“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 4, 2017
5:36pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

Every Zia made sure we had the right breakfast. Zia one would let us have cookies and milk. Oreos to be exact. Wih a tiny esspreso spoon, we’d crush them all up and eat it like ice cream. Zia two had something good to eat too. Salmon gravlax, snails, probably, and cantaloupe.  Zia three never had to feed us. Zia four had homemade leftover pizza, yogurt, biscotti and homo milk. Zia five had captain crunch cereal. Zia six gave us cadburry cream eggs. Zia seven gave us soft boiled eggs and olive oil. That’s not even all the Zias.

“my mother gave me his toolbox” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday Novermber 1, 2017
9:07pm
5 minutes
My Father’s Hammer
John Hodgen

I had never hung a picture frame before. I didn’t like the idea of putting holes in a wall I was going to have to return. Never stayed around long enough to hold anything that wasn’t already mine. That, and each wall ruined cost one hundred dollars to fix, no matter how small. No matter how nook. Then out of nowhere my mother brings over his toolbox and leaves it on the doorstep. Like a sad nicky nicky nine doors. I couldn’t bring myself to open it until a year later. I found other ways to decorate. Most of my frames lived propped against the walls, as if forever waiting for their turn to go up. They collected dust, like they would if they were hanging, but I pretended I liked them that way. A cluster of art to acccent the floorboards and all the corners where the hundred dollar walls meet. One day it was raining and I somehow got up the nerve to open the box. Inside was a note addressed to me. It said “You can always take it down.” I don’t know how he knew.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Julia on the 84

Friday October 20, 2017
6:10pm
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Kenneth and I haven’t spoken since last winter and he knows why. I don’t like it when people call me sensitive when I’m just feeling my feelings. I don’t go around telling everyone who seems to be under reacting that they’re insensitive. They’re entitled to their own way of expression. Obviously. I’m not trying to take that away. But Kenneth knows how I feel about the word and how I don’t like being labelled emotional when I am simply being alive. Yes, of course it goes back to high school. The girls thought I was a loose cannon, fine, that’s what I became. I put on a real show for them too. Throwing pencil cases and screaming, crying a lot. They thought I was a nut job. And to hear someone say that I’m sensitive after knowing that the word only sticks a knife into my heart, really makes me whirl. I wish I could have stayed still, sat there without bubbling up, but I’m not that kind of person. And yet I am a kind person. And he was wrong to try to tell me how to respond. He was wrong to even put me in the position. Anyway he’s probably enjoying Gran’s oatmeal crisp right now. Sitting happy and quiet without me.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Sasha at the casita

Friday October 20, 2017
10:47am
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Mama’s talking about the spaceship’s coming and Papa’s yelling at her to “SHUT UP, CLARISSA!” Petey reaches for Mama and flings his glass of milk off the table and he wails and wails. I take him upstairs and change him into his PJ’s. Mama and Papa yell a bit and Mama cleans up the mess. Kimmy still isn’t speaking and we’re all worried about that.

“The aliens are coming tonight, Phil!” Yells Mama and Papa rubs his temples like he always does.

Petey looks so cute in his one piece red number and I make faces at him so he doesn’t hear the strangeness. He smiles his big toothless moon smile and for a moment everything feels alright.

“how on earth an idiot like that could be trusted” by Julia at the bus stop

Friday October 6, 2017

10:19pm

5 minutes

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou

Wally took off work early again and decided to pick up Dallas and Dax from school even though they still had two periods left. Of course the school doesn’t think to notify me since one of their “guardians” is given my permission. I don’t like him going around there trying to be the hero for two teenage boys who are desperate for their father’s time. He buys them double cheeseburgers and milkshakes while I have whole chicken thawing on the counter. I told him he can keep his privileges if he keeps his drinking under control. I really didn’t want to drag my kids through court to prove to them that their daddy is a fuck up. So far he’s been okay, but I know he’s still polishing off a 24 every two days. That may seem like a small amount compared to some, but these are my kids.

