“spread the word” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 11, 2016 at Starbucks
7:01am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

There are crazy people everywhere. Waiting to get on a bus, complaining about a dirty table, screaming about the bugs in their hair. Some days I am this way. I can see myself reacting, overreacting to things and I don’t recognize my face. It’s like some crazy person has hijacked my body to do all their crazy things. I know it’s me, but it feels like a movie or video game. My therapist says I can’t be held responsible for things I do or how I behave outside my “window of tolerance”. She says that trauma can lead to the window being broken wide open and that’s how things become blurry; hard to control; hard to keep rational. I told her, I don’t know how I could do it, I never wanted to do it, and she said, well it’s that “window of tolerance” thing we talked about and would you like to go back in time and speak to your six year old self right now?

“People and shopping” by Julia at Dreyfus Cafe in Clapton

Saturday January 10, 2015 at Dreyfus Cafe in Clapton 4:03pm 5 minutes from a map of London So one time my dad took us, my sister and brother, and I, you know, all three of us, to the mall and we were supposed to meet Santa and whatever. But there was this huge line so we were being huge brats, you know, all three of us, my brother and sister and I. So my dad’s like, nope, not dealing with spoiled rotten apple children, so he yells at us right there in the line for fucking no good Santa and everyone in the world stares at us like we’re animals in a cage or something, fighting each other with teeth and claws out.. And then my dad looks around like it’s the first time he realizes he’s awake that day, and he just starts to laugh. He throws his head back and cackles so hard that all three of us, my sister and brother and I, all start laughing too. Just howling. Losing it. And people are still looking at us like animals in a cage only this time we look like possessed creatures who love each other. When we stop laughing my dad says, let’s go take a sleigh ride instead! So we go and we end up having to wait in an even longer line…but this time with much more enthusiasm.

“Why not join us?” by Sasha on the Queenstreetcar going East


Sunday December 21, 2014
10:12am
5 minutes
From an Arriva tube ad

WHY NOT JOIN US AT THE PARTY OF CENTURY / THERE’LL BE DANCING BOYS AND TINY DUCKS AND JUGGLING QUINTUPLETS / THERE’LL BE CHAMPAGNE AND GLUTEN FREE LAMB MOUSSAKA / THERE’LL BE THE BEST OF THE BEST AND THE HOT OF THE HOT AND THE COOL COOL COOL / THERE’LL BE SONGS THAT YOU DON’T KNOW AND WORDS THAT YOU DO KNOW / THERE’LL BE SWEARING (UH OH) / THERE’LL BE HIP TOUCHING (MM MM) / THERE’LL BE INUIT KISSES AND THIS LITTLE PIGGY AND UP AND DOWN AND ALL AROUND / THERE’LL BE ME AND YOU SLOW DANCING IN A ROOM LIT BY THE GLOW OF THE OTHER PARTY GOERS HEARTS / THERE’LL BE NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF AND EVERYTHING TO REJOICE ABOUT / WHY NOT JOIN US AT THE PARTY OF THE CENTURY / IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW / ON THIS STREETCAR / IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW / ON THIS WAVE / IT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW / WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT / TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT / THE PARTY OF THE CENTURY

“Sunset and the city” by Julia on her bed


Monday October 20, 2014
6:19pm
5 minutes
The front cover of a notebook

Babs calls me and she’s in such a tizzy. Her brain has sincerely exploded, and I’m putting it mildly here out of respect because she’s a dear friend of mine. But she calls, her words don’t make a bit of sense, which is, I suppose, if I’m being honest, and who doesn’t crave a little honesty in the mornings, isn’t so rare. She’s dear to me, I tell you this, but she’s a bit scattered. You know, her thoughts always seem to be half formed or a bit demented. You know, kind of like the human products of incest, you know, a little bit not very normal. Ah, it’s just the truth, I’m not trying to be, uh, insensitive. But you have to know about Babs in all her glory if you’re going to follow this story.
So anyway, she calls me, her brain is, put it this way, worse than usual, and she starts singing!

“Hope for summer heat in Ontario” by Julia on the 511 going North


Tuesday May 20, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
The Weather Network

oh there are so many avocado recipes, i’m losing it, i’m losing all my mind fibres! you know, there have been sites dedicated to avocados for a long time now, and i know this, but these recent developments are really something that takes the green things in a whole new level! it’s wild to think you can bake an egg inside of an avocado as if it were a cupcake tray! i love that! my mind bits are seriously exploding and i am going a bit insane wondering when and how and when i can throw a bazillion parties just to make each delectable recipe for my loved ones and theirs! oh my goodness, the summer is really turning quickly into the best time of year for me. it used to be winter, believe it or not, but believe it cause otherwise the story just sort of peters off. it used to be winter because of squash! all squash, so many winter kinds and i got crazy for the soups and the roasted versions. i would have parties at my house all the time, for goodness knows what reason. one time i had people over to watch the Oscars which was fun, and i did a squash themed oscar extravaganza. another time the reason wasn’t as great but people still came over when i invited them for “tupperware exchange” night. any excuse at all to whip out the famous recipes. and this summer is going to be exactly that. i already have a “block party” party and a David Bowie’s greatest tunes tribute night. that one’s going to be a for sure hit. with avocados!

“36 000 residents” by Julia on the plane to Toronto


Sunday March 30, 2014
3:08pm
5 minutes
Westjet In-flight magazine

I’m happy to report that I’m leaving. I’m leaving this town. I’m leaving my job. I’m leaving my life. I’m leaving my rotten running shoes. I’m leaving my favourite tree in the city. I’m going. I’m going to a new place. I’m going to be happy. I’m going to start over. I’m going to find a human I can love more than myself. I’m going to dye my hair the colour of autumn.
I’m learning. I’m changing. I’m growing. I’m committing. I’m living.
It took a long time for me to decide.
Mostly because I hate flying. I hate waiting. I hate the pressure building in my sinuses. I hate the people who bring their uncomfortable babies. I hate the idea of having to sit in an aisle seat and get my elbows bashed in by someone named Darla or Emmanuel.

