“My friend Joe” by Julia on the 4

Saturday October 6, 2018
5:57pm
5 minutes
His Hands
Mary Jane Nealon

My friend Joe became
my boyfriend Joe at the end of the 12th grade. I liked the way his arms looked while driving. I liked that he knew how to use the barbecue.
when I went to university I stayed with Joe even though I no longer wanted him.
One of the first days there I made eye contact with the coolest guy I had ever seen. His name was also Joe. I wanted this Joe instead. I wanted to know everything about him.
There were a couple others I started to like before I told the first Joe that we needed to break up. There were also a couple of crying episodes in my dorm room. Not me. Him. This was the same guy who knew how to use the barbecue.

“Remember that time” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday June 14, 2017
7:27pm
5 minutes
From an Instagram post

Remember the time we got caught in a lightning storm in the woods? It was just Dad and the two of us. Mum never came camping. It was the kind of storm where there isn’t rain, just thunder and lighting. But you know it’s coming. We stood under the tarp, strung up with bungee chords (it was before all the literature came out about how dangerous they are), and watched the storm move across the pines. Before the rain started, we brushed our teeth (peppermint Tom’s) and peed, squatting down and feeling the grasses tickle our bums.

“soothingly soft” by Sasha in the bath


Saturday February 4, 2017
12:31am
5 minutes
From the facial tissue package

driving to the silver’s farm
peach juice on my shorts from
wiping sticky fingers
and the pit in my pocket
cozy with a white shell
and a black stone

my mother
takes the winding road
slow because i get car
sick like she does
and our ginger cat too

pile out of the minivan
named athena and run
over the hot gravel
run run bare feet
tip toes

picking corn with
a careful eye watch
out for worms or
shrunken kernels

“She sees light and shapes” by Sasha on her couch


Monday January 30, 2017
9:21pm
5 minutes
From a text

When I was a child, living in a big house on a tree lined street with a yellow door, I would build tiny worlds out of branches, moss, a shell from a visit to Florida. I saw things differently then, in different colours, with different textures. I didn’t know fatigue. I knew heartbreak.

When I had friends over – Sarah, Katie, Charlotte, – I invited them into the worlds. Sometimes someone brought a pinecone or a piece of string. Before bed, after brushing my teeth, washing my face and saying goodnight to my mother, I would take the tiny world apart, bit by bit.

“dies in slow motion” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 5, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


Cut to me, 4 years old–MAYBE 5– and all the tiny humans in Mrs. Beliveau’s class have just come back from an assembly. We don’t have enough time to learn anything, not that we really ever did, so Mrs. B. tells us we can play on the structure if we can change as quickly as possible into our gym clothes. I see no one is on the structure and for some reason today I need to be the first one. So I strip down and throw on my shirt and I go running up to Mrs. Beliveau to ask her if I may “board the spaceship” (because we were in kindergarten and that’s what we called it, even though it looked nothing like a spaceship)and she looked down at me and said, “you may, as soon as you have some pants on.” And I looked down and I was standing there in my orange-starred underwear, in front of everyone, made to be aware of shame for the first time in my tiny life. I did whatever Macaulay Culkin got hired for in Home Alone then proceeded to die in slow motion; my face a shade of fire that burned me to death.

“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.

“three variations to play with” by Julia on her bed


Monday February 16, 2015
11:03pm
5 minutes
chatelaine.com

Okay so I started this day with a hunger for both burgers and living my life to the fullest. I haven’t touched a burger in at least 8 months, and unfortunately I can say the same for living my life to the fullest. I wasn’t even living my life at all, so what I’m saying is that I’ve been ignoring my cravings to taste the world and touch the internal madness that drives me. I miss burgers every time I write the damn word. I miss living my life now, but before I didn’t even notice it was missing. It’s the same thing when I put all my long necklaces into a jewelry box, or shove my old notebooks into a drawer. If I don’t see them on a daily basis, I genuinely forget that they’re there. I don’t know if that’s a weak character trait passed down to me from my ancestors a thousand years ago, or if it’s just true because I’m such a wild moment to moment kind of gal (spoiler alert: it is NOT because I’m busy being present in the current anything. I wish that to be true, but it is not true. The spoiler alert is the only thing true. Because the truth is that I’m spoiling myself. This parenthetical has taken a turn for the worst. Okay just leave while there’s still a chance. Alright, forget it: I’ll go).

