“Thanks to electricity” by Julia in her office

Wednesday January 22, 2020
5 minutes
World At Dawn
Diane Ackerman

I have been thanking inanimate objects all day. I have been thinking deeply about this and so it comes as no surprise that here it is, the ‘question’ as if it’s supposed to throw me off guard! I have come prepared, Ma’am! I have already practiced this one. The thing that I could absolutely not live without is not electricity, or Britta filter, or my car! I’m more of a reading by candle light, mason jar using, walking kind of person. I am thankful for those things, don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful. I enjoy having things plugged in when I need to and charge things, I think I’m getting off track. Yes, so the thing I couldn’t live without would be a spoon. You’d think I would say knife or fork before spoon, but knives are overrated, and spoons are gentler on the mouth, but ultimately I just can’t stand getting my hands dirty! I hate touching things, actually, anything, because you don’t know where those things have been or who has touched those, and you know how many germs are out there floating around?

“a symbol of luxury” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday October 24, 2018
5 minutes
Fairmont Magazine

Polly wears her grandmother’s moonstone ring as a symbol of luxury. “My writing will never be ironic,” she says, hair in a high bun, wafts of brown around the nape of her neck. She imagines that she is being interviewed for an arty magazine by a smart woman in a black turtleneck. She’s talking to herself.

“I am obsessed with 19th Century descriptions of clothing and jewellery, and I will never tire of reading about how something or someone looks.” The interviewer, let’s call her Mia, she smirks.

“Would you like another cup of coffee?” Polly goes to the stove and fills the Bialetti with more espresso. She plays with her ring as she waits for the water to rise.

“Come prepared with questions” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 27, 2018
5 minutes
From the Verses Festival of Words 2018 program

He got there first. I’m early. He’s got a beard. He didn’t have a beard when I googled him, none of the photos did. His beard has grey in it. His hair is dark, almost-black but not quite. He has dark eyes, too. Very white, very straight teeth.

“You must be Lucy?” He reaches out a hand, he stands up, he reaches out a hand and it’s warm.

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you for agreeing to do this…” I’m shaking. We sit. I order a sparkling water. He says something about needing to eat. I can’t imagine eating, so I say I already did, even though I didn’t. “I have some questions prepared,” I pull my notebook out of my backpack.

“being interviewed” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Tuesday October 24, 2017
5 minutes
From a tweet

Ask me whatever you want

I’ve said it before

I’m an open book

you just have to read between the lines

Don’t ask me anything when I’m writing

Or dumping out

I say dumping out instead of taking a sweet shit

I just want to be clear with you

I’m not interested in your nightly rituals

I don’t want to put your mouth in my mouth

So we’re clear

If you ask I will answer

I’ll go above and beyond

out of my way to figure it out so you don’t have to

Wanna know what I’ve been carrying?

Stale bread in the secret pocket of my purse

Just in case they don’t have what I need

A couple packets of raspberry jam

A Mickey of whiskey

Art for someone who loves me enough to buy it

Ask me

about my yesterday

and I will tell you everything



Might not apologize for leaving early

Might not fall down dead at the sound of sorry

Might beg for truth from you

if you’re getting it from me

“intimate questions” by Julia on C’s couch

Friday June 23, 2017
5 minutes
from an e-mail

S gives me the idea
to interview my dad.
She’s interviewing hers.
She says she’s learning a lot.
I have always dreamt
of sitting down with
my father and talking with
him about the good stuff.
Like the time he crashed
the car, or the time he fell
in love with someone
who didn’t want him back
or the time he had his limp alcohol poisoned body
dragged home by his
parents who had to fetch
him from the underage
party at Lindsay’s house.
I want to know that he sees
himself in my mistakes and
that I’m not the only one.
That maybe I got some
extraordinary traits from
him beside my wild
curls and my penchant
for chili peppers.
I’d like to ask him if he’s ever regretted his anger
or if he’s ever had to
break up with an old
friend too.
You know
the good stuff.

“you might think she was an angry woman” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday April 6, 2017
5 minutes
The Birth House
Ami McKay

“You’re not going to get pregnant and have to quit or something, right?” I looked down at my hands in my lap, clasped tight.

“I’m not sure if you’re allowed to ask me that?” I wish I hadn’t phrased it as a question. I wish I’d said, “You’re not allowed to ask me that.”

