“a sleek white line” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday May 27, 2018
10:10pm
5 minutes
Are You Really An Artist?
Leah Burns

I first notice Steve’s expression as he’s carving a chicken. It’s Sunday. Emma and Bobby are home for dinner. Steve picked them up at Emma’s dorm, even though Bobby’s off campus now. Emma was chattering on about intramurals, and I saw it – this vacancy – sweep across Steve’s face. I’ve known Steve for forty two years, right, like, we met when we were five years old. We’ve been married for twenty… You’d think I’d have seen every expression that that man can muster! Nope. It was like a tumbleweed could’ve swept across his cheeks. He was gone.

“Hon?!” I said, scared he might slice off his finger.

“My mom calls him that” by Julia at her desk

Monday May 14, 2018
11:53pm
5 minutes
from a text

My mom used to call my brother Terminator 3. That was before Terminator 3 came out. Is it out? He used to do some pretty Terminator-like stuff. Once he wiped his bloody nose on the neighbours clean white sheets drying on the line in the backyard. That one was pretty bad.
He’s probably the most devoted kid she has though. He lived at home for a while and mowed the lawn for a while and picked up groceries for a while and payed their credit cards for a while. Now he’s the designated driver when I come home to visit. He picks me up at the airport even during a blizzard and he never seems put out by having do something for family. He had to get hip surgery recently and ended up staying at my mom’s house while he was healing. He got to ring a little bell too when he needed something. He loved that. But my mom thought it was really funny so she loved it too. I don’t think she calls him Terminator 3 anymore. Now he gets his real name. I guess ever since he grew into himself he’s been pretty okay to be around. When I go home he tells me some of the same stories over and over again but that might have more to do with genetics than anything.

“there are still shoelaces to be tied” by Sasha at the BMO Theatre Centre

Sunday April 8, 2018
1:36pm
5 minutes
Ten Seconds for Each Year
Fernando Raguero

get out of bed cry cry go to her then him then her again get dressed “no you can’t wear that dress” “because it’s winter!” “because it’s snowing!” “okay, fine… but wear pants underneath!” brush hair brush teeth wait there’s breakfast fuck breakfast. “what do you want for breakfast?” “i can’t make pancakes because there isn’t time.” why did I ask why didn’t I just put something on the table and say EAT PLEASE why doesn’t Simon ever make breakfast why is it all up to me why does he get to read the paper and drink his coffee and be the sane one and then leave before the cyclone of getting out the door.

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
2:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“Wild Birds Unlimited” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday April 3, 2018
9:42pm
5 minutes
From a storefront on West Broadway

On the T-shirts that Zia Nancy brought back
from Atlantic City were birds wearing sunglasses
Nothing is cooler than a bird wearing sunglasses
We were grateful for the oversized and bright
we did not know then how to ask for something better
How to wish we could be lucky enough for more
We were lucky enough then with two kisses and
a chili pepper
thrust into our hands like the lesson was in the
small bravery of turning our tongues on fire
The picture says a thousand things
Not including all of the comments made by
all the cool birds wearing sunglasses
on our T-shirts brought back from Atlantic City
We were built by each other’s dedication to being there
A wall of neon cousins smiling while
Michael cries into his birthday cake

“Sometimes I can hear Harry’s voice” by Julia at Olympic village station

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
9:27pm
5 minutes
Thomas Lee
#WeAreHarryChang

When I sang to her she asked me to stop. I’d like to think if I had a child I would not let this one thing fly. Sure, throw your tantrums on the floor at the Super Low, decide that there’s too much brown in your granola bar to eat, wish for rain on the only day it’s sunny because you feel like it, fine. But I would not want a child to be a pushover unable to stand up for themselves. I wouldn’t want them to learn to swallow their tongue either and so I ask myself, how? How does one encourage self expression in others without shutting down their own organs because someone else needs to be heard? What is the balance, or is there such a thing? Do kids get to be so bold and then what? They stop needing so much? Or needing so much out loud? It’s not like you can punish a child for a crime they did not commit. It is not illegal to prefer the sound of nothing. Not even a little bit.

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“the beauty and challenge of facebook” by Julia at her desk

Sunday February 18, 2018
9:40pm
5 minutes
Multitudes
Margaret Christakos

Earlier today I was on Facebook deleting all the people who I no longer want to have access to my life. You don’t get to see what I’m up to if you’ve been a bad friend. Or not a friend at all. It isn’t your right! I decide, okay? I’m getting heated up forof a myriad of reasons. Sometimes it feels like the whole damn world is watching. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Tina and Guy send messages from each other’s accounts and that drives me up the wall. Speaking of walls, I don’t need some stranger commenting on a conversation I’m having with my sister’s boyfriend. I don’t need to be having conversations at all on Facebook but I’m on it and that’s that. I don’t want to miss anything. My brother posts videos of his kids in the pumpkin patch. I don’t want to miss my mom accidentally telling me she misses me on my profile picutre. But I don’t want the people who don’t deserve my time to witness my activities. If they can’t be in my life, they shouldn’t get to see it. I don’t just post all the best stuff either so it’s really, really my life.

“Ninety pounds.” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 4, 2018
7:04pm
5 minutes
T is for Texas
Derek McCormack

Hardly ninety pounds soaking wet, Kenny didn’t have a friend ’til he met Burl. It’s not like Burl had a softball team waiting to eat lunch with him or anything, but he did have Henrietta so that’s something.

Henrietta did not like Kenny from the moment she met him. Something about a boy in sweatpants just got her goat. When he walked over to her and Burl, acting like he belonged, she wrinkled her forehead and looking back and forth from Kenny to Burl like she was watching a badminton match. Silly birdie.

“Hi Burl.”

“Hi Kenny.”

“Would you like to come over and play after school today? My brother has chess, and Joan would rather not have to entertain me.”

Anyone who calls their mother by her first name cannot be trusted, thought Henrietta, picking the lettuce out of her salami sandwich.

