“One day you finally knew what you had to do,” by Julia on the 99

Monday December 11

6:54pm

5 minutes

The Journey

Mary Oliver

You decided to wear those jeans. Those light washed jeans with the holes in the knees and the music note above the left pocket. You knew what you needed to do. You always knew. I realized you were serious when you wore those jeans. And I don’t know if I would have been supportive if you had asked me first. I might have told you it was a bit too on the nose. Or maybe infantilizing. Admittedly I’m not the best one to ask for my opinion about jeans. I have been told that my cynicism gets in the way of true happiness. But you didn’t need me to tell you what I thought. You already knew. You were waiting for your insides to know; to match the outside. And when we went into that funeral home and sat down a few rows from the casket, it all added it up anyway.

“The children are the adventure now.” By Sasha at her desk

Thursday December 7, 2017
11:17pm
5 minutes
Mating in Captivity
Esther Perel

I want to take Shayla to the Swiss Alps. I want to hike in the mountains with her and take photographs. I want us to sleep in side-by-side twin beds and talk until one of us falls asleep. When she was little, three to six, I had to stay with her until she fell asleep and she’d want me to talk the whole time. I would start by telling her a story, and then I would tell her things about my day – cucumbers on sale for a dollar each, Charlie’s bad breath, the stress of trying to keep up when everyone seems to be getting younger while I’m just getting greyer. If I stopped, even for a moment to think of what to say next, her blue eyes would pop open and she’d cock her head a little, like, “What are you trying to pull here, Mom?” I’ve been saving. Tickets to Switzerland are expensive, and it’s not like I have a lot of extra cash just sitting around.

“to bring supportive people into your life” by Sasha at her desk

Monday December 4, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
Feng Shui Dos & Taboos
Angi Ma Wong

She leaves the brown brick building with volcano steps and thunder tears. She runs down down down around turn left right right straight all the way to Domino’s. Glad she packed her toothbrush and a change of socks and underwear. Kay isn’t answering her cellphone so she’s not sure where she’ll go but she’s not there with him and his hands around her neck she’s not there with him and the fucks and the bitch and the spit and the slap. She orders a slice of cheese pizza and eats it very slowly because who knows when Kay will call back and who knows how long this square of space will need to be hers.

“younger than before” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday December 2, 2017
8:16pm
5 minutes
Place To Be
Nick Drake

Jenni gets very irritated when Craig leaves crumbs on the counter. She reminds him that crumbs mean the mice have snacks, but he rolls his eyes. “I’m the one to empty the damn traps, anyway!”

Jenni hates mice. When she was younger, she used to have nightmares that hundreds of them were crawling all over her body and she couldn’t move. When they came to look at this apartment (hard wood floors, big windows, good closet space), Jenni had asked about rodents. The superintendent said that never in his sixteen year history of living in the building had he seen a mouse. They signed the lease right then and there.

“Can I ask you somethin?” By Sasha at her desk

Wednesday November 29, 2017
11:16pm
5 minutes
Cities of the Plain
Cormac McCarthy

Can I ask you somethin’? In confidence? Okay so… I feel like Aggie hates me and I don’t want to be paranoid but it really sucks it really really sucks to feel like… She acts like every question is an inconvenience! She doesn’t mind questions from Paul or Tim but when I ask her a question she rolls her damn eyes and makes it seem as though I’m really getting in the way… Now I don’t wanna be a complainer or anything but… I can’t take it anymore because goddamnit I have questions! I’m new! All I have is questions!

“for a lot of people” by Sasha at JJ Bean

Tuesday November 28, 2017
6:12pm at JJ Bean Olympic Village
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

Isaac smiles a beautiful smile, no more braces on his teeth. I’d forgotten there were three Cyr boys. I’d forgotten that the eldest had found their mother hanging in her closet. I’d forgotten they’d all – Isaac, Lionel, Gunther – been a handful, gotten mixed up with bad kids, but they weren’t the bad kids, they were the good kids mixed up with the bad kids. After working in a high school for thirteen years, you know the difference. You know the good from the bad. A lot of people don’t, a lot of people get confused. Not me. Not anymore.

