“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Julia on the 4

Wednesday October 11, 2017

8:54pm

5 minutes

From a text

He forces my wrist until it is twisted up and screaming quietly. He wants me to get into the bathtub. I don’t know why. I let him hold my arm and push until I am kneeling beside the tub and looking in. He keeps pointing. I keep imitating him. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but he is strong for six and this is the first time we’re in a bathroom together. He looks at me like he’s trying to tell me about his pain. His face is contorted and his eyes are loud. I look back at him with as much heart as I can muster. Tell him with my smile he’s not alone. That I’m here. That I’m sorry he’s trapped inside his head with so many feelings and not enough words. He grabs me by the wrist when I try to open the door. He brings me back to the tub. I am breathing loud enough so he might hear it in his skin. I want to save him but I don’t know what from. He is crying without tears. I tell him, it’s okay. It’s okay.

“it won’t matter what house I move into” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 12, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


under this roof you will
not lock the doors
under my roof you will not know something that I do not
do as I say, not as I do
do not correct my grammar
do not cry about every thing
do not forget that I would never let anything happen to you
do not raise your voicd to me
do not forget to mix vodka with orange juice
hi sweetie
Cut the garlic, fine
You’re going to be, fine
I love you

“Did you know?” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Sunday April 23, 2017
11:35am
5 minutes
From a bus ad

Did you know that there are about one hundred and seventy billion galaxies in our universe? Yup. It’s true. Did you know that the milky way has four hundred billion stars? I KNOW. It’s pretty impossible to even imagine that quantity – … I know that we’re supposed to be doing our long division, but I’m, I’m bored of that and I just started reading a book about – … Okay. Okay. Fine. FINE.

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday March 29, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


Sometimes I forget how easy it is to listen to my body. I’ve been living under the impression that there’s some kind of decoding I need to do, some deep analytics about what signals I am feeling and what they mean.
Today I held the hand of a three year old while we ran him to the bathroom. I didn’t think he looked well but he was the one who told me he needed the toilet. I continued to hold his little hand as I watched this yellow caterpillar respond to what his body was telling him without questioning if it were true or right. As soon as it was over, he wiped his face and smiled. He felt better. He wasn’t going to keep thinking about his sick. His stomach had stopped speaking to him. It no longer needed to be heard.

“Is Mommy pretty…” by Julia on Quinn’s couch


Friday March 24, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
Is Mommy?
Victoria Chang


She wouldn’t like that I am telling you this but when I was young I would have said my mom made the best Caesar salads out of anyone because she used those bacon bits or those “facon” bits or whatever they were called. She would tell you she knows better these days. She might even say that it wasn’t true.
I would have said that my mom liked to yell.
She’d say she didn’t like it but she had to do it because we misbehaved a lot. Misbehaving meant bickering with one another. Misbehaving meant not listening to her.
I would have said that she smelled like vanilla and could whoop your ass in Tetras.

“dies in slow motion” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 5, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


Cut to me, 4 years old–MAYBE 5– and all the tiny humans in Mrs. Beliveau’s class have just come back from an assembly. We don’t have enough time to learn anything, not that we really ever did, so Mrs. B. tells us we can play on the structure if we can change as quickly as possible into our gym clothes. I see no one is on the structure and for some reason today I need to be the first one. So I strip down and throw on my shirt and I go running up to Mrs. Beliveau to ask her if I may “board the spaceship” (because we were in kindergarten and that’s what we called it, even though it looked nothing like a spaceship)and she looked down at me and said, “you may, as soon as you have some pants on.” And I looked down and I was standing there in my orange-starred underwear, in front of everyone, made to be aware of shame for the first time in my tiny life. I did whatever Macaulay Culkin got hired for in Home Alone then proceeded to die in slow motion; my face a shade of fire that burned me to death.