“Spilled secrets” by Julia at the Sheraton in St. John’s


Wednesday March 26, 2014
10:39pm
5 minutes
Atlantic Business Magazine
Jan/Feb 2014


of course there are spilled secrets all over this place. you think i don’t know that? I know that. I know everything about this place. when i was little i used to run this place. you’re laughing but you don’t understand. i was in and out of room corners and closets and hiding everywhere. nobody knew where to find me and i was damn good at staying hidden until i knew no one was watching for me to come out. that’s how i learned about everyone and everything because i got real good at keeping my mouth shut and my ears wide wide open. i got good at breathing with my mind and not with my lungs. i know about each wall plastered with its tiny mosaics of truth and shame. i know about mom trying to hide the pistol and about dad shouting out for annabell, my sister before he went and not me. i know more than you can possibly imagine. and everyone knows one thing or two, but not me. i know each fold in each sheet like it was my nanny, i know each speckle on each mirror like my own shadow. i could fill rooms of books with what i know here. and that’s why i’m so hell bent on leaving now. not that anyone would stop me..not anyone but the secrets. they whisper to me when i sleep. they haunt my dreams like nightmares that are made up by crazy men in their libraries. only they’re real. they’re so real they could kill me just by being in my head. i have a song i sing right before bed so i don’t hear them. i had to invent something when i was young to make sure they didn’t.

“sometimes enlightenment” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, October 1, 2013
12:30am
5 minutes
Grand Theft Auto 5

Sometimes enlightenment will come back to bite you right in the ass.
Umm, actually? Did you just use enlightenment and ass in the same sentence?
Yes. And I’m not apologizing. Did I offend you?
Yes. Which is nothing new. Not since you lost the baby.
Ahh, the mighty old exposition. Tell me again why my life is such a fucking failure.
I never said that. I would never ever say that.
You don’t have to. We’re braided together like soft cheese.
And I’m supposed to respond to that…how…exactly…?
SOMETIMES ENLIGHTENMENT CAN SUCK. THAT’S ALL. You want a remedy for this? For me?
Easy. I’m not even mad right now.
But I’m not good for you like this.
No, you’re not. But you’re fucking lucky I already love you.
Otherwise?
Otherwise I wouldn’t.
I appreciate your honesty. I’d rather not know most things because the truth is a wicker basket filled with regret. But not when you do it. When you do it, I respect you more.
Great.
Yes. It fucking is.

“Tom, will you let me love you in your restaurant?” By Julia at Dark Horse on Spadina


Saturday, June 22, 2013 at Dark Horse Espresso Bar
6:48pm
5 minutes
Litany
Carolyn Creddon


If you could sweep away the dirty dishes, throw me onto the bar and tell me I was yours, I would be okay with that. Let you use my body to wipe the tables, pushing the salt and pepper shakers onto the floor with no regard for broken glass. That would be just fine. Pull the Amsterdam on draft out into a steady stream, letting it pour all over us as we try to get some of it in our mouths. That would be exciting, don’t you think? Covered in beer and sticky and soaked through. My white top, obviously, a skin plastered mess that you leave on me while you drink from my shirt pocket. The lights can be on or off. Your choice. I don’t need to decide that one. And when we’re close, and we will be more than once I guarantee it, we’ll ring the tiny bell on the pass and yell “Chicken’s up”. That would be just…. I’ll put on your chef hat and your apron with nothing else, and walk around the kitchen with a spatula and a whistle. Tell you to say “Yes Chef” and you would because how could you not?

“We take care of you” by Julia at Nicole’s house


Tuesday June 11,2013
5:44pm
5 minutes
The blackboard in front of The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar

Betty wanted folks to feel welcome in her home so she made sure there were always matches in the loo, and a racy magazine in the guests’ bedroom. She was laid back like that; down to earth. She didn’t judge anyone’s hard earned crazy. She embraced it the way she assumed people embraced hers. Betty grew up with an emotionally abusive father, and a mother who killed herself by sitting in and turning the car on in the closed garage. She never got a chance to ask anyone why she did it. Her father barely looked at her, let alone explained things. Now Betty’s home is for the staying. People come to visit and they bring her flowers and potted plants as a thank you. The more things she has from everyone, the more welcoming Betty gets. She likes the idea of a shared property, a shared house, a shared home. “What’s mine is yours” I’d hear her say. She had to put up with a lot of crazy, what with her parents and all, and also with whatever was happening in her old head. She didn’t want anyone feeling like they had to be ashamed for something, or blamed either. She told people they could come and go as they pleased.

“I’ve lobbed a grenade deliberately.” by Sasha at The Common


Sunday, December 2, 2012 at The Common
3:14pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star Insight and Books section
Sunday Dec. 2, 2012


You’re talking with your mouth full and I hate it the most when you do that. I hate it more than your dirty steak pan in the sink and your stink-bomb socks on the floor of the closet. “What do you think?” You say. I feel a bit bad that I’ve tuned you out, thinking about the assorted annoyances of… you. “What?” I act nonchalant about it. “You haven’t even been listening, have you?” “No, no…” I say. Where can I put the blame other than myself? Where oh where? “I was listening. I just tuned you out somewhere around ‘holiday in January… We can’t afford that. You know it! Why do you delude yourself!” The deluding thing is a low blow given your father’s paranoid schizophrenia but… I legitimately forgot in this instance. Sometimes I lob this grenade deliberately. More often than not, however, I unassumingly say, “You’re driving me crazy!” and then realize… wrong crowd.