“Calls of guilty thrown at me” by Sasha at her desk

Monday November 27, 2017
10:51pm
5 minutes
Cherry Wine
Hozier

Mariah Carey makes me think about the Christmas that Ken dressed up as Santa and got wasted. Her Christmas album was playing, that must’ve been it. I don’t know what Ken was thinking. Dressing up was Dad’s thing. He found the suit when he was looking for tinsel in the garage and I guess he just couldn’t help himself. He was already starting to lose weight, so he wrapped a bungee cord around his waist as a belt to keep the pants up. Dad was a bit pissed, but he got over it and I think he actually was relieved that he didn’t have to sweat his balls off in that suit for four hours.

“Orange County wild fire” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday November 26, 2017
9:41pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

Vivian isn’t sure if anyone will remember her name. This is a big fear, taking up the space between temples, up neck, across shoulders. Fredrick suggested that she take some sort of weekly class, and at first she said that they didn’t have enough money and then she came around. Fredrick is virtuously patient. That’s the main reason she married him. She also very much likes his hands and feet. She parks near the entrance and checks her face in the rear view mirror. She isn’t sure what she’s looking for – salad in her teeth? She hasn’t eaten salad since last Tuesday. Fredrick was surprised when she chose a pottery class because she doesn’t like getting dirty. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

“Orange County wild fire” by Julia at her desk

Sunday November 26, 2017
9:25pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Aunt Lisa calls my brother’s phone because she’s afraid of talking to me. I would be afraid of me too if I were her. But right now I want to talk to her. She doesn’t know what kind of mood I’m in; what kind of wisdom I’m tapping into. Keith puts the phone on speaker and Aunt Lisa, whispering, tells him, “You don’t have to tell your sister.” I grab the phone from his palm and I flip off the speaker phone. “I’m not doing this with you, Lisa. You will get the pendant dad wanted you to have and that is it. Okay? Stop trying to get your grubby hands on anything else.” After I hang up, Keith is staring at me. “Is that what dad would have wanted? Don’t you think we’re supposed to be coming together right now?” I almost feel bad for him. “She’ll take the skin off your back if you leave it open.”

“Can we burn something, babe?” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday November 23, 2017
11:29pm
5 minutes
Love On The Brain
Rihanna

Larry drinks a macchiato sitting at the bar drawing hangmen on a napkin waiting for Liz to arrive. She’s notoriously late. He’s spoken to her about it twice and each time she says that she’s sorry and that she’s trying to change. Maybe it’s because his father was in the army and if he was ever late for anything he’d get a slap on the side of the head maybe it’s because his father loathed him most of all more than his three brothers and one sister. He fumes. He checks his phone again and nothing from Liz nothing from Liz only the same old time and date and three unread emails he’s avoiding from work fucking Cathy and her meeting notes fuck fuck fuck.

“We are writing to confirm” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday November 21, 2017
10:53pm
5 minutes
From an email

We are writing to confirm that you will be joining us for the safari in the Sahara from September 19th-29th, 2021! We want to commend you on your extreme foresight in booking your vacation four years in advance. While we know that many of our clients are busy, and book a year or even 18 months in advance, we have never had someone schedule a safari for four years away. We want to reward you with a special full moon feast.

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Julia on the 84

Sunday November 19, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

Unra is being asked to pack the kids ” inclusive lunches”
Unra has never heard of “inclusive lunches”
Unra does not have time to figure out what “inclusive lunches” are
Unra is tired of being called a “clueless mommy” by all the other with-it mommies
even if the with-it mommies are inventing ways to make other women feel bad simply because they’re working
the with-it mommies create drama to gossip about because their lives are so small
the with-it mommies meddle too much in their kids’ lives and their kids are brats
the with-it mommies call each other up at lunch because they can’t stand to be alone with themselves when their kids have gone to school
Unra is not a with-it mommy
Unra is sleepless
Unra feels bad enough as it is

“mouth guards aren’t just for hockey” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Saturday November 18, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
yourdentalhealth.ca

Coach says that we should wear mouth guards but I hate them. They make me feel like I’m drooling. Coach tells us stories about how guys have had their teeth knocked out, how they had to spend thousands and thousands on dental work. “Don’t make me tell you the story about the implants,” coach says.

