“bellies full of unborn air” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Monday February 12, 2018
8:31am
5 minutes
Mannequins
Emily Davidson

Bellies full of unborn air
we reach for stars
we have no concept of.
How far away is venus?
How close is the new moon?
Where exactly is the north star?

Hearts full of
bubbles and pebbles
we crouch in the fire
hope we
don’t get burned.

Yes

you know more than me.

In my unknowning
though

I am wiser than
the octopus
with her smirk
and her paws.

Contort this body
into origami cranes.
Shake your head
at the grey
at the red.

Make failures
and love
in equal measure.

Yes

you are the tallest

mountain.

Playing piano
with our noses
we shake our fat
until the crows
laugh.

“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.

“Door To Hell” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, August 30, 2016
7:31am
5 minutes
aplus.com

it starts with a whisper with a promise to be better
when you don’t really mean it and you don’t really want to
commit to process
it’s opened then
when you say anything that doesn’t sound like truth and when you think
everybody only hears sincerity when you are wrong but don’t
want to believe that yet
a little crack further
and you keep far away from it because it’s calling you
it knows you by face and you pretend it’s a different you a different you with
the same name
coincidence
that each day a little bit less is tried
a little bit less is wagered
and the pit beyond grace is surrounded by old flames that
you ran from because you didn’t have the courage
to snuff them out
it starts with a whisper with the song of wandering souls
you fall each day
further off the track you triumph over
unfairly

“flat-out rejected” by Sasha on her porch


Tuesday May 10, 2016
9:19pm
5 minutes
http://howlround.com/submitting-like-a-man-we-have-a-winner

There you are pride in
your hands like a dead sparrow
crashed into too many windows
“Rejection tastes like pennies” you say
And I know you to be right about tastes
and books and the best bike
routes downtown
I coo you words of encouragement
“The only place to go is up!” but you
don’t believe me

“not quite ready for viewing” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 2, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
from leoawards.com

Miriam is working on a masterpiece she is not quite ready to show. She has been behind the curtain for 7 years and she is inspired every day to try and improve it, to make it better, to make sure that it’s perfect. She is getting so good at making the mistakes go away that the masterpiece may soon be on display without flaw and will of course be appreciated more. Miriam does not consider that people waiting for her to complete this masterpiece will have many expectations. She does not let that bother her as she is preoccupied with ensuring that her art is living, breathing, and winning. It must win what ever ribbon is awarded to the winner of the production of a masterpiece. Surely a blue ribbon for dedicating so much time to one thing because there was a vision? Miriam could use a blue ribbon. It’d be nice to be reminded why she stays inside creating without ever showing others her work. Must be a reason why she never feels like it’s good enough to offer.

“So sorry mine is late” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday February 20, 2016
2:13pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I didn’t want to hand in a piece of shit and to be honest that was exactly what I was doing because once again I didn’t do the proper thing of giving myself enough time to complete an assignment.
I wish I was better at keeping my shit together but for some reason mine is the type that crumbles upon contact like a gluten free brownie and then it’s everywhere and there’s a huge mess so it’s better not to touch that shit in the first place because its disaster is a bit unpredictable. These days.
So as I was shaming myself for becoming a useless sack of wasted potential, hearing my mother’s voice ringing in my ear saying “you see you do very well even when you don’t try but imagine if you only applied yourself once in awhile you could be thriving honey really thriving,” I start formulating a half smile that depicts my insides as accurately to my English Lit teacher as humanly possible.
“I’d rather accept the consequences than try and prolong the inevitable again so here it is in all its tarnished glory and tied with a stupid little punctual bow.”

“I love failure!” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 18, 2016
9:06pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I love failure. I do. I didn’t before but I love it now. Like a long lost sister, or a cousin you used to fight with. I think before there was this understanding that I could make it pretty far in this life without actually leaping, jumping, risking anything. I think I wore a lovely outer mask that said, I am confident I am going places, but on the inside a traumatized child had the fear of how much longer were we going to play make believe. I think, now, maybe for the first time, I can hear both voices at once. Things are suddenly less hard than they used to be. Because living truthfully and unafraid of being wrong? That’s the most freedom you’ve ever felt. Because it connects you with the spirit of your surroundings, the integrity of your self-love, your deepest soul. It’s such uplifting necessity. I do not understand now how I thought feeling confined in my skin, trapped in all my conjured narratives, was easier than letting anything go; than lightening my load; being kind to myself.

