“Don’t tell her what?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday December 3, 2017
10:14pm
5 minutes
The Humans
Matt Haig

You’re waiting for me to join you at the table.
You have been hungry since yesterday.
I am busy finding old books with the right message.
“There’s an answer in one of these.” I tell you.
“I don’t think you’re going to find what you’re looking for.” You say.
On the table is a feast and you were sweet enough to go pick it up.
I am hungry too, but maybe not for rice or salmon.
I am hungry for answers. I want to know so many things.
I think that’s why sleeping has been hard.
I keep trying to turn over old concepts in my brain
without getting any new information.
You’re waiting at the table and you do not make me feel bad.
You don’t ask me to hurry up like you usually do.
Eventually we will both have to eat and I will have to wait.
I can’t remember if the message is in a book or in a dream I once had.
I flip through the pages without looking.
I knnow there is some guidance here if I trust it.
“What are you doing?” You ask.
“Praying” I say.
“What are you praying for?” You ask.
“For me. For you. For us.” I say.

“It goes on one at a time” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday October 28, 2017
5:41pm
5 minutes
The Low Road
Marge Piercy

Probably should’ve thought it through, you think, swelling hard. You taste last night’s tequila and Doritos. You should never have drunk that much, or eaten all those chips. When you drink, you overeat. That’s what Stu used to say. Fuck you, Stu. You flush the toilet another time, just in case Candice is in there staring at herself in the mirror. If you had a dollar for every time you catch her making a duck face at herself. Holy shit. You should go down to Starbucks and get a coconut water. You’re dehydrated, that’s all.

“Way bigger than you think.” by Sasha on her bed


Wednesday July 12, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
A Ripley’s streetcar ad

When Maude pulls up she breathes a sigh of relief. It’s never felt so good to be home. It’s after midnight, so she imagines that Greg is asleep, curled up on his side as though she’s there. When Greg leaves, Maude sleeps like a starfish, taking up the whole bed. She also eats bowls of rice crispies for dinner and lets the dishes pile up. She wonders what Greg’s been eating… Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise, farmer’s market radishes on sourdough with salty butter, watermelon.

“an advanced degree in creative writing” by Sasha on her balcony


Thursday April 26, 2017
1:19pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


Sitting on her bed, the woman shoves
chocolate chip cookies into her mouth
one two three four five six seven.
She barely chews, inhaling the
sweet soft hardness, exhaling
the loneliness, the fatigue,
the face and the feet.
The woman has just been accepted
to an advanced creative writing program.
Three, in fact. She tastes the imposter.
She tastes the unlovable. She tastes
the big body big story big in a world
where she is only wanted if she is
small. She tastes the failure of the
places where she has not been accepted.
She catches herself. She sweeps crumbs from
the bedspread and walks to the bathroom.

“I don’t have any change” by Sasha on her couch


Monday January 16, 2017
11:03pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

I want nothing more than to be a food writer.
To be paid to eat ridiculously delicious things
is some sort of heaven that I don’t seem to have
a ticket for. I try my luck at
buying my own dinner
and then writing about it
and sending it to that
cheap magazine you can find outside of
the dingy subway stations. They have the manners
to write me an email back,
“We have a food writer already, Maisie,
but best of luck with your future endeavours.”
It’s like somewhere between
buying my own avocado toast
and figuring out the adjectives best use
to describe hemp hearts
I got lost.

“Mangiamo Italiano!” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 14, 2016 at Starbucks
6:52am
5 minutes
The front page of the Westender

They are sitting around a long table, glass bottles filled with fresh spring water from the well down the road. They are drinking Limoncello before noon. They are cracking jokes in dialect, English, Italian, and a combination of all three. They are sprinkling extra Parmigiana on their pasta shuta, adding extra wine, cheaper than water, to their tiny cups. Some of them add sugar. Some of them fall asleep while drinking it…
They are pouring olive oil on everything, going up for seconds before there are none left, and passing the soft bread, still warm from the hands that broke it just seconds ago. They are telling the same stories that have been told for decades, still expecting the same laughs, the same response even though everyone there has heard them in rotation. They are quiet and trying not to eat as much, or quiet and trying to take it all in, or quiet because there is so much love and it speaks volumes in the moments where only faint chewing is audible.