I’m the biggest guy on the ice. That’s a fact. If anyone tries to knock me, they are toast. No one is getting close enough to me to touch my arms, let alone my teeth.

I wore one once and it took me back to first grade when I couldn’t speak properly…

“mouth guards aren’t just for hockey” by Julia on the 84

Saturday November 18, 2017
6:46pm
5 minutes
yourdentalhealth.ca

I knew a guy who slept with a mouth guard. Okay I fucked a guy who slept with a mouth guard. I doubt I need to go into detail. He knows where his tongue is let’s just say that. Anyway one night he passed out and left it on the pillow beside me and I threw up a little bit in my mouth and then I had a nightmare about his gummy face between my legs, all clicking and clacking and when I woke up I had vomited again. It really also could have been from the drugs but I wasn’t taking any chances. Anyway that was the last time I called him for a late night.

“strikes out at the enemy” by Julia at the studio

Friday November 17, 2017
4:50pm
5 minutes
When Things Fall Apart
Pema Chodron

We’ve been waiting for the saviour. Someone who can save us, not Jesus, but someone like that for more of us. We’ve been waiting because what else is there to do? What if we shot all of our guns at the wrong thing? None of us are shooting right now. We’ve made a pact. These are the intentional ones. We are the Intentionals. We don’t want to fight but we intend to win. Win hearts. It’s not a cheesy affair. It’s the truth. Heart is nothing to be ashamed of. Heart is good. Heart is everybody. We can’t take fire on the bad hill. We cannot go to war over diction. We have to speak simply now. No getting lost. We are the intentionals. We’re hosting a potluck next Thursday. Maybe the next saviour will come too.

“A utopian vision” by Sasha in her bed

Wednesday November 15, 2017
11:47pm
5 minutes
from a quote by bell hooks

“He’s in Kingston Pen with twenty three years left on his sentence. That’s where he is. Now. You have a choice. Are you going to follow in his footsteps? Or, are you going to blaze your own trail – succeeding in your final year of high school, coming in top of your class at George Brown Culinary School? Getting a fine job under a celerity chef at a high-end restaurant? Being promoted to sous within your first year?” Stephen’s voice is booming. Cynthia looks at me. I look at Cynthia. We’ve both stopped worked. We are riveted. We are electrified. Holy EFF STEPHEN YOU ARE A GOD AMONGST US SIMPLE FOLK.

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Sasha at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
10:22pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

The sky’s a deep, headstrong blue and you’re walking away from me. It’s a big field, as far as we can see. I call after you and you look back and you smile. It’s like you can’t hear the panic in my voice. It’s like you don’t know that you’re leaving. I used to dream about a red-headed monster breaking windows. Now I dream about – … The colour of the sky. It’s there when I close my eyes. Even right now, I can conjure it.

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“Along with underwear, love is a woman’s work” by Sasha at her desk

Friday November 10, 2017
11:16pm
5 minutes
How to Be A Woman
Caitlin Moran

Love’s her work. She doesn’t say it, but it is. Fold the t-shirts, ball the socks, and L-O-V-E. She keeps saying, “I’m tired,” and she’s not sure why, what could it possible be. “Women’s work”. She hasn’t heard that term since her grandmother was alive, doing crossword puzzles in the sunroom and asking for another peppermint. She wonders what would happen if she left a note on the table that said, “Make dinner for yourselves!”

