“in addition to the obvious benefit” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
9:20pm
5 minutes
Nurture
Erica Chidi Cohen

you wouldn’t forget it if you posted a reminder above your desk or on your fridge
maybe you need to post a reminder on the place you put reminders
no shame in needing some help
we all need each other
it’s not a secret
we are each other
(might want to write that one out in bold marker so it pops)
but the woman says she will pray for me and when I say good cause I could use it she says, you might want to try praying yourself you know
like she’s lived double my lifetime or something
I roll my eyes at how obvious it sounds
I used to pray all the time
I guess she’s not wrong
I did pray myself out of a fatal car crash once on the highway
I remember how fast I was going and how little control I had
I didn’t know how stupid I could be until that moment
jesus’ name soared out of my mouth as high as I soared in that 96 toyota

“Whale, Seahorse, Narwhal, and Crab” by Julia on D and M’s couch

Friday November 23, 2018
11:16pm
5 minutes
A Whale of a Tail!
Illustrated by Jo Moon

I’m in the ocean now and that’s where I live
Somewhere in between the deep and the light
Been working on my swimming so I’m finally better
I’m better

What’s her name used to say I swam like a fish but she was being nice and I think she said that about everyone
I couldn’t keep my head above water
I wept on the diving board while everyone inside the pool tried to cheer me on
I was always afraid of doing what other people were doing easily
I didn’t understand how to trust a thing bigger than me
I failed Yellow
The way some people fail their driver’s test
But when I passed it the next year I skipped ahead into Maroon
That made me feel like a real fish
What’s her name wrote it on my card again

“Hard as it may be to believe” by Julia on S’s couch

Tuesday October 2, 2018
8:40pm
5 minutes
Beneath Our Feet
Redfern Jon Barrett

when you trust someone you don’t catch all the warning signs that float in and out of consciousness
you believe everything they say and do and prove
you don’t look for reasons why they should be hunting you
not in the folds of the couch or buried deep beneath a compliment

when you trust someone else more than you trust yourself
you don’t think their help will hurt you
you don’t think their generosity will silently strip the screws from your chair and watch as your backbone slowly caves in
leaving you defenceless
when they tell you they think you an equal
you will consider it a kindness, a gift until you realize the fact that they tell you that at all
kicks the level playing field out from your feet

“the sum total of the courage and the integrity” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
5 minutes
10:37am
A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

We can walk into the mouth of our lover with gratitude
and compassion or wake up on the wrong side of the bed
with a vengeance that travels in heat, and ready.
I remember this when I am late to the day after a long
night of bad decisions and I am too ashamed to greet you
in your half way done morning, specific goals set, etc.
I come out with a new tail tucked between my legs and you
stop your structure and stretch out your arms to me,
welcoming, grateful. You say how lucky you are and you
say it with skin and smile before words leave your lips.
I remember this when you are late to the day and I am
awake before you and running and weaving and juicing
and you come to me with the same openness but my first
instinct is to keep running, make you catch up, make
you feel bad. We can walk into the mouth of our lover
with gratitude and patience if we remember how important
time spent gazing at each other really is. We can choose
this in the morning, at night, and in the afternoon. You
do this and you teach me. I thank whoever is in charge
that you do not dole out grades to match the student.

“handed down mother to daughter” by Julia at Tree Hugger Cafe, Dong Hoi

Friday February 2, 2018 at Tree Hugger Cafe
3:33pm
5 minutes
Without Mercy
Howard Wright

The slow blink while angry
The smooth legs
The internal smile at babies
The compassion
The sometimes door mat sometimes door
The olive oil skin
The walking feet
The running instinct
The humming bone
The story teller
The clam sauce recipe
The porcini mushroom gnocchi
The onion soup
The date and walnut cookies
The open face
The open mouth
The ears
The rage
The hurt
The agency
The curiosity
The attention to details
The service to the ones loved most
The glued roots to Italy
The never ending conversation
The family first

“finding my people in unexpected places” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 28, 2017
3:50pm
5 minutes
Bad Feminist
Roxane Gay