“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…

“round their throats” by Julia in her bed


Friday, March 25, 2016
12:23am
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

i remember my father teaching me how to tie a tie. he told me it would be good for me to know.
i remember telling my father i didn’t plan to ever wear a tie. i told him that i would prefer to learn how to plant things and build my own garden. he told me that someday, even if i didn’t wear the tie myself, i could help someone out who needed to but didn’t know how. i asked him again about the garden. he told me that if i learned how to tie a tie he would teach me about herbs and tomatoes and hot peppers and garlic. i asked him who would need to tie a tie. he said anyone could need to know. i asked him if he ever had to tie a tie for someone. he told me that he was once that person in need. he told me that he had a job interview, two weeks after landing in PEI. he told me how he met a woman on the subway who took him aside and showed him how to do it properly because he had done it wrong. he told me he barely spoke English but that day he realized how important gesture is. he told me that it’s better to know as much as possible in case one day someone needs to be taught but is too afraid to ask.

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“But it’s long, you have to go way down” by Julia at YVR


Saturday, December 26, 2015
7:52am
5 minutes
overheard at YVR

-It’s a long walk to your gate, Meliss, you want me to come with you?
-No you can’t come with me, dad, that’s after security.
-I know, you’re right. You sure you have enough snacks?
-I have two bananas and a bag of your trail mix. I think I’m going to be fine.
-Okay well you know that in security you have to take off your jacket and make sure your pockets are empty. They might make you take off your shoes so just be ready for that and if you are unsure just ask someone or read the signs, they should be posted everywhere–
-Dad. It’s okay. I’ll be fine.
-Okay I love you.
-I love you too.
-Call me when you land please. You know as soon as you can turn your phone off airplane.
-I know dad, I will. I’ll be okay. I’m not scared.
-No, I know I know you’re not.

“Home of the burger” by Sasha in the Kiva


Thursday, December 17, 2015
5:39pm
5 minutes
from the A&W sign

I wonder what will happen to me if the police come? I don’t know anyone who belongs to the Children’s Aid… I’ve only read about foster homes and they don’t exactly get the best rap. I’m not sure if I can make it on my own. I’m not sure if I would be a good street kid because I don’t really like getting dirty and I’ve never squeegeed anything ever! I don’t know how to de-feather a pigeon and I’m absolutely unsure how to panhandle!

“Transcendence demands sacrifice” by Julia in the Vancouver Writer’s Fest Volunteer Lounge


Sunday, October 25, 2015 at the Writer’s Fest Volunteer Lounge
10:21am
5 minutes
from a write up about Rich Shapero

The valet parked my car this morning and made me wish I had walked. Maybe that will be the last time.Lately I’ve been uncomfortable with paying someone to do something that I can do myself. I was brought up differently. My father lived for the royalty of things. Every special occasion was catered exquisitely. The tables were always covered in silks and golds and exotic fruit and cheese. My father was a simple man, but he loved abundance. I learned from him that if it’s between time or money, to choose time. He used to tell me that my time was worth a thousandfold the amount I would have to pay for it. I never really saw what he meant because we often payed someone else, and as a result were not only abundant in lavishness, but in dispensable time. I never had to want more time. I didn’t know how to appreciate it when I was young, even though he was trying to show me. When he died I noticed myself living like him more and more. I’d pay for private massages, for dinners to be delivered, for my laundry to be folded.

“ideal cooking oil” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Mama sticks her finger into the jar and pulls out white silk that turns her skin glossy.
Doesn’t that smell like heaven? She hums, lifting her hand to my nose.
I nod my head. I want to eat the melting silk off of mama’s warm forefinger. She smiles at me, glad that I like what she likes. She dabs both of my cheeks with it and rubs it in. Feels nice, doesn’t it? I nod again, this time voraciously.
I want mama to let me bathe in this stuff. I want mama to let me alone with it so I can put it everywhere.
This is what you use for baking and cooking, she tells me, grabbing a spoon out of the drawer. She hands it to me. But it’s good for anything you can think of. She winks. I smile. I feel lucky to be let in to this place. She has given me her secret to the universe.

“amazing work” by Julia on her couch


Friday, October 23, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I had been trying to catch his attention for, if I’m counting, the last twelve years. Huh. Wow. That’s more than I thought I’d admit. Was hopeful. I mean, who wasn’t at that age. But I guess it’s not fair to take it personally. He wasn’t not loving me, he was just, not forgetting her. I don’t know if I would do it any differently than that myself. I’ve never lost a child so I don’t get to pretend to understand. But weeks bleed into months and then years, and it all just feels like the same nightmare, playing over and over or just continuing without resolve every 16 hours. This time it was a scholarship that I was awarded because of my application letter about him. I wanted to show him. He wanted to drink.

