the fortifiers of human agency” by Julia in her bed

Tuesday March 27, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
On Being

Things may have escalated. My alarm clock now tells me how shitty I’m being for sleeping. Not sleeping in, but being tired. Labels as the chimes go off: don’t waste your potential! Get thee to the yoga mat! I should be thanking night me for trying to kick morning me in the ass for some good quality productivity but I do not listen to myself. I’m the only one who can fortify my own agency and yet, snooze, sorry, tomorrow. My mind craves structure and my body craves cuddles. Nobody wins here. Nobody wins, and somebody should since it’s all just me playing me against me playing me. Nothing is real! Getting up early is not real! Wishing I didn’t wonder where the hours go is not real!

“If we changed the rules of our games” by Julia in Hội An

Friday January 26, 2018
9:16pm
5 minutes
The Mercy Seat
Norman Ravvin

Now that we’ve changed
the rules I don’t cry as much.
As if my face can tell
you how I feel without
losing any water without
causing a drought somewhere
else deep down near the well of me
Now the well of me is full
and happy looks like patience
or a bucket
or forgiveness on the conveyor belt
switched on at high speed
You are coaching and playing
at the same time sometimes
and this is a rule you
have always known to follow
I can learn from this
I can play better too

“two complimentary movie passes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday September 29, 2016
7:44am
5 minutes
cycleto.ca

I come home with a smile on my face and I kiss you on the mouth
You say you missed me
You say this day is better now that I’m back
You ask how the conference was
You ask if I got any swag
I bounce around my tote bag (swag) and pull out the pens (swag) and post-it pad (swag)
You are impressed and I am impressed with my ability to stock up on office supplies
I would otherwise refuse to purchase
Then I reach in and pull out two tickets
You ask me what they are and try to pull them out of my hand
I snatch them away and tell you These Are Not For You!
You try to get a closer look at them and I keep them at arm’s reach
You scowl and cross your arms when you see what they are
You Won Movie Tickets?
I smile again, being coy for some reason
Maybe I Did
Awesome Which Movie Are We Seeing?
I put them back in my bag
These Are Not For You

“Welcome to the playground of the future” by Julia on the 505 going west


Sunday March 29, 2015
6:37pm
5 minutes
A TIFF kids TTC ad

Join me on the moon
and we’ll shoot spit balls down below
trying to hit the people in love
the ones who tongue kiss at the bus stop
we’ll laugh and we’ll touch our skin together
we’ll weave a human bracelet out of our heart strings
we’ll tie them together so when one of us moves
the other gets tugged along
back and forth
we seesaw with our metaphors, two points of equilibrium
I’ll bake cookies for the occasion
buttery ones with some kind of special chip
not chocolate though cause what’s the point?
I’ll save you a spot right beside me on the mountain
and we’ll send paper airplanes of our promises to each other
down below so somebody else may see
just what I mean to you
and just what you mean to me
on my list it’ll say To Hold Your Face In My Hands Once A Day
on yours you could put something along the lines of
To Smile From The Core Of Me Whenever Possible
And we’ll have designed the rules to our very own board game
Making sure that number one is We Both Win Always Always

“we were never meant to be admired” by Julia at Aroma Espresso


Thursday February 5, 2015 at Aroma Espresso Bar
6:49pm
5 minutes
Stranger in a Strange Land
Robert A. Heinlein


Olivia watched the paint drip off the railing. She was determined to have fun doing it because for whatever reason, watching paint dry has gotten a real bum rap. She wasn’t going to use a phrase like that without knowing for sure that it was true. That’s how Olivia felt about other sayings too. She was a “don’t knock it till you try it” kind of person. She had tried a lot of things, but only because she was also in the business of knocking things. It was in her nature to be cynical, but last May she realized that she had a whole lot of living to do, and nonchalant cliche sayings to defend. She was turning the paint watching into a game. Every time a drip would fall she’d draw a flower on her skin with pink marker. Nobody said you couldn’t make your own fun while doing the obviously un-fun activity. Olivia liked disproving theories. It made her get creative with which sayings she ultimately chose to use.

“exit only” by Julia in Piazza del Francia


Tuesday October 28, 2014
4:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a tper bus

He entered a room filled with mirrors. The instructions said he must look within before he could exit the game. He knew how this worked. A hundred minutes ripping apart all his flaws just to realize he was fine all along and didn’t need to inflict any self harm to find that out. So instead he tried to see what features he liked about himself; starting with the outside to make it easier when he got to the inside.