In the bathroom stall at the gym, I stick my fingers up myself to help stimulate my bowels. My cousin, Trina, taught me this trick one day during the commercial break for Days Of Our Lives. I was eleven and she was thirteen. “You’d think twice a week would be enough but it’s not. You’d also think you should stick your hand up the back but this is way more forgiving!”
Trina showed me a lot of things. Like how to make out with the silky skin in the crook of my elbow for practice, or how not to move the shower head from my clit the second I started to like it.
Without thinking I let slip a tiny groan. The woman in the stall beside me sighs.
“I get it, girl. Been trying since Tuesday over here.”

“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.”

“associated with anticipated use” by Julia at the studio


Tuesday August 1, 2017
9:04pm
5 minutes
from a GOLDEN artist colours box

I can’t talk to Hollace anymore. Ever since he started forgetting to line both of his eyes I knew something was wrong. Now it’s like he’s buzzing just beyond me but in a glass bubble that keeps him out of reach. He doesn’t seem to want my help and I don’t know if I could help him anyhow. He thinks he’s doing a good job of faking it. He is to most people. Most people can’t tell his personality from his warning signs. He’s tricking almost everybody into loving him. He sometimes gets close to getting me but then I catch him. He’s lying through his sweat, and I see him up close no matter what frame he’s in. In the locker room I put earbuds in but no music. I want to hear what kind of breath he uses around me.

“change the towels in the bathroom” by Julia at the studio


Monday July 31, 2017
4:54pm
5 minutes
Amelia Bedelia
Peggy Parish


Mona in the bath tub on her knees, scrubbing.
Finds a collection of black mildew. Furrows
her already furrowed brow. She curses his
name under her breath, Fucking Dennis and your fucking
lack of purpose in this life except to make me
fucking miserable. She hasn’t washed herself in
a week. She’s protesting. Maybe one of these
nights Dennis won’t try to stick his dick in
when she’s asleep on the couch. He tells her his
mother is going to inspect the bathroom and Mona
laughs as if she cares. But here she is, in the tub,
on her knees, bleeding for a man who does not bleed
for anyone but himself. And his mother.

Later, the kitchen tile is spotless and the food
is on the table. Dennis lies and says he’s
been working hard all day.
At what?
Drinking. Complaining. Leaves out the only
parts that are true.
His mother pulls a sprig of rosemary out of her mouth
and spits into the tomatoes. Mona’s lips turn upward.
Dennis throws a chicken leg at Mona’s face.
I told you my mother hates rosemary.

“Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds” by Julia at the studio


Sunday July 30, 2017
8:59pm
5 minutes
Youtube

1)Don’t go to bed with makeup on
2)Don’t go to bed with strangers
3)Don’t go to bed
4)Tell him how you feel
5)Tell her what you want
6)Listen to your body
7)Listen to her body
8)Be gentle with his body
9)find the joy
10)Give thanks
11)Visit your parents when you can
12)Write the date on your journals
13)Leave if you want to leave
14)If you want to stay, then really stay
15)Spend the money on quality items
16)Speak to children with respect
17)Watch a sunrise
18)Kiss in public
19)Refuse to let other people decide for you
20)Save yourself
21)Don’t save the red ones for last
22)Kiss your own body parts
23)Take initiative
24)Practice your cursive writing
25)Give thanks

“a certain brand of peanut butter” by Julia at L and J’s Airbnb


Tuesday June 27, 2017
9:43pm
5 minutes
The Power Of Habit
Charles Duhigg


The first time J and I went to Costco we made some crucial errors. We have left the receipt tacked on to the fridge as a reminder that we cannot simply go to Costco. Even after we have run out of the giant tub of almond butter. We have to make sure we’re mentally prepared. Because last time we were not prepared. We were ruined.
We made some crucial errors.