“Protect the blood from attack” by Julia on the 72 bus in Victoria

Thursday October 5, 2017
10:19am
5 minutes
Chinese Tonic Herbs
Ron Teeguarden

My blood is you and I will never not know this. You are my heart beat, pulsing, thriving, keeping me alive. I am yours. I am always yours. The only gift in this life that I can take with me is being carried into this world by the same love as you. In the same room. With the same light.

When the hail comes, I will know it by the stretch of my skin over yours. You will know it by the warmth of protection that comes without doubt. You are my blood and your blood is me. The only true thing that I love. The only pure thing that I know. You have always known me and I will always find lift because of it. How blue the sky tastes when the eyes are river reflecting. You will know it by the thud in my chest.

“Vampire bats also appear” by Julia on the 84

Tuesday October 3, 2017
6:52pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino

Kinney and I are taking her boys trick or treating tomorrow night. They refused to go with Chet and I don’t blame them. He looks like Beetle Juice to me too. K thinks we should dress up as vampires or something. She doesn’t want to go as Mom for Halloween when she goes as Mom for everyday. I’ll wear your clothes and go as you, I tell her. I don’t want to be a bat. Fine, she says her eyes dead in thought, you give me your fishnets and I’ll go as you. I don’t wear those anymore, I say, but Kinney doesn’t care. She’s dreaming up a costume that has less to do with me and more to do with her enacting some fantasy of me. In her mind I’m the fun one. In her mind that means wearing fishnets. I don’t want to burst her bubble.

“Water music” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Monday, October 2
6:59pm
5 minutes
Major Orchestral Works
Felix Mendelssohn

I take a bath in the tub where I learned to swim
My sister across from me
Peppermint soap in our ear’s
The hum of our parents voices rising through the floorboards
Fluffy comfort that we don’t know can be broken

I think about writing this
How my appetite’s returned
Words haven’t satiated or helped or healed
But now they can
And they will

I lather my head with shampoo
And fill an old yogurt container with warm water from the tap
I rinse and rinse and rinse
A blue jay sits on the branch right there outside the window
Sings for awhile

There are stains where the drain is
And my love makes dinner downstairs
My parents live in different houses with different loves
My sister rocks her baby to sleep and sings the
Lullaby we heard
Here

“Thank you for delivering your promise…” By Sasha in Mississauga

Thursday September 28, 2017
6:51pm
5 minutes
From an email

When Mona calls she sounds stressed. More so than usual. She always sounds stressed but today she sounds wired. I ask her what’s up and she says that she lost her prescription and she’s been off her meds. I ask her if she wants me to drive down and she says absolutely not, I’ve got the kids this week and… I tell her it’s no trouble, that I promised Aunt Barb that I’d look out for her. There’s a long silence. I ask if she wants to come to dinner. She says, “Yes.”

“store it where it’s safe” by Julia on the plane

Monday September 25, 2017
12:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the UP express

Money, my grandmother taught me, was meant to be given away, not stored in a sock drawer or a book you’ll never read again. She said the last one because once she was visiting and snooping and doing what she does, and she opened up my bible and a crisp hundred dollar bill fluttered to the floor. She asked one day, Kelly, where do you keep your karma sutra? I spit out my orange juice onto the front of my blouse. She then said, maybe now that you’re a lesbian, you should find a place to keep your money where you’ll actually look! Then she took a toonie out of her apron and snuck it into my palm, closing my fingers around it like a precious jewel. Buy yourself a clue, she said.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way” by Sasha at the farm

Friday, September 22, 2017
11:19pm
5 minutes
Overheard at York Mills Station

So many faces
So many hands
So many noses
So many mouths saying
Hello
Congratulations
Look at you
You you you
You look beautiful
You’re glowing

All these faces
The heat heat heart heat
Sip a glass of red wine
Take a deep breath
Love is weightless
Love is anchor
Love is here
Love is

My mother’s sister
Talks to my father’s sister
Talks to your cousin’s son

This is why we chose this

This is the recipe we’ve been writing
Together

“never been good at multitasking” by Sasha at the kitchen table


Sunday September 10, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
From a text

You’ve never been good at multitasking, sweet one track mind. You complete tasks one-by-one, diligent and focused. If something gets in your way, say, a phone call or the toaster dinging, you are off course, whirling into oblivion. You’ll put on some Eartha Kitt and dance around the living room. You’ll eat blueberry jam from the jar, fridge door open. You’ll call me at work, and ask if I can talk and tell me how one day you’d really like to go to space. I laugh, and say I have to get back to work. You say, “Shit. Me too.”

