“Yet as quickly as the idea came to me,” by Julia at her studio

Wednesday November 6, 2019
5 minutes
Water, Water Everywhere
Ariana Conrad

There was a song on the tooth of me
this morning as I flew myself down
a red clay hill and in the acid moon
dust there was a high like no other
it rang on it did and then was gone
but not before it tripped the tongue
into playing out for all the birds
to hear. The song was a good reminder
of the only things that matter and
it had no words so what does that
say to you in a place where ideas are
wearing words as party hats
A celebration of the dream still living
and the flying flying down the steepest
slide you ever did cycle on
so deep and down and fast and good that
your shoulders dislocated from their
sockets and flung you from sleep most
The song that was left singing on
the edge of a smile ready to burst
forth from the lips was a tune no
recording would ever fossilize and
so the moment and all its clever
wanderings was made whole simply
by resting into it and holding what
was left to dissolve there on the tongue

“I’ll do your reading and then email it to you” by Sasha in the NICU kitchen

Thursday September 22, 2016
5 minutes

I’m riding my bike quickly down the hill, the wind blowing a symphony of “yes” in my ears, hands firmly on the handlebars and


My front tire hits a bump, a piece of metal? A big nail? A shoe? I fly over my handlebars and in that moment


I see my life

my loves

my bathroom with the new coat of eggshell white paint

I wonder if it’s already happened

Am I dead?

Thank goodness it’s already turned cool and I’m wearing my denim jacket or my elbows and arms would be torn to shred

A car pulls over and a woman gets out

She looks like my Mom but with black black hair

She gives me her hand and helps me up

“I am in a meeting” by Sasha on a bench downtown

Monday May 9, 2016
5 minutes
From a text

“Yeah, yeah…” I blow my nose into a scarf that’s in my backpack in case the bike ride home gets cold. “I’m fine.”

The man, wiry and wearing black cutoffs, a plaid shirt and a Jays hat, hands me his dog’s leash. She’s a bulldog, just older than a puppy. My bike is like a gutted fish leaning against the curb. His hands are covered in grease, just like mine are, as he wrestles the chain back on.

I bought the bike for fifty seven dollars on Craigslist from a Portuguese grandmother with impeccable hydrangeas.

“I’ve never been a male filmmaker” by Julia at Artstarts

Friday March 18, 2016 at Artstarts
5 minutes
from a Death, Sex and Money podcast

I’ve been making a movie and it’s about my green bike, Gloria, and all the places Gloria ends up even though it might not always seem likely that she can get there. It’s a thoughtful piece meant to comment on the system of transportation and the moon and how the two are actually lovers. So far the feedback about my project has included statements such as “what is this film really about?”, “what exactly are you trying to say here?”, “is there a story at any point that we might be introduced to?”, and “I love the name Gloria!” I am preparing to submit this feature length movie to many festivals in the circuit. I am very positive about what’s to come.

“putting on sweat pants and sunglasses” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday September 26, 2015
5 minutes
a tweet

Simone brings Jude a butter tart at work. He woke up with a cold and she feels bad for him. Butter tarts are Jude’s love language. Simone learned this two years too late. She bikes from the bakery all the way downtown, sticking to side streets. Biking in the fall reminds Simone of grade five, the first year she got to cycle to school on her own. The independence was dizzying. She texts Jude from the lobby. “I’m here!” He doesn’t respond and she only waits a moment or two. She tries to find the stairs but fails and finally takes the elevator up to the twelfth floor. This is one of those strange buildings that doesn’t have a thirteenth. She wonders about paranoia and superstition. She wonders who started the thirteen witch hunt. She like the number – the mix of tall and wide. She suddenly feels nervous about being at Jude’s work – like she doesn’t belong. She wishes she had taken the bus, maybe then she wouldn’t be so windswept and sweaty.

“OH MY GOD I GOTTA GO!” by Julia at Propeller Coffee

Thursday, July 23, 2015 at Propeller Coffee
5 minutes
Overheard on the Street

I’m the person on the street that annoys you with my heavy walk That spits on the sidewalk
That answers my phone too loudly on public transportation
That lets my phone ring too loudly before I answer it on public transportation
That drops an earring in the parking lot and then is too shocked to offer sincere gratitude when it’s returned
That is obnoxious on a bicycle because nothing is oiled and it sounds like a David Lynch movie
That tries to make other people feel good about their bad choices
That would rather close a window than put on an extra layer of clothing
That orders McDonald’s fries without sodium just because I can
That falls asleep at the library
That takes a shit in public restrooms
That wishes on shooting stars which end up just being planes