1) It was a Saturday
2) we got high
3) we were hungry
4) we didn’t hang around the proper food sample tables
5) we didn’t make a real list
6) we tried to put a 900 pack of toilet paper in our cart
7) we didn’t know the prices of things at regular stores to compare

“kindergarten registration” by Julia on the 99


Thursday June 22, 2017
1:04pm
5 minutes
from a sign

back to school
time to learn some things
how to deal with disappointment
how to deal with spending all the money on all the things that end up being disappointing
how to deal
how to be okay with the bruises that come from chasing perfection
how to be okay with taking ownership for all the mistakes
how to smile at the next person so
one bad day doesn’t bleed into another
how to fight the urge to cry on a bus so no one sees
how to cry on a bus so no one sees
how to cry only enough for release and not for pouchy eye bags

back to school
time to learn some things

“an advanced degree in creative writing” by Julia in the park


Thursday April 27, 2017
5:45pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


My mother always wanted to go to school but never believed she was the academic type. My father liked to tell her she was worthless on a daily basis so my mother didn’t believe she was much of anything. Once I watched him mash up the meatloaf she made and crumble it between his fingers until it was all on the floor. He smeared the sauce left on his hands across her forehead because he claimed it wasn’t warm enough. I watched my mother forget how to put on underwear the next morning because she couldn’t forget what he did. She couldn’t because nobody could.
I watched my mother model for me a woman who wanted so many things but got buried before she had time to even realize them.

“Do not be dynamic” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday April 11, 2017
10:37pm
5 minutes
Microphone Lessons For Poets
Helen Guri


do not make any sudden movements
do not move your head or your eyes
do not express an opinion
do not engage outside of your peripheral vision
if you need to practice how to be still
how to feel less
then please do so
practice being unmoved by beauty
practice being unphased by magic
practice being unchanged by other human instances
do not be dynamic
do not vibrate too quickly
do not let them see you in motion
do not say anything
do not know anything
do not let your thoughts require air
do not beg the wind to carry you
do not write a poem
do not need to speak it

“their mothers will be there if needed” by Julia on H’s couch


Saturday April 1, 2017
10:41pm
5 minutes
Hold Me Tight
Dr. Sue Johnson


when she calls me
at night it makes my heart shake
i answer quickly
in case someone is dying
in case it’s all of us
in case it’s her
she doesn’t want to bother me
“mom, please call me whenever you want to. i don’t want to always be the one to call you.”
she tells me she knows and that’s what she’s doing- getting better at reaching me when she remembers how far away i am
she says maybe now she needs to get better at timing things
“No, you asked what i was doing and i answered ‘discussing dinner’ because that’s what i was doing. if i couldn’t answer i wouldn’t answer. please always always call me.”
right before she ‘lets me go’ she tells me her good news
and my heart shakes

“trying to teach them technology” By Julia in her cabin


Monday February 27, 2017
4:47pm
5 minutes
from a text

my sister turns 32 and the entire family eats
stuffed lobster tail and shrimp
they gather around the table and tell
each other some of the same stories
after hearing some temporary new ones
my siblings make my parents use cell-phones
I am the only one missing
I am the only one on an island
I am the only one in a different time zone
my mother calls me on my birthday 4 days earlier
proud that she finally got the day right
she doesn’t forget my birthday
she just doesn’t know which day it is anymore because
she isn’t forced to look at a calendar all day
she asks what I am planning and I say nothing really
then my father gets on the phone
he asks me what I’m planning and I say I’m going to the island
he asks me if it feels different being 30
when yesterday I was only 29
I tell him sort of because sort of but not more
because my eggs are getting cold
he sighs and says that at the end of the day
it’s all just soup anyway
I laugh because he is so Italian
but he has a point
he says the first bite tastes like soup
and the last bite still tastes like soup

“free health care to” By Julia on her couch


Monday February 6, 2017
10:40pm
5 minutes
from a #goodnews tweet

I wish I would have gotten sick more when I had free healthcare. It never works out that way does it? No one ever says, “Life! It’s just so convenient, isn’t it?” People seem to talk a whole lot more about Murphy’s law than they talk about serendipity.
“Hindsight is always 20/20” is another one! And it’s true. I don’t know why we need to wait until hindsight for us to learn a lesson. Why can’t the opportunity to make a decision be the lesson? Why can’t the 20/20 vision kick in during sight not after? Why can’t life be as convenient as it isn’t?