“keep this info handy” by Julia at her desk


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
the Shaw pamphlet

Mom gives me the phone card passcode so I can call Nanna in Berlin. She lives there now. She said it’s nicer than Whitby. I tell her that I probably don’t have time to call her cause I have finals this week and she doesn’t let me finish my sentence. She doesn’t think school is a good excuse not to do anything. Probably because she only finished the 8th grade. Probably because she knows when I’m talking out of my ass. Mom tells me to keep that info handy and maybe taake a photo of it on my new fancy icamera. I tell her it’s not an icamera, it’s an iphone, and it’s not fancy, it’s a 4s, and life is not as easy as she thinks.
When I ask Mom why she cares so much if I call Nanna or not, she laughs for longer than is necessary and comfortable. “If you have kids,” she says, “and they don’t call me, I will always blame their mother first.”

“quite desperate to escape all the people” by Julia on her couch


Saturday July 29, 2017
12:39am
5 minutes
The Humans
Matt Haig


Melissa throws a party for her sister by accident. She doesn’t mean to be in charge but she’s the most capable and everyone knows it. She tries to stay out of it and offer mild help here and there but ends up running the show with a forced smile and a couple stollen tokes. I feel bad that she gets stuck with all the planning. All the dark stuff. All the alone. Her parents don’t call her to ask about her health. They don’t wonder how she’s doing after finding out she needs surgery. They don’t wonder how she’s doing after going through surgery. Instead she’s the reliable one. The one everyone calls when they need to complain. Or throw a baby shower. Or pick up her nieces from dance camp. Melissa tries to be sweet for her sister. For her sister who doesn’t even care about being at the party thrown in her honour.
When I finally manage to get her alone I ask her. Why are you running? Where do you plan on going? Do you need any help?
She laughs in my face and tells me I’m her funniest cousin.

“lick your thumb and go to town.” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Sunday July 23, 2017
1:03am
5 minutes
The Four Hour Chef
Timothy Ferriss


He puts the Sunday sauce on the table and dunks his forefinger into the bubbling red without a second thought. He tastes it, likes it, gives it a stir. His mother would be proud. His ribs slide off the bone like melted butter. He did well to remember how she did that. Sunday sauce growing up was what they’d call it when they actually had time to prepare a meal with as much love as they’d like to put in. Sundays are for dinner and for church on the little television and for home made bread. Now he Sundays on Thursdays or Tuesdays depending on the week. He makes a Sunday sauce and thinks of when he was a boy. When he came to Canada in January and saw snow for the first time. When his whole family liked being together before the sickness and the problems and the open wounds began to fester.

“blackberry bushes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday July 20, 2017
12:13am
5 minutes
From an email

My sister and I pick blackberries on the land she just bought. I don’t know how many acres because I’m not good with that kind of thing. There’s forest, and river, and fields. It’s a farm, but I always think of animals when I think of a farm and there’s only a cat here. It’s so beautiful it makes my stomach ache. I instantly feel at home, walking the land and making fritattas in the oven. We pick jewel after jewel. One in our mouthes and one in an old goat yogurt container that we’ll bring back to the house for the others.

“I didn’t want to wait in that line either” by Julia on the plane


Friday July 7, 2017
6:25am
5 minutes
overheard at Vancouver international airport

Dear JT,

It’s almost time to say goodbye. We’ve all been awake since four in the morning on account of a sweaty sleep and a flight to catch. The bed has new sheets but you won’t feel them till next week. I slept without clothes and it was still an inferno. I am almost glad you weren’t there. of course I’d rather see you, and even now as I write this, I regret saying that. I think Emmett will be fine on trip-we got him one of those thingy spinnings? I don’t know what they’re called but I’m sure you’ve heard of them. They’re everywhere.

