you will have something to blame for the wrong going on in your life. The invisible pains, come and go strains, the ones that buy you sympathy and community and attention.

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 15, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Fetters
Madeline Sonik

I still remember it even though I don’t really like to remember her.

I didn’t get into chamber choir when I was in the eleventh grade. I couldn’t read music but I could sing by ear. I was good. But I wasn’t good enough when it came to clapping out the bars. I had never felt more alone. Mrs. C had a look of pity on her face. I was sure I would never sing again. The next day K brought me a hand-bound booklet of music-reading printouts from the internet. She told me not to quit. I was moved beyond words. My friend believed in me even when I thought it was impossible to prove myself. The day after that I got the courage up to go and talk to Mrs. C and tell her that I would work hard and that even if I couldn’t read music, I belonged in the choir. She relented and let me in. I don’t remember now who gave me the idea to plead my case, but I will not forget that music booklet: the holes gathered by the cutest little sewing thread. When I think of her in my life I try and remember that version of her. I try not to let that part get swept away with the others.

“store it where it’s safe” by Julia on the plane

Monday September 25, 2017
12:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the UP express

Money, my grandmother taught me, was meant to be given away, not stored in a sock drawer or a book you’ll never read again. She said the last one because once she was visiting and snooping and doing what she does, and she opened up my bible and a crisp hundred dollar bill fluttered to the floor. She asked one day, Kelly, where do you keep your karma sutra? I spit out my orange juice onto the front of my blouse. She then said, maybe now that you’re a lesbian, you should find a place to keep your money where you’ll actually look! Then she took a toonie out of her apron and snuck it into my palm, closing my fingers around it like a precious jewel. Buy yourself a clue, she said.

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Julia at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
from a text

It is not more important to check your texts while operating a vehicle. I believe this. My mother would say, PRECIOUS CARGO BACK HERE, EH? We once were with Justin, watching helplessly from the back seat, when he got caused a minor fender bender cause he was trying to text his girlfriend a shooting star emoji. My mother yelled at him that their stupid love could wait and Justin never really forgave her for that. She was fed up. She had a right to be. His girlfriend broke up with him a week or two later anyway.

“he can sound like the rain” by Julia on her apartment’s lawn


Friday May 26, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss


there wasn’t any rain but I swear that I heard it
he’s been known to sound like thunder storm;
like flood
I’ve learned to expect his water
but not all learning is love

on days when he is clear skies,
and sunglasses,
and still,
I believe him to be the calm before
and the calm before
is never
calm at all,
is it

“There is nothing here” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 25, 2017
10:08pm
5 minutes
This is It
James Broughton


I have waited for inspiration to strike
like the match of missed connections
like the booklet of nose aids on high alert
There is no force of flame, nor flicker
There is nothing here that looks like me

According to a long lost diary from my
mother’s storage locker we all gave up
on her when we believed that she was fine
Of course we didn’t think to ask further
to make sure that she was being honest
If I could defend us without seeming
defensive, I would say we didn’t want to know
the truth and so we let her smile

We gave her short hugs like they wouldn’t
be our lasts
Called her twice a month
business as usual, instead of once a week
And she thought it would be too much
to ask for more
And she wanted to ask for more.

“Clear eyes” by Julia on her couch


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:40pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

When I pray I ask god to give me clarity so I may trust
what I see and be able to know it
I ask to be bypassed by nightmares like I did when
I was a child
twenty years of wishing I wouldn’t see the bad things because
I had glue for brains
terror haunting me like flies twitching on a sticky rope
I ask god to give me clear eyes so I can’t blame inaction
on blurry vision
I ask god to save me so we don’t get caught up in logistics
Tell her I’m tired now of specificty
mainly because it hurts
too much
When I pray I ask for something I can hold on to
something that won’t burn me in the night and leave a scar

“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.

“everything I possibly can” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 12, 2016 at Starbucks
6:28am
5 minutes
from a text

I sit on the edge of my nothingness like it’s a cloud and I’m in love with it. I am cotton candy insides and I’m melting away leaving a trail of rainbow guts and tie-dyed blood. There is nothing wrong with my nothingness and for the first time in all the time there ever has been, it is peaceful instead of not. Acceptance of nothingness is a road with bumps and potholes and with poor lighting sometimes but usually free of other travelers because it’s a long one and there is enough room for everybody. There is a space now between yesterday’s pain and tomorrow’s worry and it’s all here all now- all everything I’ve been avoiding- because feelings are attached to beliefs and those things get stuck pretty hard as a system that limits me if I let it. I dangle my feet off the edge of nothingness now like it’s a dream and I’m no longer trying to catch it. No flash photography here to capture it, just smiling into the places that can be so easily filled with words words words.