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“not just the punch line.” by Julia at Bec’s table


Friday December 30, 2016
10:40pm
5 minutes
Humans of New York

Lots of lessons lately
Lots of waiting for space to crack a joke that wouldn’t get any laughs
Lots of holding back opinions that wouldn’t be popular
Especially if spoken
There has been fresh snow
And melted streets
Icy walks
And freezing fingers
Lots of lessons lately
Lots of lessons
Instincts are starting to get creative
Because nobody is paying them any attention
They’re starting to hum or buzz
Starting to soften grip
On everyday existing
Lots of lessons
Lots of lessons lately
And reading about hearts
And educating each other’s
Because we cannot do that on our own
That’s the joy of solitude
After days of being tirelessly ready for it

“Sitting in rapt attention” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 24, 2016
6:45am
5 minutes
SAD MAG
Issue No. 19

He was leading a seminar on punctuality and he showed up 6 minutes late. If he had turned it into some teachable moment, or made us realize how important life is sometimes and how maybe he’s the perfect one to lead this seminar because punctuality is still a human invention and so a human can still mess it up, we would have been more in his corner. Instead the whole time I thought he was a flake. How he couldn’t admit that he was wrong. That he was trying to save face in a crowd of ruthless college kids who were looking for reasons not to take him seriously. I thought about where he might be coming from. I thought about his life’s struggles and decided he probably had a bunch of them because we all do. I don’t know what everyone else was thinking but I was hoping he’d end his seminar early and rush off to tend to one of those life things so we would all have a little more compassion for him. I think that’s a good thing, that I would rather be compassionate. I guess the bad part is that I need to have a reason first before I want to be.

“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.

“You close?” by Julia on her couch


Monday August 22, 2016
10:09pm
5 minutes
from a text

I wish he had asked that without his mouth full of Subway. I almost instinctively said “Well not anymore I won’t be” but restrained myself. I swear sometimes Lance only does gross shit to provoke me. To test me into seeing how much I can take. How grimy he could be and get away with it.
“I have to lock up first.”
“Nobody’s going to want to break into your dad’s shed. Trust me.”
“I told them I would watch their place while they were away.”
“Yeah but what do they expect for you to lock each room before you leave the house too?”
“get away from me with your tzatziki breath. I’ll be two seconds you can wait in the car.”
We were going on an adventure. Lance made me do it, told me it would be fun and we would remember it always.

“I honour this privilege” by Julia at the bus stop


Sunday May 22, 2016
5:15pm
5 minutes
from a birthday card

I heard him say it to himself when he thought I had left for the evening. He was reciting it in the mirror, getting ready for his big night. I crept in the house quietly, I had forgotten my wallet by the island. I don’t know why I had left it there but I didn’t want to impose myself. Just a few quiet steps while he rehearsed his speech in the bathroom. The one I had begged him to do for me because I wasn’t able to go. He said no. He didn’t want me anywhere near it. I tried to go as fast as my curiosity would let me. He repeated one line over and over and I wanted to hear him get it right. “I honour this privilege. I honour this privilege.” My hand was reaching for the soft leather while my mind tilted toward him in the bathroom. I felt the wallet graze my hand and I quickly realized that if I could go in this instant I would have a secret but nothing to be sorry for.

“Late last night I heard the screen door slam” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday May 21, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
Big Yellow Taxi
Joni Mitchell


You were leaving trying not to let me hear you trying not to let me hear your heart stop wanting me
I waited there trying not to stop you trying not to tell you that I would try to be better you packed up your items you packed up your clothes you packed up all your reasons and you did your best not to wake me
You were leaving trying to avoid another argument of he said she said I said you said of all those times we laughed at how foolish we had been
I was sobbing there in my pillow on my side of the bed afraid to move an inch and realize it was real after all crying tears of apology into the mattress trying not to let you hear me trying not to let you hear my hollow chest echo as the tiny pieces of my heart fell to the bottom
You were leaving there was nothing I could do and you were leaving me so there was nothing I could do.