“choosing sides” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday July 4, 2017
10:13pm
5 minutes
Walsh by Sharon Pollock

the man takes my photo and asks which parent I love more
I have to think about it
who would I say if I wasn’t saying it to get a good shot
mom or dad
I don’t wait when he asks me
twice
I say my dad
I say my mom
but of course
I smile them both
Wonder if I was supposed to mention that they are equally wonderful
that they have shaped me each
that my mom signed my report cards
and my dad taught me how to
throw a baseball

“is there somewhere else she could go?” by Julia on the 7 bus


Friday June 30, 2017
5:30pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 7

Bobby smoothes down the peach fuzz under her chin to calm down. When she was new to school in the 6th grade two of the good looking boys used to tease her about it. She had no idea they were doing it. For some reason she always instinctively reached for it when she needed to feel close to herself and to her inner child.
Maxwell is banging every pot and every cupboard door but refuses to say anything. He is very aggressive about his passive aggressiveness. It is clear he doesn’t want Bobby’s younger sister, Hannah, to stay with them over the long weekend. He doesn’t think he should have to share his living room with anyone.

“while the couple works out their troubles without distraction” by Julia on the 99


Monday June 12, 2017
5:00pm
5 minutes
Committed
Elizabeth Gilbert


My sister tells me she doesn’t want kids and it ruins everything. I know she used to but then she dated a man she didn’t want to have a copy of so she changed her mind and then things were better for her. I always thought if anyone, it would be her, and I would happily be the world’s best Zia to her kid, and even co-parent when I needed to. My sister breaks my heart accidentally when she breaks the news. I wonder who will give our parents grandchildren now? Isn’t she the one who has always done the right thing? Up till this I have been very lucky that no one expects much of me other than poetry and improvised musicals about my day.
How weird it must be for everyone that I’m the one who caught the bouquet at Stef’s wedding, and guessed the exact measurement of Cheryl’s pregnant belly at her baby shower.

“Part of the explanation” by Julia on F’s couch


Friday June 9, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail

I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.

Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
She laughs.
Then later she cries.
We both do.

“he can sound like the rain” by Sasha on her couch


Friday May 26, 2017
12:48am
5 minutes
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss


“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Gemma-ma-ma, happy birthday to you!”

Mom’s made strawberry shortcake. I don’t have to request it, she knows it’s what I want. Calvin is a vegan so she even whipped up some tofu thing for him to have. What a woman. Her face has changed over the last nine months. She’s looking more and more like Gran. It’s the first birthday in our family since Dad died, and I know that Cal just sang the “ma-ma” because that’s what Dad would’ve done. While we eat our cake, the rain starts. It gets quiet.

“Maybe that’s him,” Mom says.

“There is nothing here” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 25, 2017
10:08pm
5 minutes
This is It
James Broughton


I have waited for inspiration to strike
like the match of missed connections
like the booklet of nose aids on high alert
There is no force of flame, nor flicker
There is nothing here that looks like me

According to a long lost diary from my
mother’s storage locker we all gave up
on her when we believed that she was fine
Of course we didn’t think to ask further
to make sure that she was being honest
If I could defend us without seeming
defensive, I would say we didn’t want to know
the truth and so we let her smile

We gave her short hugs like they wouldn’t
be our lasts
Called her twice a month
business as usual, instead of once a week
And she thought it would be too much
to ask for more
And she wanted to ask for more.

