“Wild nights-Wild nights!” By Julia at the studio

Thursday November 30, 2017
5:00pm
5 minutes
Wild nights-Wild nights!
Emily Dickinson

A steam of longing rises up,
possesses the space my thoughts
were busy occupying.

There, in the quick silence,
are your calve muscles, flexing.
The oven is loved on by you
and your desire to feed me
I could not say no to the offer
of home made lasagna at midnight
by a man in his perfect underwear,
leaning over the counter to grate
the cheese.
And I watched you close, desperately
trying to stay asleep in this dream
come true, dabbing at a lip every
now and again to collect the drool
forming. Did I mention it was midnight?
As if being made lasagna at any other time
of day would be any less wild.

Catching me in mid breath,
transported back to your
kichen with the bechamel stained
stove top, I am a mess of memory
gooey, liquid.

“beneficial to anyone” by Julia at Peterborough Inns & Suites

Monday October 23, 2017

9:44pm

5 minutes

from an email

Can’t drink anymore. When I do I’m no use to anyone. Can’t remember simple words. Yes and no get confused. No looks a lot like yes. No gets put on the shelf as decoration.

She told me years ago it was time to trade in the bottle. Said my body didn’t like it. She was right. My mother replaced it with structured silver. Said to take a shot of that every morning before I make any other bad decisions. I always had a good memory. I could tell you the birthdays of all 30 cousins and at least 5 aunts and uncles. I could tell you phone numbers of friends and loved ones up until 2008 (I got a cell phone late). I could tell you what you were wearing when we met. How your hair was.

“All in your head” by Julia in her bed

Monday October 9, 2017
11:55pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Tim Hortons

Imogen and Harriet are grinding their hips and Imogen likes Harriet and Harriet knows that. The music makes Imogen want more than what she has. Harriet doesn’t want to waste the song. Imogen thinks arching backs and swaying thighs is proof. Harriet wants to be free and enjoy each second because she doesn’t know when she’ll get another one.

The two of them remember this night differently.

“Woman suspended” by Julia in her bed


Monday September 4, 2017
10:58pm
5 minutes
from the BBC News app

I don’t want to get this one wrong. Tell me the events as best as you can remember them.

Hill stares at Joan, her eyes filling up.
I told you, I did it. I did it all. One minute I was against the wall and the next minute he’s against the wall. I don’t remember what happened in the middle but I feel different. Do you get that? I feel like there’s been a shift in my spine. My spirit. I am telling you it’s like I had a different one before.

Joan jots down on her graph paper legal pad. She looks back up at Hill.

“lick your thumb and go to town.” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Sunday July 23, 2017
1:03am
5 minutes
The Four Hour Chef
Timothy Ferriss


He puts the Sunday sauce on the table and dunks his forefinger into the bubbling red without a second thought. He tastes it, likes it, gives it a stir. His mother would be proud. His ribs slide off the bone like melted butter. He did well to remember how she did that. Sunday sauce growing up was what they’d call it when they actually had time to prepare a meal with as much love as they’d like to put in. Sundays are for dinner and for church on the little television and for home made bread. Now he Sundays on Thursdays or Tuesdays depending on the week. He makes a Sunday sauce and thinks of when he was a boy. When he came to Canada in January and saw snow for the first time. When his whole family liked being together before the sickness and the problems and the open wounds began to fester.

“Paragraphs of information” by Julia on Nicole’s balcony


Thursday July 13, 2017
12:15am
5 minutes
from a syllabus

Of course I didn’t ask for the ring with the gold flower when she died. I had wanted it since I was small enough to fit in her arms. But I got something better. When I spritzed her perfume in the bathroom I thought I was getting away with curiosity. Turns out my curiosity was too big to ignore. It was the first time she held me. She brought me out of the bathroom with love while I was embarrassed at being caught. Then she gave me the bottle of perfume I had tried on. Just gave it to me. You like it? Here, it’s yours. I cherished that bottle. I kept it in my closet. I didn’t know anything about her-there wasn’t a book about her, not paragraphs of information written about this woman. But I knew the smell of her young skin. I knew the size of her generosity. I knew the way her quiet was her prison. And how she wished she could have given me more.

“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.