“clearly in the context of the show” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday November 3, 2014
11:26pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

He’s there. He’s there. I run up the stairs of the porch and I remember that my Mom has writing group tonight, she’s across the city in High Park. Shit shit shit shit shit. I get my key into the lock and I slam the door and he’s there, on the porch. Heart pounding, tears real, breath high. I call the police. “Um, hi, I just, I just was followed and the man came onto the porch and I’m not sure what to do because I’m home alone and…” This man is going to kill me. I know you’re there. I see you. Two officers come, ring the doorbell. I creep towards the door, wiping tears. “You called?” They circle the house with flashlight and report back that they didn’t find anyone. No one’s there. I say “thank you”. No one’s there.

“Pumpkins are awesome,” by Sasha on her couch


Friday October 31, 2014
6:52pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I was dancing. I was doing my own thing. My friends were somewhere else and I was owning the dance floor. Solo. A guy came up behind me and pulled my hips to his groin. I turned around and said, “No thank you!” and danced away. A guy came up behind me and pulled my hips to his groin. I turned around and said, “Please fuck off!” A different face. Same hands. Same aggression. I left the dance floor and on the way to the bathroom I felt a sob choke in my throat. I wasn’t entirely sure why but I knew it had something to do with me feeling like I couldn’t just dance, alone, without being grabbed. Outside the bathroom door and guy said to me, “You’re fucking hot. How many drinks would I need to buy you to suck my dick?” I burst into tears. Right there. Big ones, not little, sweet, cute ones. He made a few grunts and walked away. I went into a bathroom stall, sat on the floor, and kept crying. A woman in the stall beside me, “Are you okay? You’re probably just too drunk, babe!” I wasn’t. I wasn’t drunk at all.

“I remember needing nothing” By Sasha on her couch


Wednesday October 15, 2014
11:39pm
5 minutes
Minute Eternity
David Whyte


When I awake, you’re gone. When you’re gone, I’m dangerous. When I’m dangerous, I’m snooping. When I’m snooping, I’m full of shame. When I’m full of shame, I’m in the dark. When I’m in the dark, I’m still. When I’m still, I’m wondering when you’ll back. When you’re back, I’ll be shy. When I’m shy, I smile. When I smile, you see what I don’t know. When you see what I don’t know, you lean in. When you lean in, it’s beautiful.

It’s beautiful when I’m alone in your basement apartment, my underwear in a ball in my back pocket, opening your medicine cabinet and trying to decipher if you’re more or less crazy than I am.

“we can remember everything” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 28, 2014
6:11pm
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


we can remember everything
not only what happened to us
what happened to the ones that came before
what burned their hands
and their wonder
you tell me about smelling the train
the sounds outside
bombs and lightning
not knowing if the bursts of light
were from one
or the other
you tell me and i know you know it’s
impossible
nothing is
i’m sorry
nothing is
she wears a nun’s habit because she thinks it will save her
she’s a religious woman
it’s not bad
no one is judging her
i was there the night the car crashed
dead on impact
dead on the spot
stopped in the tracks
and
i remember the naked sky
no stars
i remember
but i wasn’t there
and neither were you
but we remember

“UNION” by Sasha on the bed in Whistler


Saturday September 20, 2014
10:12pm
5 minutes
from a flyer for a yoga studio

It’s that time of year again. When she gets restless. When she starts picking at her scabs and calling out the reindeer names in her sleep. It’s that time of year again. When she starts winning. When she walks down the street singing Born To Run like she is Springsteen. It’s that time of year again. When she forgets how much she likes ice cream. When she makes promises to the leaves that like them, she’ll change colour.

“The professional sailors” by Sasha on her couch


Monday September 15, 2014 at Ozu
9:42pm
5 minutes
from http://www.capri.net

I’m trying to be honest about the things that I’m not good at. I want to get better. I want to be better, I’m trying. I’m trying to be honest and I’m trying to be better, and I’m trying to stop repeating myself so much.
I’m not good at having forty dollars of gelato in the freezer. I just want to eat it. But, like, I love it, so I don’t want to tell you not to bring it home because that means no one wins…
I’m not good at math.
I’m not good at actually reading the “Classics”.
I’m not good at jealousy.
I’m not good at being sick. I’m a huge baby. I whine. I degrade myself by reading People magazine online and watching romantic comedies on Netflix.
I’m not good at communicating when my heart is in my throat and you’re there, with your eyes like deep pools of knowing, with your direct way, with your face, that face.
I’m not good in boats. I’ll puke or cry or both.