“Be wildly generous” by Julia at her dining table


Friday May 20, 2016
6:15pmm
5 minutes
from Julia’s notebook

My grandmother had been staying at our house after her hip surgery. She was sleeping in my room and she liked to spend her time organizing my bookshelves and my underwear drawer. One day she called me into our room to show me her latest clean-up effort. All of my underwear, she showed me, beaming with pride, were folded and stacked neatly according to size, colour, and functionality. I was 16 at the time and I had been wearing thongs for a couple years by then. My grandmother pointed to each stack reminding me “These ones are your nice ones, these are for staying at home only, and these ones are for your ‘holidays'”. She was pointing to the tiny stack of thongs and she was clearly referring to my ‘romantic encounters’. I remember, before I could defend or deny, she brought her finger to her lips, shushing the air as if to say “I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry.” I raised my eyebrows in relief and mouthed the words “thank you.” She smiled wide and squeezed my shoulder, thrilled to keep my business just between us. The truth was, I wasn’t, actually wearing thongs for my ‘holidays’ as I hadn’t had any ‘holidays’ yet, but I just never mentioned that to her. I could tell she needed my secret more than she needed my honesty.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“I make him feel guilty.” by Julia at Lindsay’s house


Wednesday May 18, 2016
10:44pm
5 minutes
Burner Season
Ellie Sawatzky


Kev and I haven’t spoken since last Wednesday. It’s been a week. I told him I wanted to see how long we could go without engaging with each other. He was angry that I even suggested something like that. I didn’t say it but I wanted him to know how I felt. How when I want intimacy, conversation, attention, I have to practically beg him for it. I wanted him to know what it felt like to live with someone who didn’t “put out” emotionally. So far it’s been brutal for both of us but I don’t know who’s got it worse. I decided on purpose that I would avoid him to teach him a lesson but I’m not sure if I’ve now pushed him away instead. When we have to share the kitchen, Kev reaching up to the top shelf to pull down his favourite cereal bowl, me underneath him grinding flax seeds, we don’t make eye contact if we can avoid it. I don’t know what he would do if I looked him in the eye, but I do know that if he met my gaze I would have a hard time keeping my mouth away from his. This distance, despite my efforts to remain unmoved has made me want him more than I am maybe willing to control. I have been fighting myself for 7 days: Make him come to me, or make him come for me.

“round their throats” by Julia in her bed


Friday, March 25, 2016
12:23am
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

i remember my father teaching me how to tie a tie. he told me it would be good for me to know.
i remember telling my father i didn’t plan to ever wear a tie. i told him that i would prefer to learn how to plant things and build my own garden. he told me that someday, even if i didn’t wear the tie myself, i could help someone out who needed to but didn’t know how. i asked him again about the garden. he told me that if i learned how to tie a tie he would teach me about herbs and tomatoes and hot peppers and garlic. i asked him who would need to tie a tie. he said anyone could need to know. i asked him if he ever had to tie a tie for someone. he told me that he was once that person in need. he told me that he had a job interview, two weeks after landing in PEI. he told me how he met a woman on the subway who took him aside and showed him how to do it properly because he had done it wrong. he told me he barely spoke English but that day he realized how important gesture is. he told me that it’s better to know as much as possible in case one day someone needs to be taught but is too afraid to ask.

“I can never escape” by Julia on Amanda’s floor


Thursday, January 7, 2016
1:25am
5 minutes
The Reaper
Dan Fraser


There was a time I wouldn’t have thought to ask questions. I had questions. I had a lot of them. But in my history there was a time where I wasn’t comfortable giving them a voice out of fear that they might betray me; reveal me for the inposter I was, or the shaman, or the child. I couldn’t have anyone knowing what truly went on in my mind–I wasn’t about to give away a map to my soul and all my secret feelings. So I stayed quiet but I wrote them all out thinking no one would ever find them or be able to read them if I wrote messily enough. I couldn’t risk someone using them against me…but I guess I couldn’t hide myself from myself because looking back on those protected journals, all I see is the same curious heart I was then. And I’m still asking those same questions.