“I tried to get Ben to go see it” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 19, 2017
1:55am
5 minutes
overheard at Alex and Charles’ place

On a Monday we asked him if he was coming with us or planning to and he said no
told us he had better things to do
said that we’d better forget about him all together since he’s more trouble than he’s worth
the next day we asked him again
he waved us off like flies, bothering his face
we begged him when he said no
we asked for a better reason
and he didn’t like that very much

On Saturday we swung by his place again and he said he didn’t know who we were
He said we were crazy for thinking
we were family
“why would I go anywhere with a bunch of spies!”
nobody had the heart to tell him
that Alma was breathing her last.

“it won’t matter what house I move into” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 12, 2017
12:09am
5 minutes
Love Warrior
Glennon Doyle Melton


under this roof you will
not lock the doors
under my roof you will not know something that I do not
do as I say, not as I do
do not correct my grammar
do not cry about every thing
do not forget that I would never let anything happen to you
do not raise your voicd to me
do not forget to mix vodka with orange juice
hi sweetie
Cut the garlic, fine
You’re going to be, fine
I love you

“All winter we went on like that” by Sasha on her balcony


Saturday May 6, 2017
6:07pm
5 minutes
After Birth
Elisa Albert


My brother Chris and Aaron became friends the summer of 1995. I would watch them playing outside from my bedroom window. It had the perfect view – straight out. We lived in a bungalow. If I didn’t have my bedroom light on, they couldn’t tell that I was watching. I liked Aaron okay, but didn’t trust him. Something in my belly knew that he wasn’t safe. It was a Saturday. Chris was in the kitchen heating up pizza pockets in the toaster oven. Our parents were across the street drinking palomas on the Hendrickson’s porch. I watched Aaron pull the legs off of a tree frog. He held the wriggling body in his hand, a small smile on his face.

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Julia at JJ Bean


Friday May 5, 2017 at JJ Bean
5:12pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


my family speaks poetry through me as I walk from my house to a place that isn’t
I am stopped on the sidewalk with the urge to take notes
They are dictating faster than I can write
The stories from our childhood, inspiration enough after the drought
I am greedy with rain and the secrets of our youth
the clues to finding solace in a memory built from our old garage,
the time we picked strawberries at the farm and made milkshakes,
the time we sang to Mariah Carey on the back porch and I made everyone
turn around to listen when it was my turn,
the time we got hats with the olympic rings on them at Mcdonalds,
the time we rode around on horses while they defecated,
the time I asked my older cousin if we could have a “talk” because I was feeling left out, the time they got the shots for whipping baby field mice against the brick

“There were times when nothing played back.” by Julia at the VPL


Wednesday April 25, 2017
6:13pm
5 minutes
What It Is
Lynda Barry


My sister and I used to make up songs about jello and school and Days Of Our Lives. We’d improvise them with our neighbour and choose funny nicknames and put on terrible accents. I still remember my big one. I am proud of the word play. I am proud that at 9 I was already writing songs.
wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily wiggily jiggily
Jello can be very jiggily
jello can be very wiggily
jello can be very very cool
jello can be all sorts of flavours
jello can be all sorts of colours
Ooooooooh–
(here’s where I bopped my sister on the head and told her not to take a solo because this was MY song.)
Strawberry, cherry
lemon, or lime,
jello can be very fruity
or even the pudding kind
wighily jiggily wiggily jiggily

(I didnt say the songs I was writing were good.)

“when you sign up” by Julia on the bathtub


Saturday April 22, 2017
9:43pm
5 minutes
From the Aeroplan flyer

The flyers keep filling up my mailbox. I am waiting for your letter. I have to check everyday that the flyers haven’t eaten it.

The summer was filled with mosquito bites and eye licking. You let me lick yours after we did mdma. We took photos of your keys and wallet from underneath the glass table.

You said you’d write and then you never did. I wished I didn’t care. Then you moved. And now neither of us know how to find one another.

“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.