“I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did.” By Sasha at Higher Grounds


Friday, September 5, 2014 at Higher Grounds
12:44pm
5 minutes
How To Make Love In America
Sarah Nicole Prickett


I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did. They were singing a Ray Lamontagne song, but only for me. For him, they were quiet. We were both still lost, still younger than we wanted to believe, still looking elsewhere for what we really wanted. It’s hard to find stars in the city. I do, though. It’s more important to me than a good book on my bedside table, but I won’t easily admit that. My mother is good at naming constellations. She can spot Orion and Cassiopeia and gives directions as to where to look. The stars sing Joni Mitchell to her. Even though she doesn’t say so, I know it. When I’m with her, and the stars, I hear Big Yellow Taxi.

“Last date to withdraw” by Sasha at the UBC Library


Wednesday September 3, 2014
1:02pm
5 minutes
UBC Student Servies website

These places, educational institutions, are funny places.
Everyone shuffling – new shoes, new backpacks, new pencils sharpened and ignorantly poking holes in new pencil cases.
Herds and herds of people, few making contact with eyes, or fingertips, or smiles.
We’ve come here for what
For learning
Okay…
We’ve come here for learning.
We’ve come here to further know ourselves.
We’ve come here for time.
I
I’ve come here for time.
For this, for words, for understanding of the why and the when and the who has come before.
I catch a glimpse of you,
also feeling like a fraud,
also feeling lost,
clutching your iPhone like your life depends on it.
I catch a glimpse of you and you catch me
catching a glimpse of you,
Confident and alone and one of millions.

“do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday September 2, 2014
9:46pm
5 minutes
from the English translation of mamihlapinatapai

I woke from a dream that was worse than the ones that I used to have
When nightmares reeked heavy
And my mother was sleepless for a whole year too
You were there
With the two of them
The women you desire
The women who desire you
The women you would be with if you hadn’t chosen me
Am I the only one that has that list?
The women you would be with if you hadn’t chosen me
Should I be ashamed of it?
Should I store it under the mattress
Or
In the drawer by the stove that only I open
Or
Buried in the sand for another woman to find when the tide goes out
Or
Comes in
My stomach in my throat
My throat in my mouth
Tears and gulps
and
Salt water
You’re not home yet
You’re on the bus
I imagine you
Travelling closer to me
The one you’ve chosen
I imagine you
curling against my naked body
I imagine you
I imagine them
I see myself
floating above
Laughing like a crow
Sobbing like a beluga
Your key in the lock

“the landing cure” by Sasha at culprit coffee


Saturday August 30, 2014
12:03pm at culprit coffee
5 minutes
Hunter’s Landing menu

the landing cure is the sure footed traveller the landing cure is the mr lazy mug full of mediocre coffee the landing cure is the rain falling on a bike seat that your bum will touch soon soon soon soon the landing cure is erykah badu on the stereo the soothing honey sounds of ba ba ba ba ba ba the landing cure is unknown undetermined unsure the landing cure is a pantry with gogi berries and homemade granola and saffron from bali that’s been brought and packed and shipped four or five different times and never used not once used the landing cure is all lower case and less abrasive than a yawn or too bright toenail polish the landing cure is a good beat and moving feet the landing cure is a phone call from a sister

“Try and make a few local friends” by Sasha on the bed in Mississauga


Monday August 18, 2014
1:03am
5 minutes
girlinflorence.com


I’ve never had problems making friends. Attribute it to a good sense of humour and chattiness. Attribute it to introspective sense-of-self. I’ve noticed though, in the last handful of years, a shyness. I never had it before. I’d dive in, head-first, unafraid of all the usual things. Unafraid of judgement. This shyness, maybe it’s the Fence. The Fence came when Ken left. I know that’ll make sense to you because you’ve been there. You know the Fence. In fact, you recently stipped your own of it’s white paint, happy to let the grain show.

“experience learn hear” by Sasha on the dock at Knowlton Lake


Friday Aug 1, 2014
2:12pm
5 minutes
from an expired TPL card

The water is still (my heart is racing). The dragonflies dart (I sit still). Nature is funny (I’m less so). The trees are always changing (I am too).

We’re packing all of our things in boxes and duffle bags and backpacks (the loon calls her love). We’re going West to be near the mountains and the ocean (the lake will turn and turn and the sun will rise and set here, and there). We’re letting go of cards from Grade Seven and cookbooks from friends who are no longer friends (there’s a frog singing).

