“My friend Joe” by Julia on the 4

Saturday October 6, 2018
5:57pm
5 minutes
His Hands
Mary Jane Nealon

My friend Joe became
my boyfriend Joe at the end of the 12th grade. I liked the way his arms looked while driving. I liked that he knew how to use the barbecue.
when I went to university I stayed with Joe even though I no longer wanted him.
One of the first days there I made eye contact with the coolest guy I had ever seen. His name was also Joe. I wanted this Joe instead. I wanted to know everything about him.
There were a couple others I started to like before I told the first Joe that we needed to break up. There were also a couple of crying episodes in my dorm room. Not me. Him. This was the same guy who knew how to use the barbecue.

“gros bisous!” by Julia at her desk

Monday June 25, 2018
10:52pm
5 minutes
​from an e-mail​

She kisses me in french,
so cool
I think we are supposed to become friends

I want to know what she sleeps in
I want to see how she makes to do lists
if she owns any hand me downs
what she sees when she looks at me

She’s consistent
in her inclusion of me, validation
she, inconsistently, responding,
and we are similar
surely she must see that by now
a mirror mirror on the wall
remember what you came here for

i want to have her over one night when
we both believe in yes, gratitude

We’d probably make out

“climbing into theirs” by Julia at the studio

Monday June 11, 2018
12:45pm
5 minutes
Suburban Bitch Curse
Akhim Yussef Cabey

I think I want to justify anything and everything and I can because I do
I am I am
I can I can
And you can justify all my bad habits with a knowing smile
a smile that makes me wish I had waited to tell you the truth about me
I find myself climbing into their skin to have compassion
I was told that’s how to heal the heart
You tell me gossip is useful and I laugh because the sweethearts
in my past life have told me the opposite
but I am so glad that I have met you and you’re saying this
so I have someone to bitch to, moan to, try out some of my new jokes about humans existing alongside the flaw of one another
We are all existing alongside the flaw of one another and isn’t that so damn beautiful?
Anything we do can sound lovely when underscored properly
I would choose The Digger’s Waltz and you might pick a different one
My lens could be nicely rose coloured and you
are allowing the side of me flourish that I don’t think everyone should see
Flourish
Bloom
I am afraid of so much and being so little
How can I be better if I keep myself small
I will climb inside my own skin to find out and you will always be the platform
that I get to wonder out loud to
I wonder if anyone wants to climb into mine?
If you do?
If you already have

“I’m not sure” by Sasha at her desk

Monday May 28, 2018
10:56pm
5 minutes
From an email

I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you’re going to “quit life”. I know you don’t mean off yourself, that wouldn’t be your style. I know that I stopped going to see you after a few weeks – I hate hospitals! I’m sorry! I made it so many times in those first weeks and… I’m sorry. I really am. You need to get it together and recognize the progress that you’ve made, Eileen. One day at a time, you know?! You can’t expect yourself to recover overnight. You need to be patient. Look. I’ll come and see you a few times a week, I’ll bring a DVD, or some takeout, and we’ll hang out, okay? Maybe you’re lonely. That’s probably it.

“she will not live long.” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
11:21pm
5 minutes
june 20th
Lucille Clifton

Mary-Beth gets a chicken
and she loves her with
all her heart because that’s
what a chicken does
to a person

You wouldn’t think it
but it’s true
They are bringing
chickens into senior citizens’
homes to help fight all
the loneliness

Mary-Beth lets Fiesta
(That’s her chicken’s name)
sit on her shoulder while
she is playing checkers with
Anthony and Robin
Fiesta helps her heart beat
to more music than ever
and she also helps her win
at checkers

“there are still shoelaces to be tied” by Julia at her desk

Sunday April 8, 2018
11:15pm
5 minutes
Ten Seconds for Each Year
Fernando Raguero

Wait till your eyes run out of juice
try typing that letter to your friend
see how many times you nod off in the
middle of a good sentence
tell her: there are stillllllllllll swppp
tell her: you are so eeeeeen qqQ hip
She will really appreciate that you didn’t
make time for her earlier in the day
that you were saving up all your creative
expression for the moments in between
sleep and almost sleep because that’s
when all the best ideas come through
tell her: that thought you had about
the cactus and the kiwi eloping
tell her: neck kink and unlimited yawn
tell her: fall onto the bed mascara
still holding all your eyelashes together
Don’t forget about the roasting pan in
the sink or the shoes out in the foyer
or the wet hair drying slowly on your back

“Well, God is perfectly fair.” By Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Tuesday January 23, 2018
6:52pm
5 minutes
Institutional
Tamas Dobozy

I bring a book when I go to chemo with Tom. He never asked me to go with him but I do because it’s nice to spend time with him and everyone else is freaked out. Sometimes he doesn’t want to talk, in which case I read the Sports section or listen to a podcast. Lily’s got me into podcasts. I love them. Listen to them on my long drives. Tom didn’t tell us until he was really sick. He kept it from everyone except Sas. When he told me and Lily we both cried. It was the first time we’d done that together.