“the tallest trees send down roots” by Julia at Nelson the Seagull


Sunday, September 6, 2015 at Nelson The Seagull
2:32pm
5 minutes
The Soul’s Code
James Hillman


Mama, there’s a shooting pain coming and going in my legs! It feels like knives and daggers and glass, digging deep and twisting tight.
My dear, you are growing. Your legs are becoming longer, your torso building higher toward the sky.
But why do I ache? Why do my legs shriek out every night?
Because to grow is to change and to change is to expand. You’re stretching, my love, growing into the you you are meant to be.
How big will I get? How long will I grow?
As big as you’re meant to be. As long as your soul needs.
My soul is growing through my legs? Will it always hurt this much?
Maybe a little at first. But it lets you know you’re alive. That you’re entering new dimensions. Filling bigger spaces.

“grabbed by the notion” by Julia on the 505 going West


Tuesday, July 21, 2015
11:28pm
5 minutes
from a letter to a celebrity

I’m on the ocean
The waves are healing me
I’m looking deep
In the cave in my chest
I’m on the ocean
The water is curing me
I’m holding tight
To the magic underneath

I remember these words better than I remember my own address. They’ve been sung into my soul so many times that they’re practically mine, top to bottom. Grandma used to sing it to me before bed. She dreamed of the ocean, and taking me there to live with her. When Aunt Christina passed away, Grandma said she knew a place where I wouldn’t feel any pain. She asked Mom if I could go but Mom said, You’re not leaving me too, not now, not ever. And Grandma tried so long to get me there. I didn’t know how much Mom hated to be alone.

“a boy like me calls his mother.” by Julia on her patio


Monday, July 20, 2015
6:19pm
5 minutes
http://www.howlround.com

I HAVE A DOG! Daddy saved a little black one from the shelter and brought him home for me TO KEEP! Mom said play nice with Joseph. Daddy thinks it’s better to call him Joseph than mom’s name, Peanut. He laughed when I picked it and looked at me with big Daddy eyes. Peanut is not the winner! I tell mom this and she storms back into the kitchen with the dish towel over her shoulder and tears in her big mommy eyes. Don’t worry about it, she likes to make things about her, Daddy tells me. She’s just mad you didn’t like her name, but guess what, Joseph didn’t like it either. Daddy goes into the kitchen after mommy. How could you, I hear her yell to him. Dammit, Karen, I hear him say back.

“The audience is your partner” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, June 28, 2015
8:44pm
5 minutes
Conversations with Anne
Anne Bogart


Hi! Oh there are so many of you! Such a good looking group, and I swear I’m not just saying that. I don’t tell everyone that. I don’t think it’s fair to give people false interpretations of themselves. If it’s not a good looking group, I just avoid the topic entirely. But you. You are a stunning piece of work, and you should know that you are because everyone should hear it if it’s true. I don’t like when people go crazy for babies even if they’re not cute. Some people say the mothers always think their kid is cute but what about the truly ugly infants? I’m not trying to be cruel, but my friends, I value authenticity; I value reality. How does a mother look at her ugly kid and still make claims that he or she is adorable. Okay okay I know what you’re thinking, “she’s an asshole, she must be dealing with some childhood trauma, or self-image issues.” I can assure you, and maybe I should be lying here, that I do just simply hate people who won’t see the truth.

“Let me just say he did some pretty terrible things” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Friday, June 12, 2015
5:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Valens

Graham was finally allowed to see his daughter in two years and he wasn’t going to sabotage himself this time. No chance in hell was he willing to risk anything getting in the way of that sweet angel face. Gina didn’t want to bring her. She said a prison is not the place she wanted Olivia to associate him with. She said this isn’t good for the baby. Graham wanted to believe that she was still too young to be affected by this or anything that he was guilty of doing. But Olivia wasn’t a baby anymore. She was three now. She had nightmares and daydreams and memories. And graham had missed the part where she didn’t have those. Where she hadn’t grown up without a daddy yet.

