“Embrace Change” by Julia on the 351

Tuesday October 23, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
a BIRKS ad

I think the guts of me are changing
The literal guts of me and the figurative ones
The ones that weren’t there before are here now
You know when they say
It takes guts to do something like that
Well if you don’t have them does the thing every get done?
Now it feels like my guts are all happy to be in me
Knowing they’re going to be used for doing something
They are all on board and asking to be taken
Yes please take these guts and jump!
And my literal guts are different
Cause I give them what they need every day and they know that they’re not being used to filter out the wrong stuff
Before I think they did their job almost begrudgingly
It takes guts to do something like that
Fine I guess since we’re here we can but it’s really beyond our pay grade
Guts can’t work on everything for nothing
Now I know this
And I’m changing

“The only thing I can come up with” by Julia in her bed

Thursday, March 1, 2018
7:38pm
5 minutes
No Idea
Dana ID Matthews

Today I told them that I didn’t know
That I want to know and that I wish I did but I don’t
And NO ONE GOT HURT
No one asked to see my badge, my credentials
No one gave me a sidemouthed remark
I felt worried and then I felt honest
and the authenticity parade was loud for all to hear
Later one of them told me that they didn’t know
That they want to know, but they don’t, and isn’t that okay?
Later still one of them told me they thought it was
important to admit when we don’t know
and maybe others might want to hear that too
that life is not easy and no one knows everything
AND THE ONLY THING THAT BURST WAS MY HEART
Here, take this make-shift answer, this feather
falling itchy onto my lap,
Find my discomfort and amplify it
Always remember that I lied right to your face
to save my own
I am glad that for once the only thing I could
come up with was the worthy and unveiled truth

“can’t think of anything to add.” By Sasha at her desk


Monday November 28, 2016
1:59pm
5 minutes
From a feedback form

“Can you think of anything that you want to add?” She says, looking at me with sorrow eyes.

“I don’t think so?” I start to put on my jacket and she stands up. “You’re brave, for doing this…” Sorrow eyes get wider. “Many people never report anything, for a variety of reasons, that are all valid but – … then how are we supposed to – ”

“I have to get to class.” I say, and rush out of her office.

“Oh. Okay. Thanks again for coming, Alice.” She extends her hand and I shake it. It’s warm.

I lock myself in a bathroom stall for awhile and as other people come and go I think about those sorrow eyes and how I’m tired of them and really, I’m actually just tired. So, so tired.

“Important passages” by Sasha at her desk


Monday October 24, 2016
8:40am
5 minutes
Judaism
Jacob Neusner


there’s a bridge atop a tree atop a cliff
it creates a passage from one side to the other
only the brave and broken know where to find it
have hands and feet that know the knots to grip and
branches to swing up from
momentum will be a friend but not a guide
only the brave and broken know the intricacies of a
delicate and powerful tree climb
at the top of the cliff and up the tree
when you make it
you’ll gaze out over the pregnant horizon
you’ll see buildings and highways
gulls and sailboats
ant-sized people
before you cross the bridge
atop the tree
atop the cliff
before you cross from one side to the other
you take a breath
inhale
all the times you’ve kissed a face you love goodbye
all the groggy mornings
before water
all the moments
like this one
that you’ve dared to resist the urge to jump

“change has alway happened in the margins” By Julia on her couch


Sunday August 8, 2016
10:00pm
5 minutes
Becoming Wise
Krista Tippett


I can’t recall his clothes but I remember his hands and the way his neck smelled. I held him for longer than I would have if it were anyone else. I held him longer than I would have but long enough for him to feel welcomed. I don’t blame him for seeking us out, looking for a safe space to exist among us but not within us. I wanted him to feel wanted. And brave. But also I wanted to reward his bravery. I wanted to include him the way he so desperately needed to be included. The way I so desperately needed to be included instead of just passing. The way I would never have asked for what he asked for even if what he asked for was exactly what I needed. I can’t remember his drink, but I remember his face. And his voice. And his smile.