“The six methods are:” by Sasha at Black River Farm


Thursday July 24, 2014
5:43pm
5 minutes
Ashtanga Yoga Primer
Baba Hari Das

1. Fall into the ground, without a sound. Pretend you always meant to be there. Nothing’s wrong. You’re like a bulb. You’re going to open. It’s going to be glorious, a bit painful, and glorious again.
2. Lean back. The air will catch you with her soft hands. You’ll wonder where you’re going, where you’ve been, why you’re still alone, still dizzy, still laughing.
3. Right or wrong, flying isn’t just for birds and airplanes. You fly. You catch a wave going West and you hang on and you go and you land where you’ve never been and you’re full.
4. Draw vines on your legs. Pen, marker, eyeliner – these all work well. Pencil might hurt a bit. Close your eyes and think about your grandmother’s hands. Look! You’re a tree!
5. The turkey gets you. Don’t forget that. The turkey gets how excited you are. She’s excited too, but for really different reasons.
6. Forgetting your own obsessions is the freest you will ever be of your legacy.

“Hear all year” by Sasha at the International Plaza Hotel


Saturday July 12, 2014
6:25pm
5 minutes
from a banner at Winnipeg Folk Fest

I love the three blonde hairs on each of my big toes,
Marking the place where the under meets the world.
I love the strength of my calves,
Pedalling me from West to East,
Leading me to you,
and to God,
and to the lavender.
I love the width of my hips,
perfect for leaning,
perfect for holding,
perfect for stretching and carrying.
I love the round of my belly,
full of abundance,
full of arugula salad
and the legacy of the women that have come before.
I love the small hands,
able to stretch across piano keys,
across keyboard keys,
able to hold a pen like none other,
able to alchemize stories into gold.

“I don’t understand why I sleep all day” by Sasha in her garden


Saturday June 28 2014
6:27pm
5 minutes
No Rain
Blind Melon


When I first met Bobby, we were at a party just off campus. He was tall and muscular and he smoked drum. We talked about not being from this city and what it was like to miss home. He kissed me by the shrubs and asked for my phone number. We dated, on and off, for three years. It was really good for the first year, okay the second year and by the third year I was running to my friend Tina’s place with bruises on my ribs and tears on my cheeks. Bobby grew up with three older brothers. They were ruthless with eachother – any time he’d speak about his childhood I would cringe. One night, I went into the den where Bobby was watching TV. I could see the fog over his head, rage was on it’s way. I looked at him and said, “I’m leaving you for two months. If you don’t get help in that time, I’m gone for good.” I packed a knapsack and went to stay with my mother. What Bobby didn’t know is that I was pregnant. When I got to my mother’s I slept all day for the first week. The second week, I roasted lots of vegetables and cried to my mother about the dream of happiness and health evaporating.

“Do you have what it takes” by Sasha in her garden


Sunday June 22, 2014
5:39pm
5 minutes
from an email

My knees have splinters. I’ve been praying a lot. Do you pray? (Sigh). I used to have a problem with that word because I didn’t think I deserved it, I didn’t think I had what it takes. I was raised Catholic so… prayer was pretty connected to shame and… repentance. I was an alter boy, you know. That fucking hilarious. Father Nathan would stroke my head and his hand was hot. He had eyes like glaciers, like, like, a husky. He was a good guy. I remember telling him that I’d masturbated and he smiled and said, “better that then getting in fights like the other boys your age!” And he winked. He winked a lot. Makes you feel special, when someone winks at you, even if you know that they do it at other people too… Makes you feel like there’s a secret there, between you. Gives you a flutter in your belly.

“Absentminded” by Sasha on the deck at Knowlton Lake


Sunday June 15, 2014
3:20pm
5 minutes
The New Yorker

I scratch the new mosquito bite. I hum a Stevie Nicks song. I eat popcorn, a bit stale, but still good, still right. My Mom, stretching in wise-woman, calls, “Can you clean out the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom?” “Sure!” I call back. I drink water. I pad upstairs, my feet dirty, and I settle in, on the floor. I open the cabinet and it’s all half squeezed bottles of sunscreen, mini shampoo’s from hotels, soaps that are discoloured and bath salts that have formed into solid blocks, solid ice chunks. And a christmas scrunchy. And a nightlight missing a bulb.

“I said karate and she thought I said karaoke” by Sasha


Monday June 9, 2014
2:03am
5 minutes
overheard on Bloor St.

The pick. The lick. The squeeze. The result…
The explosion.
The satisfaction.
The body’s imperfections.