“Cookie duty” by Julia on her brother’s old bed


Wednesday, January 6, 2016
1:35am
5 minutes
Overheard at Platform Seven

Marta was busy teaching herself Spanish on her new audio learning app. She had her headphones in at all hours of the day and out of nowhere she’d blurt out a “Donde esta el banio?” or a “buenas noches!” even if she was in the middle of a conversation or an activity that did not require Spanish. Marta’s little sister, Leah, had asked her to help her make cookies for her bake sale and Marta told her “me gustaria help you”. Marta pictured herself making cookies for Ambrosio, the ridiculously hot life guard at the community pool who was the reason for her Spanish lessons in the first place.

“Wanna be able to” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Monday, January 4, 2016
1:46am
5 minutes
Overheard at R2 Cafe

There’s a dream I keep having that feels like a lesson I’m supposed to be learning but it is hard to remember in full detail. I wanna be able to recall all the events but it’s like my subconscious is making it hard for me on purpose. Then I get to wondering why my subconscious would wanna make it take so long for a lesson to be learned if it’s important enough to be learned at all in all this intricacy. This dream is even more difficult to understand because it’s in black and white and none of my dreams are in black and white. How confusing. Sometimes I think this dream could just be for entertainment purposes and I’m really not meant to do anything about it but enjoy it. But then there is a code, or what I think is a code, and new letters are revealed each time, and it’s not very enjoyable as I’m always under a lot of pressure to solve the puzzle with the clues that keep changing and I’m really never able to lay back and just watch. So then I wonder if maybe I’ve already figured it out and the recurring part is just a way for me to check my intel.

“Feed your creative juices” By Julia on her bed


Tuesday, August 4, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
from a pencil case

Lana blotted the excess lipstick off with a square of toilet paper, remembering how her aunt Kathy showed her while she was living with her. Apparently Aunt Kathy was only supposed to stay for a couple weeks-a month tops- but things got complicated and before they all knew it, it had already been 4 years. Lana used to hear Aunt Kathy in the early morning when she would get up to shower and get herself ready for her receptionist job. When the water would stop, Lana would crawl out of bed and go sit beside the bathroom door, tapping on it quietly. Aunt Kathy would open the door, scoop her up and sit Lana down on the toilet seat while she did her makeup. Lana would have been two years old. She didn’t say a word, but she watched Aunt Kathy’s every move from the blush to the spacing out of her mascaraed eyelashes with the tip of a safety pin. On some days, Aunt Kathy would even put a little eye shadow on Lana, or let her taste a bit of her vanilla lip gloss.

“heated rivalry and the jealousy” by Julia on her bed


Friday February 6, 2015
12:35am
5 minutes
http://www.mtv.ca

Karma’s a straight up bitch. Man, I’ve been saying that for as long as I can remember..like to other people, cause, hey, that’s what you say. But today I actually feel the bitter truth of it coursing through my veins like a sour drug. It fills me up so high my head pops off and my brains shoot out. It’s this epic battle between knowing that it’s deserved, and feeling one hundred percent blind-sided. I have realized, maybe for the first time ever, that I never want to be on Karma’s crazy bad side ever again. Cause right now, I’m at the lowest I’ve ever been. I don’t want to talk about why I’m at the bottom of the barrel because it feels like it gives my behaviour more power than it should have. On the other hand, I know avoiding it is cheap and cowardly, and I don’t want to be either of those things. So I guess what I’m saying is, I did it. I started the rumours about Tia because I was so jealous about her and Jay I couldn’t even see straight.