“shorten the contract” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday January 10, 2018
8:59pm
5 minutes
for your consideration
Laura Yan

Owlie is coming to visit and I got her an air matress from Winners. This is what adults do. Adults go to the store on a Wednesday or a Monday and buy produce. Adults invite their friend to sleep over but only if there is proper bedding. I haven’t seen Owlie since 2012 and I’m afraid she’ll ask me all the same questions. Where am I working? Did I ever find a family doctor? Do I still sleep with a bible underneath my pillow? A lot can change in six years. People can grow or stop gowing or get a promotion or lose their job. You won’t find any air mattresses in an unemployed adult’s home. Nobody would see one and expect their host to not be able to afford a nice one like this from Winners. Owlie has always been successful at anything she tries. She got a serving job once just by walking into a place and telling the owner she could see herself working there.

“And we’re looking for a few more faces” by Julia on her couch

Thursday December 14, 2017
7:23pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Be a seagull swimming with the ducks.

Watch as Little Buddy does not let not being a duck deter her from being with the ducks. Watch as she casually lands amidst the them, plunging, gliding, squeaking. She looks around, not hurting anyone. Not asking for anything. Then slowly she swims closer to them. She joins in, hello, hi, how are you, just another sweet duck here, hello just another regular duck like you, swimming in the pond.

Be a seagull swimming with the ducks. All out of what ifs and better nots.

Maybe we’re waiting for an unlikely friend to be made. A new way of searching for tiny fish to catch.

We’re looking for a few more faces like that. Like the ones who don’t hide theirs to fit in with the others. The ones who risk difference in a pond of same.

“Christian Science Reading Room” By Julia on the 9


Wednesday August 23, 2017
11:07pm
5 minutes
from a storefront on West Broadway

At the Christian Science reading room I wait for Melody to meet me in the lobby. She says she’s coming with a big bag and to get ready. Melody’s ideas make me sweat. She’s been planning something for a while it she says she needs my help now. I always get sucked into Melody’s warped world. I swear she’s not from here. Like, I’d say Vancouver but what I mean is earth. I’m worried she’s got something slightly off centre in her bags. A little light spray painting would be ideal but I know it’s going to vibrate more than that. Everything she does has a pulse. If the pulse of something dangerous were trapped in a bag for too long.

“borrows and ruins your clothes” by Julia on couch


Sunday May 7, 2017
9:38pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by Mara Wilson

Jess helps me get ready to go out and meet my co-star, the director, and the show runners. She lets me borrow her black pumps and the sheer olive top that looks great with my faux-leather pants. She lends me jewelry. She boosts me up.
I arrive, nervous, to the cocktail bar. I am tipsy after the one drink I let him order for me. I almost leave my bag.
At the restaurant I am drunk again. I order a dish but I have no idea what I’m getting. The drunk laughs. The drunk tries to hide her shame that she ended up just getting a pasta. The drunk spills pasta in cream sauce on Jess’s sheer olive shirt. She stains it. She almost leaves her bag.

“More money, like I said.” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 18, 2016
11:34pm
5 minutes
A Boy Of Good Breeding
Miriam Toews


Ida and Meryl met on a crowded subway car. Ida had lipstick on her teeth and turns out Meryl was the first person to have mentioned this to her. She fell in love with her instantly. Ida valued honesty in a person. She couldn’t understand why we’d waste so much of our time hiding behind lies. She thought it was too much work to live like that. Ida told Meryl that she was striking and that she liked her silver running shoes. Meryl covered her mouth when she laughed as if she was trying to keep a tiny gerbil inside. She fell in love with her instantly.