I never had really bad acne, but I had, like, some pimples as a pubescent. Mostly little guys, a few whoppers. “You’ll make it worse if you pop them,” I heard that voice but I ignored it. There was nothing better than the two fingers pushing in, pumping out the bad stuff, the dark stuff, the white stuff. Sometimes at karate, I would get distracted in the bathroom, picking and popping, and Veronica would come in and say, “That’s disgusting.”

I felt bad for the guys with really red volcano pimples. No amount of tea tree oil can really help that.

“a divorce lawyer” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday June 8, 2014
11:41pm
5 minutes
Humans of New York post

I get home, late, from work. I eat a rice cake with goat cheese and avocado, my go-to late night snack. (How many calories? How bad is it, really, to eat before bed? Where does that energy go?) I open my laptop, the zombie glow. I search his name on Facebook, unfriended when we ended, you know how it goes. But I still listen to his band sometimes, streaming it on CBC. But I still… I search his name and I get that rush of naughtiness, of wonder, of mystery, of “am I the one that got away for him?” Probably not. Probably he’s glad that he ended it because… If I were skinny this would all be different.

He’s bartending at a restaurant in my old neighbourhood. He’s doing podcasts. He’s… I scroll and look and feel like I’m eating a big chocolate bar, a good one, fair trade. Why do I even care? He was an ass to me, at the end. Not calling and me wondering and waiting, so patient, so fucking patient with the assholes and never patient with the loves. Punishing the love for the assholes. Punishing the love for the father.

I slam my laptop closed. I eat my rice cake. I think about how I need to get a bikini wax because it’s shorts season. I think about moving across the country and how I don’t know if it really is that good of an idea. I think about watering the cactus.

“let’s make this the biggest” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday June 7, 2014
11:45pm
5 minutes
An email from Luminato

I see him riding his bike on Queen St. near Bathurst and he looks good, he looks better, he looks older and more attuned and more bearded. I see him and he’s riding a white bike with red handlebars, the kind the curve down, the kind for racing. He fucked me over. He was so good and so charming and the sex was perfect, sweaty, euphoria. “Drummers have good rhythm,” he’d say and I’d melt like butter in a pan. Who was I then? Who am I now? The same. The same. Trees grow. The circles. “Let’s make this the biggest summer we’ve ever had,” he said, walking in the park around the corner from my apartment then, his fingers grazing my fingers, his eyes looking up and down my body.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

“and the world steps in” by Sasha on the Jane bus


Saturday April 25, 2014
1:24pm
5 minutes
Revelation Must be Terrible
David Whyte


The smell of the rosemary is the same. The smell of the cedar is the same, a little damper, a little more fragrant. I’m more afraid of darkness, but that’s just because there’s less of it. I’m tired, but I know it’s because I’ve been eating too much chocolate and bread and some might say I’m allergic to both but I love them so I just keep trucking. My favourite blanket is dotted with marks of it’s history, and it’s rarely around my shoulders or gripped tightly in my clenched fist. It sits at the foot of my bed and only gets pulled up on the coldest nights. I’m no longer worried about grey hair at my temples, or bits of celery and broccoli clogging the drain of the kitchen sink. I’m no longer fighting for the last word.

“Entry at the front doors only” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday April 9, 2014
11:35pm
5 minutes
said by the streetcar conductor

In Essaouira, we met a Parisian man named Francois. I wish I could show you his picture. He looked French, he sounded French, everything about him felt French. He was a screenwriter, on a working vacation, trying to finish a script. He rolled his own cigarettes. We stayed in a small hotel, in a room with french doors on the second floor. Francois was on the ground floor, just around the corner from the dining room. He was desperately attracted to the friend I was travelling with, but he liked my spunky sense of humour. I could tell. In that French way, he quietly respected each of us, her, with her otherworldly beauty, and me, with my wide smile and my jokes. When he ran out of tobacco, he asked if we wanted to accompany him on a walk into the main square. We did. In the blur of steamed trolleys and donkeys and brightly coloured carpets, the three of us help hands like pre-schoolers, and laughed as women clucked and men gave Francois high-fives.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday April 2, 2014
11:33pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


When Lee was a kid he used to sleep walk into our parents’ bedroom every single night and scare the shit out of them. I mean, I’m laughing about it now, and even dad is, but mom never got over it. She used to think he was going to murder her in her sleep! I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. Just thinking about Lee walking down there like a zombie, and just standing there over their bed. He could have chosen dad’s side, but he always went to mom’s and she was a light sleeper. He’d stand there, and his eyes would be wide open, and he’d lean into her, and just sway back and forth! I’m dying it’s so funny. I’m so SO relieved he never did that to me. I wouldn’t have made it! And now me and my dad, we laugh so hard at my mom, who every night would beg my dad to lock the door so she could sleep, but would lose, and would have to get woken up by Lee’s big bulgy sleep-wake eyes! Then one night, I know, this is so bad, but she locked the door without telling my dad, and Lee slept walked into the yard and stared at her through her bedroom window! It’s so bad, you can’t even write this stuff. Mom was so scared. She didn’t like being left alone with him even in the day time because she thought Lee was possessed by the devil! She made my dad take him to a sleep clinic to see why he had the urge to only stare at her.