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 14, 2016
6:24pm
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker


I braid my hair long down my back and I glance down to see which flower I want to put in. I let the blooms speak without forcing them to make themselves available to me. I feel the sun peaking out of the clouds just to watch what I do, see what I choose, why. Little purple one, I think. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. Marissa doesn’t like it when I choose wrong. She yells, stomps her feet, says I didn’t teach her anything and her whole life is a joke. I hate to think of angering Marissa or showing her that I haven’t been paying attention. I’m trying. I really am. I feel like she has her minions looking out on all corners of this place to see that I’m doing what I am supposed to. She’s blackmailed the trees, she’s sleeping with the whole sky it seems. Nobody crosses her. Everybody fears her. I listen to my belly, rumbling on luck near empty. Little purple one, woven into the base of my braid. I do not question myself in this moment. I hear wind chimes in the distance congratulating my bravery. Last time Marissa saw me right after a big decision, she scanned my whole body up and down looking for where exactly she might have failed me.

“loading up the cart sheer to the brim” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, January 3, 2016
11:20am
5 minutes
http://www.bonappetit.com

The mastery of the art of failure is hard won
Like any true knowledge it comes with bruises to the
imagination and early mornings of dry mouths and
too much black coffee
Failure is heavier than success
Success is not failure’s opposite but it’s sister

What if we re-imagined the graph that we’ve learned by
heart a thousand and one times?
What if we created with curiosity as a guide?
What if we relinquished stars and reviews and top ten lists
in favour of real full bodied failure attempts?

“breaking laws and regulations” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 22, 2015
5:50pm
5 minutes
Nothing But Money
Greg B. Smith


She never had a record until she did and couldn’t say that anymore. She didn’t say it enough, in fact, when she could freely and honestly do it. Now she has to announce that it’s no longer clean, pristine, untouched. She has to tell potential employers that she isn’t legally allowed to drive until 2017 because of a current DUI charge. She’d like to tell them that it wasn’t really her fault in the first place, but people don’t hear excuses when all they can see is “criminal record”. Criminal. That’s what she had become. And again, she wished she would have started more conversations with “I’m not a criminal” because now she isn’t able to identify with anything else. She hugged the woman she got to chatting with in the line at the post office who said to “try to stop identifying yourself with things in this world. Things are not you. And you are not things. Your failures do not define you. Your successes, though we’d like them to, don’t either.”

“saving me right now” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday June 10, 2014
4:17pm
5 minutes
a text message

There’s an entire bag of Oreos in my bedroom that I’m saving for later cause they’ll be saving me from this shithole of a town I’m being kept in. I’m serious, my mother, she got this new boyfriend and he lives in bum-fuck-nowhere and this nowhere town is really getting to me. I’ve been here for three days-no internet. I can’t even keep updated with my own life cause this guy thinks that the internet is a gateway drug for procrastination and failure. I’m thinking, yeah, I’m so sure the second I check an e-mail I commit myself to a life time of serving fries at McDonalds. Please. You know, it’s all a control thing. He lays down some rules and my mother, she just goes along with all of them because she needs structure and she sees that he’s willing to give it to her, so she just lets him treat me the way he wants. He doesn’t know about the Oreos, by the way, cause if he did he’d confiscate them too and tell me they were a gateway drug for obesity and heart attacks.

“forced to break the locks” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Friday May 9, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5:49pm
5 minutes
The TSA baggage inspection notice

Until I knew what I was doing, I was hoping to exist in private. That meant no windows, no doors, no working out in public, no eating sandwiches with too much meat in front of other humans. There was just so much to sort out: How I felt about road trips, if I preferred the raspberry jam with or without pectin, if green was in fact my favourite colour, if I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as our “Saviour”, if I was able to sleep at night knowing full well I just used air quotes to describe a deity, if I truly did hate jazz or just loved to hate it, how I interacted with sea-life, what, in actuality, was my true cup-size, would there ever be a family reunion that everyone came to willingly, how on earth I had made it so long without proclaiming my love for dandelions out loud.
I knew nothing about myself. I had all these questions, and worries, and paranoid dreams, and I was not about to throw it all away in the presence of other people who might deem said living style as a complete and utter failure…

“Limit to your love” by Sasha at her desk


Monday March 3 2014
12:18pm
5 minutes
A cover by James Blake of a song by Feist


We speak about failure
We speak about embracing change
The incremental
The slow shift
The leap across continents and sidewalks and snowbanks
We laugh over overpriced things
But we don’t care
Because we’re young
We’ve only got our mouths to feed
We’ve only got our fires to stoke
We’ve got small apartments
With tealights
And jars of dried beans
We’ve got new/old things
We’ve collected from flea markets and Costco and our mother’s basements
We’re never done
We’ve just begun
It’s not a touchdown or a hundred meter or a tennis match
It’s a marathon
It’s a sunrise/sunset
It’s a cycle
I’m glad for that
There’s always more beginning
More ending
More beginning
More ending