“comrade in arms” By Julia at her dining table


Sunday July 31, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
from a text

I asked Lindsey if she wanted to come to my sister’s citizenship ceremony and she told me she wouldn’t miss it. When I reminded her that it was this week, she told me it was a date. When I called her that morning asking what she was going to wear, she gave me a detailed description and helped me choose a necklace for me over the phone. So when she didn’t show up for the ceremony I knew something wasn’t right. I called her a million times and it went straight to voicemail. I was freaking out, trying not to let my sister see me. I had a terrible knot in my stomach. Nothing was making sense, the room was spinning, and I was struggling to stay standing. My sister caught my eye and looked concerned. She motioned for me to leave. I nodded, I ran, I stumbled out of the auditorium and into a burst of fresh air. When I saw Lindsey standing there I almost threw up. She was holding her throat so the blood wouldn’t spill out.

“poignant revelations about life” By Julia on her couch


Sunday March 6, 2016
9:25pm
5 minutes
mic.com

Sirrah comes over to my house and tells me she is craving ice cream and fried chicken.
She says she’s been craving it since last week. I know immediately that She is pregnant. She never eats fried chicken. I don’t even really believe that she’s craving it now, but I don’t doubt that she is hoping I clue in and ask why she’d ever want to do such an out of character thing.
Sirrah drops another hint about laying off white wine spritzers for a while, even though I haven’t actually offered her anything. She talks a lot about how this life is so short and how we have to find our purpose through offerings and sacrifice. I want to punch Sirrah right in her first trimester. Trying to pass down life lessons to me without asking for permission. I don’t like that she assumes I want the same things as she does. I am perfectly happy without some other human to depend on me- complicating everything. I know that sounds bitter but it isn’t. If I wanted a baby, trust me, there could have been plenty of opportunities.

“Inside our homes there is usually” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 28, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
from a magazine cutout/em>

Inside our homes there is usually less noise, more quiet, less hate, more love.
Usually.
Tonight there is more crying, less calm, more shaming, less light.
We are both nothing and everything, trying to love each other’s nothing and everything.
You do a better job with it than I do. When I am absolutely nothing nothing, you are still everything everything.
I ask you why you are so nice to me.
You answer with a forehead kiss and a squeeze.
I tell you you haven’t left enough space for me here.
You answer with a squeeze and direct eye-contact.
You will not let me take any prisoners.
You are so happy to be brought on board when I remember that you deserve that.
We are each other’s everything. We are our own nothings.
I have to remember that part too.
If I’m painting broad strokes of the everyday, there is usually more laughter, less pain, more teamwork less fight.
It depends on many things.
The things that usually happen 100% inside of me.

“KEEP REFRIGERATED” by Julia on her bed


Saturday February 27, 2016
8:12pm
5 minutes
From the tetra pack of arugula

Darling waits for me outside the gym after I’m done my sweat with a big juicy bag of fresh spinach and a muffin devoid of anything delicious in it. Darling really knows me; knows I’m desperately trying to value myself and stop feeding my fears with unnecessary carbs or sugars.
I swat my hand at Darling as if it were no big deal at all that I had just cycled all of my aggression out for the 2nd time today. Darling smiles and offers me a perfect little towel with the tag snipped off. I know I’ll never have to go one single day without Darling picking me up after a sweat, or a shop, or a mental breakdown on the I-5. Today I want to cry but I don’t know if Darling has brought the necessary preparations for it…

“If you find yourself with a free second” by Julia on her patio


Thursday, June 11, 2015
11:14pm
5 minutes
from a staff meeting handout

Take that second to hold your face in the mirror and smile at that beautiful thing that is growing and sharing and developing in front of your very eyes. Such self love is necessary to survive and thrive and achieve and believe. It starts with an appreciation for magic and mistakes, for findings and failures, for dreams and denials. We can love a loaf of bread with every fiber of our being, but when we hold ourselves up to the light we can’t indulge in ourselves the same way. We can not crave it or feed ourselves with it. And we must. We must feed our souls with intense and concentrated self love, the kind that springs eternal when it’s allowed to enter. And though it’s not a vampire and it won’t kill us, it still won’t come in unless we invite it in.