“I was standing beside his bed” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday April 2, 2014
10:25pm
5 minutes
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald


1. I am standing beside his bed, watching the dreams escape from his ears, watching his chest rise and fall like the sun.
2. I am lifting a tablespoon of tea leaves in the green, pottery mug, waiting to hear the whistle of the kettle.
3. I am looking out the window, watching the construction change the house next door, watching a tall man saw a piece of wood. I wonder what he’s making.
4. I am reaching for the epsom salts to pour into the bath that’s running.
5. I am listening to him speak to his parents on the phone and tell them what’s moving inside of us and I close my eyes and feel the disappointment in his chest. I’ll make it better with sweet potatoes and coconut rice.
6. I am reading my younger self on lined paper, and I am laughing at my goodness.

“Spilled secrets” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday March 26, 2014
10:42pm
5 minutes
Atlantic Business Magazine
Jan/Feb 2014


You put your secrets on the shelf
Next to the coriander seeds
And the Moosewood
And you close the cupboard door
And you forget that they are there
Until you’re reminded
Like a leak in the roof when the rain comes
Suddenly
And all of a sudden
You’re flooded
You’re not quite drowning
But definitely unable to breathe
You’re gasping
You fall to the floor
Your back against the drawers that house the chopsticks
And the tea towels
You look up
You realize
Your secret spilled

“I believe that life is…” by Sasha at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday March 12, 2014 at The CSI Coffee Pub
10:07am
5 minutes
A writing group warm-up led by Dianne

I believe that life is like a snail, dragging its own slime, dragging its own house, sometimes getting stepped on and crushed and sometimes living on a sea wall, undisturbed, for five hundred years.
I believe that life is connection to the dead and dying, the remembering, the saving, the fighting for what’s been lost and is not quite yet lost – the great plains toad, the whippoorwill, blue walleye.
I believe that life is words in black ink on a lined Hilroy notebook purchased for ten cents at Staples by my mother.
I believe that all there really is…
I believe that all there really is…
I believe that all there really is
Is love
And breath
And change.

I believe that it’s all messy, and music, all teeth and bone, all muffins baking in the oven, all indulgence, all balance, all now.

I believe that “life” is “now”. From now on, in fact, from hereon in, in fact, my “life” is my “now”.

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Sasha in her bed


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:13am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I feel sick with worry that you want three babies. You tell me this over coffee you’ve simmered on the stovetop, sputtering on the white metal, leaving flecks of brown. I pour almond milk in mine and you drink yours black. “Three babies!” You say, like we’re choosing a colourful and slightly daring couch at Ikea. I don’t worry about the carrying or the baring. I have a round, strong body for this. I feel sick with worry because this world is so broken and I’d never say it to your face but sometimes, like a dark cloud passing over, I feel really hopeless. Sometimes this goes away and I feel only excited.

“The play you are about to see” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going West


Monday February 24, 2014
11:17pm
5 minutes
The Laramie Project
Moises Kaufman


When Capitalism is in crisis I rejoice. Fuck. What do I even mean by that. I’m not smart. I’m not a thought worthy of the name “idea”. What counts as something or nothing or… I’m not trying to impress you anymore. I’m tired of that charade.

Tonight I told a woman with fake tits and a fur scarf to Google “David Suzuki”. I made a joke about fish and then said something about my main man Suzuki and she looked at me blankly. Oh My God, I thought. She doesn’t know who the fuck that is. Oh good grief. I wrote his name on the back of a chit from the bar and said, “Google him. He’ll blow your mind.”