“I’m working on organizing” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday February 7, 2014 at Starbucks
3:45pm
5 minutes
An e-mail from the Playwright’s Guild of Canada

I’m working on organizing my life better. I told my mother on the phone that I couldn’t talk right then and that as soon as I got my shit together I would phone her back. I haven’t called her since December. That is not okay, and as a human being with higher education in more ways than one, I know this. I fully understand and acknowledge my position here, I really do. My mother never wants to disturb me. Even when it might be a good time to tell me that my grandmother who was in the hospital with something as small as anemia, actually died in there, and I would have gone to see her, if I had just known she was sick. So now that I haven’t called her, she hasn’t called me, and honestly, that’s a great great thing. Because she’ll ask how I am, and ask me to come visit, and ask me to come live with her, and ask if I say no to all of those things if she’d rather she just offed herself with sleeping pills, and when I say no to that, she’ll ask, even the ones that Michael Jackson was using, and I’ll say too soon mom, it’ll always be too soon.

“the bomb” by Sasha on her bed


Thursday December 26, 2013
1:48am
5 minutes
from the cover of NOW

I’ve been thinking a lot about success. And failure. And where the two intersect, or don’t… Or what. See, when you’re creative, when you call yourself an “artist”, a name of privilege, a warrior path, I believe that doing your art

is enough.

I believe

if you’re living your passion

practising your craft

honing and sanding and steaming and basting

you are doing your job.

I APPLAUD YOU.

Standing high on a snowbank

I call out in a voice reserved for my tribe

“THANK YOU FOR WORKING SO HARD!”

I can’t wait to hear what you make, to sing along to what you glazed with love and sweat, I long to feel your story in my toes. You doing what you do is ENOUGH. I don’t give a fireball what anyone else says about it. I reject the Tweet-erings too shy to cry out in their tribe-voice. I say “no thank you” to critics and naysayers and people that long to build something with their hands and don’t and then crash and bash into those of us that are brave enough to do just that.

Bravery is a bomb I will drop.

Bravery is a rhyme I will turn over in my mouth until it melts.

“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.

“two arms uplifted” by Julia at Bryan’s Cottage


Saturday, July 6, 2013
10:39pm
5 minutes
The Origin Of Consciousness in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes


My mother gave me an organic throat lozenge because she thought I sounded hoarse. I told her her it’s because I tell at loud bars that think they’re concerts and that I haven’t been sleeping because I’ve been anxious about my job interview on Friday and also about dying you g.
So I took one to shut her up and keep her from worrying that I needed more than she could give. Then I turned around and she had basically already wrapped the entire tin with a pretty ribbon and told me to take them home with me because she could get more if she needed to. I’ve always had to feign inadequacy because that brings her joy–to know she’s helping her kid who can’t get her shit together without the constant guidance and hell from her loving and bored mother. She’s been staying at home lately, nursing a broken collar bone so she needs to help me more than I really need to be helped, but whatever, she’s sweet and it would hurt her to be more capable and less doomed than I’ve been. So I took the lozenges after the usual decline, and she looked pretty happy about it.

“What should I do with my life?” by Sasha at R Squared


Monday March 18, 2013 at R Squared
11:09am
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


I had a heartbreaking time. Yesterday. Not today. I’m over it today. Kinda… Not the whole day, yesterday, but part of it. A sliver. You showed me something. Bright. Glowing. You said, “They’re doing Aladin on Broadway! I’m finding a way to audition. I’m going to book it and that will take us to New York and then you can just sit in on classes at NYU and Columbia and see where it is that you really want to be!” It was a dream-promise, made of marshmallow and cumulous sunshine. Through this statement you showed me that I don’t dream as big as you. I’m a realist, in most ways. I have to stop myself, daily, from saying, “Are you fucking kidding me? There’s no way that’s going to happen!” There is a way. For you, there is always a way. Yeah. Okay. Let me get my head around that. I don’t, I don’t allow myself to dream huge. It’s riding the line of being a conscious choice, actually. Less disappointment that way, less let-down. What if I fail? What if you fail? You don’t care. You don’t see it as failure. So what if we fail. The brave I so admire, you, dive off, high up, and aren’t thinking about the “if” of the bellyflop.