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Julia on the 84

Sunday November 19, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

Unra is being asked to pack the kids ” inclusive lunches”
Unra has never heard of “inclusive lunches”
Unra does not have time to figure out what “inclusive lunches” are
Unra is tired of being called a “clueless mommy” by all the other with-it mommies
even if the with-it mommies are inventing ways to make other women feel bad simply because they’re working
the with-it mommies create drama to gossip about because their lives are so small
the with-it mommies meddle too much in their kids’ lives and their kids are brats
the with-it mommies call each other up at lunch because they can’t stand to be alone with themselves when their kids have gone to school
Unra is not a with-it mommy
Unra is sleepless
Unra feels bad enough as it is

“Your nanny today was” by Julia at S and M’s house

Friday November 3, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

Sabryn is smart. Like her mother. Sharp, rather (According to the book Drew Barrymore is quoting). Apparently you’re not supposed to say smart. Or tell your kid that they are. I don’t know why. I’m not a mother. I’m someone’s replacement for the evening. I’m their “older sister” who lets them watch one extra show before bed. I’m the one who tells their mother that they’re smart. So their mother will feel good about her job as someone’s mother. Some have been at it longer than others. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter if their kids are one or twelve, mothers want to hear that their kids are smart. Sharp. And I only say it if it’s true. I only tell them anecdotes that will make them love their own offspring more when it is genuine. I’m not in the business of lying to parents about how great their children are. They do enough of that on their own. I simply provide a service in which I keep their kids from killing each other while their parents are at the Guns & Roses concert and maybe teach them the joys of MadLibs.

“Why does having children” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 3, 2017
11:59pm
5 minutes
Don’t Even Think About It: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
George Marshall


So many babies already born
already needing love
already hurting
already here
So many babies taking up
so much space
I read about climate change
I read about destruction
over and over
and I know the stats I know the reasoning

And yet

Everything in my body says
MAKE LIFE
Everything in my body says
GIVE ME A BABY
I never thought myself traditional
I never thought myself wanting
wanting wanting a generation of
longing paid to want paying for the want

“Why does having children” by Julia in her bed


Sunday September 3, 2017
11:49pm
5 minutes
Don’t Even Think About It: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
George Marshall


why does having children have to be the norm anyway
what if I’m not too interested in seeing myself reflected back
oh that’s why you think people have children in the first place
so they get another stab at living
or so they have enough hands to help around the farm
tell me again how me holding someone else’s baby makes you feel
when I come home and tell you that it is so nice to be able to give them back
you know how S says that some people aren’t meant to be drivers
how if you don’t have a real interest in driving then maybe you shouldn’t be on the road and there is nothing wrong with admitting that
it’s preferable to someone who acts like they love driving but then causes several traffic accidents
that’s what it should be like for parents
or whatever you call humans who don’t want to be parents

“keep this info handy” by Julia at her desk


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
the Shaw pamphlet

Mom gives me the phone card passcode so I can call Nanna in Berlin. She lives there now. She said it’s nicer than Whitby. I tell her that I probably don’t have time to call her cause I have finals this week and she doesn’t let me finish my sentence. She doesn’t think school is a good excuse not to do anything. Probably because she only finished the 8th grade. Probably because she knows when I’m talking out of my ass. Mom tells me to keep that info handy and maybe taake a photo of it on my new fancy icamera. I tell her it’s not an icamera, it’s an iphone, and it’s not fancy, it’s a 4s, and life is not as easy as she thinks.
When I ask Mom why she cares so much if I call Nanna or not, she laughs for longer than is necessary and comfortable. “If you have kids,” she says, “and they don’t call me, I will always blame their mother first.”

“while the couple works out their troubles without distraction” by Julia on the 99


Monday June 12, 2017
5:00pm
5 minutes
Committed
Elizabeth Gilbert


My sister tells me she doesn’t want kids and it ruins everything. I know she used to but then she dated a man she didn’t want to have a copy of so she changed her mind and then things were better for her. I always thought if anyone, it would be her, and I would happily be the world’s best Zia to her kid, and even co-parent when I needed to. My sister breaks my heart accidentally when she breaks the news. I wonder who will give our parents grandchildren now? Isn’t she the one who has always done the right thing? Up till this I have been very lucky that no one expects much of me other than poetry and improvised musicals about my day.
How weird it must be for everyone that I’m the one who caught the bouquet at Stef’s wedding, and guessed the exact measurement of Cheryl’s pregnant belly at her baby shower.

“I want you to sleep beside me” by Julia on L’s couch


Friday April 21, 2017
10:22pm
5 minutes
said by Q

I cannot tell you what it means to be needed so well that your bones warm.
I say I love you to
a child that does not belong
to me
I do not plan this
nor all the joy I find in how easy it is to say
my blood bathes
I know this feeling
the one that makes us believe we are real
maybe because I don’t want him to go a night not hearing it before he sleeps while his mother is out there taking care of herself
I want her to succeed.
I want her child to be lifted.
Maybe I do love her child.
Maybe I have seen him.
wearing his souls’s clothes
Maybe he has laughed at every one of my jokes
with the same enthusiam and delight
laughing so easy
Maybe I wanted to.
maybe he was holding the mirror

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Julia at Trees on Granville


Thursday April 20, 2017
2:20pm at Trees Organic
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


The other day I found a note written on a teddybear notepad by my junior kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Beliveau. She signed her name with a heart in the ‘i’ and I remembered just how much I loved her-her and her soft nylons, and her “snot-free” desk (which I violated often and blamed on Justin Martens). The note was addressed to my parents telling them that I had a very nice first day of school: I painted a lot and loved story time (shocker), and sang a song for the class at Show And Tell (I remember this-I didnt bring something to show, like a doll or a toy I liked, so I made up a song and sang it for the class when it was my turn. Super shocker! Just kidding). I have always done this. Four year old me has always lnown this. Thirty year old me is grateful.

“periodic assessment” by Julia on her couch


Sunday March 19, 2017
8:54pm
5 minutes
from a contract

There was a scrawny boy, from my teaching days, who used to come into my office for extra help on his map reading at recess. He was very worried that he wasn’t picking up on the navigation unit as comfortably as the other children so I worked with him as best as I could and showed him plenty of examples. He seemed to always wear that same confused face even after I felt I had made things very clear. I tried not to get frustrated that he’d come in every day to work on the unit that everyone else had figured out with relative ease. I asked him one day if he thought coming in to see me was helping him. That’s when he told me he had understood the whole time but was afraid of recess because of Tyler, who sometimes tripped him while he ran.

“No mere goldfish, these.” By Julia at her dining table


Friday February 3, 2017
7:38pm
5 minutes
from the Windows display

I don’t think I ever cared about the fish we had when we were growing up. I think I wanted to, and I meant to, but it never hit. My sister seemed to care about them. She gave them names, she put tiny pellets into their water, she sometimes made up songs about them. But then she also kept killing them and had to flush them down the toilet and then get three more replacement fish. And then she did it again. I can see how one would think they’d be an unfit mother if they never figured out just how hard it is for goldfish to actually live in the first place. I realize now that I also couldn’t care about them because when my sister got them for her birthday that year, I also got a pair of white Barbie running shoes with sparkly pink laces. I was very busy.

