“If you want to go out with her or give her a bath” by Julia in the office chair

Thursday March 8, 2018
10:17pm
5 minutess
From a text

Lottie ain’t gonna fightcha, if ya’ll wanna take her out or give her a nice scrubbin’, be my guest, understand? She used to put up a stink, but I think the old gal has gotten tired and to be honest I think she likes the company different these days. When we first got her, boy could she kick a hole in all your hard work! The fences that Horace put up? Took him the whole damn summer. When he left for two minutes to fetch himself a congratulatory beer Lottie had already marked her exit route. You shoulda seen his face, my god. If he didn’t already feel bad for the poor thing, he mightta sold her that very day. Thing is, Lottie came from a bad group. The owners liked to use their animals for experiments in show business-Kind of impossible circus types.

“never been good at multitasking” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 10, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
from a text

I know I’m inching fufther away from myself when I can make sure I send you a writing prompt but I will go the whole day without writing a single word for me. And I think long and hard about what I’ll suggest to you. What I hope is something that gives you a reason to write. Because I care that you aren’t writing. I care that you must write. That the bones of your body only feel warm when you do. I know this sensation too. Cold bones. The feeling of your bed being the scariest place to end the day. When sleep takes more from you than it gives. I have been shivering these days. And I do not want to turn on the radiator because it shouldn’t be this frigid in my home. It shouldn’t be this removed from skin. I don’t remember how to fix this but I do know that it always comes back–which means it always goes away first.

“delicately flavored granita” by Julia in her bed


Saturday September 9, 2017
12:57am
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin


mom’s in the kitchen making “something you’ll like, shut up and trust me”
it’s her speciality
don’t know if she learned how when she was living in Naples nannying those conjoined twins
or before
or when she was raising her younger brothers so they wouldn’t fall off a cliff or accidentally drink lighter fluid
“something we’ll like” is often a combination of soft bread and sour spreads
something we wouldn’t know to choose
or if we’re lucky espresso granita
served with impossibly cute spoons

“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.

“my flight leaves for Edmonton” by Julia at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre


Thursday June 8, 2017
9:17pm
5 minutes
overheard at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

“Did you pack her neck pillow, Dana? You know Mom can’t travel without it.”
“I packed it, Leigh, you can officially back off now.”
“I’m telling you she won’t even set foot on the plane if she doesn’t have it.”
“What did I just say? I’ve already got it. You left very detailed instructions. Very detailed.”
“She hasn’t left the house since Dad got sick, much less the province.”
“I know that, I will make sure she is as comfortable and distracted as possible.”
“You’re not going to slip her any of your little…pills…are you?”
“What makes you think I’m still taking those little pills?”
“Dana.”
“I’M NOT TAKING THEM ANYMORE! Why does nobody trust me around here? I can’t escort mom to fucking Edmonton, now?”
“Well maybe because you like to make things about you.”
“You are such a little cunt, Leighanne.”

“update your voter information” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday March 11, 2017
10:36am
5 minutes
From an email

My mother hands me her wallet and asks me to count out the change for her bagel and coffee. She acts like this is normal. I play along. She holds onto my elbow as we snake our way through the grocery store. “I want three oranges, Lola. And make sure they are ripe!” She sniffs cantaloupes and squeezes nectarines, but it’s hard to tell with citrus.

I’m the youngest of six and this means it’s my job to care for my mother in these last years of her life. My older siblings helped to raise me. It’s an unspoken rule that I’ll look after Mama. They visit. But they don’t sell their furniture and books, break up with their sometimes boyfriend, give away their three-legged cat and move back home.

“they did not” by Julia on her couch 


Sunday, August 28, 2016
9:32pm
5 minutes
from a piece of feedback

They do not ask you how you’re doing. They do not wonder if you’re a good liar. They aren’t supposing anything about you except that you must have few worries in this world. They do not pour your water first before theirs. They do not bring you batches of lemonade or lavender shortbread. They don’t call you on the phone. They don’t respond to your letters. They don’t tell you when they see something that reminds them of you. They do not buy it. They never buy it. They do not tell you when you are making them feel unsafe. They do not think you are hijacking the room. They do not know how little you’re listening. They do not expect anything from you. They do not include you in their conversation. They do not ask you if you want to help. They do not ask you if you’ve been places. They do not ask you if you understand the feeling. They do not give you the chance to improve the silence. They do not thank you for your advice. They aren’t borrowing your clothes or your poetry.

“who’d surprise his roommates” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 22, 2016 at Starbucks
7:07am
5 minutes
Anthony’s Glass Eye
Billeh Nickerson


Callahan is coming home tonight. He’s been in Europe mastering the art of Instagram and showing off his cool life that his parents are paying for. He started his trip in Spain and then decided he wanted to live in Italy, then changed his mind to Berlin, then eventually just went back to Spain. The only person he told he was coming back was me and he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone else. “Gonna surprise everybody: The Prodigal Roommate returns! But, I tell him, I can’t pick you up, it’s not enough notice. And he tells me, don’t worry; one of the guys will be there. Except you didn’t tell any of the guys, remember? Oh yeah, he said, no, I know, all good. Bueno! Muy bueno! I casually mention the bus and Callahan “gets another call”.