“he loved it when I forced him into seasonal costumes” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Friday December 12, 2014 at Culprit Coffee
9:23am
5 minutes
from Minnie Driver’s Instagram feed

We’re making a Santa suit! We got all the fabric on sale at Fabricland! What a steal! Grandpa’s gonna wear it! And we don’t even need to get him a beard because he already has one! Mama’s sewing the pants and the jacket and I get to glue on the white fuzzy trim! Gramma doesn’t want to be Mrs. Claus so guess what?! I get to be! I’m going to wear Susie’s red dress and a Santa hat! And I’m going to wear red lipstick and my cozy slippers! Grandpa will sit on his comfy chair and I will hand out the present because I am his assistant! I even learned how to say your welcome in Spanish. “Gracias!”

“That really hurted!” by Sasha in her garden


Sunday, July 27, 2014
7:09pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gimli Beach


THAT REALLY HURTED! WHY YOU DO THAT? I WAS JUST SITTIN’ AND NOW I’M BRUISED!
THAT REALLY HURTED! WHY YOU DO THAT? I WAS JUST LAUGHIN’ AND NOW I’M NOT!
THAT REALLY HURTED! YOU’RE SUCH A MEANIE! I’M TRYIN’ TO BE NICE BUT IT’S HARD!
THAT REALLY HURTED! LOOK HOW I’M BLEEDING! YOU GOT MY GOOD AND NOW I’M DOWN!
THAT REALLY HURTED! WHY YOU DO THAT? I HATE YOU RIGHT NOW! BUT I’LL LOVE YOU LATER.
THAT REALLY HURTED! YOU REALLY GOT ME. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE OF THIS?
THAT REALLY HURTED!

“No, that was so wide!” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday, July 19, 2014
5:39pm
5 minutes
overheard a Grand Beach


No! It was this big, Mama! It was really this huge! Franklin, stop it! That’s how big it was! I’m the one that held it so you don’t even know! FRANKLIN SHUT UP! I’m telling Mama. MAMA! FRANKLIN! Mama! Franklin is saying that I didn’t know how big the kitten was! That is was smaller! It was a Maine Coon cat! That’s what Aunty said! A Maine Coon! They’re the size of a dog! Even when they’re babies! That’s the truth. Mama? Listen to me! I’m talking to you! Can we can a Maine Coon? Papa won’t even notice that it’s not a dog. He won’t sneeze or have itchy eyes or anything.

“master of my own” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 23, 2014
1:10am
5 minutes
overheard on the streetcar

Oh My LANTA!!! ABBY!!! You’re looking like a real woman these days aren’t you! I can’t believe it, you’re so tall now. And look at those cheeks! Where did they even go? When you were little you used to have the chubbiest, fattest cheeks, I used to pinch ’em and tug ’em and cover ’em with so many kisses, my goodness, you used to hate that! Oh honey plum, I don’t even blame you! The whole world wanted to squeeze you dry, girlie, oh yes they did. I’m sorry about that now, but oh! I couldn’t help myself, they were just so darn big! And this dress you have on, let me take a look at you. Oh wow, spin around again, that is one heck of a figure you’ve got, now don’t you! I bet you drive all the boys crazy with those legs for days and days! Oh Abby, I used to have legs for days and days before the varicose veins and the knee surgeries, let me tell you a story! You know your father’s the one that bashed in my knee with a baseball all those years ago! I was pitching to him and he hit a line drive right into my bank account! I joke about that now because he felt so bad and all those treatments cost so much money cause I could barely stand! Oh but you!! You look wonderful!!

“#PRACTICE” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Starbucks
9:45am
5 minutes
The Dentyne Ice Subway Poster

Trent was a bit of an overachiever. He worked very hard at everything and always had the least amount of fun possible when doing things. He started out as a controlling child, and no one ever led him in any other direction, so he became a controlling teen, then a controlling young adult, then a controlling full adult. He didn’t seem to mind that none of his friends ever lasted more than 4-6 months. He was not interested in forever friends. He was interested in his forever future. Trent once chewed a stick of bubble gum for over 6 hours because he wanted to prove that it could be done. No one was competing against him. He wanted to win all by himself and for himself. Trent knew how to centre his mind and ensure that even if it were an uncomfortable circumstance, he would be able to persevere. He practised meditating more than anyone he could think of because he wanted to be a master. He wanted to be a master of literally everything imaginable. He meditated so hard sometimes he would miss meals, miss weddings, miss important things in life. Trent considered “importance” relative anyway. Who is to say what’s really important?