“in her full out pyjamas” by Sasha in the bath


Sunday April 9, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the hallway

I want a pair of silk pyjamas. I feel very sophisticated when I put them on my Christmas list and ask my stepmother to buy me some – purple, with white pinstripes. I wear them the night I receive them. I feel like a queen, sliding into bed, the silk against my skin like a good dream. I fall asleep quickly and wake in the middle of the night in a sweat. What is wrapped around me restricting my movement suffocating my ribs and hips? Oh my god, get this shit off of me! I strip down, throwing my pyjamas beside the bed. When I wake in the morning I feel guilty. I promise myself that I’ll wear them on weekend mornings, to read and make breakfast. “They will be luxury loungewear,” I think.

“I can bearly remember a thing” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday March 25, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
From a fridge notepad

When this song comes on, it reminds me of you like that summer was last summer. It wasn’t. It was seven summer’s ago, and I didn’t even have a good time, mostly, but there’s something about you, there’s something about then, that catches like a bubble in my throat. I cough. Can I finally dislodge this? Can I finally blow you away?

I consider emailing you, with this song, in this coffee shop. But I don’t. I don’t need to write another chapter to that story.

“I can bearly remember a thing” by Julia at N and W’s kitchen table


Saturday March 25, 2017
9:45pm
5 minutes
from a fridge notepad

I can’t remember birthdays unless I write them down–or to buy onions, or to take out the trash. I’m terrible with names and with dates.
I love faces. I’m a faces person. I’ll never forget a face. I know a lot of people like me. We all joke about the kind of checklists we keep. My friend Bernice has a refrigerator notepad with a bear on it that says “I can BEARLY remember a thing” but I’m not sure she’s found the cure because I’ve noticed that every time I go over there the list is completely blank. My cousin Christina sets reminders on her phone, in her email, writes them down on graph paper, and puts sticky notes on her bathroom mirror. She’s very determined to remember. It’s not like she’s not trying. I don’t have a ton of methods. My preferred way of keeping on top of things is to sing myself songs about my tasks for the day that rhyme.

“It was ass-backwards” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 1, 2017
8:42pm
5 minutes
overheard on the Queen Of Cowichan

Meredith and Abbey were two kids I babysat when I was twelve. Meredith was five and she wanted to play pretend every minute of every day. She’d always start her role plays with “I’m the princess and you’re the baby and say you say ‘oh look how beautiful your dress is!'” I hated playing this game. How about I say what I say, Meredith? Okay? You say what you say and I say what I say, capiche?
Abbey on the other hand spent her two year life humping herself into the corner of the coffee table or the carpet, or the high chair every time I looked away. She’d stop as soon as she caught me seeing her. But then again sometimes she didn’t care that I was even on the planet.

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“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.

“We heard you loud and clear” by Julia in her bed


Saturday January 21, 2017
12:13am
5 minutes
from a text

I grew up in a cornfield
Nonna aproned in the backyard
Picking dandelions for supper
Knew all the kids on my block and sold drawings for pennies in groups of 2 or 3
We planted a sprig of pussy willow and it grew as wild and large as the entire porch
The people who repainted our bathrooms white with gold stars and moons had to cut it down because it was starting to grow into the house
We’d go for walks to the river in clusters of young
Not fully knowing which direction was the right one
The backyard was home to blackberry bushes and mint leaves
And to cousins and neighbours singing loud at the bonfire on summer nights

“what he did before fame” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday January 18, 2017
6:30pm
5 minutes
from a Google search

He was selling used cars on his uncle’s lot
working the graveyard shift at Tim Horton’s
crossing his fingers
dotting his eyes
dressing up as a Smurf for a promotions company
working as a phone sex operator on his sister’s landline while she was at work
selling cannabis products at the dispensary near his house
raking leaves at the cemetery
hosting murder mystery dinners
taking photos of his feet and selling them on Craigslist
building radios
teaching creative writing to the elderly
selling lemonade on the side of the road for 25 cents a cup

“bring it with me” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday January 17, 2017
9:19pm..
5 minutes
from an email

I don’t think I’d be able to leave it anywhere else. Not under the bed or in the closet. Not on the shelf or in the key house. I’d have to bring it with me because there is no place it belongs better than the place I’ve built. I carry it; the last thing you gave me. The world could shake me down till I were naked branch and still not be able to pry the light of you from me. I have stitched it on tight. I wear it when I cannot hold it. I wrap it when I need it bigger. I couldn’t leave that behind. Things already happen just so already…things already break too easy.