“their grass-stained skin” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday December 21, 2016
8:34pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher “


I would have given my right arm to spend my afternoons with Alison the way Casey got to; the way everyone seemed to get closer than I was ever able. She was the most beautiful funny person I had ever met and I was in love with her. Everything she said made everyone laugh. Everything she wore set the trend for the rest of us. Every song she liked was automatically my new repeat ballad that I would dedicate myself to on nights I stayed in laying on my bedroom floor by candle light. I watched them play at recess and make up fun dances or do cartwheels down the hill. I wanted to know where she got the rule book-where she found the secrets to the universe all while still being a kid like the rest of us.

“rub your largest organ” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday December 10, 2016
10:26pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Honey bee.” “Honey bee a dear and get me some water?” Cleo just learned about knock knock jokes. I taught her that one, so it’s good, but mostly she makes them up and they are terrible. Ben and I laugh out loud, especially when they are bad, because we get to see her mind at work and what a mind it is.

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Largest organ.” “Largest organ who?” “I’m your skin! The skin is the largest organ!”

“Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?” “Knock knock?” “Who’s there?… Okay, honey, get to it…” “Okay, okay, Avenue!” “Avenue, who?” “Avenue knocked on this door before?”

“We hopped on bikes with banana seats” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday August 23, 2016
7:04am
5 minutes
parent.co

It might have been 40 degrees out. It felt like we had already sweat off most of our top skin anyway. The trees were dense with moisture. Heavy like they were holding in all of the rain we hadn’t seen. Jessie and I ate kiwis while we waited for Reid and Lucia to hurry up. Lucia told us we’d hear the owl signal and know we should take off on our bikes to go meet them. Jessie didn’t want to move. She said her thighs were rubbing. We sat beside the shed while we finished eating, kiwi juice dripping down into our shirts. I didn’t want to ask Jessie to do much else. I was glad she finally came with us for once. Usually she’d have an excuse why she couldn’t come. She even used “blow-drying her hair” one time and missed out on one of the best nights of our lives. We spent that summer in the cemetery conjuring spirits and memories of loved ones we had never met.

“my drunken soul flies” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Tuesday July 26, 2016 at BATW
6:53am
5 minutes
from the write up on the painting “Ascend”

Heaven forbid I tell you how I actually feel. I say that under my breath because I’m too afraid to say anything about how I actually feel with full voice. What the eff. Where did that start? When I was a kid? As everything in this life does? I had to do what you did when we were young because I wanted to be you and the only way I knew how to be you was to do what you did or what you wanted. That made sense. I was looking for lightening. Wasn’t about to spend three to five years wishing I was you without trying to make it so. I still want to be you on most days. You were older than me then but now you’re a painting. I see you still: beautiful and still. You’re not going anywhere and I don’t have to run to catch up to you. I don’t have to hold my breath and count to three because you’re not running away from me. I am a mess. It makes sense that I would want to live your life and not mine. But I still can’t tell you how I actually feel. Because my soul is drunk on doubt and it flies high when it’s left to its own devices. You are still the moon, and I love you for that. The shiny thing in my sky that makes me want to open my eyes and see…

“everything I possibly can” by Sasha on her bed


Tuesday July 12, 2016
9:32pm
5 minutes
From a text

I don’t remember Scott. I can’t find his face anymore, way back in the very back of my brain. It used to be there, before Jonah and Daisy, and before I had to memorize so much for school. I’m the oldest one there. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise… Jonah laughed when I told him I was going back. He thought that I’d finished my degree. I never lied to him, he just jumped to a conclusion. Scott would do the same thing, we all do, but these two are worse than the rest. Scott would convince himself that someone had said something, something really particular, and he was so persuasive, especially within his own mind, that he would truly believe it had happened. Jonah was six when I saw him do this, for the first time. I was excited, because it reminded me of Scott, and sad. I was really, really sad.

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 12, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad


Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“One of the biggest challenges of learning” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 9, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, June 9, 2016


Of course Freddie was trying to hide her smile, she didn’t need Mitchell to see his math tutor also not taking him seriously. He was telling her about his day and the traumatic experience of Ashley and Ashley tricking him into sliding a penny down the centre of his face during the lesson with manipulatives. They told him if a line appears on his skin it means he’s deficient in iron. Mitchell didn’t want to be deficient in anything in front of the Ashleys but he rolled the penny and sure enough, it produced one tiny grey line. He told Freddie how they snickered and caused such a commotion that everyone came to look. All day, apparently, Mitchell had tried to convince everyone to do the same. He didn’t know they had coloured in the penny with pencil.

“imagining our future.” By Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 10, 2016
10:19pm
5 minutes
CBC.ca/books

When I think of our children, we only have 2, you win, I see one with little curls, one with glasses, and both with big innocent loving smiles. How bad would it be if I pictured our kids frowning? They’re not, though. They’re so happy. They have your heart. They have your never ending optimism and your family first attitude. They have my temper, both hilarious and terrifying. I like that they snarl at things as much as they laugh. They don’t give up when enough is enough. They don’t understand “enough.” Maybe I shouldn’t be proud that they’re miniature versions of a trait I’m trying to eradicate. But I am. Anger is an emotion that creates change, carries it, lifts it up, and shoots it to the moon. I think Alanis said that. The part about anger being the vessel for moving forward.

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“ideal cooking oil” by Sasha at The BC Children’s Hospital


Saturday, October 24, 2015
3:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Bo knows her eleven times table best of alllll. It’s revolutionary how quickly she can spew it, shooting star glitter and candy corn, too. “I bet you don’t know what comes after thirty three?” Bo has bits of carrot in her braces. She’s the first one with braces in our class. Everyone admires them on day one, and then feels her pain when they rip her inner lip to shreds. “Need help with that?” Henry asks, as she smooths wax over the wires, protective gloss, true love.

“willing to launch an attack” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday September 27, 2015
10:38pm
5 minutes
Dead Metaphor
George F. Walker


James spots me, sitting under a maple tree, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I watch him in my peripheral vision as he walks towards me.

“What’re you eating?” He asks, plopping down beside me. No one invited him, but there’s not much I can say.

“PB and J.”

“You aren’t allowed to have peanut butter at school! Simon Jenkins is allergic! Didn’t your Mom get the reminder letter?”

“I guess not.”

I quickly scarf down the rest of my sandwich and am very grateful to Miranda for including hand sanitizers on keychains in her birthday loot bag. I use my sanitizer with great diligence.

“Wouldn’t you feel so bad if you killed Simon?” James whispers.