“Looking at those thin winter trees” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 23, 2014
3:28pm
5 minutes
Cairo Blues
Leif Vollebekk


If I opened my kitchen cupboards, I’d feel exposed, I’d feel excited, I’d feel giggly and sweaty-palmed. You’d see smoked paprika and pink sea salt first, truffle salt second, alongside pumpkin seeds and peppercorns. The small, red sesame grinder rests nearby, no doubt a small pile of ground seeds under her bottom. Behind that is a can of chickpeas, a can of kidney beans, a small can of tomato paste. A jar of popcorn kernels, nearly forgotten because I’ve forbidden Sam from burning another one of my favourite pots. Powdered kale, made by my mother, a small jar of her famous corn relish, corn shucked by me, small husk dolls made by Sam. On the second shelf are the oils and vinegars, the wet things that bring balance and provide lubrication in the roasting pan – Palestinian olive oil, organic balsamic, Umeboshi, grapeseed oil. Some people pride themselves on their shoes, or their books or their antiques. The things I hold dear rest on our tongues and go down our throats to our thankful bellies. The places I go, away from the thin winter trees, are carried on spoonfuls of coconut butter and sprinkles of cardamon.

“I’m working on organizing” by Sasha at Early Bird Espresso


Friday February 7, 2014 at Early Bird Espresso
10:37am
5 minutes
An e-mail from the Playwright’s Guild of Canada

I’m working on organizing my thoughts about feminism. For a long time I’ve called myself a “humanist”, perhaps a naive cop out in an attempt to disengage with the question at hand, a cop out based in fear of ignorance. If feminism means equality, I am a feminist. I feel a flutter of fear and excitement at that proclamation. I remember being in the third year of my undergrad and in an elective Gender Studies class called “Women’s Sexualities”. The professor was a short-haired, sweater-vest wearing lesbian with square framed glasses and a deep love of the term “insofar as”. I was resistant to the male-bash, to the man as predator, to the negative focus on the differences of gender. I was challenged by our discussions that felt far away from my actual experience as a young woman in an urban centre and more based in academic jargon and name dropped heavy hitting feminist scholars.

“I start anywhere and finish somewhere else.” by Julia on her couch


Thursday January 30, 2014
5:14pm
5 minutes
Kitchen Ghost
Teetle Clawson


I was born in a big city
A big big city
Lots of doctors
Lots of people saying they’re gonna do great things
Lots of immigrants trying to prove they made the right decision in coming here
I was born where I now am
I left for a while, barely knew it was my first home until two decades later
Lots of people
Lots of people like my family but even more unlike them
The ones I didn’t realize also lived here
When you’re young you don’t know
You just don’t know what the composition of your city is
You think it’s smaller than it is
You think it’s bigger than it is
You grow up and you leave where you had no choice in living in the first place
You come back to your big big city
And you try to fit in like you never left
You try wearing the clothes of your city
Try smoking the grass of your city
And when you’re away from where you knew, that’s all of a sudden when you need to write about it
The country
The schools
The mean kids
The narrow minded views
The Mennonites
The cheese factories
The empty highways
Cause you write about what you know

“We’ve been expecting you” by Sasha at her desk


Friday December 6, 2013
6:57pm
5 minutes
a Welcome To Toronto lamp post sign

I understand that you’re practising honesty. I understand that when you woke up you smelt fear. I understand that you peed blood and now you’re terrified that you’re dying. I understand that that probably makes you want to fuck other people. I understand that I might find you under a pile of clothes you’ve been meaning to bring to Goodwill. Here’s my good will – I love you. I’ll whisper that and I’ll scream it, I’ll sing it to the tune of Someone Like You. I’m sorry but I’m not sorry. It’s overrated. “Sorry”. I’m over the pleasantries. I’m over the aromatherapy baths. I’m crunching road salt like Skittles and I’m saying “We’ve been expecting you” to Doubt.

“I’m glad I am” by Sasha at Bicerine Espresso Bar


Wednesday, September 4, 2013
9:36am
5 minutes
Julia’s warm-up

I’m glad I am in the delicate inner petals where words for colours are a joke I just keep laughing at, alone, but so full. I’m glad I am free of the worry, the chain I see around her wrist, her ankle, their necks, holding them together but keeping them apart, too. I’m glad I am pure liquid, in keeping with the blood thing, the 80% thing, the tide in here, in the ribcage and the scapula. I’m glad that I found out about the itch of wondering and the scratch of knowing, of being so compelled tears are always one blink away, just like my mother.

“I remember” by Sasha at the TUA Artists’ Retreat at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday, August 25, 2013
2:02pm
5 minutes
From the writer’s workout warm-up

I remember the moment the first star came onto the sky, like a genius idea, like the “Ding!” of that lightbulb moment. From where I stood, looking up, the trees were like giant pillars in the cathedral of the forest. I remember thinking I heard footsteps and realizing that it was my heart, my blood, the wish of joy holding fast. I watched each star appear – Ding! Ding! Ding! – until there were hundreds, thousands, millions and trillions, until I could’ve paddled the Milky Way like the Spanish River. Only then, when they were all there, when we’d all gathered, did I lie back and let the earth hold me. It was cool and firm, it was strong and wide. I didn’t want to blink. I didn’t want to miss a minute of the show.