“You saw her bathing on the roof” by Julia in her childhood bedroom


Sunday March 1, 2015
11:56pm
5 minutes
Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen


I’ve seen all your parts
Tarnished and familiar
Bruised from being too sensitive
And taking a world’s beating
You glow sometimes
under the proper light
When the pain is dimmed down low
And you feel safe in you skin
When you trust yourself enough
To thank your demons for their good fight
And to put a stop
to any future breakage
I’ve seen all your parts
Bathing in the haze of the moon
Your heart creaks
when it’s been walked over
That’s how you recognize the enemy
That’s how you know when to rebuild the wall
And the faint memory of it cracking
Keeps you far away from me
Even though I’m here to hold you
Even though I’m here to hold you

“gals give some sneaky hints” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday February 24, 2015
6:35pm
5 minutes
blog.muchmusic.com

Don’t want to give you any false raised hope, but there will be a surprise tonight that is going to blow your mind. I promised Angela I wouldn’t say what was going down, but it’s your freaking birthday, dude, it’s not like you don’t expect some wicked cool event to happen in your complete and perfect honour. I pinky swore your girlfriend that I would keep all details of this extravagant celebratory secret to myself. But I thought about it, and I was like, dude needs to know what to wear, you know, how is he supposed to dress himself without a dress code! What is this, New Years? No. Not even close. That phrase doesn’t really work here, cause I actually stole it from my ex-boyfriend who used to say it all the time, and the way he did it was so funny, so I was trying to be funny. Anyway, he also hated surprises. Or, no, he hated when surprises got ruined. And, yeah, the reaction to the “SURPRISE!!!!!” Is really only as good as the secret kept, but I still maintain that you would be happier walking into your favourite place, with all your favourite people, knowing that it was happening, so you could fill your face with honest gratitude and appreciation. You’re welcome, dude!

“make myself solid in this transitory world” by Julia at Source Centre for Health and Wellness


Tuesday February 3, 2015 at Source Centre for Health and Wellness
9:04pm
5 minutes
A Time Of No Place
Natalie Goldberg


If Regis (that’s the dog that I’m watching) licks my left ankle one more time, I’ll take it as a sign from the sky gods (that’s a term my friend Birdie told me about recently. Her real name is Roberta, but what fun is that?)that I’m connecting with something magical. Mirabell (that’s Regis’ long lost love) died two years ago today and he never fully recovered. Now he licks ankles but I don’t think those things are related. Tiger-Blossom (That’s my spirit animal. He’s a she and sometimes she’s a monster) says that when it’s really cold at night we must let our lives live without the halves we think they need.

“When did we leave for thing there?” By Julia on Jessica’s couch


Sunday January 18, 2015
12:47am
5 minutes
Overheard at Julia’s aunt’s house

Okay so there was this trip, right? We went together to thing there, what was it called? The Dominican! Never mind. We went with what’s his name, John there, and it was nice that he came with us because now we have photos together. We were on the dance floor one night just letting lose, and the next day he um, John, he shows us the whole night of us dancing and eating that good pasta there, you know at the nice italian place I was telling you about. So nice, I gotta tell you right, cause I didn’t know he was snapping away the whole time and capturing us, what’s that word there, candid! He captured us together all candid and they’re nice because I also have some of us standing by the fountain, but we both know it’s a photo and our smiles look bad. But the ones thing there took, John, look so nice and we look happy. It’s always better to have a friend come on your vacation so you can remember how happy you actually are.

“These days it’s hard to get a decent haircut” by Julia in Venice


Friday December 5, 2014
10:54pm
5 minutes
Kinfolk Volume 13

Man sits beside me. Smells like the hair shampoo my best friend Natasha used to use. We’re not best friends anymore. She tried drugs and became best friends with the guys who sold them instead. She told me once, here use my bra. I’m too big for it. Borrow it or just take it cause it’s too small. I said, thanks so much. My mom won’t let be buy one. Says I don’t need it yet. Says a sports bra is fine. But hers never fit me. Turns out she never had anything to fit inside them in the first place. Turns out I did, just I didn’t know it. I was slow to know myself. I was slow to question anyone. Guess it’s cause I believed in people. I trusted in someone’s word. Shouldn’t have. Didn’t need to. Guess it was just a life lesson learned like don’t leave your window open at night without the screen down, or don’t eat a brownie if your friend gives it to you while smuggling a bit of laughter cause she really found it on the ground and now you’re the butt of everyone’s joke. So I look to the man. I say, have you always smelled this way? He crosses his arms and looks in the other direction. Then I know I know how to distract people from the truth. I learned by distracting myself.

