“a conversation unfolds” by Julia on the 4

Sunday, December 2, 2018
4:34pm
5 minutes
Conversation Across Languages
Derick Mattern

We’re talking a lot
It’s good
I’m grateful
You’re sad
The space between us
is nothing and
everything
We have always
operated under
extreme circumstance
Big or invisible
Madness or dark
You’ve asked the
hard questions
and I wonder if
I have lied in answering
I promised you I’d
be honest but nothing
is everything and
it can get a little
confusing
The conversation
is ongoing and some
days the words do
all the talking and
some days the belly-
The snail inside the
belly unwinding and
folding back in on
itself

“He got a gun to his head” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 17, 2016 at the Shadbolt Centre
11:43am
5 minutes
Overheard at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

If there’s a reason why we’re meeting here, none of us know it yet. The sky is dark and ominous. There are casual signs promoting danger or intrigue popping up in shadows and creaky floorboards but we haven’t seemed to take heed because we are convinced that this is a dream and nothing bad can ever actually happen to us because bad things only happen to other people or to humans in movies. It’s dark and cold. We don’t speak much in case talking gives us away somehow. Ali and Strat have both cried into their paper bags. I have been inhaling and exhaling in mine, assuming that’s why we were given these to hold in the first place. Cece said she would be here by ten but since none of us can reach her we have already accepted that she is probably dead by now or swallowed up by the night.

“No, I’ll never come back down,” by Julia at her dining table


Monday February 1, 2016
10:20pm
5 minutes
Salt
Portugal.The Man


I’ve been in a heightened state of something other worldly since I got severe frostbite on 7 of my 10 fingers this evening, or since I had a coffee on an empty stomach this afternoon, or since I walked in the house starved to death to find the chicken still frozen, or since he asked me if I was going to die by talking so fast, or since I let myself cry out all the emotions I’ve ever had or felt or experienced in the last 3 days when doing something that mattered so very much to me. I don’t know what started it. I do know that I invited it in like a little lost puppy with a broken limb. I wanted to take care of it, nurture it, finally love something that wouldn’t push my love away, and not just because it couldn’t, but because it needed it. I’ve had to get cozy with all my sorrys and all my old to-do lists. I’ve had to mourn the loss of something…and I think that something was the thing I needed to let go of to let everything else in. It’s not sad but it feels like it. The emotions are similar in their face, their hands, their eyes, their quake.

“Share with a friend!” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday November 26, 2014
6:45pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card

She stole my baby name and that’s why we’re not friends. I told her, I said, I’m really excited about this name, it means a lot to Philip and I, and I can’t think of a single better name for our future child. So I laid it all out. I was honest, I was candid. I made sure she knew the stakes were high for me. There has to be some sort of unwritten, or even written, fully and explicitly written rule about baby name theft. And how if it’s not illegal, should be. Even if someone isn’t pregnant, it doesn’t mean their baby name is not still something incredibly important. And Sheila was pregnant, sure, and fine, but, but, she took something from me. A million other names in the free world, and my best friend, takes my best name, and then acts like we never had that really clear conversation about what we would name our kids that rainy march saturday afternoon. The nerve. So obviously when I found out that I was unable to conceive, I withheld that information from Sheila because I learned to only share important things with real friends.