“a couple annual holidays” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


March 4, 2016 at Platform 7
5:09pm
5 minutes
from Sasha’s play

And there’s no time to wait
For my health to come back
I have already planned a vacation
I’m going away
I’m going to go
I’m not going to stop
Until I get home
I don’t remember what my yard looks like
Cause I don’t remember much
Was there one tree or two?
Did the cornfields shoot higher than the pussy willow?
I don’t remember much
Time has run out
In the most respectful way it could
Reminding me that I don’t have to
keep living like I used to
I wish for courage
I wish us all courage
I’m going back home with my ball of yarn
Going to wrap it around each branch
Each trellis
So I can draw a map of where I used to live
The hardest part of that is remembering
how to remember
I think I’ll write a note
In red red string
On the gates of all my neighbours
to let them know I’m back
And I’m collecting memories
Shiny new ones that I can still see
Maybe they’ll have more than just the ones
of my sister and me
selling drawings for 6 pennies each

“loading up the cart sheer to the brim” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, January 3, 2016
11:20am
5 minutes
http://www.bonappetit.com

The mastery of the art of failure is hard won
Like any true knowledge it comes with bruises to the
imagination and early mornings of dry mouths and
too much black coffee
Failure is heavier than success
Success is not failure’s opposite but it’s sister

What if we re-imagined the graph that we’ve learned by
heart a thousand and one times?
What if we created with curiosity as a guide?
What if we relinquished stars and reviews and top ten lists
in favour of real full bodied failure attempts?

“poetry got a mainstream reputation” by Julia on Michael’s old bed


Monday, December 28, 2015
10:11pm
5 minutes
LENNY letter no. 14

Gabriela is my mother’s first cousin but she was disowned by the family in 1977 because she was “spreading the lies of the devil through her evil written word.” My mother only mentions Gabriela by accident when I ask her if we have any writers in the family. I ask because my son, Warren, is working on his family tree for school and has to answer a bunch of questions about the jobs his relatives have had. My mother tells me by accident that Gabriela used to write poetry about things people were too afraid to talk about. In one she remembers well, Gabriela wrote a line that said “The Church is lying in the Church. The Church is hiding in the Church. We do not know what we refuse to see.”
“So, she was a poet?” I ask my mother.
“No,” she tells me, “She was a sinner.”

“GOOD BOY!” By Julia at George Brown Theatre School


Tuesday, April 13, 2015
7:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

He strokes the skin right behind my ears. Tells me I’m soft, but I’m hiding it. He takes his tongue to the edge of where is expected. He lightly drags it up my neck to my ear lobe. He pauses. He whispers. “You taste like sunset.” He continues. My earlobe is in his mouth now, the softness being swallowed, chewed, ignited. Tells me I don’t have to be afraid of magic. I start to tell him I’m not–he devours me whole. “Shhh” he croons. “Don’t fight it. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” I try again, “I’m not afraid. I’m fine.” He groans in a gentle way, holding my head up with his thumb and forefinger.

“Traditionally served with rice” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 31, 2015
12:42am
5 minutes
overheard at Culprit Coffee Co.

There’s a stinging silence as he introduces his family to the love of his life.
He had expected this and prepared for it, but it is still happening. It is still real.
She is not the same as him (Thank God) in more ways than one.
They’re the reasons he loves her so deeply. They’re the reasons he needs her, specifically her, and why she is irreplaceable.
She calls him on his shit and challenges him when he’s being wishy-washy.
She teaches him about sharing, and avoiding waste, and saving money.
She always makes eye contact when they’re speaking.
She makes him want to play and explore and experience.
She also happens to be a hazel eyed red head with perfect freckles and a collection of fashionable wide brimmed hats.
His family wants something different for him. Something closer to what they know.
Something traditionally served with rice.

“Some of the inspiration came from silent movies.” By Julia at her desk


Tuesday March 24, 2015
5:45pm
5 minutes
From Women In Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others


Close your eyes
Don’t be afraid
But
hold on tight
Because it’s the ride of your life
It’s starting tonight
With a dream
And a hope
Time’s suspended here
It’s not a joke
Keep your faith
In what matters most
Things like flying
And diving In head first
And finally letting go
And finally letting go far
Farther than what you think is possible
Be ready for the curves up ahead
And changes in weather
And the voice inside you saying
This isn’t easy
So better turn back
Don’t turn back
Now that you’re here
There is no there

“I can’t leave people unattended inside with the doors closed” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday February 14, 2015
3:36pm
5 minutes
An explanation from the 506 TTC driver

It’s hard to think of him differently after all those years. I mean, hey, yeah, my dad spent the first half of my life as a cook in a greasy diner. He lived for that place. I don’t know anyone else who has been brought to tears over a perfectly poached egg, but he sure has. And sometimes it was hard, and sometimes we thought he was going insane as many kitchen people do, but at the end of the day, when he’d come home smelling like smoked meats and the deep frier, he’d have a smile on his face.
Then, all of a sudden, my dad decided he wanted to be a teacher. Just like that, no real discussion about it, just this is it, I used to cook in a diner and now I want to be responsible for educating the youth of this fine country. I had never seen my dad in a suit before, or anything other than an apron for that matter. We all wondered where a man with barely even a high school diploma would start.