“Sunset and the city” by Julia on her bed


Monday October 20, 2014
6:19pm
5 minutes
The front cover of a notebook

Babs calls me and she’s in such a tizzy. Her brain has sincerely exploded, and I’m putting it mildly here out of respect because she’s a dear friend of mine. But she calls, her words don’t make a bit of sense, which is, I suppose, if I’m being honest, and who doesn’t crave a little honesty in the mornings, isn’t so rare. She’s dear to me, I tell you this, but she’s a bit scattered. You know, her thoughts always seem to be half formed or a bit demented. You know, kind of like the human products of incest, you know, a little bit not very normal. Ah, it’s just the truth, I’m not trying to be, uh, insensitive. But you have to know about Babs in all her glory if you’re going to follow this story.
So anyway, she calls me, her brain is, put it this way, worse than usual, and she starts singing!

“Our human lives seem to unravel” by Julia at Pigneto 41


Friday September 12, 2014 at Pigneto 41
1:22pm
5 minutes
from Thunder and Lightening by Natalie Goldberg

In any given moment Talia will be coming home. Talia likes butter on toast, then orange marmalade. When Talia’s dad isn’t looking, she sneaks the spicy nduja spread that he likes so much. She sticks her finger in the jar to lick it quickly in case he emerges from the TV room and sees her taking his favourite snack without asking. Talia will be coming home soon and she will tell us the news of Sofia–she will remind us of what we already know and that’s not to get our hopes up about her memory. Talia always tells us the same thing about Sofia but we wait for her the same, with bated breath and fingers crossed that today Sofia will remember something new. Talia isn’t even Talia to Sofia but she gets to see her because Sofia thinks she is her imaginary friend from childhood. Sofia called her Naya and used to say Naya was a trouble maker with a beautiful singing voice. Talia doesn’t sing at all but she hums to Sofia and Sofia believes. Talia hasn’t been the same since she started pretending to be Naya. But she does it so she can see her sister every day.

“Potting Mix” by Julia at MAKE coffee+stuff


Friday June 27, 2014 at MAKE
2:29pm
5 minutes
from the bag of soil

So my friend’s friend’s sister gave my friend’s friend one of those basil growing kits and my friend’s friend didn’t want it so she gave it to my friend who hated growing stuff unless it was pot so my friend gave it to me and told me to “make it rain”. She was clever like that. Sometimes she’d say things like “If the glove fits, hide it” or “Take me, break me, but please don’t forsake me”. Some of them work really well in sentences and some were only medium good. The “make it rain” thing kind of applied though. It was like “Go with God” or “Grow with God” which is what my friend would have said if she had thought about it for just two more seconds. So I wanted to “make it rain” as it were cause it meant I’d be in the “green” or whatever with the basil. Which is green. Like money. You get it. I had never grown a single thing in my entire life. I couldn’t even get behind those sea-monkeys cause what the shit were those even anyway?

“Call it what you will” by Julia in the motel in Sault Ste. Marie


Thursday June 12, 2014
9:55pm
5 minutes
A song by Joe Pug

Caroline and Eddy had been driving for what felt like days. Eddy had begun to smell, refusing to put on deodorant because he said he was on the “open road” and if he couldn’t smell like the earth here, then he didn’t want to be alive. Caroline was battling her car-colepsy and told Eddy that if he was going to take pictures of her sleeping with her mouth wide open facing the roof of the car then he better not post them online or she would punch holes in his tires and make him drive back to Sugar Lake by himself. Eddy didn’t care about Caroline’s sleeping habits, or her poor taste in music. He didn’t care about anything except for getting really far away from everything he knew back home, and finally starting over without anyone knowing who he was. Caroline didn’t know about Eddy’s friend, Liam, with whom he had helped burry a curious large sack that weighed as much as an elephant.

“My psychic friend Leila” by Sasha at High Park


Sunday, April 21, 2013
11:27am
5 minutes
Why I Moved To The Country
Ruth Schwartz


My psychic friend Leila says that when you dream of snakes it means you’re transforming. When I go to see her, at her home in a cabin about an hour out of the city, she’s not there. She’s in the woods, scavenging mushrooms for our dinner. I sit with her sheepdog, Ethel, on the big rock out front. There isn’t cell phone reception. I think about calling Donny or my Mother but decide to just sit, scratching behind Ethel’s ears. I hear Leila’s whistle coming through the trees. When she sees me she speeds up, almost running, but careful not to spill the mushrooms that she’s carrying in a whicker basket. They are overflowing. She drops one, bends down and puts it back in the basket. The city was too much for Leila. She described it as living in a house where the TV, radio and record player are all on at the same time, playing something different, dissonant and disturbing. In the country she can sleep. She inherited the land that she lives on when her father died, and she built the cabin using one of those house kits you can send away for and receive in the mail.