“Angel texted” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday July 4, 2018
12:26pm
5 minutes
V.I.P. Tutoring
Vanessa Hua

Angel texted, told me to look where I was going and to read while sitting down. It made sense. The text was very much related to a thing I was about to do carelessly. It came right on time.
Angel is always watching over me. I think she thinks she has to. She thinks she has to cause her name tells her she should. I tend to listen to what Angel has to say. If she tells me to wait until the next morning to make a hard decision, I listen. Angel knows how to get me right in the soft. She sent me an e-mail yesterday after waking up at the crack of dawn. She said the sky was “milk-blue” and it melted me. I love when milk is used to describe things, like the sky. I picture Angel knowing more about the sky than anywhere else. Maybe I think she’s from there and her name was given because her mother was a clairvoyant and there’s magic and stardust in her smile. I might name my kid Sunshine so she brightens up people wherever she goes and everyone thinks she’s ‘of the sun’ because her name makes them believe. I could name her Honesty so people are reminded to look inward. But that might be too heavy a burden to carry. What if there is shame? What if she reminds people they have lived in this life with secrets? Maybe she’d remind everyone that we have all lives our lives with secrets.

“your name is the strongest” by Julia on L’s couch

Sunday October 8, 2017

10:55pm

5 minutes

milk and honey

Rupi Kaur

They tried to call me everything but my name to keep me small. Nicknames that referred to me as Other. As too smart. Too different looking. Too unlike them. But big spirits don’t stay trapped in small towns just because everyone else is.

They learn early which opinions to keep and which to let slide. Sometimes they don’t even know how much they already know about themselves. They don’t realize they’re bursting at the seams but they are. They’re not changing to conform. They’re not easily bent. They’re busy trying to stay loud while being silenced.

“the meltdown” by Julia at her dining table


Friday September 16, 2016
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail
September 16, 2016


Now that she had a name for her pain it was easier to feel it. Started in the tip of her nose and found roots in her stomach. She had been carrying around the seeds of it. Of the pain. Of the pretending. It had been harder before when things sprouted up because the leaves were all so similar looking. No one was identifying the loss of her inside of her. She had first to grow it into something people could recognize. That’s when the naming started. No growing thing can be complete without a name. An identity. The power of believing it to be. Then things got worse. She tried to avoid it but this swaying thing with long branches was always moving around inside her begging to be remembered. She tried to put other things in her stomach to keep the thing company so it wouldn’t make her pay all of her attention to it when she needed to be smiling and get things done.

“reaction to terror” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 16, 2016 at Starbucks
6:25am
5 minutes
from cnn.com

Children at the convenience store are screaming something about a playground, something about knee-high socks, something about strawberry milkshakes. An old man on the bus is doing the same only about justice and about torture, and I think also about strawberry milkshakes. A woman waking up on a park bench is screaming something about homicide, and recklessness, and something about terror. Something about loss. It all blends in thick, swirling ideas and fears into a tornado small enough to package up and fit into the tight spot between our chests. We can walk the earth with the unknown and unknowing spinning, spinning, ripping up our insides and sending them flying to every corner. We don’t have to name it if we take it with us.

“calm and balance your mind” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, June 17, 2015
3:21pm
5 minutes
The Epsom salt bag

I had a good friend and I loved her and her name was Annie but she begged us to call her SID so we did cause it suited her but only after she dyed her hair bright purple like Easter threw up. I liked spending time with Annie who let me and only me call her Annie because she was full of good ideas about how to find “eternal happiness”. Once Annie showed me how to breathe and I didn’t think it was a very necessary thing because hadn’t I been breathing this whole time? But Annie showed me the right way and I paid close attention cause the way Annie breathed felt a lot better than the way I had been doing it and from that moment on I knew that I could trust her and she wouldn’t laugh at me for somehow not knowing how to do something I was born knowing how to do. When we went to the drive in, Tucker and Jesse and Leila tried to convince us to go cow-tipping after the movie was done cause we were in this big field and they said “SID, YOU HAVE TO COME WITH US!” And I looked at Sid with my “Annie” eyes and she told them, “why don’t we all just learn to breathe instead?”

“with my name on it” by Julia on the overground


Monday December 29, 2014
9:14pm
5 minutes
Little Lord Love
Mary Oliver


It’s mine, it’s mine, can I have it, will you give it, it’s mine, I’m behind, can I will it, can I kill it, will you let it, high and set it, a thousand dreams to forget it, it’s mine, all the time, can I drink it, can I sink it, it’s mine, with my name, can I own it, can I show it…

Sebbie had a crazy way of looking at the world. She was cold a lot. In her bones. So she didn’t know when she was uncomfortable or just unlucky. Instead of saying “it happened for the best” Sebbie goes out of her way to say “it happened for the worst”. I don’t know anyone who goes out of her way to say the “worst” of anything, but Sebbie did. She was trying to stay strong and good and alive and alert. She was trying to win the game of life, and by being a bit nutty, a bit realistic, she believed she was doing it. She was never good at sharing. She had a possession problem. She wanted everything to say her name and to have her fingerprints all over it. She wanted to prove she owned something in this life, not that you can take it with you anyway, but in case you could…she wanted it.

“32 million tonnes” by Julia on the tube


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

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

“Mummy, mummy!” by Julia on the tube


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

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

“She snapped the shutter” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday October 12, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
6:17pm
5 minutes
from the 2011 Toronto Star article ‘American Girl still walking tall’
Murray White


Cher was waiting at the bus stop dressed like a boy because it was Thursday. She was waiting to see the driver she had grown accustomed to riding with on her usual morning route to school. Maybe she should have brought an umbrella today, she wondered to herself, even though the skies were quite clear and the forecast showed no signs of rain. Cher couldn’t have been bothered to regret things so she put the thought out of her mind and into the big bubble she was making with her gum. Today, she thought, she would ask the driver his name and maybe tell him hers. He was always very nice to her, letting her ride without paying, or just asking her about her day on the days she still dropped in the proper fare. She wondered if his name ended in an O, an R, or an L. She was usually right about things like that. She was usually right about birthdays and weight-guessing as well. Cher stood there waiting and ready when all of a sudden she felt a tiny raindrop bounce off her head.

“the Devil who touched my body” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday May 3, 2013
3:53pm
5 minutes
Aleph
Paulo Coelho


I saw the polar bear swim the most beautiful breast-stroke
Eyelashes with gold sparkles
Purple high heels on his front paws
Flippers on his back
I decided to jump on his back
Velveteen
He laughed
I had to hold on
I gripped
I wasn’t afraid
I saw the red oak tree stretching
Trying to be taller
Unsatisfied
By Summer she’ll smile
I saw the dolphins doing Stand-up
They all bombed
But no one cared
The polar bear asked my name
I lied
I said it was ZOE
I wish it was ZOE
He believed me though
Why shouldn’t he
He called me by that simple angel name
He called me over and over until I remembered to answer
He asked where I’m from
“The ravine” I said
He looked unimpressed
He looked tired
“Let’s rest” I said
He swam us to shore
We dried ourselves in the sun
The sun like the moon but more outrageous
I hadn’t seen the polar bears guitar
It must’ve been borrowed
Or stolen
We sang Dylan, Springsteen and Joan Baez
Until the stars joined the sun
The sun said goodnight
The stars clapped along