“Home of the burger” by Julia on the 9


Thursday, December 17, 2015
6:06pm
5 minutes
from the A&W sign

More often than not do I get to the point where I suddenly remember that I have to eat something before I fall down dead. It’s true. Sometimes I get so engrossed in work and I realize after 7 hours or something ridiculous that all I’ve eaten so far is a probiotic and a couple Oreos. I can’t even think straight when I do this. I start to aimlessly wander around the house from room to room with no real plan or solution. I look in every single cupboard but nothing looks appealing cause all of it looks like it requires work. It’s sad, it happens so much, but I still don’t try to avoid that. I don’t know many adults who have to write “Eat Lunch” on their to-do list just so they actually do it! When I get to the point of fainting or falling apart mentally, the only thing that calms me is envisioning biting down on a huge and messy burger, reeking of onions and dripping a rainbow sauce concoction all over the counter. I suppose I get so delirious that I dream of doing this while standing up? Over the sink? My hunger dreams don’t make sense, really.

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“happiness is a fantastic vicious circle” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, July 14, 2015
6:47pm
5 minutes
The Wisdom of Insecurity
Alan W. Watts


This is how my happiness starts:
Home early on a Saturday,
no one around for miles and miles.
Clear skies, beautiful sunset,
watching from my rooftop patio,
sipping on fancy rum.
Singing at full voice to the clouds,
and to the moon,
not caring about anything,
no one around for miles and miles.
Oreo milkshake for dinner,
extra cookies crumbled on top,
pounding through peanut butter ginger chews,
take a break to toast some crusty bread,
melt some fancy cheese.
Alone and eating and loving and eating,
it starts that way and then it repeats.

“Summer road trip” By Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library branch


Thursday April 30, 2015
4:24pm
5 minutes
from a magazine article

Oh I’ve got that urge again to take off and just go somewhere that isn’t here. Been travellin’ every year now it seems and I do not want to stop that now. Got a good case of wanderlust, now that’s for sure. Been feelin’ that itch deep down for a while. Been keepin’ tabs on it, and it’s inchin’ its way on up to the surface again. I can’t tell you how anxious stayin’ put makes me feel. All these things I have to get done here because I keep puttin’ them off, seein’ the world, exploring myself. Some people might say that I’m runnin’ away but I can honestly say to you that for the first time, that’s not what this is. I think I’ve found what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to live outside this place and exist in a transient way sort of like a sailor or a thrill-seeker. But I also have plans to put my skills to use while I’m away. I’m not just spendin’ all my money on food or booze or whatever. It’s more calculated than that. It’s about makin’ that connection’ with other humans on a level that I can’t quite explain.

“Watch your belongings” by Julia on the 505 going west


Tuesday, April 28, 2015
11:54pm
5 minutes
A sign in the Kitsilano Public Library

Tuck had been running back and forth to the toilet all morning. He felt like a train was plowing through his stomach since last night’s sushi. He knew he shouldn’t have finished it all after the first bite of tuna that smelled very close to the stuff he’d sometimes find underneath his toes. Tuck always smelled his toe jam. He couldn’t help it. He kind of liked it. But Tuck wasn’t big on waste, or health, or being an adult and ordering new food because that would take time and he was hungry as all hell. Every bite he ate he had to plug his nose so he wouldn’t taste the…funk of it. He ate every last morsel and it only took him 25 minutes for him to regret it. He could hear his mother’s shrill voice in his ear as he hunched over the can, preparing his guts for another roller coaster ride. “Don’t you want to enjoy your food, Tucker? What’s the point in eating if you refuse to even taste it!” He didn’t want to be thinking of her right now. It was hard enough having to ask a customer to watch the diner every 5 minutes so he could run to the bathroom and purge.

Choosing what is important for her” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 27, 2015
6:42pm
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

She’s kept a food journal for twelve years. Mostly it’s been a secret. Only three people know. Sonja – because they spend so much time together and secrets are boring to keep for so long with someone so close; Pete (her once removed ex) – because he once caught her writing in it, when she’d thought he’d been asleep, and he asked and asked until she caved and then he made endless fun of her (via questions) and then she left him; and Jillian – because when Jillian was going through her sex change she felt it was only fair to reveal something private and strange and a bit shameful because Jillian was revealing so much so publicly and it was all she could think to reveal of herself.

She decides, one particularly rainy evening, as she sits cross-legged on her bed, her sheepdog Oscar snoring beside her, that this madness has to stop. She’s taken to recounting everything she’s eaten before bed, a kind of calming ritual, perhaps similar to putting ones legs up against the wall or praying (but entirely different). Today, she can’t remember what she’d eaten for lunch. Was it a can of tuna on baby salad greens? Was it miso soup? Was it half a cantaloupe with cottage cheese? Was it a protein shake? It was as though every day was every other day and nothing was as it should be. “Why am I doing this?” She asks aloud, Oscar waking up and cocking his head towards her, just the amount of sympathy she needs.