“and they’ll break your heart” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 21, 2017
6:14pm
5 minutes
trueactivist.com

My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby a week ago. It is the happiest my entire family has ever been, and I’m including the time my mom caved and let us get KFC the day we moved into our new house. My sister called her Cleo and all of us can swear we’ve never known love until her. Harper’s doing great. She has a glow. She looks as calm as if she’d been a mother her whole life. It doesn’t look as hard as I thought it would be, of course Harper has always been good at figuring things out. Cleo latched right away and seeing my baby sister stroke her daughter’s cheek as they bond there in the rocking chair–it’s all I need to see to send me into a fit of emotion. I am overcome by how beautiful it all is. Even Danya is in awe, and we never thought she’d step foot in our parents’ house since she tried to burn it down in 1994.

“I tried to get Ben to go see it” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 19, 2017
1:55am
5 minutes
overheard at Alex and Charles’ place

On a Monday we asked him if he was coming with us or planning to and he said no
told us he had better things to do
said that we’d better forget about him all together since he’s more trouble than he’s worth
the next day we asked him again
he waved us off like flies, bothering his face
we begged him when he said no
we asked for a better reason
and he didn’t like that very much

On Saturday we swung by his place again and he said he didn’t know who we were
He said we were crazy for thinking
we were family
“why would I go anywhere with a bunch of spies!”
nobody had the heart to tell him
that Alma was breathing her last.

“super slinky.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 14, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
from the pack of guitar strings

Keaton brings home a box under his arm, covered by his coat,
he hopes for the sound of running
Daddy’s home, the moment they’ve all be waiting for
Dawn usually hears the car door and knows
Delia sometimes comes outside if Iris lets her
there is a silence where the noise should be
there is a box for the girls but there are no girls
for the box
Keaton calls out, Daddy’s home!
no one responds
Iris!
nothing
He sets down the box next to the broken floor lamp
Iris says if we don’t trip over it every
day we’ll never think to take it out
He walks slowly, the house creaking with empty
Iris?
a wash of dread pulls him under
he doesn’t know what to do
Suddenly the peep peep of a toddler unable to keep
a secret
another laugh, then
SURPRISE!!
Happy Birthday Daddy!

“Fine then, you get out.” by Julia on H’s couch


Saturday May 13, 2017
10:37am
5 minutes
Oil and Water
Robert Chafe


“We don’t need you, Karen. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Sandi could have been worse to her mother, but she knew she could cut her deep enough by calling her by her name. Karen didn’t like it when her kids called her that but Sandi always used Mom. It was Brock and Alison who wounded her usually, ignoring her messages, refusing to call her by Mom in public. They reduced her to a grain of rice. Sandi was always defending her. She’d tell everybody that her mother was a good person. But this time she had fallen asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while babysitting Sandi’s only son.

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


Friday May 12, 2017
9:51pm
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


Gramma takes us in after the house burns down. We move into her attic, me and Kate and Selma. Ma and Freddie McFly go to the Spencers’. Selma says that they might be swingers, but Kate and I say, “please don’t make us picture that.” Gramma never recovered after Gramps died. She doesn’t smile, or laugh, or do the crossword puzzles. She makes us toast with raspberry jam in a little bowl. No butter in sight. “We can just use jam from the jar, Gram,” says Kate. Gramma scowls. Sometimes, at night, when all the lights are out and we are three in a row in the king bed, we hear her whistling the Canadian anthem.

“I lied all the time” by Julia at her desk


Thursday May 11, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Louis C.K
Sunbeams of The Sun (May 2017 issue)


five years old, Nonna visits,
leaves her face creams tubed in the upstairs bathroom
curious, five years old, sneaks into the upstairs bathroom
counts the black tile, counts the white,
opens the cream, smears it on, five years old,
closes it, runs away to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary
mother, thirty-five years old, yells at all of us
because one of us, five years old, left the tubes partially open
Nonna wants to know who would, since she wouldn’t
five years old wants to blame it on the upstairs bathroom ghost
thirty-five years old asks flame on lips for the last time,
shoots missile from eyes, no prisoners
five years old, scared, ashamed, caught, decides to lie
blames it on the upstairs bathroom ghost,
learns guilt, confesses
one hour later

“they fought amongst themselves” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday May 10, 2017
9:42pm
5 minutes
True Confessions Of Adrian Albert Mole
Sue Townsend