I wonder about my friends who are men, who are also finishing graduate school, who will also go on a series of good, bad, demoralizing, funny, awkward interviews. I wonder about these men, fine men, good, kind men, and if a man in a purple tie might ask them about their future babies?


“Thank you for your time. We’ll be in touch.” A clammy handshake.

“Thank you,” a knot in my throat, brow slightly furrowed, I go into the bathroom and change my shoes.

“joke poem about a black bear” by Julia at her dining table

Tuesday January 31, 2017
5 minutes
Mary Oliver

“I had that bum tooth of mine finally go” she says, tapping the nub left inside her mouth. “I got over zealous, you could say. I got too comfortable with my routine and it turned me careless.” Lorna looks off into the distance for a while. I wait there, my finger hovering over the pause button. I don’t want to use battery while she drifts off but I don’t want to miss anything. It isn’t the first time it has happened. I remind myself of my privildge. I am desperate to know this woman and she is desperate to keep something for her for once. “Did I ever tell you about that joke poem? That joke poem about the–” She catches herself abruptly and her eyes dart around the room. I try not to move. I do anyway. I ask her, “is there something wrong?” She stares at me, nodding her head very slowly.

“the height of professionalism” by Julia at Sarah’s house

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
5 minutes

When Jeanie finished her job interview she had sweat drenched through both her undershirt, her blouse, AND she was beginning to show through her blazer. That is a lot of perspiration for one human being, and Jeanie is not a very sweaty person to begin with. She ran to the nearest restroom to dry her pits and take a look at her face. Jeanie sometimes needed to see herself in a mirror right after high stress situations where she couldn’t fully tell if she was being the true Jeanie. She didn’t mean to put on a face, but she did feel herself floating outside her body and not fully remembering what had happened in the last hour. Of course as she whipped open the door she saw there was no electric hand-dryer with which she could dry herself. She stripped off all the layers she could. That was hard. She was soaked.

“Missing a beautiful sunset” by Sasha at The Angel’s Nest on Salt Spring Island

Saturday October 11, 2014
5 minutes
from Julia’s notebook

Please answer the following questions and return them to me at your earliest convenience. Thanx.
Do you hold tension in your jaw?
Do you clench your teeth?
Do you drink enough water?
Do you eat too much sugar?
What are your thoughts on Yerba Mate?
Do you smoke?
Are you breathing all the way to your anus?
Are you having enough sex?
Do you pop your pimples?
Are you scared of the forest at night?
Are you lonely?
Do you steal?
Have you called your oldest friend on her birthday?
Are you making enough money?
Why do you make what you make?
Do enough people know who you are?
Are you good at what you do?
Are you on the right path?
Are you on any path?
Is there a path?
How much does the book you need most cost?
Are you spiritual?
Are you partial to pens or pencils?
Is there a flagpole you could raise a flag on?
What would your flag say?

“What bugs you?” by Sasha in her garden

Sunday June 1, 2014
5 minutes
A List of Questions to inspire scenes

What bugs me? That’s funny. Hm. But… Now that I think of it… When people stand on the walking side of the escalator. That’s so petty. But… it’s true! And… When food in the crisper goes bad. That’s the worst. Like, I feel guilty a) that I wasted and b) that I put the plastic bag and the nasty fruit in the compost. Is it better, like, ethically, to put an organic material in the garbage or to put plastic in the compost. Gawd. What bugs me? Really? Is that going to be in print or just on the website or… ? I’m suddenly, like, nervous about this. I mean, can I proofread it before it goes to – …? Can my agent take a look – ? I don’t want to come across as a bimbo. I did my undergrad in English Lit, you know. A lot of people don’t know that. They think that just because my Dad is who he is that I got everything for free and… I didn’t. I paid my way through my last year of… Nevermind. Dishonesty bugs me. When people lie? Like, that really bugs me. It more than bugs me, it infuriates me. Like, tell the truth, you know?

