“I have been in love with a life—“ by Julia at her desk

Saturday April 7, 2018
12:28am
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

Some audiences don’t snap for poems about joy
if the joy is coming out of certain bodies
You could say you love your body and they will
say that it’s because you never had to struggle
You could say you like yourself and they will
wait for the moment before when you didn’t
I have been grateful in front of the wrong people
Gave my full heart and let the light open the room
and still it was not the right place for it
it did not compare with all of the other sadness
Makes you wonder sometimes if you have enough
pain to even be a poet
if you have enough of anything at all
If you want to sing the love song for your loved song
you will have to wait until there’s a
space in the programming
You can’t try to be joyful after someone else has wept
it will make you look like you’re bragging
like you’re the enemy
and some audiences will call you undeserving
of a ten

“Hey hey hey” by Julia on the bus


Tuesday November 15, 2016
8:48pm
5 minutes
A Rufus Wainwright song


I forget if I’ve already told you…that I can’t do this? I have mentioned that to you, right? Well at any rate, I can’t, and I won’t, and if we have to have this discussion again we most certainly will not ever be doing it. Not ever because that will be breaching all of the serious codes and I do not go back on the promises I make to myself. I mean, hey, yeah, I used to. Up till even last week I was still showing up all lie-faced and comfortable. But since I’ve made the positive changes in the direction of my one bright and shiny future, I have been signing a lot more verbal contracts with others and myself and I’m actively avoiding saying yes to things that do not bring me joy or help or heal or offer positive light. So this thing we’re doing, this date, or this donut, is not for me. This is not for me.

“the games you don’t play” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday June 17, 2016 at Starbucks
7:51am
5 minutes
What You Don’t Do
Lianne La Havas


Millie’s coming! Millie’s coming! That’s me yelling from the centre of my happiness–shouting out that my HEART is visiting me in this god forsaken shit-hole of a town! MILLIE IS COMING EVERYBODY SHE IS GOING TO BE HERE IN T-MINUS 1 HOUR CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE BUY THE CAKE AND THE SPARKLERS CAUSE I WILL BE TOO BUSY SCREAMING MY HEAD OFF AND MAKING A KILLER GUACAMOLE THANK YOU. When I told her I didn’t want her to come, that no she shouldn’t take off work, that please don’t worry about me, I’m very much fine just going INSANE, she refused to take no for an answer. Lydia, she’d say, Lydia, Lydia, why wouldn’t I want to come see my favourite sister in her most loathed living location to date? And I’d say, A) I’m your only sister and B) I chose this place, it’s not like they’re forcing me to stay. Millie always says something subtly sisterly like I’ve always wanted to visit Saskatoon! Or just put the two of us in a room and we will seriously run that town!

“Shrimp only” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday, March 29, 2016
2:43pm
5 minutes
from a recipe in Cowichan Bay

I could live off of shrimp only and maybe some garlic. I really could. I could live off of a lot of things that seem simple like that. I could live off of sunsets and matchsticks. I could live off of olive oil and crusty bread. I could live off of my mother’s laugh and my father’s silly singing. I could live off of silent walks to the beach and quiet crying by the ocean. I could live off of his kisses and his squeezes and his eyebrow scar and his banjo playing. I could live off of people watching and star gazing. I could live off of understanding and connecting. I could live off of summer’s heat and throwing a baseball. I could live off of burgundy pens and graph paper. I could live off of peaches and hot peppers. I could live off of magic and synchronicity. I could live off of curiosity and fresh basil. I could live off of truth-speaking and patio writing. I could live off of my belly soft and my lucid dreams. I could live off of the perfect yawn and the perfect hug.

“Reimagine your world” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, October 22, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide

There’s a little place you go to, that no one knows about. You hang your worries on the line separating this place and yours. You twist them all together to create a veil and then you pass through it once it’s in order. You see the water falls and you run to them. You strip off your doubts and you dive off the cliff. You hit the water with a gentle ease and you head down as deep as you can go. You see what you need to see then slowly make your way back up. You can taste the sunlight beaming right through you and you reach the surface with a joy you have learned how to forget. You inhale. You shake off your pain and you rise up. Higher than the water. Higher than the skies.

“It has nothing to do with you.” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, August 22, 2015
9:50pm
5 minutes
Art & Fear
David Bayles & Ted Orland


When you come inside from dancing with the moon and making promises to her that you see the light she’s shedding and the path she’s illuminating just for you, your skin tingles with joy and recognition for the you she knows.
Your skin: The protector of your bones.
She is held together tight with a thousand promises just like the ones you made with your Moon Mother. And you can feel each one alive inside you, making their way down your veins to keep you warm.
You can’t live another way. You even feel tempted to shed the skin you’re in but she hugs your limbs in close and whispers, I’m Not Going Anywhere….I Still Know Your Insides.
If you don’t keep the dancing hot and perfect in your hair, and the pure boundless generosity you feel with every concentrated breath, then you might just live on in a different moment and you don’t blame yourself for that either.