It took a long time for us to go back and visit
the pussy willow tree overgrowing the back deck
so much they chopped it down in all the impulsive
places
the gold stars sponge painted on the downstairs bathroom walls
the office converted into a nursery
the playroom now belonging to the boy who once
convinced me to show him my orange star underwear
They smiled sweetly at us like they weren’t responsible
for making us move to a better town filled with
worse people
they never apologized for the pussy willow tree
or the black berry bush
or the playroom
they volly whispers back and forth
about asking us if we’d like something to eat,
a danish or a banana

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Julia at JJ Bean


Friday May 5, 2017 at JJ Bean
5:12pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


my family speaks poetry through me as I walk from my house to a place that isn’t
I am stopped on the sidewalk with the urge to take notes
They are dictating faster than I can write
The stories from our childhood, inspiration enough after the drought
I am greedy with rain and the secrets of our youth
the clues to finding solace in a memory built from our old garage,
the time we picked strawberries at the farm and made milkshakes,
the time we sang to Mariah Carey on the back porch and I made everyone
turn around to listen when it was my turn,
the time we got hats with the olympic rings on them at Mcdonalds,
the time we rode around on horses while they defecated,
the time I asked my older cousin if we could have a “talk” because I was feeling left out, the time they got the shots for whipping baby field mice against the brick

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Julia at JJ Bean


Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
2:16pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017


My aunt Barb tells me that she wrote herself a note when she “wasn’t straight” about how the “negativity is too loud in her head” and “cutting through all her good thoughts”. We (the family, collectively) got her into medicinal marijuana after her husband passed away last June. We wanted him to try it but he refused to smoke the stuff even after we showed him all the videos of people his age trying it. Barb is in love with it. She calls me at least once a day with her “new thoughts”. Yesterday she told me that “the sky is trying to kill her” and that she “would go but there is laundry to be folded”. In a meeting with the cousins, we secretly discuss Barb’s usage and pat ourselves on the back for helping her out. Then her daughter, Dina, raises her hand timidly. “My mom says she wants to try crack next!”

“an advanced degree in creative writing” by Julia in the park


Thursday April 27, 2017
5:45pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


My mother always wanted to go to school but never believed she was the academic type. My father liked to tell her she was worthless on a daily basis so my mother didn’t believe she was much of anything. Once I watched him mash up the meatloaf she made and crumble it between his fingers until it was all on the floor. He smeared the sauce left on his hands across her forehead because he claimed it wasn’t warm enough. I watched my mother forget how to put on underwear the next morning because she couldn’t forget what he did. She couldn’t because nobody could.
I watched my mother model for me a woman who wanted so many things but got buried before she had time to even realize them.

“Certified manager” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 14, 2017
10:13pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Barry is my boss and also my father. He does not let me take home extra envelopes or paper clips. Once he said I could have the left over pinapple from the staff party, but other than that he’s a pretty big stickler for the rules. He’s the middle child so I guess you could say he was a big advocate for justice. Things always needed to be fair. Barry is a good boss and a good father. He sends me letters when I travel, he walks me all the way to the baggage drop off at the airport. Barry has a picture of me in his wallet singing into a toy microphone. He tells his other emplpoyees very little about himself. I’m the only one who knows his birthday.

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 29, 2017
11:24pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


My sister had dance class on Thursday nights. My Mom would take her there. I’m not sure what she would do while my sister danced – did she read a book? Eat a chocolate chip cookie? See a friend?

My Dad and I would be home alone together. This was rare. It was treasured. The King and Queen would come for dinner. We would eat something my Mom had left on the stove for us.

Afterwards, when the food had settled and the King and Queen had left, we would go into the dining room and dance to Dire Straits. Sometimes I would dance on my own feet and sometimes my Dad would pick me up.