“And now I know he’s not my soulmate” by Julia at Aroma Espresso Bar


Wednesday March 18, 2015 at Aroma Espresso Bar
8:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at aroma espresso bar

The first thing I did was dance. Second thing was shove a Ham and Swiss baked croissant into my mouth. Still dancing. Still moving. Eating dancing moving breathing. Living. That’s what it was. Fear leaving the body. Pain released into a thousand tiny gold flakes, decorating the sky. The ham and cheese croissant was the only thing allowed in my stomach. No more knots. No more anxiety. No more burying my feelings so deep within me they could hide behind organs and slip under the radar. After the dancing eating moving breathing, FREEING thing I was doing, I threw my head back and I just laughed and laughed and laughed. The day felt warm again and I felt whole–like a hot, gooey pizza ready to be devoured by the hungry and the good.

“What will you do?” by Julia on 328 going East


Wednesday December 17, 2014
4:24pm
5 minutes
From a Together For London bus ad

What will you do with your bright and shiny future? Unused, untouched, untarnished by expectations. Is it even possible? You might have the only one. The only one new and perfect.
I could tell you what I do if I were you. I’d wake up every morning, early, with a goal. And I would seek to accomplish that goal within one hour of getting out of bed. I would use all my time in the best way imaginable: eating, laughing, creating, loving. It sounds easy but it wasn’t for me and so I watched as the days went by and turned into things I didn’t have the ability to change.

“thank you for your hate” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Monday October 27, 2014
1:09pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’ve received numerous letters from viewers this week and I wanted to share with you the major themes they all have in common. As you are well aware, we set the example for those at home and when those at home see you at work, they follow your actions without thinking and they do what you do. Now you may be thinking, Marlena, great stockings today, but how are we supposed to know which behaviour the viewers at home will want to emulate? How, Marlena, should we prepare ourselves for the randoms and for the sheep-like viewers? And to that I will respond with, Thank you, they’re from Barclay’s, and because you don’t know what they’ll do, you must always behave accordingly. Now the first thing I’m going to talk about is one that’s really inspired a different breed of human to participate. I am going to say this only once: WE DO NOT EAT OVER OUR CATS. Does anyone know why we don’t do this, aside from having to spend 2-3 minutes pulling the couscous from their fur while debating whether or not it can be washed off and still eaten??

“train service is suspended” by Julia in her backyard


Friday June 6, 2014
2:28pm
5 minutes
A tweet by the TTC

When you have to be somewhere at a certain time and you’re already running late, it’s better always, always, always, to take a cab, stress it out in the backseat for a few minutes, then text whoever you’re supposed to meet and say “In a cab, so sorry” so they know that you are trying your best to be on time, you’re even paying real money to arrive as close to on time as possible, and that you feel bad about making them wait for you so you’re enduring the traffic stress of being in a cab in the first place to make up for it. Do not take the subway because subways have delays and trains get so busy because there aren’t enough to get everyone from point a to point b during the time you need. Do not take the streetcar because you probably won’t be able to sit and then you have to smell everyone’s hair and armpits while people crowd around you, yelling, or pre-drinking, or baby talking. Do not walk and think that when it gets down to crunch time you can just run and beat both the subway and the streetcar. You will get sweaty and you will get tired and you will think you can run all the way but you cannot because you decided that working out was a “rich man’s game” and that you’d much rather eat the whole box of Passion Flakies for breakfast instead of just one or two or none.

“the porn industry” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 15, 2014
3:07pm
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.

“You can grow” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday, September 19, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
5:09pm
5 minutes
Mindbodygreen.com

Herbs, he was thinking. Big basil in the back yard, big love in the kitchen. He watched his father build a beautiful garden filled with every kind of tomato and green leaf and rhubarb. He didn’t know his wife hated rhubarb when they first met, but when he realized he was hopeful that he would change her mind. His mother, on the other hand, loved the stuff so much they were eating a rhubarb pie every 4th day. And nobody complained. Big love in the kitchen. He sometimes questioned his ability to read people. He was on occasion disappointed with his wife’s narrow minded pallet, her stubbornness when it came to trying new things. How was she raised? He’d sometimes wonder out lout and let his brain move back to the days where his parents didn’t even give him the option. Eat what’s on your plate, they’d say.