“Why not join us?” by Julia in Laura’s living room


Sunday December 21, 2014
7:30pm
5 minutes
From an Arriva tube ad

I guess there’s that fear that you just won’t be the coolest person in the room and it keeps you from still being the best version of yourself. You know what I’m saying? Someone is always gonna be better than you when you care about people being better than you. Because maybe they care less and that’s what the definition of cool is. So your fear of being left out and not being the first person people run to when you enter a room is actually making you less and less of an attractive presence. Like, this is what I’m saying right? You have to stop giving a shit and just buy people a round of shots and bring the fun that’s unique to you. Don’t try to bring the cool person’s fun. That’s their job. They’re doing it. Let them worry about it. Just come in with a readiness to be interested and an openness to smile and shit. People love that. People don’t love people who scowl at the happiness around them because they’re unhappy that they weren’t just born with the cool pants and the cool hat or whatever.

“What will you do?” by Julia on 328 going East


Wednesday December 17, 2014
4:24pm
5 minutes
From a Together For London bus ad

What will you do with your bright and shiny future? Unused, untouched, untarnished by expectations. Is it even possible? You might have the only one. The only one new and perfect.
I could tell you what I do if I were you. I’d wake up every morning, early, with a goal. And I would seek to accomplish that goal within one hour of getting out of bed. I would use all my time in the best way imaginable: eating, laughing, creating, loving. It sounds easy but it wasn’t for me and so I watched as the days went by and turned into things I didn’t have the ability to change.

“These days it’s hard to get a decent haircut” by Julia in Venice


Friday December 5, 2014
10:54pm
5 minutes
Kinfolk Volume 13

Man sits beside me. Smells like the hair shampoo my best friend Natasha used to use. We’re not best friends anymore. She tried drugs and became best friends with the guys who sold them instead. She told me once, here use my bra. I’m too big for it. Borrow it or just take it cause it’s too small. I said, thanks so much. My mom won’t let be buy one. Says I don’t need it yet. Says a sports bra is fine. But hers never fit me. Turns out she never had anything to fit inside them in the first place. Turns out I did, just I didn’t know it. I was slow to know myself. I was slow to question anyone. Guess it’s cause I believed in people. I trusted in someone’s word. Shouldn’t have. Didn’t need to. Guess it was just a life lesson learned like don’t leave your window open at night without the screen down, or don’t eat a brownie if your friend gives it to you while smuggling a bit of laughter cause she really found it on the ground and now you’re the butt of everyone’s joke. So I look to the man. I say, have you always smelled this way? He crosses his arms and looks in the other direction. Then I know I know how to distract people from the truth. I learned by distracting myself.

“The flavours are so simple but they’re so good” by Julia on her bed at oZu


Friday September 19, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
from Jess’ phone conversation

Sometimes it’s tricky, you know, because you’re staring at an entire counter covered in makeup. You’re following? It’s a metaphor but it doesn’t have to be so keep that in mind. And you’re looking at it, right, this whole table top lined with lipsticks and mascaras and eyeshadows, and you’re thinking, but how am I supposed to choose which colour I use? You ask that to yourself because you’re going out for a special night or something and it’s totally acceptable
if you dress up more than usual and get creative. So you’re with me? You can’t help yourself but you don’t want to help yourself. You just want to indulge. You don’t even choose a couple colours to narrow down. You instead, now stay close, put them all on. You layer the greens and the purples and you mix the turquoise with the gold. Your face is a blank canvas and you’re in love all of a sudden with how you look in excess. You know? You+you=worried that you’ll never have that chance again.

“a wise man” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 22, 2014
1:22am
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

A wise man once told me to never drink vodka without a mixer, a chaser, a plan to get home, and parental supervision.
That wise man did tell me that when I was living under his roof, and after the first time my parents needed to lecture me about safe drinking. He was very nice about it. Thankfully. He was joking around thinking I had gotten enough punishment from the sheer fact that I woke up in somebody else’s clothes with part of my left tooth chipped, a busted nose, and a hangover to rival some of my university days. He was right. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. But neither was being 15 and not knowing what being drunk felt like. When you’re 15, even though your parents think you won’t be a problem, you have a bunch of stupid ideas and you scoop them all up in one handful and you make stupid choices. Then you suffer the consequences. And you live the rest of your life remembering how disappointed your mother was when you walked into the kitchen after realizing you couldn’t remember 80% of Lindsey’s party, and then remembering that your father was just slightly okay with giving that life lesson in such a capacity.