“The life and crimes of” by Julia on the 4


Saturday March 18, 2017
12:04am
5 minutes
Exclaim Magazine

I’m not saying that I’m perfect
I’m not saying that
I just remember some things didn’t turn out exactly the way my mom planned
the way my dad planned
that way anyone really hoped things would be
I won’t say I was stupid
But I wasn’t thinking clearly
I was just sort of acting like I knew what was best for everybody
I thought that the entire family’s financial burdens were falling on me because my mom was stuck in her bed too sad to move too mad at herself for all the shit she put us through to go out and get herself cleaned up and get a goddamn job my dad wasn’t around not just because of my mom but because he was really let down as a kid and he never got over that
I’m not saying I’m a bad person because I believe that I was doing what I thought was right at the time but I haven’t made the best choices my younger sister still blames me for not getting into college
my younger brother still thinks that I should have called more adults into the equation

“I don’t ever think about death” by Julia on her couch


Monday March 13, 2017
9:31pm
5 minutes
from Glory And Gore
Lorde


I don’t ever think about death in the dying kind of way. I think I’ll be here then gone then always haunting the people who loved me. I think I’ll be able to reach them. I will try to send them messages until I know they’ve received them.
I will sleep in my sister’s bed and tell her she’s not alone.
I will ride shotgun in my brother’s Lexus and tell him that he is loved.
I will curl up on the couch with my mother and tell her how lucky I was to get her.
I will kneel in the garden with my father and tell him that he is enough.
I will live on the lips of my love and tell him that it’s okay to let me go.

“update your voter information” by Julia on the 99


Saturday March 11, 2017
7:22pm
5 minutes
from Elections BC

Raise your hand in the air if you vote yay to Cinnamon Bun Sundays. Really? Only 1 of you? I thought you people would be over the moon about that. Okay all opposed? All of you now? What is this, Fake Out Mommy Friday? Let’s try again: all in favour of Topless Tuesday? Oh come on, Elliot, you know you’ve been trying to get me to agree to this for weeks now! There we go, thank you, someone is finally being honest around here. And we have two more! Motion granted. Topless Tuesdays for everybody! Ok anyone who wants to begin Monkey Mondays raise your chubby little hands. You’re all sheep. All four of you. You don’t even know what Monkey Monday means!

“winners are allowed acceptance speeches” By Julia at her desk


Friday March 3, 2017
9:11pm
5 minutes
http://www.filmfreeway.com

I can’t believe this is happening. I really, truly didn’t think I would ever live to see this day. I am touched and honoured and humbled by this moment. Truly. I am in shock. I have a lot of people I need to thank: my sister for bringing me my own clothes every week and for reading to me while I couldn’t do much else but lay there. I want to thank my brother for driving into town instead of going on his honey moon. Thank you, that was very meaningful to me and I will never forget it. I want to thank my doctors. Without you, I would still be thinking this was all in vain. I owe you much more than gratitude. Thank you for enstilling a faith in me I thought had been snuffed out. I want to thank my friends for writing to me. Your letters kept me lifted and I will respond to every last one down to the line, I can promise you that. I’m sorry, I’m just-this is inconceivable. It feels like moments ago…and also like a dream.

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin


Monday February 27, 2017
4:47pm
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“For twenty-five years my father” by Julia on the 99


Thursday January 26, 2017
5:21pm
5 minutes
In Recognition Of A Quarter Century Of Contribution To UMA
Curtis LeBlanc


Spaghetti is his favourite dish
Doesn’t matter how many new things he’s tried, he’ll tell you, if you ask him, that it’s spaghetti
Me too, I would chime in, loving very much the idea of having the same favourite food as my father’s
Me too, I would say, when he’d crack open a chile pepper with his teeth
He cooks the way I do
My mother says I cook like him
Not sure these days if it’s Can’t Follow A Recipe or Won’t
We both like inventing
Never making the exact same thing twice
We didn’t grow up with Daddy’s Girl in my house
Maybe because there were two girls
Maybe because my older sister was Daddy’s Girl until I was born
and then there were two of us so they had to give their thing up before I could figure it out
Maybe because it took 25 years
for me to realize that
he was mine
and I was his but
in my own way and
so was she and
so was my brother after me and
so was everything everything