Decent enough eye shape. Not an almond. But almost. Long eyelashes-like a fawn, or a prostitute. Standard cheekbones (thankfully). One big bottom lip and one almost normal looking top lip. Straight teeth. Really straight. Should smile more. Will note that.

“Castorland Puzzle” By Julia at her desk


Monday October 6,2014
1:26am
5 minutes
from the Castorland Puzzle box

Ok Go. You have. Yeah. Two. Two minutes. So what? Seriously. Do it. Do it. What? Do it! Ok. OKAY. Full words only. I will try. I will try! Describe the furniture. Shit. In the living room. No, shit! In the kitchen. K. I mean Ok. Sorry. Ok. Table. Brown. Wood. Wooden? Brown wood. Whatever. Four legs. Obviously. Yeah. I know. Ok. Wood chairs. Wooden chairs? Ugh! Three of them. One broke. Broken doesn’t count. So three. Yeah. Cushions. Don’t count? I don’t know! Do they? Ok. No cushions. Well, two cushions. No not three. One broke! Ok! Three wooden chairs. Wood. Whatever. Done. That’s it! I know. It’s small. It’s a small. Kitchen. Right. Ok. Living room now! One couch. Ummm. Shit. Grey. Cotton. No. That’s so stupid. Flannel? Ummm….. Fuck! What the shit. Is it ribbed? Materials. Ribbed? Like CORDUROY! Yeah. Sweet. Ok. One table! One wood/ wooden table. Coffe table, shit! One TV stand!

“The big mystery” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence RI


Thursday May 1, 2014
1:12am
5 minutes
The Q Podcast

I forgot what your face looked like for a brief moment yesterday. I was having one of those fake conversations with you in my head and I was trying to picture your exact reaction- that head tilt to the side and that one squinty eye thing. I kept saying my part over and over and I couldn’t see your face in the response. So I changed what I said and I waited for your face to just magically appear. It didn’t. It was so strange. Up until now all I had to do was think of you and it would be as if I was sitting right next to you, almost touching your skin with mine and hearing you breathe.
This feeling, it was like going blind. It was being able to see my entire life for my entire life, the sunsets, the stars, the reeds sticking out alongside the river, and then suddenly being forced to make out a picture in complete darkness.
I didn’t want to tell you that. I didn’t want you to think it was the beginning of the end or something. It wasn’t. It was just a trick of the mind, a game my head was playing on me. Maybe even just a test to see what I held dear…

“STAY THOUGHTFUL” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 29, 2014
7:45pm
5 minutes
The Holiday Inn note pad/em>

According to Dale, women shouldn’t have to pay for their own meals. Carmella agreed with this notion because she worked as an underpaid nanny and couldn’t avoid the trap of wanting and needing free things.
Dale and Carmella met at the carnival two summers ago when Carmella was struggling to find enough coins to pay for her burrito-dog and Dale had watched with a glint in his eye from a distance. He waited till it was the right moment and came up, placed 2 dollars on the Carny’s counter and began to walk off.
Obviously Carmella had chased after him, wanting to thank him for his heroic act, and Dale knew exactly how it would go.
Hi.
Hey.
Thank you for..you know, you didn’t have to do that..
I know.
(turns back to keep walking)
Wait. That was..
It’s okay.
No, that was nice. Nobody’s ever..done anything like that–
It’s totally fine, really.
For me before. So.
So.
Can I buy you a drink?
I don’t know can you?
(embarrassed laugh, shy eyes)
I could in a couple weeks?
So let’s do it then.
What?
Drinks.
In a couple weeks?
Yeah, why not.
I’ll take you up on that, you know.
I hope you do.
(turns back to walk away)
Sucker.
(turning back)
What was that.
I said I can’t believe I got so lucky…

“tie up my son and me” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 22, 2013
6:53pm
5 minutes
Toronto Star (Life Section)

had a dream last night that we were playing pin the tail on the clouds. it was a game my son and me made up for when the bad days felt too long. i’d hold him and he’d hold a feather in his pudgy little hand. Then i’d lift him as high as i possibly could, reaching up and up, till the sun made him squint and he felt like it was enough. it was something we started a long time ago. with whatever he could find on the ground at the time, a rock, a stick, a snail. we would both pick a cloud, and he would try to pin the tail on it. on the same spot we chose together. i could feel him breathing, focussing, trying to get it just right. and he would never get the spot perfectly, but the concentration needed would always make it feel like he did. like just one more push and we’d get there. in the dream we were shooting right up to the real clouds. we were in a contraption that took us up, made us feel like we were flying. we knew even then that we might not touch the spot exactly, but we’d get close. in the dream he wasn’t holding an object from the yard, or the sand box. it was a framed photograph of me.