“Don’t judge” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday September 22, 2015
9:58pm
5 minutes
from a calendar

Halle and I walk hand in hand down to the end of the driveway. Kristina is on her bike and she looks stupid in her pink helmet. Not because she’s wearing a helmet. But because her helmet has tassels like her bike handles do and it just looks like a the kind of bike a circus monkey would ride. Too many ribbons and too many balloons. Or so it seems. Kristina tries to stop her bike but she hasn’t learned that yet. She’s really struggling. She wants to come talk to Halle and me. Kristina finally gets off her bike and lets it rest on the ground. She also hasn’t learned to use her kick stand yet. Her face is round and rosy and the snot bubble she’s blowing never seems to pop.
“Hi Nathan, Hi Halle. What are you doing today? Want to talk about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?”
Halle squeezes my hand. She’s 4 and she already knows that this girl is a quack job.

“A boy in my algebra class nicknamed me “terrorist”” by Julia at English Bay Beach


Saturday September 12, 2015
8:01pm
5 minutes
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/life-as-a-hairy-muslim-girl-after-911

I think Luke heard it from his dad or something. Luke is always coming into class with his big words and his big hate and it sounds like stuff his dad says. My dad says that Luke’s dad is a vessel of pure sadness. I don’t get how he thinks he’s sad, cause Luke’s dad is always yelling and screaming and swearing and stuff and that seems like he’s pretty angry to me. Sad is when you cry and when your nose leaks and your stomach gets that empty feeling. How do you get that sad empty feeling when you’re always filling your stomach with cans of beer?
Luke is always saying things to me or to Ruby about our skin and about our voices. He laughs and his face goes all red when he holds my arms behind my back and calls me a “terrorist.”

“What kids want” by Julia at Kibune Sushi


Friday September 11, 2015
6:48pm
5 minutes
from the front page of the Globe and Mail
Life and Arts section


What kids want is to be born into a family that wants them. Then after they’re alive in this world, after they’ve traveled from one distant universe to the one we all share, they want to be held and warmed up, and spoken to very softly. They need someone else to carry their spongy bones for a while so they can rest after their long journey. That’s not asking too much. That’s the least we can do. And after they feel like they’ve been shown a kindness or two, they start to want a couple more things. They want love and they want home and they want patience and they want security and they want comfort and they want ice cream and they want to cry and they want to laugh and they want to shriek and they want to imagine. These and all the other things they want, are the things we can give them. They don’t ask for everything. They don’t need that. We do all the complicating. We do all the blaming.

“and I’m not driving!” By Julia on her bed


Saturday, August 8, 2015
2:13am
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

See I got this problem and it’s not a very big one, in the grand scheme of life and stuff, you know? But this problem of mine, it’s a very annoyin’ situation so I just can’t stop talkin’ about it. See I was drivin’ to the corner store last Wednesday cause I needed those new chips they had out? You know the Lays, how they have those flavour competitions and you got to vote for the best one to see which one gets to stay in the natural rotation of things? So I had this deal with myself, a bet more like it even, and I had to try all of the chip flavours but completely blind to avoid all bias. And I knew I wanted to taste them one by one side by side to get the true reaction of my mouth goin’. Anyway, I was really lookin’ forward to having this taste test cause after Arnie won the kids I was drinkin’ more than ever and felt like I needed some kind of comfort that wasn’t clear and all consuming. So as I’m drivin’ I start to cry, real big whimperin’ whinin’ kind of tears and it makes it real hard to see…

“He always was kinda young looking” by Sasha on the Gulf Islands ferry


Tuesday, June 9, 2015
11:15am
5 minutes
overheard at the ferry terminal

Billy hates making his bed, so he doesn’t. At least at his Dad’s place, where he can get away with pretty much anything. He gleefully leaves his bed unmade, his dishes in the sink and drinks a Sprite for breakfast. “Bye, Dad!” He calls, his father asleep upstairs. He cocks his head at the pink high heels near the door. He waits for a response, until the bus honks and he runs out, the screen door slamming behind him. On the bus, he puts on his headphones, even though Ray wants to talk.

“Happy Mother’s Day” by by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 10, 2015
4:33pm
5 minutes
from a sign at the florist

So I was 12 or something when we were having a Mother’s Day Brunch for my mom and I was convinced it had to be like a movie. So when my family was all gathered around the table ready to eat, I stop the presses and run to go get the CD player because there is a crucial song that needs to be played right at the start of the meal (for some reason). So I go get it, and everyone’s like, what are you doing, let’s do it after, come on let’s just eat now, etc. And then I get VERY upset because no one can understand how ABSOLUTELY FUCKING IMPERATIVE PLAYING “THE PERFECT FAN” BY THE BACKSTREET BOYS ACTUALLY IS. So at this point I’m in full cry-town mode. I hate the world, I’m very embarrassed that they let me hype up the plan only to criticize it, and worst of all, now my mother will never know how I truly feel about her.

“I wish he would ask me out. But he won’t.” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 10, 2015
4:33pm
5 minutes
Julia’s Diary
September 1997


how have i spent so much time inventing scenarios about this?
i’m sitting by the tree, knees up, cause that’s the cool pose, wearing the plaid vest with the hood and the white t-shirt, hair in a ponytail. what am i missing? lunch recess or afternoon? god, i’m so stupid. it’s not up to me. it’s all his decision. he can decide the time and the moment and the location. i’ll be by the tree because that’s like staying behind in class when everyone else leaves. he’ll know being alone will give him the opportunity. he’ll feel confident. nobody wants to be heard getting rejected. but i would never reject him since i’ve loved him for two years! i’ve been waiting all this time and on the last day of school last year i wrote him a note asking if he like-liked me, yes, no, or maybe.? he said “yes. a bit.” so i know he wants to ask. he likes me a bit! that’s way more than not at all! and so that’s why i want it to be perfect.

“we thought we’d play a little trick” by Julia at the Perth/Dupont Library


Wednesday February 25, 2015 at the Perth/Dupont Library
1:51pm
5 minutes
Betty and Veronica Double Digest
The Archie Library 215


We had a ton of little games we used to play when we were kids: See how many fingers you could fit in your mouth, how far you could shove a twisted piece of facial tissue up your nose before sneezing, see who could sneeze the most in a row after that twisted piece of facial tissue was stuck up there, how many times you could belt out the national anthem while you did a number two. We’d come up with the weirdest shit and we would be so willing to complete every single thing. How many bubbles could you blow with your gum in the nude while you got wrapped up in a towel, how many bubbles could you blow with your gum before you got unwrapped from your towel? How many spoons of cinnamon could you keep in your mouth without spitting it everywhere. You’d think we didn’t have one single toy, one single book. Where we came up with these crazy ideas, I will never know.