“One of the biggest challenges of learning” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 9, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, June 9, 2016


Of course Freddie was trying to hide her smile, she didn’t need Mitchell to see his math tutor also not taking him seriously. He was telling her about his day and the traumatic experience of Ashley and Ashley tricking him into sliding a penny down the centre of his face during the lesson with manipulatives. They told him if a line appears on his skin it means he’s deficient in iron. Mitchell didn’t want to be deficient in anything in front of the Ashleys but he rolled the penny and sure enough, it produced one tiny grey line. He told Freddie how they snickered and caused such a commotion that everyone came to look. All day, apparently, Mitchell had tried to convince everyone to do the same. He didn’t know they had coloured in the penny with pencil.

“you smiled at me” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 23, 2016
4:22pm
5 minutes
Sunny
Bobby Hebb


There were so many people lined up to get your autograph outside the cinema. It was cloudy but hot. I wasn’t planning on waiting for you but I was wearing my nice yellow sundress with a matching yellow head-scarf and I remember thinking it was too good to be wasted on just meeting Debbie and her boyfriend, Charles at the diner. Suddenly I was hit with the convincing thought that I could have you. I think I was moving as little as possible to avoid sweating through my sleeves. I didn’t want your autograph. I wanted to smell your skin. I wanted to get so close that you would have no choice but to touch me. I had dreamed of that moment and was replaying it over and over again in my head as we waited for you to emerge. Some women were already crying. You were making us wait for no reason in particular. I think you were preparing for the mob. I was preparing to envelop you.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“I wake in the middle of the night” by Julia at Grange Park


Wednesday, July 8, 2015
3:45pm
5 minutes
from Between Gods
Alison Pick


There’s a ghost in my room and she’s been haunting me since last Wednesday. She won’t let me sleep the whole night because she’s only interested in getting what she needs. I told Cass before she slept over that she might not get a good sleep because this ghost has been haunting me lately and Cass looked at me like, “duh, there’s no such thing as ghosts.” But I’ve been feeling her while I lay there in bed when she wakes me up at the same time each night. I first feel the breeze by my face, and then I hear the laughing. Cass would have to see for herself, so I just stopped mentioning it all together. Sure enough me and Cass are sleeping soundly head to foot, then I feel the breeze. It’s 2:02am. I look at Cass and she doesn’t even flinch.

“We say our work” by Sasha on her porch


Thursday May 28, 2015
10:38pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Lansdowne Station

We say our work is nothing more than what it is
Be here now
Bask in the sunlight
When the mud’s in season
Don’t runaway
Quartz on the soles of our shoes
We sing
Ah-hum-ah
Calypso on the radio
Deep in work
We still get up and dance
The mint is taking over the whole garden
We add it to breakfast, lunch and dinner
You make the bed this morning
Tucking a wish under my pillow
We finally start to plan our wedding
Peonies and bare feet
Stretching together
Offering howls of love and future
to the August moon

“9AM-6PM” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 20, 2015
12:33am
5 minutes
from a parking sign

That’s when I’m awake and dreaming about being so much better.
Wishing I had taken out the trash.
Wishing I had eaten breakfast on the back porch.
Wishing I had cleaned my house last night so I could wake up with it ready.
That’s when I spend time thinking about what food I could eat.
How excited I’ll get when I plan a delicious feast.
But really just eat pickled eggplant and chili bean paste from the jar.
And call that a proper meal.
All day.
From 9AM-6PM when the rest of the world is out there making a living.
I’m in here thinking about how one day I’ll be making a living.
Instead of making a living now.
Instead of living now.
But there are other dreams too.
Of how tomorrow will be filled with positive and productive and persistent.
How if I can just get through this day.

“believe it or not” by Julia on the 72 going north


Tuesday May 19, 2015
10:45pm
5 minutes
A Ripley’s bus ad

believe it or not we’re here now together
you say you don’t want to believe that cause then it’s harder to let it go
but i’m telling you now that we’re here now together
and the harder you push me the farther i’ll get let go
why wouldn’t you just trust me?
when i say i have a heart built for two
when i say it’s like a bicycle and it carries the both of us?
why can’t you allow me to be exactly how i am
without getting scared of endings and losings and assumings
i’ve never been this happy before either
but i’m not running away
and i’m no trying to convince you that this is too good to be true
you have to listen to what your gut is trying to tell you
all those warm fuzzy tinglings?
they don’t exist there for nothing
and those happy pretty songs that you’re humming
aren’t just an accident either
they’re your feelings and they’re your truth
just the way i paint more when i think of your face
and i can’t help but smile when you cross my mind
i know it’s not normal that doesn’t mean it’s bad
you have to believe me when i tell you the truth before it all goes away
before you see exactly how much better us being here now together is
than what you’ll have when it’s gone