“We’ll look into this right away” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
11:20pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

You’re running again
feel it
feel that
it’s your feet
they’re tired of carrying you
they’ll do it
they’ll always do it
but they’d like to rest
they’d like you to get
that wart on the side
of your foot checked out
it hurts
it hurts when you run
and you’ve been running again
do you ever thank them
your feet
your tired aching feet
they might carry you further
if they knew you cared
it doesn’t need to be big
not a singing telegram
or anything balloon related
but a rub would be nice
a rub with oil if you have it
if you have the time
You’ve been wondering why
it feels like you’ve slowed
and if we’re going to look
into this right away we need
you to first look into this
we on behalf of your feet
the representatives you chose
before you started running
before you started moving
so fast and maybe too fast
we’re not mad but we do
want to make sure you know

“We’ll look into this right away” by Sasha on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

A: Hello? Hi, I just wanted to unsubscribe from –

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive our emails. A representative will be with you shortly.

A: Oh good God.

B: Hello, and thank you for holding. We’re so sorry to hear that you are unsatisfied with our services and would request your feedback as to why you would no longer like to receive –

R: Thank you for holding. Rebecca here.

A: Rebecca. Hi. How are you? I just, I want to unsubscribe from the mailing list and I can’t believe that this requires a phone call, who even calls anyone anymore –

R: Could you please tell me you nineteen digit PIN?

“You are a joke cookie” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday November 5, 2017
11:23pm
5 minutes
From the postcard from Amanda

You, MR. SWANSON, are a joke cake, doughnut, um, loaf, no… cookie. YES! That’s it! You’re a JOKE COOKIE! You may not think that it’s your best attribute, but I do, oh I do. You are most possibly the funniest manager I’ve ever had. NO! You’re the funniest man I’ve ever met! NOW, I know that this might mean that I’ll be in some sort of trouble, but no one appreciates you, MR. SWANSON. In fact! Everyone says terrible things behind your back. “He looks like a turtle,” that kind of thing.

“Acceptable for Breakfast” by Sasha at Moii Cafe

Saturday November 4, 2017 at Moii Cafe
4:45pm
5 minutes
Smittenkitchen.com

My Mom and Angel have completely different ideas of what’s acceptable for breakfast. My Mom believes that sugary cereals and bacon are only appropriate for Sundays. Every other day has to contain whole grains. Angel will slather anything, and I really mean anything, in Nutella. She loves the stuff. My Mom goes on and on about how much crap Angel eats, but how she keeps the body of “Cindy Crawford”. I don’t tell her that I have no idea who that is. Gotta add that to my Google List. Whenever I have access to my Mom’s computer, or Bruce’s tablet, I go through my Google List and check off the things that have been accomplished.

“Your nanny today was” by Sasha on her couch

Friday November 3, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I start in the kitchen. Pantries are my kryptonite. I’m just so interest
I try not to do it, I really really do… But once the kids are asleep and the house is so quiet, I just, I can’t, I just can’t help myself. Do they say that the kid is gluten free and then keep a secret stash of KD? Does the Dad have a private jar of shitty peanut butter? You can learn a lot about someone from searching through someone’s pantry. The health nuts have the craziest stuff… Seventeen dollar boxes of rice, for example. That’s a thing! I don’t eat stuff, unless they offer. But you better believe I look around.

“tired of having sex only with me” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday October 31, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
A Few Portals
Debbie Urbanski

It’s okay
You say
Brushing my hair out of my face
Can’t stop crying
Won’t stop crying

Joy
Shhh
You say
And I breathe in your smell
Applesauce and bicycle tires

I go into the bathroom
Splash water on my face
Let it run down my neck
You knock on the door

Go away
I say
I will not
You say
I love you
I say

You make us bagels and cream cheese
I don’t want tomato

“She insisted I make no special concession” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Wednesday October 25, 2017

3:21am

Swing Low

Miriam Toews

Invited me over for tea and sandwiches

Said the sandwiches are going to be first priority and tea very much second

I didn’t know what that meant

I went over for tea and sandwiches

hoping for a few easy laughs

crusts cut off and tucked away

Opened the door and shushed me upon entry

Said the baby was sleeping

But there is no baby

Led me into the dining room and turned off the light

Turned off all the lights

Sat me down in the middle of the room and asked me all my thoughts on God and grape jelly