“rub your largest organ” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 10, 2016
12:27am
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

Marti came to my family in a time of great reducing.
She saw an opening in our fragile hearts, starting lives over in unexpected places, and she burrowed deeply enough that hers leached into ours. She was kind and she was good so it made it more tolerable but she was still implanting her life on ours. She comes to mind when otherwise she would be lost in prayer, when the others were lost to us. After long days and nights she surfaces again. Her kids covered in macaroni, her good intentions folded up in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“With a couple of girlfriends” by Julia at BC Children’s hospital


Saturday November 26, 2016
12:52pm
5 minutes
overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

I imagine her carrying her black bag, (bottomless, gold hardware, disgusting) to the gym and then the bank. She fishes around: hand plunged into crusty zipper pockets and crumbled Nature Valley Granola Bar lining. She doesn’t know what she’s looking for and what she’s hoping to find but she knows the answer is deep down somewhere between the Revlon Matte Lip Stain and the broken bronzer pallet staining her receipts pumpkin. I don’t think she’d ask a man to carry it for her when she gets tired of it, but maybe when she has to bend to tie her shoes. She knows in one of the pouches there is a yellow hanker chief that her grandmother gave her and laughed at when she told her she would wear it in her back pocket (peeking out just a bit) as a fashion statement. I imagine she tells her this joke during one of her grandmother’s coughing fits, but not that she will miss her when she’s gone.

“the channeling of heavenly love” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday November 8, 2016
7:51am
5 minutes
sunnyray.org

But of course he’ll leave before we resolve anything because he wasn’t meant to stay. He didn’t pack anything for overnight. He didn’t bring a toothbrush or his stamina to fight. He didn’t want to get cozy in the curve of me because he was afraid he would want to stay and he couldn’t stay. He had already committed to his other life and I was not welcome in that one. I had to ask him, Why Did You Come Back Then? And he told me, I Felt A Pull On My Heart Like I Was A Puppet and I Couldn’t Lead My Own Way. I asked, What Kind Of Pull? A Cosmic One? The Kind You Have In A Dream? He told me, It Was The Channeling of Heavenly Love And It Made Me Want To Find The Source. But of course he’ll leave before we both understand what that means, and of course he won’t consider that the source is quite obviously me.

“Nothing ever ends poetically.” by Julia on her couch


Sunday September 4, 2016
9:26pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Kait Rokowsky

Reese couldn’t believe her luck. She used to play the lotto crosswords with her grandpa every Sunday after church. They never won anything. Reese’s grandpa made sure not to show her how upset he was when they missed yet another chance at “hitting the big time” and she had always gotten an ice cream out of it anyway. It was their thing. Their ritual. Before each scratch he’s rub his hands together like he was about to roll the dice. It had been a year to the day since he passed away. Reese couldn’t keep herself from buying a scratch card in memory of him. She rubbed her hands together just like her grandpa did. She smiled down at the scratch card as tears filled her eyes. She had won three dollars.

“Who taught us to embrace life” by Julia at Kits Beach


Monday May 30, 2016
5:08pm
5 minutes
from a bench memorial plaque

There was a gleam in his eye as he let my brother put a cold grape into his hand. He was looking at me with a challenging look like he was about to do a trick and wanted to make sure he had my attention. I started to shake my head, smiling, telling him I knew he was up to something and I didn’t like whatever it was. He put the grape into his mouth and chewed it around for a second. Then when I looked away, he spat it out onto my leg. I looked up at his smug face and it broke my heart. Maybe that’s what the last visit between us was supposed to be like. Jokes and silliness. Him trying to make me laugh. Even at his least self, he managed to let me remember him exactly as he was when we was his most.

“Textures” by Julia on her couch


Thursday April 28, 2016
8:52pm
5 minutes
from an Instagram post

It’s hard for me not to see you in the wallpaper and feel you in the tile. Your life danced on these floors. Your heart wept in this bed. I feel you in the counter grime, underneath the green dust that has formed a film on the island–the spot where you placed all those freshly picked wild flowers for me. I tell myself it is not over. That you are still here and that I am still here and that this is still our home, the living room still a place where we used to make music, the kitchen still a place where we used to make love. I hear you in the buzzing hallway light, and the hum of the furnace. They sing to me your laugh and I am held there by the beauty of this pain. In moments where I am completely quiet, I can almost even see you reading in your favourite arm chair by the window, legs outstretched and resting on the blue accent pillow.