“twists the whip” by Julia at her desk


Friday April 3, 2015
8:17pm
5 minutes
The Zurau Aphorisms
Franz Kafka


Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Practices in the mirror
One, two, Go on three
Takes one for the team.
His own team
He’s the captain and the coach
Ready
Ready
Ready
Today’s the day
The song sings in his head
Right now is the only thing that matters
Manic energy
Checking his watch
Tick
Tick
Boom
He’s off
And running
Twists the whip
Cracks it in the air
No more practice shots
It’s real now
It’s real life
Dangerous
Destructive
But he has his weapons
He has his tools
Don’t forget to breathe
He hears his mother’s voice in his ears
Don’t forget to feel
The magic urgency fuels him
It’s exactly as he imagined
Only nothing like he hoped
Twists the whip
Gets it ready
Now he’s ready

“A woman staggered into” by Julia at her desk


Thursday April 2, 2015
1:12am
5 minutes
Focus
Daniel Goleman


A woman staggered into a room filled with people locked in their cages. She was reluctant at first but when she arrived, she decided to follow through with herself.
She glanced around at all the bars, and ropes. Sad. Sad. Helpless. Sad.
She went about her business, gliding from one side of the room to the next, opening jars of jam and tasting her fruit-dipped fingers. She made eye contact with every single one of them. What are they doing here, what do they need? Why. Why. Helpless. Why.
Her freedom made them angry. And their hurt hearts thudded loud for all to hear.
Her self-awareness and self-love made them wish they could turn off their 80% brain.
You Are Not Good Enough. You Must Let Others Win. You Are Not As Important. Don’t Bother Trying To Achieve What You Desire. Forget Your Passions. Kill Your Dreams.
The smell of her lightness was pungent to the lot of them.

“gals give some sneaky hints” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday February 24, 2015
6:35pm
5 minutes
blog.muchmusic.com

Don’t want to give you any false raised hope, but there will be a surprise tonight that is going to blow your mind. I promised Angela I wouldn’t say what was going down, but it’s your freaking birthday, dude, it’s not like you don’t expect some wicked cool event to happen in your complete and perfect honour. I pinky swore your girlfriend that I would keep all details of this extravagant celebratory secret to myself. But I thought about it, and I was like, dude needs to know what to wear, you know, how is he supposed to dress himself without a dress code! What is this, New Years? No. Not even close. That phrase doesn’t really work here, cause I actually stole it from my ex-boyfriend who used to say it all the time, and the way he did it was so funny, so I was trying to be funny. Anyway, he also hated surprises. Or, no, he hated when surprises got ruined. And, yeah, the reaction to the “SURPRISE!!!!!” Is really only as good as the secret kept, but I still maintain that you would be happier walking into your favourite place, with all your favourite people, knowing that it was happening, so you could fill your face with honest gratitude and appreciation. You’re welcome, dude!

“What a liberty!” by Julia on the train to London


Saturday December 27, 2014
12:22pm
5 minutes
from Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren
edited by Giles and Victoria Coren


I’m stuck on a train with a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He’s reading right now, don’t worry. But he just spent the last half hour explaining the plot of his book that he’s trying to get published. He doesn’t have an agent. His protagonist just so happens to be a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He lives alone. So does his protagonist. He’s a lumberjack. Has access to an axe. Knows how to wield one. So does his protagonist. Captures a traveling circus that’s moving through town. Don’t know how to prove that both of them do it. But his protagonist does. Told me he’d watch my bag while I went to the bathroom. Didn’t trust him. Didn’t go. He doesn’t know yet that I don’t trust him. Too big of a smile trying to reassure me he absolutely will never kill me. I think surprise murderers have to practice that smile. Over and over and over again.

“virtual environments” by Julia at Katie’s flat in London


Tuesday December 9, 2014
12:20am
5 minutes
from the MLA research guide

Okay so Jordie got a tablet for his birthday and he says there’s an app for literally EVERYTHING. I believe this cause he’s not allowed to tell a lie or he won’t be able to have KD and hotdogs for dinner and that’s his favourite so he always tells the truth. Jordie says that you can watch yourself in an alternate reality if you really wanted to and see how your face looks and how your mind thinks in a different dimension. He says that if you are ready for it, you can also see others there. Jordie says that in a matter of years we will all have a space brain and a human body but we won’t really need our human bodies cause space brains don’t need anything at all but time and mystery. He said mystery but what I think he meant was magic. He gets those things confused sometimes. Mostly because he thinks they’re the same thing.