“No not that fake smile!” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday, August 21, 2015
1:16pm
5 minutes
Overheard at a bus stop

Biddy and me make a pact to bleed each other’s blood and wear each other’s smile. I want to marry Biddy so I can be around her all the time and let her light wash over me and catch me in all the right moments. Biddy plays the violin and when she does the whole world stops. I do all the humming and Biddy plays so I can feel. She tells me that I’m most me when I open my mouth and let my heart sing out. She tells me she can see me growing into the person who’s taking better care of me. She tells me I’m the kind of woman who becomes more beautiful with age and experience and confidence and time. It’s my idea to combine our life force and Biddy smiles with her whole face because she loves all of my grand ideas. She snips a lock of her strawberry blonde curls and wraps it around my finger to remind me that we’ve got each other’s soul close by.

“word by word” by Julia at her parent’s kitchen table


Monday January 12, 2015
11:55pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Isabel Allende

You count these words on your fingers if you have to
So you remember how many important things I’m saying to you
Saying to you all the important things
This way you can take inventory
You can make sure you don’t lose any words
That you don’t misplace them
Or have them stollen from you unknowingly
Number one will be I
Number two will be you
(there is no particular order)
Number three will be with
Number four will be joy
Number five will be life
Number six will be finally
Number seven will be breath
Number eight will be harmony
Number nine will be agree
number ten will be and
It’s a phrase
Or a sentence
You have ten words to keep track of
To make sure they stay in good hands
And when you’re good and ready, you’ll weave them into a throw for your couch
A pillowcase on which you’ll rest your head

“the triangle of pleasure” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday October 21, 2014
10:12pm
5 minutes
Massimo’s welcome speech

Ladies. Thank you for joining me. Show of hands, how many of you had to found childcare in order to be here today? Wow. Wow. That’s at least three quarters of you! Show of hands, how many of you had to travel for over an hour to be here today? YES! Wow. Yes… Wonderful. Thank you. Show of hands, how many of you have been to a workshop of mine before? Incredible! We are about half and half. Newbies and vetrans! How exciting! Okay. I’d like you to turn to the woman beside you and introduce yourself. Wait, not quite yet! I need to finish giving the instructions! Eager beavers! Okay, so tell her your name, where you’re from and one thing that brings you great pleasure. We’re here to manifest more pleasure in our lives. Let’s start with what we have. We have so much, even when we feel like we don’t. Tell you sister beside you something that brings you pleasure in your life. Okay… You have six minutes!

“Pure Life” by Julia in the car


Thursday July 31, 2014
8:44pm
5 minutes
the nestle water bottle

She was PURE LIFE. PURE JOY. I held her for the first time and I DIED. I MELTED. I wanted to stay seated on that wicker rocking chair that didn’t rock anymore FOREVER. FOR HER. She was honestly the best moment of my life. She was PURE LOVE. PURE HAPPINESS. I wanted to build a bubble of warmth and love around her fuzzy little head and hold her until she was too big to want that. That way I could pour all of my undying love into her bubble and feed her with is so she would know how special and worth it and truly unequivocally loved she was. This little thing without opinions of the world yet, without the sadness, the jaded crispiness that comes from getting left behind, or getting told you’re ugly, or getting felt up by a stranger at a sleazy hot dog stand one stupid night in Sacramento. This little thing without pain, and without anger, and without wanting so much that the world seems so unwilling to give. I would have shown her that all she needed to do was sleep there and giggle sometimes and hold my finger. I would have loved her the way I needed to be loved.

“That really hurted!” by Julia at Gimli beach


Sunday, July 27, 2014
4:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gimli Beach


Well, I told him not to go into the water but he insisted. He was afraid of it for years so I guess I didn’t think I’d have to worry about it, then one day, or one instant, really, he got up the nerve, ran into the waves, and a big one came and smacked him in the belly.
Not life threatening stuff. He was fine in minutes, really. But he was shaken up for a bit, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t stop talking about how big it all felt. How he wasn’t sure if he could do it again today, but maybe the next time we came. I don’t know what changed his mind. Could have been just the ways of growing up-or it could have been that cute little thing who was playing with her dinosaur floaty. She might have lured him in with all her joy if I had to hazard a guess. I told him, Bobby, those waves are choppy do you see? Might not be the best for your first time so you have to be real careful. He said, Gramma, I know! I have two eyes in my head just like you do! Then he ran off and within seconds he was right back on the blanket with me rubbing his tummy.

