“They’ll be able to describe it” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
12:17pm
5 minutes
Teaching a Child the Art of Confession
David Shumate

They’ll be able to describe it by the finches singing in the yard
the construction workers outside still constructing work and homes and noise
the old photographs now strewn across the coffee table and some on top of the bedside drawers
They’ll be able to paint a grey spring and remember what March felt like during this
The space held between people with great care, like a balloon blown up past its comfort
or an egg, last and lonely keeping the refrigerator feeling
They’ll be able to search their daily journals that all start with today, and end with now
that focus on the heathers brightening up every corner or the magnolia passing us a much needed bloom
They’ll describe it in belly moans and leg cramps
in chapped hand skin and swollen eyelids
in red cowboy shirts and purple lipstick warn at home on a day that feels like any other day and no day and this day
They’ll be able to describe it with a time capsule, a few items here and there from the house that they won’t miss too much
A reminder that right here and right now there are things to collect
and give us

“No tits to pull” by Julia at her desk

Saturday March 21, 2020
6:03pm
5 minutes
Carnation Milk
Anonymous

In the shower I held my own tits while I cried.
I didn’t realize I was doing it but when I realized
I was doing it I didn’t stop and didn’t wonder at it.
I knew why. I understood why. I get why.
Why cry when there is love.
Why weep when there is life.
Why stand frozen under a stream of steaming water when there is chance.
Why this.
Why now.
Why us.
I know why us and now and this too.
I know why deeply but I can’t put words to it because that would undo the great knowing.

Earlier you said we should have sex on our patio to give the people indoors a show, “if it comes to that.”
If it comes to that will we be able to model free love and free loving when it costs
skin and bones and a heart full of hope to give it?

Earlier I said “You have to help me.”

Earlier I said “I dreamed that I was about to perform my spoken word on The Tonight Show. But I ended the dream babysitting two rich brats who only wanted to eat BROOKSIDE Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberries.”

Earlier I said “Please don’t make me do this alone.”

Earlier I said “I’m still upset I didn’t get to perform on Leno.”

“This report contains confidential information” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 13, 2018
10:48pm
5 minutes
From the lab report

burn after reading
or it’s the kind of thing that will burn you
every top secret insight
every thought secret kept tight behind lined pages
the letters adressed to eyes that were never meant to read them
this is the kind of private you’ll wish you never craved quiet turned public rage
inside voice blasted on the hallway speakers arent’t you glad you came
but if anyone should see it it’s you
if anyone should know me

“then I had a boy.” By Julia at V, J, W, and A’s house

Sunday April 15, 2018
7:30pm
5 minutes
Devices on Standby
Kelly Ann Malone

I heard the words come out of my mouth like a broken record: MOVE just like my mother used to say. And it worked. That tone, that strength. She listened and she did. Then I hugged her. Because I didn’t want her to go to sleep right after being yelled at. So then I hugged him too because he was good the whole night and i didn’t want him to feel left out. And that is what I’m learning. That girls still need hugs after being told no. And boys still need hugs after being told yes.

I keep thinking, don’t let your kids grow to be unlikeable, if I don’t like them the world won’t like them and I want the world to like my kids. Send them to my parents house so they can see what listening feels like, what being a kid feels like. I want that for me and for my kids and for the grandparents my parents will turn into.

Choosing what is important for her” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday March 27, 2015
6:42pm
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

She’s kept a food journal for twelve years. Mostly it’s been a secret. Only three people know. Sonja – because they spend so much time together and secrets are boring to keep for so long with someone so close; Pete (her once removed ex) – because he once caught her writing in it, when she’d thought he’d been asleep, and he asked and asked until she caved and then he made endless fun of her (via questions) and then she left him; and Jillian – because when Jillian was going through her sex change she felt it was only fair to reveal something private and strange and a bit shameful because Jillian was revealing so much so publicly and it was all she could think to reveal of herself.

She decides, one particularly rainy evening, as she sits cross-legged on her bed, her sheepdog Oscar snoring beside her, that this madness has to stop. She’s taken to recounting everything she’s eaten before bed, a kind of calming ritual, perhaps similar to putting ones legs up against the wall or praying (but entirely different). Today, she can’t remember what she’d eaten for lunch. Was it a can of tuna on baby salad greens? Was it miso soup? Was it half a cantaloupe with cottage cheese? Was it a protein shake? It was as though every day was every other day and nothing was as it should be. “Why am I doing this?” She asks aloud, Oscar waking up and cocking his head towards her, just the amount of sympathy she needs.

“Sunday’s paper still lies flat open from earlier” by Julia a St. Vital Curling Club


Sunday January 25, 2015
2:36pm
5 minutes
adult-mag.com

Sunday’s paper still lies flat open from earlier. Hard not to have a glance at it. Even harder not to read it. But that’s what I’ve done. Walked past an open Sunday paper. Ignored the headlines and the information. Pretended like the words were part of a big print painting. An impressionist’s grand masterpiece. And that’s what I’ve done. Avoidance. It was big in my family so I have half a mind to blame it on them. Sitting pretty in an airtight bubble of blissful ignorance. We talk about movie stars and phone bills, garlic powder and cobwebs. The time for learning is now and it haunts me. If I passed by my sister’s journal, lying flat open on the kitchen table, would I steal 3 minutes just to read it? Or would I ignore that too?