“American singer-songwriter” by Sasha on the 99


Friday April 15, 2016
6:52pm
5 minutes
From a Lenny Kravitz Google search

I’m not sure about much right now
just the look of spring in your eyes
Glint like water of Salmachain pond
We spent the whole summer there
1979
The year your father re-married and mine
smoked his last cigar
We’d meet when the sun was just above the big willow
You’d bring the frisbee and I’d bring the lunch
We’d stay until the dock was empty
Everyone gone home for barbecued ribs and bath time
1979

“a couple annual holidays” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


March 4, 2016 at Platform 7
5:09pm
5 minutes
from Sasha’s play

And there’s no time to wait
For my health to come back
I have already planned a vacation
I’m going away
I’m going to go
I’m not going to stop
Until I get home
I don’t remember what my yard looks like
Cause I don’t remember much
Was there one tree or two?
Did the cornfields shoot higher than the pussy willow?
I don’t remember much
Time has run out
In the most respectful way it could
Reminding me that I don’t have to
keep living like I used to
I wish for courage
I wish us all courage
I’m going back home with my ball of yarn
Going to wrap it around each branch
Each trellis
So I can draw a map of where I used to live
The hardest part of that is remembering
how to remember
I think I’ll write a note
In red red string
On the gates of all my neighbours
to let them know I’m back
And I’m collecting memories
Shiny new ones that I can still see
Maybe they’ll have more than just the ones
of my sister and me
selling drawings for 6 pennies each

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“Glottal stop” by Julia at her dining table


Friday, January 29, 2016
9:28pm
5 minutes
From an email

I remember his tongue like I remember my favourite song. His words were different when he was tired or when he was mad. I loved to see him mad. It made me wet. I want to explain that but I can’t. It just turned me on so fast I couldn’t hide it: flush to the cheek, quiver in my breath. He never knew that. I never told him. I didn’t want to ruin it, or put pressure on it. It was like my own dirty little secret, and you know what they say about two people keeping a secret…I sometimes think about his anger when I’m trying to get off with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. It takes all my focus and I have to picture him saying the right words, pausing in the right places. It’s very difficult remembering something that happened 12 years ago. But I know I can count on it so it’s always worth the struggle. I think back on the way he spit out his Ks and cradled his Ss before unleashing them all, wild and loud.

“you may feel strong emotion” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday January 27, 2016
3:55pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


You may feel strong emotions approaching a budget
When the numbers on the page are bigger than you’ve ever seen in a bank account
When the commas and the decimals won’t add up
When there are too much items and too few revenue opportunities
You may feel strong emotions that carry you back to grade school and not being able to get the seven times table past 28
Carry you back to math tutoring in the computer lab with the mock turtleneck wearing teacher
Carry you back to wishing you could bring yourself to cheat because you need that scholarship you really need that scholarship
What would you have thought you could do if it weren’t for these nasty numbers too straight too clear to little room for flexibility
The satisfaction of subtraction and addition isn’t lost on you but
in all the space in between
you fall

“Hard to hand over the reins” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Friday November 27, 2015 at Our Town
3:15pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Sun
Friday, November 27, 2015


They play the kind of oldies music that I love here. I can’t help but tap my foot and sing along. It’s a crowded place. Not the best spot for open expression of who I am. If my father could see me he’d be so embarrassed at how little tact I have. He always hated when I’d check to see if I had food in my teeth in a knife while sitting at a restaurant. He thought it was classy. I thought it would be less classy if I spoke to someone with spinach hanging from my gums, but no, what I was doing was inappropriate. I couldn’t tell you how many times my dad has embarrassed me just by being narrow minded. I never told him that I didn’t want to be seen with him, even if he told a bad joke, or said that people with dreadlocks shouldn’t work at a housewares store. I even remember one time he came skating with my grade 4 class and fell on the ice in front of everyone. I was 9 and sure, it was a big deal then, but I did not act like I was even a little bit bothered because I bet he was way more embarrassed than I was. In fact now that I think about it I was really just worried that he might have hurt himself and there wouldn’t have been room for anything else…