“32 million tonnes” by Julia on the tube


Saturday December 20, 2014
11:18am
5 minutes
from a pamphlet about the pipeline ”

-That’s what Lucinda said to me. I don’t know if it’s true, but apparently, men are attracted to shorter women.
-she’s a liar Sydney, she always lies. Probably said that to you just to make you feel bad
-you’re saying you don’t believe her?
-that girl is made up of 32 million tones of fake, that’s what I’m saying.
-but what if she’s right? About men? And they’ll never be attracted to me?
-it’s rubbish. It doesn’t make any sense so if you want to believe nonsense that’s up to you.
-what are you doing for Christmas then?
-wake up at mum’s, home breakfast, then spend the day with her, then dinner and sleep over at yours
-is daisy coming?
-who is daisy?
-the girl with the glitter hair
-oh right, her real name is Holly. I call her Holly anyway.
-do you want a bindi?
-yeah
-I have to remember if I brought one for you or not. I think I did. Yeah, here, I knew I did.

“Mummy, mummy!” by Julia on the tube


Tuesday December 16, 2014
5:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Sainsbury’s

I have to tell you this, mother to mother..I hate hearing my own name. I mean, I miss hearing my real name, the one given to me by my mother, but I can’t stand hearing ‘mummy’ anymore. It just started really affecting me. I’d say up until two weeks ago I didn’t think anything of it. But I want to ask you’ve ever asked your kids to call you Ruth? I had a day dream that they were calling me Enid and it made me love them more. I hear mummy and it sounds so very desperate. They need something from me at all times with that name. With Enid, we were equals and it was a choice for me to take care of them, not an obligation. Of course I always want to take care of them, I’m not mad..but having the autonomy is in a way, more freeing.
In my mind little Emma can’t pronounce it properly but it still works like a charm.

“Optimal health” by Julia on a bridge in Venice


Saturday December 6, 2014
5:49pm
5 minutes
The back of the chia seed bag

Mom got sick, mom changed her diet, mom stopped working, mom ate only air and self pity, mom waited for the mail everyday, mom bought a yoga mat she never used, mom began to juice, mom began to sing, mom began to smile, mom began to coach, mom saw her worth, mom hid her grief, mom preached without being preachy, mom reminded us of our lives, mom made sure we knew we were not too young, mom made sure we knew we could help ourselves, mom started saying I love you, mom started laughing at nothing, mom started seeking alternative medicine, mom started smoking pot, mom started sleeping again, mom started resting again, mom had a million phone calls, mom stayed home in her PJs.

“thank you for your hate” by Sasha on her couch


Monday October 27, 2014
11:42pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’m gonna be a caterpillar for Halloween. I’m going to be a caterpillar with a fuzzy body and a million legs. My babysitter Pho is going to make my costume and she used to be a seamstress in Cambodia so it’s going to be the best costume in the parade at school. I used to think, like, last week, that I wanted to be a sunflower, but I changed my mind. “Stop changing your mind!” Pho said, while she ironed Daddy’s blouses. Oh, no. I mean, shirts. Men do not wear blouses. At least, that’s what Pho says. So I made up a contract and I told Pho to sign it and I signed it and it says that I will not change my mind about being a caterpillar.

“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.

“No, that was so wide!” by Julia at Grand beach


Saturday, July 19, 2014
5:28pm
5 minutes
overheard a Grand Beach


So those two were shooting a soccer ball, right? Right at us, no less. But we weren’t worried, obviously, cause they were kids, you know? Just two little rug rats trying to have fun. But thennnnnn, I’m telling you, it all got weird. Cause Madelyn is laying beside me and she has no idea what could happen, and suddenly, without warning, that damn soccer ball comes flying right at us. Right at Maddy! And Mad’s asleep cause that woman can sleep through a tsunami, knock on wood. She has no idea it’s coming, but I know she’s still sensitive from that jaw surgery she just had. Okay, okay, you got me, it was still sensitive because of the lip injections she had over the weekend. She was trying not to tell anyone about it because she was worried people would start calling her names or saying she was fake. You know how many women get lip injections? More than you would even know, and you wouldn’t even know this one if I didn’t open up my big ass mouth just to tell you my wife’s little secrets. Anyway! So I dive right?

“YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday June 18, 2014
11:34pm
5 minutes
The Winnipeg Sun

Me and Gemma are walking home from school. We take the long route, vis-a-vis the parking lot, vis-a-vis the park where I know that Henry smokes pot but he always refuses it. vis-a-vis the convenience store. Here’s where the trouble comes. Gemma is, like, not allowed sugar. She is on a dairy and sugar free diet. Her mother says that she’s allergic to both, but I don’t know if I buy it because one time, we were having a sleepover and Gemma accidentally ate a fig newton and I know there was sugar in it and NOTHING HAPPENED. SO, we get to the convenience store and I say, “Hi Miss Chow! Three sour keys, please!” And Gemma just looks, like, so sad. So I say, “You should just get whatever you want… I’m not going to tell anyone…” So she goes over to the freezer section and gets a tub of Chocolate Häagen-Dazs. I’m like, “Whoa! You’re really going for it!” And she just looks at me, like she’s on that line between laughing and crying.

“a direct violation” by Sasha on the Bathurst Bus


Wednesday April 30, 2014
12:24pm
5 minutes
the passenger safety manual on United Airways

It wouldn’t be a direct violation if I put this booger the underside of your armrest… It wouldn’t! Why are you looking at me like that? MOOOOOOM. I’m hungry. When are we going to get there? Remember when Grandma Jane was almost dead and she couldn’t stop moving around and I said, “You don’t seem like you’re dying, Gran!” And she laughed and then you looked at me like… THAT. Like, how you’re looking at me RIGHT NOW! Mom. Please can I push that button and get that flight attendant to bring me a V8? WHAT?! Why? It’s healthy! It’s basically like eating a salad! What is sodium, even? Like, they definitely don’t put salt in that juice!

“a direct violation” by Julia on the plane to Providence, RI


Wednesday April 30, 2014
10:15am
5 minutes
the passenger safety manual on United Airways

Misery loves company, is what I always tell myself when I’m upset. Not in the way you’re supposed to use that phrase–more just so I can feel like somewhere out there, someone is miserable just like me, even if around me everyone’s smiling. I don’t want others to be unhappy if I am–I know that’s how that Kathy Bates film got its name. Misery. And she was–you know, miserable—and she loved—you know, company. I don’t know, it’s just something that helps me. Lollipops also help but I hate asking for those because people just automatically think something’s wrong with me–like in a pedo-way, or a developmentally challenged way.
Well I’d say being here is what’s making me upset. I’m a tad homesick, I hate flying, and a young boy felt me up in the parking lot this morning when I was trying to mail my condolence card for Erica. I mean, it’s not a huge deal, he just grabbed my left boob and ran off as fast as lightening.