The tea didn’t make an appearance at all

The sandwiches might have only been a metaphor

Nobody was allowed to use the toilet

Take escape in the next room over

The only one that had a lock

“being interviewed” by Sasha on the plane

Tuesday October 24, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
From a tweet

Miriam closes her eyes and prays. She would never tell anyone that she does this, a few times a day. It’s new for her and she holds new things close, a smooth black rock in her pocket. She would specify though, if she did tell you, that she isn’t praying to God. She prays to the sky, the colour of raspberry jam right now, sprawling wider than she’s ever seen. She wonders if Dad will still be alive when she gets there. She only brought a carry-on, even though she’s unsure how long she’ll stay. However long it takes. “Some things can’t be rushed,” Dad used to say when they’d be waiting for a calf to be born, clutching thermoses of hot peppermint tea, their breath dancing through the icy barn.

“research purposes only” by Julia on the Canada line

Sunday October 22, 2017

9:23pm

5 minutes

from an Air Canada survey

I’m really good at guessing the time about things. This includes travel time (on foot) and what time exactly I’m going to be starting on the next thing after this first thing is done. I think it has something to do with always managing to glance at the clock (or stove, microwave, etc) when it’s 12:34. Every time. I know a lot of people say they see stuff like this (5:55 or 11:11) but I swear on my life I do. I always try to see if there’s a message in it. It’s 12:34, is there something I’m missing? Is there something I’m supposed to be doing and the clock is giving me a hint? So anyway I guess times and I notice time and I try my very best not to kill time or waste time but to hold time and love time and ask for its forgiveness every now and again. I try but I’m not perfect so sometimes I catch myself killing time and then I feel all kinds of bad about that. I have to think, what did time do to me that I want to kill it so slowly?

“research purposes only” by Sasha at the casita

Sunday October 22, 2017
6:04pm
5 minutes
From an Air Canada survey

“It’s just for research,” Jonah says, and for some reason I don’t totally believe him. “Would you like another beer?” He has long eyelashes. He has a disarming smile. I shake my head.

He calls me three days later. I’m not sure how he got my phone number, and I don’t ask. Am I doing the thing that I roll my eyes at? Shit. I am. I’m doing the thing.

“What exactly are you researching?” I ask, popping a tortilla chip in my mouth.

“Cultural anthropology,” Jonah says, checking his phone, and then putting it on the table face-down.

“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.

“Show them yourself, your highness” by Julia on the 99

Monday October 16, 2017
10:39pm
5 minutes
from a dream

She opens the door and stands back as she gestures for me to enter. The door is covered in cobwebs. I’m supposed to be impressed? She clears her throat and then starts down the foyer. Her heels are click clacking and I imagine what her tongue looks like when she’s disappointed in someone. I don’t want her to see me looking around so I don’t but I clock everything. Listen for grandfather to signal me the hour. Even time is shrouded in mystery here. She brings me to a tiny room and shows me in. She waits at the door while I put down my bag. I think I’m meant to gasp or cover my mouth in honest surprise. She glares at me with anticipation and I’m still not sure if I’m allowed to speak. Suddenly the door slams shut and she is nowhere to be found. I am acutely aware now that she was waiting for me to leave. The lock thuds in the door. I understand how it looked like I was staying. She sealed the deal for me.

She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday October 14, 2017

11:22pm

5 minutes

a text

Kitty tells me to say that that I’m the baby and she’s the mum. I say, I’m the baby and you’re the mum. Then she tells me to say I’m addicted to raisins! I say, do I know what addicted means already? And she tells me to just say it already. I say I’m the baby and you’re the and mum and I’m addicted to raisins. She tells me, okay now say you’re trapped in a lemon peel. And I say oh no I’m the baby and you’re the mum and I’m addicted to raisins and I’m trapped in a lemon peel. Then kitty bursts out laughing. She is laughing so hard she gives herself hiccups. She tries to give direction between giant gulps of air. I tell her to take a second and catch her breath and she tells me to hurry up and be funny. I tell her she’s being a bit bossy and she shrieks at the top of the lungs, THAT’S BECAUSE I’M THE MUM.

