“And made of no special wood.” By Julia at her desk

Sunday April 1, 2018
10:40pm
5 minutes
Afterward
Mark Rudman

And maybe I should have turned around then, when he was pressing himself into me. Bending me over at the crease of my dress, his hands roaming in and out and around. Maybe I should have kissed him then, when he was busy wanting me. I didn’t do anything. I moaned a little. I liked how hard he got at the curve of me. In that moment, his desire was enough. I should have closed my eyes sooner, out of respect for him and for me. He couldn’t see my eyes, but they were scanning the backyard and the pigeon shit on the barbeque. He didn’t know that I was moaning a little on cue at the same time as deciding to change the tarp. Things take longer when the mind is wandering on the deck outside the window of romance. He told me he liked my dress and I told him I liked pretending to be his secretary. He let it slip that Joan’s hugged her hips a little tighter.

“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.

“compelled to live under difficult conditions” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Thursday June 15, 2017
11:01pm
5 minutes
Ancient Wisdom, Modern World
The Dalai Lama


learn things the hard way:
make the same
mistake a million times
expect too much
drink too much
spend too much
return
return
return
avoid the telephone
avoid the woman who carried you in her body because she knows too well what you look like when you’re hiding
lie to the mirror
avoid the mirror
apply for msp
pay the wrong premiums
cry about it
forget to call the people about the help the people said they’d provide
avoid the telephone
avoid the truth
do not create anything
do not sleep
smoke too much
spend too much
binge too much
avoid the shower
avoid the fun
return
rip your hair from your head
from your eyebrows
from your lids
rip your hair from your crotch
one by one
until they’re all gone
be a girl after being a woman
avoid the mirror
avoid sex
avoid asking for what you need
resist the urge to be brave
let commercials steal your soul
spend too much
complain too much
return

“I was so annoyed with Wendy” by Julia on the 99


Thursday December 8, 2016
10:56pm
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

I had to act like I hadn’t just spent a year covering her ass every time she drank too much to come into work. Where’s Wendy? She’s sick, she’s stuck at the airport, she’s adopting a puppy, she’s at a doctor’s appointment, she’s at home waiting for Rogers, she’s at home because there’s a bat in her living room, she’s taking a personal day, she’s helping someone do something, she’s figuring out something for someone, she’s not coming in today, she sends her regards, she’s sorry she has to reschedule, she’s not coming in today. And part of me still felt bad that I couldn’t come up with a more convincing lie. Or that people probably knew because I had gotten lazy with my excuses. But what was worse was she was still so sad and there was nothing any of us could do. Or maybe there was. Maybe I could have said something. Or offered to take her out for coffee just so she’d remember people cared about her.

“the reconnection of a couple” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 17, 2016
10:31pm
5 minutes
roommagazine.com

He had been gone for a long time. I think he was fishing with his new wife, Amber. I hadn’t seen him after he left my mother with a hospital bill and a bag of rotting carrots in the fridge. I hoped he and Amber caught all the fish they could carry.

I was mad because of what he did to my mom. I mean even to this day it’s weird to say “did to” as if he did himself to her. He behaved himself to her. He was himself to her seems more accurate. I was mad because he would be so capable of disappointing someone who loved him that much.

I found out this year that my mother was horrible to him too. I didn’t know that before. I guess I needed someone to blame but I needed someone to stay more. I guess I chose wrong.

That’s when he called. He heard my mom wasn’t going to make it and he came home. He came back to what home used to be. He didn’t bring Amber. I respected him more for that. He didn’t bring any fish. I thought that was kind of rude.

“demonstrate power and courage” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday August 16, 2016
10:18pm
5 minutes
jinxiboo.com

I couldn’t say goodbye because I was worried about what that might have meant for him. What if he didn’t know how not to take things personally? What if he thought it meant I wasn’t willing to be there for him; to drop my life and commitments to be his witness. I said I was sorry. I learned that that’s the best thing you can say. I said I felt for him. I said I loved him. But I couldn’t say goodbye even though I wanted to go. At what point do you interrupt someone who’s grieving to go get yourself a sandwich? At what point is it a good point to make the point that you haven’t said anything aside from the things you’ve already said? I suppose they teach others how to demonstrate power and courage, how to own space, how to claim what is owed, how to say things without offending people because of intentions or something. I didn’t want to hurt him. Isn’t that a good thing? But there comes a moment in every missed goodbye where you stop fully listening anyway and I guess I’m wondering now: doesn’t that hurt maybe even more?

“level of trust” by Julia on her couch 


Monday August 15, 2016
9:16pm
5 minutes
Adbusters
Oct 2016 issue


I can’t stop reaching out of my skin and into your kindness
I destroy everything I touch
I want to touch you all over
Tell me again how it is that you’ve chosen me
Don’t tell me about my face
Don’t tell me about my hips
Don’t tell me that you wished for this when you were younger
How we were meant to be
I don’t care for lies anymore
Not mine
Not yours
And I can smell them
You are not a magician
None of us are.
Tell
Me
The
Truth
If you can bear to ask yourself
All the hard questions
The way I’ve been begging you to
What is it that you see that you need so desperately
Surely not the hole in your stomach I’ve chewed
Surely not the bad days bad nights bad luck bad timing
I do not cast a hook in you
You’re free to swim wild
I don’t want to hear anything
That does not sound
like it’s been dying to come out

“When we love” by Julia on the floor


Saturday, August 29, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
from a quote by Jean Shinoda Bolen