“your natural body” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 28, 2014
1:06am
5 minutes
the Cocoa-Shea Butter container

Before the worship and the punishment
Before the sacrifices and the indulgences
Before the fast food and the slow food
Before the fake stuff and the right stuff
You were a thing that needed almost nothing
You needed love
You got love
You needed water
You got water
You needed nourishment
You got nourishment
Somebody made sure you got what you needed because your needs were not bigger than you
Now they are
Now there’s a thing called “chocolate”
One called “wine”
One called “on sale”
One called “tomorrow I’ll be better”
The colorful images telling you now what you need
To be happy now is harder
It’s very very hard
We have to sift through the things
The things called “cars, goals, comparisons, delusions, medications, drugs, fantasies, corruption, impatience”
If we sift we might find a shirt that looks good on
Like a second layer of skin
Meant for wearing and being very happy

“kind of contrary” by Julia on her couch


Sunday January 26, 2014
1:08am
5 minutes
NOW magazine
January 23-29 2014


Didn't want to ask her to move her American Eagle purchases off the seat just so I could sit down. Didn't want to inconvenience her and leave her to hold her plastic shopping bag on her lap. I was trying to be nice so I hovered directly over her head and made sure to breath heavily into her general living space. She didn't look up but she did clench her bag tighter. I wasn't planning to take her shitty cable knit sweaters and sparkly tights but I was attempting to throw down some life lessons pretty fast and hard on her hat hoping she'd absorb mighty quickly that the subway seats were just not designed to house inanimate objects–no matter how much you value those over real human beings with potentially long day jobs on their feet, or a bullet wound in the leg.

“a broken-down piano” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday November 20, 2013
12:31am
5 minutes
from the Jared Leto Wikipedia page

If you look closely at him, you’ll see he’s one of those artist types. He plays with his fingers as if they were keys on a piano, trying to make music. Trying to express himself. He doesn’t draw, but he understands lines and colours better than anyone I know. It’s hard to describe someone with the capacity for “lines and colours”, I recognize that, but he really is. He’s never mentioned the word Art. I don’t know if he knows what it means. But he’s authentically him, and that’s more artistic than I’ve ever seen, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of artistic people. He started when he was young. Very quiet. Very observant. He didn’t say much, he just took everything in, and breathed into it like a balloon, giving it shape and understanding. We wanted to put him in music lessons, but he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t his idea even if we could see that he could benefit from it. He’d rather use his dreams to teach him anyway. He was so different like that. I worried when he was little that if he didn’t let us foster his gifts, then he’d grow up one day to be a broken-down piano…a beautiful shell with lots of potential, but without the ability to touch lives with its sound.

“For their swim records” by Julia at Cafe Uno


Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at Cafe Uno
4:55pm
5 minutes
Super Fish Thorpe
Kaci Tami


I failed swimming lessons when I was 7. Or 6. Or something dumb and young like that. I was told in my first year of lessons that I “Swam like a fish”. That was bullshit. Just something Keri, the swim instructor told all the stupid kids. Truth was I couldn’t grasp it. I would try to paddle like a dog and just end up swallowing too much water. I was afraid of everything, the diving board (even when I wasn’t on it), the stairs, the shallow end. Keri said I was doing fine, but there was something different about her tone. Maybe she knew I wasn’t teachable, even at 6. Or 7. My sister wasn’t doing that well in swimming class either, so guess what, I didn’t care to be that great either. I thought if I was supposed to excel at it, my sister would have already shown me how to do it. My sister is the smart one. She picks up things quick, like baking, or when we were kids, being a leader. I was always fine just tagging along and wearing what she was wearing. Not much for making decisions. I wish I could go back in time and re-learn how to learn because something is still wrong with me. I can swim to save my life, I guess, but that’s only because my aunt Kathy forced me to tread water for an unnatural amount of time because she knew I wouldn’t even know how many minutes had passed. I suppose that was a nice thing she did. Either way. Swimming is still bullshit.