“She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Sasha at the casita

Saturday, October 14, 2017
2:10pm
5 minutes
From a text

Darla, you gotta meet her. She’s giant and bossy and funny as hell. When you get her going she will not stop. She will make joke after joke until you really have to say, “Darla, you must be quiet. You must stop talking!” She must be close to six feet, and she’s got the biggest breasts anyone has ever seen. It’s problematic only for those of us that come up to her nipples and have a bard time seeing her face. She has this great bit about how both her parents are half a foot shorter than her, her father being shorter than her mother and how maybe her Mom actually fucked the big friendly giant.

“a friend, and all around super amazing person” by Julia on the 84

Thursday October 12, 2017
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the bunz faceboook page

I’m

Vouching

For you

Like you deserve it

Like you’ve earned

some kind of love

like this

Thank you

is something you

can say to me

if you’re looking

for words after

all this is over

Thank you

will never get old

I can’t say I’ll

forget that if you

weren’t who you are

I wouldn’t be thinking

twice about helping

you but you’re lucky

I already love you

You get the friend

discount of me not

slapping your ass all

the way to next Tuesday

Some people would

be through with you

Some people would

ask to see your

transcripts

and driving records

“I’d be fucking rocked if I were you.” By Sasha at Casa Violeta

Wednesday October 11, 2017
12:10pm
5 minutes
From a text

I know it’s good news. I know that I should be happy. I know that you’ll act like you are, that’s for sure. But under that veneered surface smile congratulations, you’ll be wondering what it means for you. You’ll be wondering if it will mean that we have to move again, or be separated again, or … again again.

“I don’t have to take it,” I say, and you kiss me on the cheek.

“I’m just going to run to the bathroom real quick. Let’s talk about all the options, babe.” You say.

“Okay, I say… again again.

“All in your head” by Julia in her bed

Monday October 9, 2017
11:55pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Tim Hortons

Imogen and Harriet are grinding their hips and Imogen likes Harriet and Harriet knows that. The music makes Imogen want more than what she has. Harriet doesn’t want to waste the song. Imogen thinks arching backs and swaying thighs is proof. Harriet wants to be free and enjoy each second because she doesn’t know when she’ll get another one.

The two of them remember this night differently.

“All in your head” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore

Monday October 9, 2017
11:56pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the Tim Hortons

“It’s all in your head,” they said. “You’re making it up,” they said. “You’re so sensitive,” they said. “Meditate,” they said. “Take a yoga class,” they said. “Try no screens after dinner,” they said. “Drink this tea,” they said. “Go to a healer with long white hair and small eyes and breath that smells like mushrooms,” they said. (They didn’t, but they may as well have). “Don’t eat sugar,” they said. “Don’t eat nightshades,” they said. “Don’t think negative thoughts,” they said. “Re-position your bed according to the Mayan calendar,” they said.

“Your name is the strongest” by Sasha in the living room at Black River Farm

Sunday, October 8th, 2017
8:15am
5 minutes
Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur

I will never tell anyone that I’m here, I whisper as I exit the elevator and walk left, then right, then left. Never ever, cross my heart and swear to die. What an effed up saying. I wonder why we used to say that all the time. If Al knew I was here he would tease me into eternity. Dad would mock me until I wept silently in the bathtub, a bottle of Shiraz cradled in the crook of my arm, never touching my lips, just there. In case. Dr. Noreen Sandhu, is written on the door. Is there a waiting room? Is this just, like, her office? Should I wait outside? Oh my God. What am I doing? Deep breath deep breath DEEP BREATH THIS IS WHY YOU’RE HERE, CLAIRE. THIS IS WHY. I give a very small, basically inaudible knock, just to test the waters. NO answer. Okay. Hm. Okay. I try the door handle and at first it feels locked but then I realize it’s just a very, very heavy door. I push with all my might, after all I have been going to Pilates most Tuesday mornings and my core is getting stronger, I can feel it even if no one can see it. I told Yolanda that my goal was to feel stronger. I don’t care about how things appear on the outside, I’d said. She’d scoffed. Eff her. I am achieving my goal. I am a goal achiever. A GOAL DESTROYER. I AM A GOAL ORIENTED WOMAN. A manifester. “Claire?” The smell of sage, lavender, ylang ylang. Doctor Sandhu, with perfectly chestnut skin, a deliciously large nose, excellent knockers and wearing a turquoise tunic and white tights. Oh my God. “Claire?” She says again, and for once in my life I am speechless.