“Touch anywhere” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday March 23, 2014
5 minutes
the Air Canada seat screen

When I meet Ray, he comes to his turquoise door in a red, velvet sweat suit, the hooded jacket unzipped to just above the convex beginnings of his belly. He wears wraparound sunglasses. He dies his hair a dark auburn and combs it a bit like Elvis. “Hi Ray,” I say, like I’ve done this before. “Come in!” He says. He shows me around his bungalow that looks like it belongs in Greece, or Las Vegas. Ray lives in a suburb of Buffalo. My friend Kitty tidied up Ray’s garden every spring because he liked to have big barbecues for his neighbourhood and wanted it tidy. His house is organized in its overwhelming chaos – stacks of phonebooks and newspapers, but the newspapers were bound. The recycling is in piles of “like” thing (frozen pizza boxes were collapsed neatly and stacked together, for example) but looks like it hasn’t been taken out since 1998. He was a chihuahua named, Franny, which, if I’m not mistaken, was also the name of his wife.

“LESS ORDINARY” by Julia on the 506 going east

Saturday December 14, 2013
5 minutes
Guinness Black Lager streetcar ad

Oh yeah I’d definitely define him as a curve ball? Sort of just your crazy man but without looking like that on the outside? Less ordinary than most people in his category and I’m sure I’ve seen my fair share of them. I think I noticed it first when he came over to my house to help Rodney with his math homework? He brought over a baseball glove and bat and the two of them played outside for hours. Rodney aced his test but I don’t remember them studying at all. I guess he has a way with explaining? Sort of never cared to question it further, cause we was seeing results and that’s all that mattered to Al and me. I think, no, I wouldn’t necessarily call him strange although he didn’t act like I ever expected. Strange sort of has a negative connotation and that’s not the kind of label I’m trying to give him. But different, maybe. Definitely special if you want to make sure he knows that I’m on his side? I never once worried when he’d spend time with Rodney. I think he liked being around kids cause they never judged him or nothin. They just sort of, let him be was all.

“strengthened from within” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday, September 1st, 2013
5 minutes
Organix Shampoo ad
Flare Magazine

Whatever gives you that kick, right? Like, some people smoke grass – … do people still call it that? Grass?
Pause. Milly thinks. I don’t respond.
Anyways, some people do the drugs, some people even eat those, you know, those big, bad, bags of those potato chips? Not me. I don’t do any of that stuff. But, I mean, I gotta get that kick. I eat my lettuce, man! I eat my two-fu!
She laughs.
Bill divorced me because my libido went and eloped with my dignity.
She laughs.
We didn’t make love for, oh, about three and a half years? Can you believe that? Probably not. When I was your age I wanted it all the time! Like, they say that guys want it all the time, but that’s ca-ca. I wanted it all the time… Bill’s with that Cheryl, you know. That Cheryl the Hairdresser? With that little, dumb dog and that puffed up hair? Like a lion? A lion’s hair and a horse face. Shit. I mean, shoot. That’s mean.
Milly looks me straight in the eye.
You know if I want to keep my cellphone tucked in my panties and get my kick like that, I don’t really see how it’s hurtin’ anyone! Like, what’s her problem?! That I’m reaching down my pants?! Come on. Gimme a break. It’s our Puritan roots, you know, it’s this country’s Puritan roots.

“name the sand” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday, March 21, 2013
5 minutes
Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

She looks at me like she knows something I don’t. Like she’s got a secret. Or a yeast infection. “Fiona is… really creative,” she starts in. Is this woman, no, girl, is this girl even old enough to be teaching? “Excuse me but… how old are you?” She blushes. How cute. “Twenty-five.” “Did you fast-track?” There’s a pause. She briefly glances at my left hand. Yes, thank you, we are still together. “Um, no? I… I did the concurrent education program at York…” “Oh…” I say. I’m not impressed, or, maybe I am. I don’t know. “Fiona is really a leader in the class. She is so happy to be the boss!” It’s like she thinks I don’t know my kid. It’s like she thinks that she knows Fiona better than I do. “What are you saying?” “That she’s a real extrovert!” “I know that.” “Of course you do – ” “Why don’t you tell me something that I don’t know about her…” “The function of parent-teacher time is that…” “Interviews.” “Pardon?” “Parent-teacher interviews. That’s what it’s called. What we’re having here.” “Actually we have recently updated the title, the name. We felt that “interview” was too formal. It’s really about us having a nice chat, some time together… chatting about the child, your child… Fiona.” Is she sweating? “I see…” I say, but I don’t. I don’t see the point in that progressive education bullshit. “Let me get right to the point,” she says. “Fiona has been… uh… she’s been removing her… taking off her… undergarments.” I laugh. “Oh?” “It’s… becoming a bit worrisome… as, you know, she’s such a leader… Some of the other girls, her friends, are starting to follow suit…”