“viciously funny” by Sasha at R Squared


Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at R Squared
6:31pm
5 minutes
from the SummerWorks Performance Festival guide

They are eating chips for breakfast. They have freshly washed hair and are wearing variations of the same khaki shorts – hers are lighter in colour, his are longer in length. She has sunglasses on top of her head. When she puts them on, they’ll be smudged. He holds a brown manila envelope. She sits. He stands. They feed each other chips. I’m not the only one watching when she sucks his finger and he blushes. The enormously tall man sitting beside me, wedged in, really, he’s also looking. He is not charmed, like I am, thinking back to myself at twenty, thinking back to the firsts. Enormous Man has downturned lips and a deep wrinkle in his forehead. He gets off the train. Boyfriend kisses Girlfriend with salty lips.

“you fit the part” by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:12pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I am sitting on the bus. It’s late, not the witching hour but late enough that there’s a tickle of tired in everybody’s eyes. A man is slumped in a solo seat. He is asleep. There’s a baby carriage near him, with a sleeping boy, two or three. They both sleep. It’s peaceful and disturbing. When the bus starts to pull away, the carriage goes lurching forward. I gasp. I put my foot out to stop it, I grab at the side. The boy doesn’t wake. Neither does the man. “Uh…” I say, mostly to the bus driver, a little to the woman with a shaved head sitting across from me reading her Kindle. I want to take the boy out of the carriage and sing to him, I want to adopt him, I want to start his university fund. The man sleeps. The bus driver tries to rouse him, unsuccessfully. “Is he drunk?” I ask. “No,” says the driver, matter-of-fact. “He’s sad.” I don’t ask how the driver knows this man is sad, perhaps there is a code of understanding reserved for those that encounter people day-in-day-out of all corners of this city. Perhaps it’s a “guy” thing. He’s sad. He’s sleeping. He’s sad. Okay. I get down on my knees and put the lock on the wheel of the stroller.

“GTA” by Sasha at The Common on Bloor


Monday, June 24, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
1:39pm
5 minutes
The Toronto Star

I was born in a small, red cabin in the Scarborough bluffs, the cabin nestled in a ravine that could’ve fooled you that it wasn’t in a city, that it was in the woods. I went down to the lake, as a little girl, and collected green and blue sea-glass, lake-glass, my OshKosh overall pockets weighed down with the old and the new, the sharp and the smooth. My parents broke up and my Dad moved West, stretching the boundaries, growing my view of my city, moving into Parkdale before Parkdale was cool, the dogs and health-food stores of The Beach feeling very far away on those Tuesday nights and weekends. At York University for my undergrad, I learned about the schism between the ghetto and the Institution, gunshots and graduation hats, house parties and rape whistles. The Annex was a stepping stone, a two bedroom, paper-thin-walled, apartment with my best friend the perfect lily-pad for early twenties landing.

“Most Stylish” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, June 12, 2013
12:32am
5 minutes
the Cycle Couture business card

En route to the Big Island of Hawaii, the first of two adventures in my twenty-fifth year, I sat beside a woman named Nancy. The flight was from Vancouver to Maui, where I would transfer to a small Hawaiian air flight. I would be met by someone named Robert from the yoga centre where I would be working and living for the following six weeks. But, I digress. Nancy was a nurse in Nunavut. Nancy’s face reminded me of a plum. She was a big woman, with a full head of curly maroon hair. I am not one of those people that’s eager to talk on airplanes. I’m not a nervous fly-er but I enter into a rare, introverted zone where I’m unbelievably satisfied by the in-flight entertainment system and my pack of spearmint gum. When Nancy sat down beside me I took her for a talker and my intuition wasn’t off. She asked my name and if I minded that she used her neck pillow. I told her my name and said, no, of course not. She asked if I had a nut allergy. Nope. All clear there. Once we had taken off, once the seat-belt sign was gone, Nancy loosened her seat belt and began blowing up the neck pillow. “What takes you to Hawaii?” She asked, and I told her. She looked very impressed. “What about you?” I couldn’t believe I was doing that, asking questions back, going against all pre-conceived notions of myself as a flyer. “It’s my first vacation in fourteen years,” said Nancy, smiling wider than the sky.