“Babysat while Christian went to bingo.” By Sasha at Black River Farm

Saturday, October 6th, 2017
8:12am
5 minutes
Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years
Sue Townsend

When Christian went to bingo, Dominique and I babysat Felix. He would pay us ten dollars each, which at the time we thought was a hundred. Mimi would save hers. Right into her bank account it would go. She couldn’t get there fast enough. Christian had to tell her, repeatedly, that she ought to buy herself something. “It’s okay to spend a little,” he’d say, smiling. I would make lists of what I wanted – the newest YM, a watermelon lipgloss, a journal with a sparkly peacock on the front, a set of fine-tip sharpies, an extra large toblerone bar, my own matte scotch tape, Guatemalan slippers, a mini flatiron… The list would be so long that I wouldn’t be able to choose what I wanted first. Sometimes I’d cry and Mimi would console me. By this time, Felix would be drinking out of the toilet or scratching the wallpaper off the walls in the den and we’d have to call the bingo hall and Christian would have to come home early.

“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.

“before we found our planet” by Sasha on the couch at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday October 4, 2017
10:01am
5 minutes
The Enemy Stars
Poul Anderson

Before we found our planet we chased shooting stars and solar flares before breakfast. We did not know the saltiness of addiction – heartache – betrayal. Before we knew the taste of first kiss, we knew blue, the true meaning, gold, the weight and scope of it. Some might call it alchemy, but we call it morning.

Turning the page, our children (by which I mean all the children here not the ones I’ve borne, in fact, I cannot tell the difference, all their faces are innocence and power, curiousity and wisdom)… Turning the page, our children laugh at the nostalgia for a time before time. They wrinkle their little brows at Milky Way and ask for a glass of water.

“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.

“Know this place?” by Julia on Fa Fa’s couch

Friday September 29, 2017

9:12pm

5 minutes

from google maps

There’s a light that keeps switching on by itself. Demi said not to worry about it cause it was just the spirits entering the space (????????). It is bad enough that a light goes on by itself but one that’s delivering ghosts to my living room? No thanks Tom Hanks. Demi has a couple crystals. She says they help. Help what, I don’t know. The light just went out again. If you had to hazard a guess, would you say that means they’ve left or they’ve fallen asleep? I’m referring to the spirits obviously. I don’t know what’s worse that one is coming and going

or many are coming and staying. How many spirits can this place hold anyway? I’m wondering about capacity, like how much can my own spirit handle. How many before I have to call the fire department.

Demi says they won’t bother me unless I invite them to. She did not mention how to avoid doing this.

“Thank you for delivering your promise…” by Julia at her desk

Thursday September 28, 2017
6:41pm
5 minutes
from an email

I want to start by saying your work is very good. And I mean very good. You surprised me. I didn’t think you had it in you. I want to continue to be honest with you, and you have given me a lot to think about. When you first started here you had a hot head and your inexperience hung off of you. I don’t know if you were always this determined but whatever you’ve done to change your energy has done wonders for you. It actually makes me want to support your artistry. Before, I didn’t want anything to do with you. I didn’t like being in the same room as you. I found you entitled. And obnoxious. And when not checked regularly, slightly violent in your approach. I don’t see that anymore, but I do think it’s important for you to know what I did see before you decided to change your mind. I want to thank you for delivering your promise to me about “giving a fuck” as you put it. I am impressed by that and that now your work speaks for itself without your shadow lurking near by, ready to sabotage all of your light. I hope you know that I wouldn’t say all of this if it weren’t true.