“What’s wrong with my body?” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn


When I think about it
it doesn’t look good for me
old woman’s body trapped in a young woman’s skin
There’s the part where my neck pops for no reason
the part where my fingers go numb during hot yoga
the part where I bruise easy
the part where my thigh muscle…detaches?
the part where my side stitches when I run
the part where my uterus goes into contractions if I don’t drink enough water
the part where it hurts to take a deep breath for sometimes minutes
(yeah, plural, whoops)
the part where my feet get charlie horses
(is that even a thing? I don’t know anymore)
the part where my back spasms or pulls or gets thrown out
WEEKLY
I would throw it out for good if I could
and get a new and young one, Christ.
(you know what they say: back pain is just an old soul trying to escape…)
throw in some casual IBS?
Why the fuck not

“the best of” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, April 2, 2016
11:41pm
5 minutes
from a program insert

How do you know if a toddler is thirsty? They don’t know how to ask for things, they get distracted by spinning and highlighters and drumming on the refrigerator with paper towel rolls. How do you know if they need something? I am wondering because as an adult I never even know when I’m thirsty. I mean I know when I am and that I ignore it and that I have to have an app my phone remind me when it’s time to ingest a life fluid that I know I need to drink in order to be healthy. A toddler is waiting for the adult to give him water isn’t he? Isn’t the little one waiting until she sees her cup to know she could put it to her lips and feel better after she drinks? Do you have to ask every thirty seconds? I don’t want to be responsible for a child’s thirst. Do they just swallow their own saliva, manufactured every millisecond by the gallon? Is there some forum online for this? I don’t want to ask this question publicly if the world already has an answer. It’s not even my kid by the way. I guess that’s why I kind of need to know…

“Did you send the message?” by Julia on her couch


Friday, April 1, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

Connie has her overnight bag packed. She laughs every time she thinks of Alison calling it her “satchel”. Alison’s mom always teaches her to use the correct word for things, which is good because Connie can learn from that too. She thinks about her own mother falling asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while watching Wheel of Fortune every night after work. Once she solved a puzzle with only two letters revealed and Connie thought she was faking. She never hears words like “satchel” or “rotunda” or “enigmatic” so Connie didn’t think her mom was even fully watching her word shows. Connie goes into the living room to kiss her mother goodbye. She’s already asleep. Connie covers her in the red afghan and turns off the TV.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“the way you would like them to appear” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday March 22, 2016
9:18pm
5 minutes
on the artist program guide site

A woman just crashed into a table behind me. I didn’t look up. I don’t know for sure that it even happened but I sensed it in some way and then I accepted it as not my problem. I hope I don’t go to hell for this. Like people say there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. Well is there a special place for women who sense that other women around her are in distress but don’t actually have concrete evidence or even a witness account that that’s the case? I mean. If I can be real for a quick second, I very well may have invented that there was even a woman behind me at all. I felt the room’s energy shift. I also could have had a heart palpitation and confused it for someone being hurt? Maybe I’m the hurt one? Like is this even an issue. I’m sure she’s fine. No one around me has changed their activities. Either it didn’t happen or she didn’t need help in the first place. It’s not fair to invent victims. I’m simply saying if I had turned around to just see, I could have better assessed my destination as hell or otherwise.

“No not that fake smile!” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday, August 21, 2015
1:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard at a bus stop

Biddy and me make a pact to bleed each other’s blood and wear each other’s smile. I want to marry Biddy so I can be around her all the time and let her light wash over me and catch me in all the right moments. Biddy plays the violin and when she does the whole world stops. I do all the humming and Biddy plays so I can feel. She tells me that I’m most me when I open my mouth and let my heart sing out. She tells me she can see me growing into the person who’s taking better care of me. She tells me I’m the kind of woman who becomes more beautiful with age and experience and confidence and time. It’s my idea to combine our life force and Biddy smiles with her whole face because she loves all of my grand ideas. She snips a lock of her strawberry blonde curls and wraps it around my finger to remind me that we’ve got each other’s soul close by.

“her “home” shifted time and again” by Julia at R&D


Tuesday, August 18, 2015
4:20pm
5 minutes
An article in The Atlantic

Eagle and Snail lay on the cool linoleum, looking up at the stolen chandelier that’s glittering on the ceiling. Snail’s head is on Eagle’s stomach and he can feel her breathing and he can hear her heartbeat.
Eagle keeps falling asleep and when she does Snail listens to the gurgling of her lower intestines and mimics the sounds to her with his best out loud impression. Eagle wakes up when he does this and she laughs sleepily but with commitment. Eagle’s hand is on Snail’s face, holding his left eyebrow in the crescent moon of her palm. When she remembers, she strokes it with the grain and smooths it with the inside ridge of her finger.