“that they might have life” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday April 17, 2014
4:02pm
5 minutes
John 10:10

This is the time of year for fiddleheads
Or it should be
If winter would finally melt away once and for all
This is the time that the fiddleheads grow on the banks of the river
Peeking through the moist ground
I’ve heard that if you close your eyes and listen
You can hear the earth opening
They can grow four inches in a day
Fiddleheads taste like asparagus’ illusive cousin
Related distantly to mushrooms
And broccoli
They are my mother’s favourite
She used to steam them
Half an inch of water in the bottom of the pot
Just a few minutes
They should still crunch
She’d spoon a bit of butter
A sprinkle of salt
Fiddleheads are coming
There are no fiddlehead farms
Really
Just foragers who find them
And sell them
Who can make a pretty penny
On those early spring days
When we so crave something from the earth
Close by to where we life

“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.

“Turn your passion into” by Sasha at The Calgary Airport


Saturday, July 20, 2013
4:20pm
5 minutes
A sign for Bow Valley College at The Calgary Airport

Turn your passion into wool
Soft like alpaca
Strong like sailing rope
Colourful like the sun catching the waves crest
Hungry like the grizzly coming our of his hibernation
Curious like the child looking up at the Milky Way

Turn your passion into breakfast
A ripe Hawaiian papaya
A juicy California peach
A crunchy Ontario apple
A sweet Florida orange
A fruit salad bowl that will nourish
Your heart

Turn your passion into a sculpture
Made of clay and sand and birch bark
Built on the pine needle floor

“two arms uplifted” by Julia at Bryan’s Cottage


Saturday, July 6, 2013
10:39pm
5 minutes
The Origin Of Consciousness in The Breakdown of The Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes


My mother gave me an organic throat lozenge because she thought I sounded hoarse. I told her her it’s because I tell at loud bars that think they’re concerts and that I haven’t been sleeping because I’ve been anxious about my job interview on Friday and also about dying you g.
So I took one to shut her up and keep her from worrying that I needed more than she could give. Then I turned around and she had basically already wrapped the entire tin with a pretty ribbon and told me to take them home with me because she could get more if she needed to. I’ve always had to feign inadequacy because that brings her joy–to know she’s helping her kid who can’t get her shit together without the constant guidance and hell from her loving and bored mother. She’s been staying at home lately, nursing a broken collar bone so she needs to help me more than I really need to be helped, but whatever, she’s sweet and it would hurt her to be more capable and less doomed than I’ve been. So I took the lozenges after the usual decline, and she looked pretty happy about it.

“genuine liquor bottles” by Sasha on the King car going West


Friday June 7, 2013
6:11pm
5 minutes
Fall On Your Knees
Anne-Marie MacDonald


There’s a joy, a huge crest of joy, with frothy foam on top, foam like the head on the best beer, the beer that we drank on that patio in Vienna, that comes from scrubbing the tub. When I was there, on my knees, sweat forming on my upper lip, the smell of tea tree oil and vinegar lingering in the air, I was the most frustrated I’d ever been, or so I thought in that moment. I let out a, “AHHHH!” and scared the neighbour, who thought that I was in bodily distress, in existential crisis, in spiritual agony. And then, the phoenix from the flame, I laughed, hard and long. I laughed til tears flowed, til tears mixed with tea tree oil and vinegar and helped to clean the soap scum and the tiny flecks of shaved off hair.

“When we came downstairs at 1 AM” by Julia at her desk


Thursday, April 18, 2013
11:43pm
5 minutes
In The Hills
Josh Weil


we are looking for a good man to play us a good song. we want to dance and we want to dance out loud. we want this man to spin us a record, a vinyl, a historical moment. we won’t be able to pay him. we don’t have any money. we come in and out of rooms like ghosts trying to cross over. we fail. the light is bright where we bring it. where is this man? the one who plays the music of our souls, connecting, lamenting, refusing to compromise. does he work at a tiny fish booth in Little Italy? does he have blonde highlights in his hair and a green ring around his pinky finger from a bad metal ring? he knows what we want. we know he does. we told him in our whispered dreams last may that we were going to need this in a year. it’s almost time. we don’t have much else in the way of options. we had our hearts set on the good man playing us a good song. we waited, even. for a year minus 15 days. we thought he’d bring the fish sandwiches to us, play the song, and smile with his eyes closed as we dance a promise out in big block letters that read J-O-Y.