“super true to who they are” by Julia at Katie’s flat in London


Monday December 8, 2014
1:16am
5 minutes
from an interview with Annabel Soutar

I have been telling myself for one whole year that I am good and worthy and beautiful and enough. My life coach told me I should recite these things and try to remind myself that I actually believe them. I started trying to believe them one morning in April of last year because it was the spring or something and things seemed like they were being reborn. I wanted to be reborn. I didn’t want to hate myself anymore. I didn’t want to wish I was born of a different woman and therefore raised by one, believing I was just different and not the me I actually was. The process was a long one. I was not the me I actually was or wanted to be, but the me I had no choice in being. The dead me with crispy hair. The forgotten me with only 5 friends at my funeral. I had a lot of visions that I would never wake up. So I went to her and told her with my blood: HELP.

“a very small quantity of mud” by Julia in Lozzola


Tuesday December 2, 2014
8:06pm
5 minutes
Cartapaglia notebook

A very small quantity of mud
A memory
A soiled vision of a past self
Could never get that dirt off
Could never scrub hard enough
Could never pray loud enough
Too many times told
“You will never be more than what you are”
Too many times heard
“You’ll never be worth much”
Too many times believed
“Nobody wants you”
And so the story is written
Burned
Etched into the shadow of yesterday
Remembering the washing
Attempting to erase past mistakes
Stuck there in that moment
The helpless youth
Left staring at herself in a broken mirror
With a wet cloth
And a tiny quantity of mud

“That’s very interesting” by Julia on her couch


Monday, July 21, 2014
11:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard at ideal coffee


She was a mad hatter
her feelings didn’t matter
she was a mad a mad a
and when she danced
the world was romanced
but she didn’t believe it yet
her feelings didn’t matter
she was a mad hatter
a mad, a mad was, a mad was
He always did stray
When she looked the other way
His mask a good looking one
And they would talk
But not have much to say
their costume a convincing one
She was a batter
her feelings didn’t matter
she was a bat a bat a
And when she sang
The whole world came
but she didn’t know how to believe it yet
He always did lie
It was his alibi:
He really just enjoyed telling it.

“Return for redemption” by Julia at Belly Acres


Saturday April 12, 2014
6:41pm
5 minutes
from the can of Magners

I wanted to be seen in a particular light so I used to say certain things and have opinions about things that I would then speak out loud about. I wanted people to believe that I was one way. That I was only one way. And I suppose now that I think back on it, I think I wanted to be thought of a certain way because I didn’t want to do any more learning about myself. When people think of you in a certain way you start to behave in that manner and you start to embody what it is others see. Then you don’t have to do any more work. You just have to do what people expect and say what people think you’re going to say. It’s easier. And harder. Because as soon as you have your own thoughts or epiphanies about the outside world, you have to keep those to yourself. Nobody wants you to be what they don’t know how to label.

“I believe that life is…” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday March 12, 2014 at The CSI Coffee Pub
10:07am
5 minutes
A writing group warm-up led by Dianne

I believe that life is made up of tiny insignificant dust particles that when stitched together form a quilt of all the moments we pretend we don’t see–or pretend don’t even exist.
I believe that when we close our eyes in the middle of a moment, we capture it better, giving over to the shutter bug in our insides that is in charge of all the remembering.
I believe that life is this: tiny moments, tiny dust, tiny realizations every second– that when we allow them, transform into not so tiny anythings…but the best kinds of love, of want, of joy, of happiness, of pain, of mess, of sorrow, of learning, of flying, of forgiveness, of seeing.
I believe that life is longer than we let it be and more important than we sometimes treat it, that John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden has the secrets to the universe, to this life we’re jumping in and out of, and that if read slow enough and in the right light, we see the God that we wish we knew.

“the railway that connects our country” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday November 30, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
9:07pm
5 minutes
the Local Heroes calendar

Marley has never been on a train. She doesn’t understand simple concepts like “math” or “travel”. She does this thing where she sums up life just like that. Categorizing things in a vague fashion without recognizing how much more goes into it. She tells herself that “the future” is full of pain and that her “feelings” are wrong. Marley started doing this when she was very young. It might have even started as a joke but who knows when the fun of the whole thing ended. Marley is no longer making a joke, but a life comment. An observation of herself that she deems non-disputable. She considers these things to be “facts” and “truths” and “things people notice about her, but just don’t say out loud.” Marley isn’t trying to perpetuate those ideas. She just believes them now because it’s been too long that she’s felt like she didn’t have any other choice.