Why do I write? by Julia at the t5m: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday May 18, 2014
1:16pm
5 minutes
from a writing prompt by Natalie Goldberg

1.I write because if I didn’t I would burst.
2.I write because the dream doesn’t sound real when it’s not on paper.
3.I write because my pores need release and I’m never getting enough of that.
4.I write because I like the way my mind looks in ink.
5.I write because I’m dying to be heard.
6.I write because I’m dying to be understood.
7.I write because I tell myself I must.
8.I write because I enjoy painting with words.
9.I write because I hope someone will rescue me.
10.I write because I hope someone will find my thoughts and fall in love with them.
11.I write because I love telling stories.
12.I write because I hate being interrupted.
13.I write because I can’t lie to myself with a pen in my hand.
14.I write because life is fast and I’m trying to remember the best version of myself.
15.I write because in a world filled with stimuli, my only refuge is my word.
16.I write because I want to be quoted.
17.I write because if I didn’t I’d watch too much TV.
18.I write because I think my personality is better on paper.

Why do I write? by Sasha at the t5m: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday May 18, 2014
1:16pm
5 minutes
from a writing prompt by Natalie Goldberg

1. I write because I want to live forever.
2. I write because my mother writes and my father writes and my sister writes and the man I’m going to marry writes.
3. I write because I’m good at it.
4. I write because it helps me understand humanity.
5. I write to fly.
6. I write to go places I’ll never actually go.
7. I write to connect and to disconnect.
8. I write to remember.
9. I write for myself and for you.
10. I write for the six-year-old voicelessness.
11. I write because I can do it every day, on my terms.
12. I write because it brings me closer to God/Source/Creator/Nature.
13. I write because I like the sound of pen on paper, of fingers playing laptop keyboard.
14. I write for my family, the legacy of what’s been and what’s coming.

“resourcefulness and self-reliance,” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday May 6, 2014
10:48pm
5 minutes
http://www.foodpolitic.com

Resourcefulness and self-reliance are prized traits in my family. “Resourcefulness” was fostered on yearly camping trips, on being left to my own devices in the wooded ravine behind my childhood home. “Resourcefulness” came from hours spent playing alone. “Self-reliance” was the ability and, perhaps more importantly, desire to ride the subway alone in Grade Three. Perhaps some of this comes from being raised by a woman who lived through the sixties, who was one of two women on her university campus who didn’t wear a bra, who read Simone de Beauvoir and built a cabin from the ground up wearing only her undies. Perhaps some of this comes from being a youngest child, sometimes left behind when the older ones would go off and I would be left to mix mud pies and speak in secret languages to my stuffed lion.

“No wonder” by Sasha at The Common on Bloor


Thursday, August 29, 2013
4:05pm at The Common on Bloor
5 minutes
Film Festival Preview
NOW magazine Aug 29-Sept 4, 2013


“No wonder,” you thought, the morning you found your younger sister’s journal. You’d spent the last three hours in your room, in the attic, reading it from front to back. The funeral was yesterday and you weren’t sure what to say, or wear, or eat. You’d drifted from the Church to the house, from the kitchen to the bathroom. You’d eaten a few pieces of cucumber dipped in ranch dressing; you’d tried to laugh with your cousins, nod with uncles when they said, “Such a shame. Such a young girl. Such a beautiful girl.” As if, that had anything to do with it. Eventually you ended up in your room, your old room, in the attic, with the slanted ceiling and Picasso prints and strips of photo-booth pictures tacked to the wall.

“you do it because” by Sasha at Nova Era Bakery


Monday May 13, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


It started with a tube of toothpaste. I didn’t think anything of it. I guess she had used mine once, when she hadn’t felt like using her own, when she’d wanted a break from Colgate. Fine. Totally okay. I’m cool with that. Then it was a haircut. As if, maybe, she’d brought in that photo we took on my birthday and said to the stylist, “Like that. Like hers.” Next, she’d asked where I bought my boots. “Vintage,” was a safe choice. A lie, but a safe choice. “Damn,” she’d said. When I walked by her room, door open, teddybear pertly displayed beside white and yellow pillows on her bed, a journal tossed at the foot. I gasped. “That’s my fucking…” I grabbed the book and opened it, seeing that it wasn’t mine at all. It was new. It was hers.

“What should I do with my life?” by Sasha at R Squared


Monday March 18, 2013 at R Squared
11:09am
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


I had a heartbreaking time. Yesterday. Not today. I’m over it today. Kinda… Not the whole day, yesterday, but part of it. A sliver. You showed me something. Bright. Glowing. You said, “They’re doing Aladin on Broadway! I’m finding a way to audition. I’m going to book it and that will take us to New York and then you can just sit in on classes at NYU and Columbia and see where it is that you really want to be!” It was a dream-promise, made of marshmallow and cumulous sunshine. Through this statement you showed me that I don’t dream as big as you. I’m a realist, in most ways. I have to stop myself, daily, from saying, “Are you fucking kidding me? There’s no way that’s going to happen!” There is a way. For you, there is always a way. Yeah. Okay. Let me get my head around that. I don’t, I don’t allow myself to dream huge. It’s riding the line of being a conscious choice, actually. Less disappointment that way, less let-down. What if I fail? What if you fail? You don’t care. You don’t see it as failure. So what if we fail. The brave I so admire, you, dive off, high up, and aren’t thinking about the “if” of the bellyflop.

“they descended on him,” by Sasha at R Squared


Monday, November 12, 2012 at R Squared
11:15pm
5 minutes
Pest Control
Bill Fitzhugh


She wishes she were sick. She wishes laziness were excusable and that people would coo sympathy and love and bring her sweet potato soup and apple crisp. She wishes she remembered the prayer her grandmother would say before bed because she really needs the comfort of God and romanticized lacy nightgown memory. She wishes that tomorrow she might wake up to summertime and orange juice in the fridge and Jon snoring softly beside her. She makes a mistake by calling his brother and asking for Jon’s journal, the one how wrote in every day during his fifty minute lunch break. Why couldn’t they just give him a full hour? She reads it and re-reads it and learns his words by heart. “I like Angela,” he wrote. “But I could never love her.” She sings this line, her only line in his special book, over and over, trying to take a shower but failing.