“that time of innocence” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 24, 2015
11:22pm
5 minutes
from a poem by bell hooks

It was a very knobby knees sort of pick your nose behind a book kind of pants too baggy in all the wrong places kind of time. Garrett was in love with me and asked me to be his girlfriend at least three times a day.They were very long days sort of strategic routes taken home from school to avoid certain people kind of too shy to say why kind of time. When I told him no the first time I think I was even cruel about it. I didn’t know yet that just because a boy was of no interest to me it didn’t mean he didn’t just use up all his courage trying to be. It was a very young kids playing in the cornfield sort of kiss behind the church before getting called into supper kind of late nights laying on the floor with candles lit listening to Bon Jovi kind of time.

“store solar power” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 18,2015
10:07pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

When we’re alone after a full day of kissing my family and eating tortelli you tell me there’s this new game you can’t wait to play when we get home. I don’t know why, but this bothers me. I can’t tell why I’m upset by this. You’re not hurting me by playing. Or are you? I haven’t figured out why my insides are twisting and my veins are pulsing. Am I looking for a reason to be mad at you? I try to delay my response because I’m worried it’ll come out naggy, or pissed off. I would much rather come to the conclusion of my feelings before involving you in an outburst. Is it because I wish I had something to look forward to when we go home? Is it because we have plans when we get home and you’re blowing me off? Do we have plans at all? I’m mad at how mad I am without quite knowing why. I rack my brain for instances to refresh my memory about why it is I can’t handle this decision. It seems like one you’ve made before. I remember that. Or something like it…

“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.

“211 Bannatyne ave.” by Julia at Horseshoe Bay


Friday November 13, 2015
11:50pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Remember when I used to come by your work and wait till you got off so we could go get ice cream and caramel sauce and walk the perimeter of the property together before you’d have to go back to your desk and count the hours till you were actually free? Remember how you’d try to take the long way around so you could spend more time with me without saying that you wanted to? Those sticky summer evenings when you would start late and work late and forget which day you were on. Those are the ones I think about when I think about you. Those are the nights I remember how lucky I used to be. Your building looks different now: someone tried to wash off the graffiti and now it just looks uglier. I have to stop myself from going to Nucci’s Gelati so I don’t get tempted by nostalgia to buy you a coconut cone, even thought we were always so disappointed by the shreds that didn’t even taste real.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“best learning environment” by Julia on her couch


Monday November 2, 2015
5:21pm
5 minutes
from the post for an English tutor

Ok, hi, can I ask you a favour? My sister, Mandy is in desperate need of assistance and I do not know if I alone can assist her. Maybe if I explain to you her issues, you’ll be able to better asses if you, in fact, can lend your help, or if you my know someone who is better equipped to deal with the inner workings of a twelve year old than you or I both are.
Ok, so, realistically speaking, she is unable to remember daily routine information. She does not know the names of her teachers, or if she has been using the blue toothbrush or the yellow one, even though all our lives we have had our very specific colours. She no longer enjoys watching reruns of Punky Brewster, which was her ever-living favourite television program of all time.
She also refuses to practice her times tables or eat ricotta cheese!

“open 7 days” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Saturday, September 5, 2015
6:59pm
5 minutes
from the sign at the liquor store

When she begged me to forgive her there were tears in her eyes and I was wearing a red and green apron that made me look very Italian and very comical. I couldn’t take myself seriously, let alone take her, so instead of being an adult, I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I’ve always dreamed about these kind of moments where the lighting is just right, there’s the perfect amount of rain, maybe a bit of wind, and an underscoring of building music that sounds like it’s just far enough away to be acceptable. But instead we were both covered in gnocchi flour and our bangs were plastered to our foreheads cause in real life there are no perfect forgiveness temperatures. I laughed and she got very angry. I didn’t mean to offend her but I was angry too…that she couldn’t have picked a better moment for all of her guilt to add up. Instead, right as the tester gnocchi were rising to the top, she fell to her knees and buried her face in my Italian flag.