“tie up my son and me” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 22, 2013
6:53pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star (Life Section)

had a dream last night that we were playing pin the tail on the clouds. it was a game my son and me made up for when the bad days felt too long. i’d hold him and he’d hold a feather in his pudgy little hand. Then i’d lift him as high as i possibly could, reaching up and up, till the sun made him squint and he felt like it was enough. it was something we started a long time ago. with whatever he could find on the ground at the time, a rock, a stick, a snail. we would both pick a cloud, and he would try to pin the tail on it. on the same spot we chose together. i could feel him breathing, focussing, trying to get it just right. and he would never get the spot perfectly, but the concentration needed would always make it feel like he did. like just one more push and we’d get there. in the dream we were shooting right up to the real clouds. we were in a contraption that took us up, made us feel like we were flying. we knew even then that we might not touch the spot exactly, but we’d get close. in the dream he wasn’t holding an object from the yard, or the sand box. it was a framed photograph of me.

(an image from National Geographic) by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday October 23, 2013
10:41am
5 minutes
National Geographic Photo Issue
October 2013


Oh dear, I seem to have misplaced my board. It has all the things I’m supposed to do on it on one side and on the other there’s a really cute picture of a boy with a helmet on, standing in the middle of the beach. My to do list: I like to rotate it off my board so I can keep that picture constant. I made a slip for the paper to slide in and it’s protected by a thin plastic layer–much like you’d see during an overhead presentation at school, when one of the classmates was responsible for teaching the others something about grammar that week. I can’t start my day without writing the list–and then also looking at that picture.

I don’t like to tell many people, but it’s not just the image that’s important to me, it’s the boy.
He is mine, actually.
I really don’t let on that he is, but it’s true. He has his front two teeth missing and that’s the last day I ever saw him because I left him there, at the beach. It was an accident. He was supposed to be in the car with his Aunt Roe.

“would be more accurate.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday, December 27, 2012 at Sambuca Grill
5:56pm
5 minutes
http://www.thesartorialist.com

No, a shit-hole would be more accurate. I told Rich that if we had to stay away from the city for eve one night, I would only do it if we could sleep in an actual structure. I told him hotel, motel, or condo, pick one. Now of course, given the option, Rich would choose a hotel too, but since he was convinced that this was a camping trip, of course he’d have to go ahead and pick the dingiest and most degrading motel in the history of the universe. He pushed open the jammed door to our room and I swear to you that dust mites multiplied. He was all chummy, trying to get me into a good mood, but all I could see were what appeared to be blood stains around the bed, and the fact that the mini bar looked like the last time it was stocked was 1993.
“Nice, isn’t it babe? I chocked on the cloudy air. I said, “Hurry up and die already so I can run off with all your money.” He laughed, pulled me into him, and kissed the top of my head.
“Ugh!” I said. “We’re already starting to smell the way the walls feel.”
“You’re being a baby.” He said to me with a smile. “Don’t worry about your nails, we’ll get you some new ones when we get back to the city.”

“would be more accurate.” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, December 27, 2012
5:17pm
5 minutes
http://www.thesartorialist.com

When I think about the end of the world I think about lots of bubbles blowing out of volcanic mountaintops and the sound of crashing waves all over and lots of songs like those from my auntie’s vinyl collection and fires. Fires, fires, fires, everywhere. It’s not scary, really, it’s more moving and emotional and terribly dramatic. My mama believes that it will be the end of the world in four days and so she’s living on McFlurries alone. She’s buying whatever she wants and smoking a lot of stinky smelling type cigarillos. So far her purchases include: a large pink bag, a six pack of beer from Mexico and high heeled boots. I’m not sure how these things connect or, even, if they do at all. She’s been talking about this day for awhile now, usually when a bit sauced and a bit slutty. She’ll then go out for what she calls a “night on the town”. I don’t mind being left alone in the condo. I watch sneaky type movies and eat her expensive “grown-up” sweet n’ salty popcorn. The next day she feels guilty and hung-over so she can’t even get mad about those naughty things that I do. When I think about the end of the world I think about my mother in her high heeled boots, laughing like a witch-woman.