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“what curious sense does it make?” By Julia at Sasha’s kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
or shapes
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
were marveling
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand

She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
every glance
every nod
of her perfect little head

“Oh gosh I would be so horrified” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Thursday January 5, 2017
12:47am
5 minutes
from an email

When aunt Maxine died she left all her beloved jewelry to my younger sister, Annie, instead of to her own daughter. Gemma stormed in and out of my apartment that year like a horse trying to buck off a leech. She always brought with her an impossible tension followed by a cloud of smoke that she would sometimes beat herself up for. You never need that first cigarette! Trust me, I know, she would shriek. You never do but you think you do and that’s when bad shit starts to happen-dark shit like not trusting yourself! Gemma, I’d beg, can we please stop talking about it?

“improve life for their families.” by Julia on Jess’s couch


Wednesday January 4, 2017
5:38pm
5 minutes
From a Kiva.org card

You could call them and tell them you miss them you wish they didn’t have to be so far you could write them and tell them you love them even if they don’t like letters and don’t write you back you could send them a song with a joke in the middle and make them laugh with how good your rhyming is or you could ship them a box of something that you baked while you were waiting for the news and include them in the experience somehow you could call them and say you miss them and that you love them and that Christmas is not the best time you’ve ever chosen to stay away or you could tell that you need them to come and visit you so you can show them that the life you’re living is still a good one even though they aren’t as close as they used to be you could hold them when you see them and stay forever in the heart of the place that keeps you young

“Your grandfather” by Julia on Bec’s couch


Monday January 2, 2017
12:34am
5 minutes
overheard at Cowichan Bay

Your grandfather has your chin
And you have his
Your mother says he has your eyes
Or you have his
And I can see it if I look a long while
Staring silently
With intention
to see it
So I can taste how far back you go
How far back you come from
Before you disappear again
Your grandfather has your mouth
And you have his
The same smile for the baby in the picture then
also perfectly yours
Even if only in photographs
Finding your future there in his past

“Can you please bring me my water?” By Sasha on the couch at Macdonell


Sunday December 25, 2016
6:23pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

I don’t know what to write today. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’ve overwhelmed. I’m sad. I’m full of buttery, meat-y, spicy, sweet. I don’t know what to write today. The sound of my pen moving across the page feels like shit. I’ve got nothing. I’ve got nothing.

Layah asked Oli to bring her water because she is nursing the baby. I never realized that nursing is pretty much a full time gig. I romanticized nursing, like most things. I romanticize everything. What a strange quality. Ugh. Ugh. I’m pretty sure I have a fever. I hope I don’t make everyone here sick.

“Did I miss the theatre?” by Sasha in the Kiva


Tuesday December 20, 2016
10:29pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Simon’s been wishing for a mentor, someone who could teach him how to tie a bowtie and cook an omelette and cross country ski. Someone who would take him to the theatre. He knows that his father wishes he were that, but he isn’t. Simon doesn’t begrudge Paul, he tries his best. “You two are cut from different cloths,” his mother, Oleanna, says. Simon used to wonder if maybe Paul wasn’t actually his father. Oleanna might’ve had some tryst with a neighbour, or a bartender, or a colleague at the hotel. Once, he asked his mother, and she laughed in his face. “Honey, your father was my first and he’ll be my last,” she’d said. Simon thought that was the saddest thing he’d ever heard.

“Can you please bring me my water?” by Julia in her childhood bedroom


Sunday December 25, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

Young one is half laying beside me, nodding off and meeting sleep somewhere in the middle so it doesn’t have to come all that way.
Older one is propped up against the fire place, figuring it out pen in hand or holding space for the opportunity in case it comes knocking.
Fire starter keeps banging on the wood, offering silly comments, and roasting chestnuts even though they’d taste better if we were still hungry.
Happy heart is stuffed into the love seat, smiling at me every time something deserves an eye roll or a gut laugh.
You are on the other side of me, keeping my leg and my spirits up, holding my water and my elbow, lifting more up than you ever could hold in your two hands.