“I can go by myself” by Julia outside Whole Foods


Friday, September 4, 2015
1:45pm
5 minutes
Overheard at the library

I didn’t think I could stand another minute of Bryan and his “band” covering Bob Dylan or Bob Marley or Bob Seger. They didn’t seem like the type of “band” that could easily do renditions of such different styles of music. It’s like, just pick one, you know what I mean? Bryan was trying to impress me because I told him once I’d never dated a musician before. That was a lie, cause Joe in high school played the drums and we dated for 5 whole months before I realized I didn’t want to marry him. Also, Matt, the busboy at the tequila bar, was a very good kisser and he happened to play the flute during his elementary school production of The Snake Charmer.

“Doll factory.” by Julia on her couch


Monday, August 24, 2015
12:43am
5 minutes
a receipt

When I look at your face, I remember my best friend from the 10th grade. I thought I had found my soulmate. Someone who I could talk easily with, be always welcome at her house, be always welcome in her life. I would have done anything for her and I thought she would have done anything for me. We’re not friends anymore, but you and her are so much alike that I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or if I just miss the good things about her and I’m forgetting all the bad. I know you’re different people. I know that. But your laugh is the same and the way you move like a dancer is the same. And the way you hug me is the same. So sometimes I feel like I’ve found my soulmate again: someone who understands me and encourages me and sees me. But then I worry if one can turn sour, maybe another one can do. You might not be cut from the exact same cloth, but in my fear pit lives the defenses that you in fact might be.

“I met my first savant 52 years ago” by Sasha in the Joe Creek garden


Saturday, August 1, 2015
5:43pm
5 minutes
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com

there we were
twisty smiles and fly-aways
cheshire eyes and moon smiles
there we were
reading palms like twilight
a tarot deck our only language
yerbe mate in a gourd
someone found on a road trip to san diego
on the nude beach
you were naked as the day you were born
i slowly peeled off layers
a red onion
all the way down to skin
against sand
“you’re the real deal”
you rolled a joint and i ran into the ocean
and you watched
blowing hearts
blowing kisses
she said we’d be here
the psychic from five years ago
she said we’d live where the earth meets the sea
where the trees sing the evening hymns
where the sun bobs like a buoy on the horizon
where the crows lead us towards the north star

“right on the train, first one out of here” By Julia at her desk


Thursday, August 6, 2015
12:22am
5 minutes
If Only
Fink


I heard the cry of your sorry bones
Creeping up to the surface
Poking through the earth, begging, pleading
The haunting was my lullaby
The dream a hoax fabricated by guilt and uncertainty
Far apart from you I wept
Far apart I wished it was my life that was buried instead
I learned to sleep with the white noise of your pain;
the gentle and ever-present reminder that you were gone
That my punishment for all wrongs otherwise
Was getting out of bed even after memory restored
Each day
To face your ghost

“how to be a parent” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday, August 5, 2015
12:40am
5 minutes
from Harper’s at a kiosk at the airport

Didn’t trust myself with Audrey. I didn’t know what I would do to her if I got mad and she said the wrong thing. I didn’t have the breaks for something like that. Some people, you know, they can stop on a dime, but not me. For me it’s 0-100 and there’s no taking back after that. Audrey, you know, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She always was. And the first time I realized I wasn’t safe for her was the last time. I snapped. I just…leapt out of my skin and I was a monster. Truly. At the time it was her or me. Feeding Audrey or feeding the monster. Only one of them could eat at a time and I used to make sure that I knew the difference. That wasn’t easy.

“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.

“supremely a task of communication” by Sasha at Joe Creek Artist Residency


Monday, July 27, 2015
10:24pm
5 minutes
Audition
Michael Shurtleff


He’s shirtless and we’re brushing our teeth. He sucks in his belly and hobbles around, scrunching up his face. I grab him by the shoulder and say, “Stop! Please stop!” He stands tall. “What’s the matter with you?”

I’m reading about the Holocaust and all I can think about is children being starved. When I see his ribs like that I think about him, miles away, unsure when and if we’ll see each other again. I think about him starving. Nothing gives me more pleasure than feeding him. I think about our future children, plump belly receding. I think about a great aunt’s child being starved, the weight of it a paperweight on my chest.

I can’t sleep. I toss the duvet off, then pull it on. I burrow into his armpit. I turn away.