“Dessert is an apricot tart” by Julia on her bed


Thursday May 21, 2015
11:40pm
5 minutes
SAVEUR magazine
issue 152


And happiness is a sailing ship
the ocean strong
the wind fair
gliding across the water
a beacon of hope
a sign of peace
we all tilt our strained chins to the earth
and we sigh
breathe out
that’s the final taste
that’s the summer sun warming up the frigid ground
And dessert is an apricot tart
the filling sweet
the pastry light
being passed around the after party
a moment of indulgence
a gesture of great care
we all throw our anchored heads back against the sofa
and we laugh

“Knowing they can’t touch us” by Sasha on the porch in Horseshoe Bay


Monday May 11, 2015
4:43pm
5 minutes
Breathe Easy
Rachel Sermanni


Bud’s got more to say now that the whales are singing. His hands are open and he isn’t hitting his head against the wall. “Don’t touch me, Molly. Don’t touch me,” he says, smiling. I massage his palms, the muscles harder than concrete. He spends his afternoons on the porch, overlooking the ocean. When he hears a whale he calls, “Songs! Songs!” He dances and I say, “careful not to get splinters!” He lifts his feet higher. When his mother comes home from work she says, “How was the day?” She pours herself a glass of white wine. She kisses Bud on the forehead and he wrinkles his nose.

“Mummy, mummy!” by Julia on the tube


Tuesday December 16, 2014
5:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Sainsbury’s

I have to tell you this, mother to mother..I hate hearing my own name. I mean, I miss hearing my real name, the one given to me by my mother, but I can’t stand hearing ‘mummy’ anymore. It just started really affecting me. I’d say up until two weeks ago I didn’t think anything of it. But I want to ask you’ve ever asked your kids to call you Ruth? I had a day dream that they were calling me Enid and it made me love them more. I hear mummy and it sounds so very desperate. They need something from me at all times with that name. With Enid, we were equals and it was a choice for me to take care of them, not an obligation. Of course I always want to take care of them, I’m not mad..but having the autonomy is in a way, more freeing.
In my mind little Emma can’t pronounce it properly but it still works like a charm.

“with MOSS FOLK” by Julia at Kawaii Crepe


Thursday August 7, 2014 at Kawaii Crepe
8:38pm
5 minutes
from the Wooden Shjips concert ticket


I’ve been sitting here with a patch of dead skin in my hands. I thought you would have noticed that my legs were peeling because some of the shapes looked like your favourite states: Minnesota, Alabama, Missouri. You didn’t say one thing about it, so I kept slowly detaching the snake-like-shreds, trying to keep them as long and intact as possible. Like orange peels. Like the backing of a press on tattoo. I guess I was looking for some attention, or to prove to myself that you cared about me and my well-being. I wondered if you wondered why I had burnt skin to begin with. If you thought to ask and discovered that I scalded my legs in a hot bath, if you’d wonder why anyone would think to take a hot bath in the middle of July. I don’t usually do that kind of thing. It just sort of happened as a result of my endless time alone and my desire to feel like anything but myself. Granted, I did feel a little like Virginia Woolf. I wondered if you’d wonder about that part…

“If you’re free” by Julia in her backyard


Sunday, June 9, 2013
3:12pm
5 minutes
from a poster at High Park Subway for Ottawa

You wouldn’t be here
You wouldn’t be away at all
You wouldn’t prefer there
You wouldn’t be allowed to
The night is hot and the fan is broken
There’s more of these where those came from
It’s a hyperbole on one side and it means whatever you want it to
You’ll know that you’re dreaming by the tone of voice, the hazy yellow light
You’ll fall asleep into the slumber that won’t change you
Close your eyes now
Let the silence ease you
Are you falling falling, tumbling down?
Do you want to be where I am?
You wouldn’t be here
You wouldn’t be anywhere that’s close at all
You You
You
You
I’ll blow kisses onto your skin to cool you
I’ll tell the wind to speed up so you can slip under
The fan is broken
And the night is hot

“What happens if you run the expansion backwards?” by Julia on her couch


Friday, November 30, 2012
12:45am
5 minutes
Introducing the Universe
Felix Pirani and Christine Roche


Calling my bluff I see how it is. I’m not your kid but you act like you’re parenting me.
I don’t want to be your kid, for the record. I like not having any one who loves me because then there’s no one for me to disappoint. I’m just someone who does things or doesn’t and nobody can care.
But you’ve been getting awfully close to me lately, trying to buy me festive and decorative plants for my basement apartment because you think I won’t do that on my own. You don’t know if I might want to buy my own tree, feel a sense of pride. Feel a sense of ownership. What time was it when you realized I could need you?
You just swoop in and make me feel like I’m wanted. That’s nice and I don’t know much about love and stuff, but you make me want to try.
Thanks.
But when I say I don’t want you here, I mean it. I’m no good. I’m just messed up and I’m no good. You are better so go buy someone else blinds. I can hang sheets up in the windows. I can use old t-shirts, it doesn’t matter to me.
You stay, though. You bring me coffee on Tuesday mornings because you think I don’t sleep well on Mondays.
I don’t. I don’t know how you know that or how you figured it out. I hate Mondays, all day and night, too.
You have places to go, don’t you?