“Did you try to reply to my email about confidence?” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 27, 2017
10:12am
5 minutes
from an e-blast

Krista: I know this seminar will suit you, Jeanie. I specifically designed it with you in mind and you’re not getting any younger so I–

Jean: No I’m not getting any younger. And believe it or not, that is not one of my concerns.

Krista: Oh sweetie, of course it is. It’s everyone’s concern.

Jean: I don’t know how staying young will serve me.

Krista: It’s a figure of speech, relax.

Jean: Well you used it, and you meant it, so. I’m not interested in discussing this with you.

Krista: Fine, but all I meant was that you could use some of what I teach and you’re only running out of time–

Jean: See! Again with the absolutism! I swear to Christ you do not listen.

Krista: Jeanie. Stop this blaming behaviour and own your life. You seem mighty hostile for someone who has nothing to prove.

Jean: You’re driving me upside the wall, okay? How am I supposed to respond.

Krista: Well you could come to my seminar. Respond with your actions not your attitude.

“Did you try to reply to my email about confidence?” By Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Wednesday September 27, 2017
8:42am
5 minutes
From an e-blast

Dear Theresa,

First, let me start by saying I’m delighted that you’ve joined our team. You are a welcome addition. Your intuitive approach, coupled with your intellect are benefitting the team. Several of your colleagues are singing your praises to upper management daily.

I’m writing to address the superlative questions that layer each of your emails. Please stop it. I find that several employees have this unfortunate habit, and it undermines intellect and experience. You are a qualified leader. Own it.

“DANGER” by Julia on the subway going south

Sunday September 24, 2017
3:12pm
5 minutes
from a sign at the train station

It has always been hard for Hannah to follow the rules. She was sneaking out of the house by the age of thirteen, smoking by fourteen, and driving dad’s Toyota corolla without even a learner’s permit at fifteen. I have always been more deliberate. More thoughtful. Mom told me I used to organize the vegetables on my plate by width. I don’t know if I believe her, but it wouldn’t be that far off. Hannah, on the other hand, was born wild like a balloon sailing off into the sunset. You can try to hold her as long as you can, but one slip and she’s gone, up, up into the sky, no destination close enough to see. Hannah was punished a lot as a kid and people worried about her. But I never did. I knew she would find her own way.

“I’m driving so couldn’t really see it” by Julia at Black River Farm

Saturday September 23, 2017
8:33am
5 minutes
from a text

It is not more important to check your texts while operating a vehicle. I believe this. My mother would say, PRECIOUS CARGO BACK HERE, EH? We once were with Justin, watching helplessly from the back seat, when he got caused a minor fender bender cause he was trying to text his girlfriend a shooting star emoji. My mother yelled at him that their stupid love could wait and Justin never really forgave her for that. She was fed up. She had a right to be. His girlfriend broke up with him a week or two later anyway.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way” by Julia in the car

Friday September 22, 2017
1:08pm
5 minutes
overheard at York Mills Station

All of us are tired from the rain. Maggie suggests we kill ourselves ceremoniously and Reece flips her shit about that. Maggie stares Reece in the eyes and doesn’t stop until everyone is laughing. Reece reluctantly smirks. The problem with people these days is everyone is offended by everything, Maggie tells us. Reece shakes her head. Some people actually do want to kill themselves, she persists, and I don’t know if you know this but some people actually do. I didn’t know that at all, Maggie says with mock surprise, her favourite of all the mocked anythings. Reece rolls her eyes and opens her chest to the group. Could we all just hold each other and intuit where might be a good place to travel? None of us want to fight and so we huddle close to one another, put our hands on the backs of our neighbours and we close our eyes.

“DANGER” by Sasha at Black River Farm

Sunday September 24, 2017
11:04pm
5 minutes
From a sign at the train station

“Dangerrrr!” Henry shouts and we’re off, climbing up and up and then there’s just a pinprick of light. Tim is screaming and Arthur tells him to buck up and the rest of us don’t know the difference.

When we’re all up out of the mine, Henry lays on the ground and weeps. Mona’s pregnant. They’ve been trying for three years. She’s finally pregnant.