“element of courage” by Sasha at Pearson International Airport


Tuesday December 30, 2014
5:12pm
5 minutes
from a crossword puzzle

you got just the right amount of beauty
not too much that it makes the others curl
you smile like the moon rise
like the full moon rise
and you know those elements of courage
one
a deep seed of bravery
two
a forgetting of childhood fear
three
a quartz crystal compass in your gut
you got those elements of courage
you would walk the cemeteries in the rain
daring the ghosts to dance with you
you would climb the tallest tree
begging the sky to grab you
you would swim deep down
saying
take me water
take me

“element of courage” by Julia at Abney Park Cemetery


Tuesday December 30, 2014
2:58pm
5 minutes
from a crossword puzzle

I suppose it takes a lot of guts to tell you this. Me siting here on a broken tree root, trying to decide if I care about the Italian Poplar trees that are so blatantly marked, and staring into your new home, wishing you didn’t have to stay in that earthy place alone. You’ve been gone for 4 weeks now. I am counting down the days to when I don’t count down the days anymore. I am giving myself some time until then to come see you and talk to you, or not, or cry, or cry more than yesterday. But what the bravery is now is telling you that I’m going to be okay. Before I didn’t want to admit that that was a possibility; that I could ever manage to break through this heartache and live a full life without you. Now I know that that’s the only thing I can do. I don’t know if I’ll still feel this way tomorrow. But today I felt like I just had to let you know.

“clearly in the context of the show” by Julia at her desk


Monday November 3, 2014
12:35am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I find myself penciling in ideas and then crossing them out before they’ve been fully developed. I don’t use the eraser because I like the way it looks when I’ve had a thought and there’s a line through it indicating that I knew I was wrong and I moved forward anyway. That’s real bravery, isn’t it? I don’t rub out my mistakes, I let them fester there on the page and the challenge is not to let them infect the words not yet written just by being there. The trick is to avoid thinking about it at all, not in a dismissive way pretending that it doesn’t exist, but to accept that it’s a part of the process and to carry on without being discouraged. The same can be done with a pen although it is, for some strange reason, a million times more distracting. In pen it looks like I was one hundred percent certain about what I was writing, only to find out later that it was wrong. That the ideas were not formed fully, that there was thoughtlessness involved. I don’t like thinking I’m thoughtless because the opposite is true. I am careful for the most part, but even being careful won’t dismiss the fact that I am human and I must always move forward.

“we dare be brave” by Sasha on her porch


Wednesday, July 2, 2014
10:37pm
5 minutes
Touched by an Angel
Maya Angelou


By choosing this, we dare to be brave. By choosing each other, we dare greater than we ever dared. We dare wide, we dare bright, we dare into the deep bat caves and find clumps of hair and photographs of when we were smaller, less brave versions of ourselves now.

We dare to be brave when we break. We dare higher when we leave what we have loved to find what we will love. We dare when we pack our favorite things in boxes and leave them by the side of the road. We have made so many promises. They sink to the bottom or they float on top. One or two have sprouted lilies. One or three have turned to weeds at the bottom and tickle our feet when we swim.

“we dare be brave” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, July 2, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
Touched by an Angel
Maya Angelou


We dare to be brave
me writing this in front of you
me exposing my skin
me going in for a kiss when you might not kiss back
We dare
oh we’ve seen it
on subways
on bilboards
on front yards of your neighbours, your sisters, your dentist’s boss
we dare to
with passion
with ease
with openness
we dare to be brave
me letting you hear one of my songs
me laughing so hard while wearing the worst socks
me burning the chicken the second night in a row
we have to. we have to dare to dare.
that’s where the truly beautiful parts hide.
that’s where the honest, raw, and flawed thing lives.
We want her to feel safe. We want to let her out.

“Absentminded” by Julia on her living room floor


Sunday June 15, 2014
10:13pm
5 minutes
The New Yorker

We didn’t know it at the time but we were growing
We were growing
With our hands in each other’s pockets and wishing for the dawn to wake us from yesterday
We were doing the life things that we now keep
We were listening to the songs of our youth marrying our future and we were the harmony that sounded best
We didn’t know it
We didn’t know it at the time
And in those moments where the living room echoed in its emptiness
And the kitchen still smelled of sawdust
And there were no lamps or dressers to hold any of our belongings
We remember some love from our previous home
From the past, it feels like
Saying lean into each other
And so we do to keep warm
And so we do because we’ve forgotten our sweaters
And the night feels far away from the morning
But part of it at the same time
We didn’t know it then
We didn’t know it at the time
But we were growing
With love
With patience
With grace
With fewer things
With fewer promises to stay the same