“Abundance” by Julia at her desk

Friday May 1, 2015
5 minutes
from a vintage matchbook

Daddy and little girl
Playing with new tricycle and puppy
Good man
Good good man
And the ball bouncing one two three
Happiness until the air runs out
Mommy comes with belly full of baby new
Big sister runs and jumps
Daddy pushes little girl on swing
Laughing and family growing
Tell me when you get cold!
Mommy and puppy new keep their watchful eyes open
Little girl dragging tricycle along
Can’t ride it if you don’t get back on!
Daddy kneels down next to little girl
I’m right beside you, don’t be afraid.
Mommy and belly baby new, Daddy and little girl smile

“Deerskin or moose hide” by Sasha on the Gulf Islands ferry

Friday October 10, 2014
5 minutes
from firstpeopleofcanada.com

I ride my bike to the ocean
Into the ocean
Into a wave that should be surfed but is rolled on and rolled over
I see the starfish that you spoke of
We nod in mutual understanding
(She doesn’t pretend to know)
I’m pedalling like there’s a hill
But there isn’t
There’s salt
There’s coral
There’s a frequency of whale song
But the whale is hundreds of miles away

The biggest predicament is when I can next walk barefoot

“have a beautiful night, beautiful” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday August 26, 2014
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

My heart flutters and I try not to spill the glasses of wine on my tray. “The Shiraz, the cab sauv, the Pinot Noir…” “Are you okay?” “Yeah, yes, yuppp…” I walk back to behind the bar and close my eyes and replay the moment. I pretend that there’s no bell dinging or beer bottles being popped open or obnoxious laughter.

“You were late today…”
“My bike got a flat tire and I had to walk up the hill on McDonald.”
“Want me to fix it?”
“My bike?”
“Your tire.”
“You know how?”
“Sure! That would be amazing! I was going to go to the bike shop tomorrow but they always rip me off, I know they do, just cuz I’m not a guy in one of those little hats or whatever…”
You smile. You keep stacking dishes.
“You’ve never been late before. Boss isn’t mad. Don’t worry.”
“You’ve been keeping track?”
“I notice.”
“Oh you “notice”…”
“You live close to here?”
“East End. You?”
There’s a pause like a rainstorm, or a collision of stars.
“I was wondering if – …”
The kitchen door swings open and in comes Boss.
“Sefton, are your bothering her?”
“No. He’s not.”
“No, Boss.”
“Get to work Fatty, you gotta make up for that lost time…”

“Toronto’s real estate market is booming” by Sasha on the porch at Knowlton Lake

Saturday June 14, 2014
5 minutes
The Toronto Star Website

I ride my bike up the gentle hill of Shaw St. The burn has started to fade, a month into riding. I hear my phone ring but I ignore it, even if it’s the real estate agent, Jill, who was recommended to me by my old friend Jolene. Her father had used Jill when he decided to buy a bungalow investment property in the East End. “She’ll get you exactly what you want,” Jolene said, “She’s a warrior in a peach pantsuit.” I was going to see a semi on Shaw. The asking price was above what I wanted to pay but Jill said she wanted us to see it so that we had a “lay of the land”. The owners were a gay couple with twin three year olds. They’d outgrown the two bedrooms, the long living room, the small garden in the backyard. “They’ve put in an offer for a house in the Junction Triangle,” said Jill. I arrived and I locked my bike to a parking sign. Jill was waiting outside and she waved enthusiastically.

“let’s make this the biggest” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday June 7, 2014
5 minutes
An email from Luminato

I see him riding his bike on Queen St. near Bathurst and he looks good, he looks better, he looks older and more attuned and more bearded. I see him and he’s riding a white bike with red handlebars, the kind the curve down, the kind for racing. He fucked me over. He was so good and so charming and the sex was perfect, sweaty, euphoria. “Drummers have good rhythm,” he’d say and I’d melt like butter in a pan. Who was I then? Who am I now? The same. The same. Trees grow. The circles. “Let’s make this the biggest summer we’ve ever had,” he said, walking in the park around the corner from my apartment then, his fingers grazing my fingers, his eyes looking up and down my body.

“butter chicken roti” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday, August 15, 2013
5 minutes
from restaurant sign

“Let’s get roti!” Sam says, picking at a scab on his elbow. “Is the plural of “roti” “roti”?” I ask him, sure that he knows. He is one of those people that has facts about the home videos that Nixon made during Watergate, who knows the dates of when wars began, who remembers when asparagus is in season. He squints his eyes and looks up. “I don’t know!” He proclaims. I wish that he’d say that when it was consequential, when I was invested, when I was heavy with resentment and a cramping ego. He says it now. Maybe it’s a good start. We ride our bikes to Gandhi, Sam’s favourite spot. He gets a Butter Chicken and I get a Saag Paneer. We eat quietly, something that I used to think meant we were sad but no think means we are safe.