-And it feels like dying
-Yeah it feels like dying
-And it feels like your heart is thumping harder than usual
-Yeah
-And it feels like eye contact is binding
-Yeah it does
-And it feels like the walls are closing in
-Yeah, but those walls are lined with soft velvet
-Soft velvet lined claustrophobic walls closing in
-Yeah that’s how it feels
-But why does it feel like dying?
-Because dying isn’t bad
-But shouldn’t it feel like living?
-It does
-But
-And also dying
-And it feels like living anddying?
-Yeah it feels like both
-Because dying isn’t bad
-And living isn’t good
-Because it’s hard and also worth it
-Yeah

“Their smiling faces touched” by Julia at her dining room table


Monday March 16, 2015
5:47pm
5 minutes
Still Alice
Lisa Genova


In the window fog she traced his name with her pointer finger and drew a heart around it. Finding herself rereading the same last paragraph of his letter over and over again, she knew she wasn’t going to rid herself of his memory with any ease at all. She stopped herself for an instant, glanced out into the passing world outside her moving train, and came back into the present moment. She had been talking about him as if he had not only left her, but left this earth all together. Then, a tiny ember of hope flickered inside her. He wasn’t even gone, just away. Just away from her. His final words to her,the ones she’d been revisiting each time without effort, were suddenly so clear to her: “In time we fade and in time we’re built anew.”

“Weren’t you sorry” by Julia at her desk


Sunday March 15, 2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
from Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami


Like a ton of bricks falling from the ceiling, right over your bed while you’re in the middle of a good dream. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from the moment of feeling like nothing else was even happening or existing around me. Just hazy, stabbing light, hacking into my every skin cell.
It was shocking to say the least. The motherfucking shock of my motherfucking life. I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I never wanted to see something like that, and in my head I couldn’t even think it was possible. And then all of a sudden I was sitting at my best friend’s hospital bed, holding her hand and keeping her eyelids cool with my fingertips. I don’t know if I said it out loud, but I know for a fact my heart was singing it. Over and over again like a broken, desperate record: Please don’t die. Please don’t die. Please don’t die.

“landed immigrants” by Julia on her couch


Friday March 13, 2015
6:39pm
5 minutes
from http://www.banffmediafestival.com

Touch down acquaint orient
Reorient
Find the water
Where’s the water?
Friendly Sir
Morning coffee spill parade
Left then left then left then straight
Breathe in this city
Ask all the hard questions
Where am I going?
Why am I going there?
Fear leads and buries
Don’t follow blind
Don’t assume
Ask all the hard questions
Can you help me?
Can you show me?
South then east then south then east
Home now, a strange word
Invented
Reinvented
Depending on the day
The time
The hour

“Crisis points but also the potential for major realizations” by Julia on Laura’s couch


Saturday January 3, 2015
10:11pm
5 minutes
http://www.mysticmama.com

It’s been a hard day. Even just the taste of this minty ginger honey lime tea I’m sipping makes me cry. Sweet things hurt and hurt things flash in my mind like the worst bits of an unwelcome nightmare. Can I say I’m sorry? Will it do anything? Does it help me? Does it help my hurt thing? I don’t know when the last time my world shook like this. The last time it rattled under my feet making my bones knock against themselves. You there, me here–we live in different moments, in different hopes. To be honest, I’m not even sure if we can both exist at the same time. You’re bigger than me and I’m bigger than you. It doesn’t make sense. It won’t connect like we’d have wanted.
This day…this day….

“Writing is so difficult” by Julia on her bed


Monday October 13,2014
9:33pm
5 minutes
A quote by Jessamyn West

It’s like opening every vein in your body but not at the entry points that doctors use to administer needles. You have to dig around in all the uncomfortable spots where the vein isn’t prominent, and then open it up from the inside and let the blood pour out. It needs to gush and splatter inside first before you’re allowed to open your skin–unfold every layer, peel it back, the old and the new, and let it fill whatever canvas is closest. And you have to do it vein by vein, one by one. And you have to do it by yourself because no on else knows where these soft spots live like you do, and you have to do it every time you want to express something real, communicate your feelings, and go to bed feeling like a positive change has taken place. It’s not easy. It is so difficult. But the more you do it, the more you know you must keep doing it. You must.

“OPEN HOUSE” by Julia at Dundonald Park in Ottawa


Thursday, October 3, 2013
3:37pm
5 minutes
from the Saint Paul University Poster in Dundonald Park

Charlie and I are planning to make the big move to the city. She already has a set of cute bowls she wants us to get. “No more second-hand items”, She told me, “unless they’re vintage”. I didn’t want to break her little heart by telling her that people in the city don’t necessarily have nicer things or more money-but she wouldn’t have wanted to listen to me anyway. Ever since I get my promotion she’s been letting her imagination run wild–thinking about how our lives would just magically improve because we’re leaving this itty-bitty town with two stop-lights and a Tim Horton’s that closes every third day for “maintenance”. She thinks the change of scenery will help everything. Help us. I was never meant for the city. God knows I’m only going for Charlie. God knows I’m a sucker for her big brown eyes and her hopeful smile that tells me she’s willing to try. I think the city turns people cold. I think it makes everyone hard and fast and uncompromising. I don’t know if Charlie’s strong enough for it yet. I’d hate to see her loser her joy–over something like finding parking on a one way street, or seeing a hundred homeless teens everyday on her way to work.