“Maximize your chances” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Wednesday April 23, 2014
12:55am
5 minutes
http://www.zerve.com

Wendy had a thing for counting. She counted the stars visible from her bedroom window, she counted the number of steps it was her room to Park’s room, from her room to any room, really, and from the basement to the attic. Even numbers were her favourite. Sometimes she’d count again just to make sure she didn’t count wrong because those odd numbers always seemed so odd. Wendy was also very interested in grouping objects in front of her in categories. She grouped gum wrappers according to life story, bread crumbs, according to size, and pennies according to amount of dirt. She was interested in organizing these things and everything, and Park made it very difficult for her because he had a personality that refused to be contained. Park couldn’t even remember his own birthday. He was a disaster of a 3 year old. Wendy tried to teach him the basics but Park was a bit of an idiot and would just wander off into walls and burst out in hysterical laughter. Wendy never understood why he didn’t just count the steps from the coffee table to the kitchen– That way he wouldn’t have that stupid problem every time of banging into something so clearly avoidable.

“Maximize your chances” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday April 23, 2014
12:56am
5 minutes
http://www.zerve.com

I was the kinda kid that wanted freckles, I wanted to be better at football and I wanted parents that cared enough to stick around. My Nana raised my brothers and I. She was the kinda lady that always had a bed for you and some leftovers staying warm in the oven. My Dad was busted for some criminal activity at the lounge he was managing and had to spend sixteen months in a minimum security prison. My Mom was “following her heart” and find Jesus on some farm in the Midwest. My oldest brother Donny went on a lot of dates. He was only allowed to go out on Fridays and Saturdays, though, so he had a wait list of girls… Or so he said. I’d watch him get ready, clenching his jaw as he looked at himself in the mirror, rubbing hair gel between his palms and smoothing it over his head. Donny wasn’t even the best looking of all of us, but he tried the hardest. He spent an hour lifting weights and doing pushups and sit ups in his room every night before bed. I knew it because Paul and my room was next to his and Karl’s and we could hear his grunts and he struggled and counted – “fifty six, fifty seven, fifty eight…”

“Return for redemption” by Sasha on the Keele bus


Saturday April 12, 2014
6:10pm
5 minutes
A can of Magners

When he makes his way back into the classroom, the letter “F” has fallen from the felted alphabet that’s pinned up above the blackboard. He wonders if its a sign. “F” for “Failure”. “F” for “Fucked”.

He hadn’t meant to do it. But he had. The rumours circled faster than vultures to a dead deer.

“He’s a fat fag! Look at that fat faggy nasty ass face!” He’d walked in, just before Jay punched Alfonso in the nose. More blood. More broken. He’d seen it since September, one thirteen-year-old picking on the other, bullying the other, rallying the other eighth graders with the power of an army general. He’d been patient. He’d dutifully given detentions and sent home notes. He’d even called in Jay’s father for a meeting. He’d been stood up.

He moved faster than he knew he could. He pulled one boy off of the other, face covered in tears and snot. He threw all one hundred and three pounds of Jay Eiserman up against the wall. The inspirational quote calendar fell to the floor. “You lay a hand on Alfonso again, you little shit, and I’m gonna kill you.” Jay dropped to the floor, rage shooting from his eyes. He ran to the Principle.

“do not expose” by Sasha in her bed


Sunday April 6, 2014
12:34am
5 minutes
from the back of a pack of gum

He found a letter from his father, to his mother, in her underwear drawer. It remained in the envelope in which it had arrived. The postmark read “August 2001”. Thirteen years ago He was looking for a bra, one with three small hooks on the back. He wanted to practise opening it. He’d put it on one of Ella’s life-sized dolls and try his best. That way, when it came time to take off Katherine’s, he’d be really good at it. But, he got distracted. he found that letter from his father, to his mother. Her line had always been, “Your father took off when you were five, and that was that.” Ella asked questions, sometimes, but it just made their mother pissed off. “That was that,” was supposed to suffice. He felt the hot rush of adrenaline, of being caught, of finding out the truth. He felt bad for his mother. He felt bad for himself. He tucked it into the pocket of his shorts and went up to his room, bra completely forgotten. He sat on his bed and read the first line. “Dear Reece, I’m sorry I’ve been such a stranger.”

“skill testing question required” by Julia at her kitchen table


Friday April 4, 2014
2:42pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I was thinking about it all morning. It was a stupid math one, and I should have gotten it right with ease. Ease. I was good at math up until, what, grade five? Fucking graphs, you know? And ever since then it’s been downhill. I used to win fucking awards for my math. Like class-room accolades and shit. I used to get those lollipops. You know? We’d play around the world with our times tables, and I’d beat every single kid in my class, even the smart ones, and then I’d get a lollipop. I used to win so many times I could have opened a tuck shop at my desk and made 25 cents on each kid. See. Math. It’s all confidence anyway. Did you know that? I mean, sure, reading takes confidence, and whatever, Art. But math. It’s a skill you develop just by being confident enough to develop it. You have one bad teacher tell you you’re worth even a little less than you are, and you just learn to believe that crap. It’s one of those things that keeps coming back to bite you in the ass too. You know, taxes, and leaving tips, and getting the right change back from the damn Wal-mart clerk. Did she even finish high school? I don’t know. Does she assume I’m good at math because most people are at least able to calculate the simple stuff in their heads, and therefore this clerk works harder to be good herself so she doesn’t look like she’s trying to dupe a smart math guy? I don’t know. Maybe she thinks that because she’s bad at math, then I must also be bad at math.
Could have won a fucking car today. Fucking math.

“customize the formula” by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday April 3, 2014
11:57pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

-If we never get out of here, it’ll be all your fault, Rita. If that is even your real name.
-I’m not going to tell you again, I didn’t do it on purpose and it’s my real friggen name. Do you know many people who go out looking on purpose for a name like Rita?
-I don’t believe anything you say anymore.
-Fine.
-Fine.
-I was told you were the best.
-Who told you that?
-I don’t know, Dr. Arnold. Maybe someone else too, I don’t remember.
-He said that?
-Yeah. So then I wasn’t worried, because I trust him, but now I’m not so sure.
-I told you it was an accident. I’m sorry you’re missing it.
-Missing what?
-The ceremony. I’m really sorry about that.
-Right, well your kid only gets one kindergarten graduation. Here’s hoping she makes it to high school or I’m coming after you.
-If it’s any consolation, I missed my kid’s graduation too. On purpose. I was working.
-Oh.
-I know, I’m a bad mother. I wasn’t thinking of him then.
-You feel bad about it at least. That’s a start.
-Not then I didn’t. When it counted.