“The Psychology of Colour” by Julia on her couch


Monday December 30, 2013
10:06pm
5 minutes
www.stumbleupon.com

Apparently the plum colour she bought was meant to signify “confidence”. She believed it I guess. I guess because she didn’t have any to begin with. She planned it out, thought she might wear it to Christmas dinner to show her brother that she was fine without him and that it wasn’t because of her “twisted smile” that made him “run away” She wanted to show him that she was brave and bold and all the things he thought she wasn’t. To hurt her? Maybe. To help her? She rationalized. He, if she had to pick, would be brown, the colour of practicality and ultimately boredom. She didn’t see a colour that he would wear anyway. None of them jumped out at her because he wasn’t a very good person and all the colours on the wheel seemed way too nice for him anyway. Maybe red, the colour of hunger and rage, and the devil. That made sense to her. She was new to this ‘psychology of colour’.She was trying to channel calm, in the light blue, and lightness in the bright yellow.

“the bomb” by Sasha on her bed


Thursday December 26, 2013
1:48am
5 minutes
from the cover of NOW

I’ve been thinking a lot about success. And failure. And where the two intersect, or don’t… Or what. See, when you’re creative, when you call yourself an “artist”, a name of privilege, a warrior path, I believe that doing your art

is enough.

I believe

if you’re living your passion

practising your craft

honing and sanding and steaming and basting

you are doing your job.

I APPLAUD YOU.

Standing high on a snowbank

I call out in a voice reserved for my tribe

“THANK YOU FOR WORKING SO HARD!”

I can’t wait to hear what you make, to sing along to what you glazed with love and sweat, I long to feel your story in my toes. You doing what you do is ENOUGH. I don’t give a fireball what anyone else says about it. I reject the Tweet-erings too shy to cry out in their tribe-voice. I say “no thank you” to critics and naysayers and people that long to build something with their hands and don’t and then crash and bash into those of us that are brave enough to do just that.

Bravery is a bomb I will drop.

Bravery is a rhyme I will turn over in my mouth until it melts.

“Modesty. Timidity. Humility. Respect.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, October 30, 2013
8:04pm
5 minutes
The Art of Pantomime
Charles Aubert


Modesty. Timidity. Humility. Respect. Heart. Bravery. Willingness. Vulnerability. Awake. Bravery. Hunger. Fear. Joy. Laughter. Ferocity. Understanding. Unknown.

Whenever he sits to meditate, on his red, round cushion, he finds himself doing word association. He doesn’t admit this to his teacher. He says, “sometimes I have trouble clearing my mind…” His teacher nods. His teacher says, “The goal is not clearing the mind, it is treating the thoughts as waves on the ocean.”

It’s windy. There are whitecaps. The canoe bobs like a buoy. He’s seasick. He sees a killer whale.

“Cashier: Diana” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday October 17, 2013
11:11pm
5 minutes
a receipt from Qi Natural Foods

I come here to tell you that… I quit, Mister Samuel. I sorry for this inconvenience. I come to Canada to learn English language and at this job I just finding the work to be just counting and scanning. I learn the grocery items – pear, squash, can of the tuna fish – but I need learn more than that. I need learn to tell all the dreams inside my thoughts. I thank you for this privilege of working at your store, Mister Samuel. I thank you for taking the risky time to train a girl who speak poor language. I thank you for the, the, the… generosity of that behaviour.

One more final question, Mister Samuel. For next job I maybe need a letter, a note? A letter telling I am hard worker, I have big smile, I pretty girl with good English language? Will you give me this? It’s not the same at the home because we don’t get the opportunity to… to, to…

“One way I teach” by Julia at Saving Gigi


Friday, October 12, 2012 at Saving Gigi
4:50pm
5 minutes
Daring Greatly
Brené Brown


Dancing is a way of life. That was what my grade 12 English teacher said, and god knows she never danced a day in her life. She was a giant woman. Four hundred pounds, and sadly, counting. She had a gap in between her front teeth and she was incredibly beautiful. She had a way of making people feel great and bad at the same time. I still can’t figure out what the intention of combining those two feelings would be, but she was a master at it. She knew she was overweight. I mean, how could she not. She was as big as the entire classroom when she was sitting down. I dare say she taught us mostly from the chair at her desk in the front. Which is fine. Not one person in the class made fun of her. Not one. And maybe that was because we knew it wouldn’t hurt her. She was brave. She was strong. And she wasn’t stupid. We didn’t have to prove anything in her class. The only thing she wanted was for us to come outside of our comfort zone, and be bold. She preached about dancing, and singing, and blindly painting words of truth on the walls of our bedrooms. I wanted to be bold. I wanted to be bigger than she was. Bigger than a spirit that filled not only a classroom, but our minds.