“everyone is committed” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday March 18, 2014
11:21pm
5 minutes
from an essay by Deborah Stein about collaboration on howlround.com

Round the table we sit, Liddy pissed off because she still has to sit at the kiddy table made worse by the fact that her name rhymes with it. Adrianna can’t move her face because of the recent Botox and so Ed keeps making jokes just to see her not laugh. Darla is still in the shitter after eating a wad of mashed potatoes because Tyson dared her to defy her lactose intolerance. Mom is singing her happy song because she’s trying not to go insane and Dad is trying to get the kids to stop trying to undred Liddy’s hair. The food is mediocre and I’m trying to give Liddy looks of encouragement but she hates me most of all right now. Maybe because I left. Maybe because I came back. I never know with her. I sneak pour her a glass of wine and try to pass it over without anyone noticing.

“simultaneously ancient” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday January 22, 2014
11:02pm
5 minutes
KINFOLK, Volume 10

My Poppa was a repo man and he’d come in tired as a horizon at dusk. My Momma would ring her hands as she looked out the kitchen window like she was hoping for something to drip down from them – cherry cordial or lime juice or blood or sunshine. There was an easy feeling before the winter but in it, there was a weight to feet on the floorboards, creaking into the darkness. I never laughed so loud as the time my brother Aaron told me that there was nothing that was gonna stop him from leaving the farm. I never cried as much as when Baby Charlotte decided to die. We’d seen birth and death since we were little, a kitten swept into the compost pile or a cow giving herself to our bellies, bullet in the head. Charlotte was different though. We’d been so excited for a baby girl, after the twins, after enough blue blankets. I’d rubbed Momma’s belly with oil and whispered to her in there. She had the whitest skin of any of us. “I can see her wormy veins,” said Jeffrey, peeking into her cradle. “Shhhh,” I said. When Charlotte decided to die, it was like a snow had come, cloaking the house in whispers and shadow and porridge.

“He Was A Spy” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 21, 2014
9:54pm
5 minutes
Tweet from The New York Times

He sat on the edge of the bed with one of those listening gun things. You know the ones that are attached to a wire and you can plug headphones in, and then when you point it and hold down the…I don’t know, I don’t want to say trigger, but, I think that’s in fact what it is…anyway you trigger it or whatever and it amplifies the sound of whatever it’s being pointed at? He was trying to listen to Nadia’s phone call through the wall. And I think it was working because he would giggle every few seconds as if he could understand. I didn’t like that he was doing it. I mean, I know he doesn’t care about Nadia, nor can he understand her thick accent. He just likes that his stupid contraption works. I just worry that if he were spying on her, then maybe he’d be spying on our kids, and maybe me. It’s times like that I have to think back to every moment I thought I was alone in the house, and retrace my thoughts to make sure I didn’t say anything incriminating. I generally like to consider myself a good person, but what if I slip, like we all do? What if I’ve said some things I just didn’t mean, or just didn’t mean to say aloud when I thought no one was around. You’d think that if he…found out anything….that maybe he’d confront me about it. Or he’s saving any and all information to use against me when I least expect it.

“10 days prior” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 27, 2013
2:04am
5 minutes
Application for a Special Occasions Permit

I guess I’ll stop waiting now. For you and the raspberry jam you promised me. Oh well, I should say, it’s just jam! But goddammit, everybody knows that it isn’t. It’s your word! Your stupid word that I don’t trust anymore. I keep trying to forget, but I can’t. So every new time you don’t do what you say you’ll do, I am just reminded of the thing you didn’t do yesterday, and the day before, and blah blah, etc. Years are too hard to store in my brain! Did you ever think of that? I can’t stack the empty promises onto one another because they are all weird shapes and containing different contrasting contents! Some are hot, and some are very cold. Some are liquid and leaky, and some are little tiny rocks. You did that. I didn’t ask for this. I know it’s not about the jam. I said that, I know that, you know that, we all know that. This angle of me is not one I’m happily displaying to any cameras, or to the kids. I don’t want them to see me hate you but I don’t have the energy anymore to give over those feelings, those resenting feelings for you. I was never an actress. I never ever said I enjoyed putting on a face like that. I know you don’t know what you said 10 minutes ago let alone 10 days ago, but I know. I know so well it kills me each time.

“novels, poems, journals, and letters” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday November 3, 2013
12:24am
5 minutes
The Birth Of Frankenstein program
Litmus Theatre


When we first arrived in Winnipeg, it was rainy and it was Autumn and it was colder than anything we were used to. On our third night of trying to settle into our small, blue bungalow, my mother was feeding my younger sister, Beth, and I beef stew. We were grumbling about missing Edinburgh. Our father had received a contract with a chemical engineering company and, having been politely asked to leave his previous job seven months prior, we quickly uprooted for the Canadian prairie. On that fateful third night, Beth and I ceaselessly reaming out our poor mother (we would never dream of doing such a thing with Dad), there was an unassuming knock at the door. My mother, Beth and I behind her, heard an echo of “Trick or Treat!” from a chorus of ghosts, none more than five feet tall. My mother shrieked and Beth and I jumped back. The poor parents escorting their brood on a Halloween expedition had to explain to my mother what this all was. Before we knew it, Beth was in one of my mothers fancy dresses and I wore my father’s best suit. We took to the street.

“The slip, Sir, the slip” by Julia at Nova Era Bakery


Monday June 17, 2013
11:19am at Nova Era Bakery
5 minutes
Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare


Remember when we were young and we’d look forward every day in the summer to sliding down some plastic patch in our backyard, completely dangerous and soaking wet, just for a July or August thrill? Slip N’ Slides they called them. Such an accurate name. Remember mom hated them because she thought we were going to behead her rosemary busy or accidentally slide into her rhubarb and fuck everything up for her summer baking plans? I don’t think she cared when we’d come into the house covered in twigs, mud, and bruises as long as we didn’t smell of basil or have any lilacs stuck to our swimsuits. We were young and free then. And beautiful in life’s simplicity when all you could do was Slip N’ Slide in the backyard with a few friends from the neighbourhood. I don’t know if I’d even be confident enough to do it. Age has convinced me I’d have to analyse things closer before attempting to do them again. Even speaking takes more care. The things we’d say when we were young. Never bridled with responsibility or consequence.

“you’re attracted to dangerous, unbalanced people” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, March 19, 2013
2:11pm
5 minutes
Plague
Michael Grant


Marlene met Adam at a truck stop in Kirby, Vermont. She told him she was a doctor from Canada. Didn’t bother mentioning she was a single mother from Morgan. He didn’t seem like the type that would take to kids well. Especially ones with developmental issues and who need to sleep with a mouth guard. Marlene was in love with Adam from the smell of him alone; Gasoline and cookies. She liked that rustic dirty kind of scent, the one that made her feel like she was being taken care of. Marlene didn’t have that growing up. She always did the taking care, never had it for herself. Adam said he was just a plain guy on a road-trip. She was dying for him to ask her to go with him. For a moment Marlene let her mind drift off to a place that didn’t have cheerios attached to her underarms, or grass-stained overalls. She smiled through her clenched teeth. Tried to think of every medical term she ever heard in case Adam wanted to know something about her career or the “practice” as she first put it. Not sure why she even chose to play a doctor. She knew she didn’t seem like the surgical type. Maybe she was just a GP, driving her own beat up red Oldsmobile.

‘$1.79’ by Sasha at her desk


Thursday, March 14, 2013
7:38pm
5 minutes
Receipt
Second Nature Natural Foods


“One seventy nine.”
“I got… One seventy five… Four pennies short.”
“Then I guess you ain’t gettin’ that candy bar, are ya?”
“Can’t I bring you the four cents tomorrow?”
“Nope.”
“I’m good for my word. I mean, I keep my promises…”
“How old are you?”
“Seven – ”
“You’re not old enough to know about promises!”
“I’m hungry.”
“I don’t give a hamster’s tail – ”
“Please?”
Pause.
“I said, pleasssse?”
“Take the damn Oh, Henry for the love of all things holy n’ get outta my store!”

Felix runs. He runs til he gets to Hannah’s house. He spits in his hands and pats down his cowlick. He knocks on the door. Hannah’s mom answers. Her face looks more grey than usual. “Hello, Mrs. Hunter, is Hannah home?” “Yes, Felix, hold on a sec…” She slams the screen door and calls. Hannah comes down the stairs.
“Hi Felix!”
“Hi Hannah!”
“Do you wanna come in?”
“No. I just -”
Felix hands Hannah the chocolate bar.
“Happy birthday, Hannah…”
“I’m… Not allowed to have chocolate…”
“Oh – ”
“And my baby brother is allergic to nuts!”
“Crap…”
Felix turns to run run away.

“Stab it with a big pointy knife” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday March 9, 2013
11:08pm
5 minutes
No One Belongs Here More Than Your
Miranda July


Micky wasn’t scared of burglars, or monsters, or Jaws the shark, or the Boogeyman, or Bloody Mary, or child-snatchers, or alien invasions, or… you get the drift. Micky was afraid of BACTERIA. Some people see auras, or angels, or dead people (whatever happened to Haley Joel Osment? Micky’s Mom wonders, almost daily). Mickey sees BACTERIA. When said Mom wipes the kitchen counter with a less-than-fresh cloth, Micky watches, in horror, as red glowing germs are spread about, as if that is the point. “NO!” shouts a voice inside of Micky, “Use a paper towel with anti-bacterial spray?” he says, out loud. “Don’t be ridiculous,” says his Mom, “you know I don’t believe in paper towel and anti-bacterial spray.” Micky cringes, and, once again, counts how many years he has to go until he will turn eighteen and leave this infested house. To the “untrained” eye, Micky’s Mom’s house was tidy, perhaps even tidier than most. She did her very best, what with two boys, a construction worker boyfriend and an aging standard poodle. “Lighten up, hon,” said Micky’s Mom, kissing the top of his head. Micky glared. He waited. When she left the kitchen to bring the recycling to the garage, Micky ran to his secret spot, behind the dog food, in the pantry closet. He opened his secret tupperware. He took out his paper towel, his anti-bacterial spray, his rubber gloves. All had been purchased at the Hardware Store, with two months allowance.

“feeling my legs” By Julia at R Squared


Monday February 25, 2013 at R Squared
11:21am
5 minutes
Chaos Comes Again
Wilhelmina Baird


Jordie and in are going to run to the Starbucks at the end of our street–like a race–and then whoever is last has to buy the coffee! Yuck! Neither of us even like coffee, but a dare’s a dare and if we show up with nothing , then Al will think we didn’t even run or that we were scared. People in there always have their laptops and always look up at kids when they’re in there as if they should be attached to a leash or something. I only know this because like, my mom says that about other kids and I think every time–I could be one of those kids. Jordie is more that kid than me. If you give him like, a couple packs of unopened sugar, the next thing you know it’s all been dumped into ketchup cups or on the floor. Jordie is so bad he gets a timeout from my mom too. She hates disciplining Jordie but thinks his mom doesn’t do a very good job. Jordie’s not as fast as me but I know he doesn’t have three Dillard’s or the coffee dare. We have to get extra sugar first do we can drink it–with the lid on do we can run back and we can show Al we did it. I have an idea in my head to slow down just at the end to Jordie beat me. My mom gave me five dollars to buy bread. I’ll just explain the whole thing to her later.

“3,200 year old” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 15, 2013
2:28am
5 minutes
National Geographic pull-out feature

There’s a girl I know, we call her Heather but I’m pretty sure her name is Marlene… I don’t know why she hates her name so much. It’s not a bad name just sort of an old one. There’s been a lot of teasing of Heather Marlene because she’s so quiet and likes to wear dirty trench coats. When I first moved here they said she smells like pee because she is too poor to wash her clothes that she peed in. I smelled Heather Marlene and it wasn’t that bad. She sort of reminded me of camping or cottage smells. I told them, maybe her mother does her laundry while she’s at the cottage, and they laughed at me too saying her and I should be best friends. I was nice to Heather Marlene right away because she looked sad. I didn’t want her to eat her white bologna sandwich by herself at recess. My mom likes to toast my focaccia bun and put prosciutto and mozzarella on it for me. I sometimes trade with heather Marlene so she can taste it. And also I have never had bologna before. I never asked her why she liked to go by Heather instead.

“RAIN (on someone’s statue)” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday February 14, 2013
11:22am
5 minutes
The Vampire Cat
Robert Thomas Payne


Make believe that we’re swimming with big waves in the ocean, like the one in Florida, like the ocean near Grandpa’s condo, like those waves where I’m not scared and we’re just, like, floatinggggg. And then this fish swims by, a Nemo fish, but not low down, like, we can see him. And he says, “How’re you today, human beans?” And we laugh because, he’s, like, a funny little fishy! And we say, “We’re having a great time in Florida visiting our Grandpa! And our Mom in on a Christian Singles vacation in Miami! And we get to eat Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast with Grandpa! And we don’t even barely ever miss our Mom!” The funny fish laughs because he totally understands what we’re talking about. And then, like, our legs get tired so we find a more shallow spot and we just, like, stand, and let then sand eat up our feet a bit. But not in a scary way? And then! Then! Then, it starts to rain. But it’s so warm out that we don’t even care and, like, we’re already wet, so it’s just fun to be in the rain. And then you start to sing that song about your “Bonny” and how she’s over the ocean and I even sing some because I know the words now from hearing you sing it so much.