“We are writing to confirm” by Julia on the 99

Tuesday November 21, 2017
5 minutes
from an email


(Please turn over)

Your attendance and your baby names are requested to attend the aforementioned event on Tuesday November 21, 2017 at 8:59pm, located at the fountain (you’ll know it by the baby lights, can’t miss em).

We ask that in lieu of monetary gifts, you and your guest please bring three names you would like to see our baby be called. Points for creativity and uniqueness will be awarded! Cemeteries are great places to get baby name inspiration-they’re not using them anymore so why not! Also, words in various languages that mean positive things will be most welcomed.


“don’t trip on the stairs” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday June 13, 2017
5 minutes
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
Neil Gaiman

Call me shaker Call me howler
Call me maker Call me feast
Call me famine Call me reverent
Call me simple Call me beast
Call me sing Call me frenzy
Call me chaos Call me great
Call me famine Call me bringer
Call me omen Call me fate
Call me shuffle Call me changer
Call me teacher Call me sin
Call me runner Call me muscle
Call me gold Call me win
Call me birch bark Call me tinder
Call me flint Call me steel
Call me engine Call me bullet
Call me handmade Call me wheel
Call me mother Call me lover
Call me woman Call me moon
Call me bear Call me elephant
Call me wolf Call me loon

“Bad bitch” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday March 28, 2017
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

Eddie carries around her Coffee cup with the name “Bad Bitch” written in sharpie. She did not ask for double capital but the kind barista soul knew that she was deserving. She drinks from it, she embodies the statement. Eddie has been about Power Statements since she got suckered into participating in a colour wheel at Lush that convinced her to buy the deep burgundy lipgloss in Confident.

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

Saturday March 25, 2017
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.

“Is the client’s wish achievable?” by Sasha at Platform Seven

Monday February 15, 2016
5 minutes
From a treatment plan at Black 2 Blond salon

Michael comes in and says he has “something to tell me.” I nod. My voice is tired from work yesterday so I’m trying to rest it. No need to use words when my head can do the job.

“I don’t know why, but for some reason you have always called me “Michael” and that’s, that’s not my name.”

It looks like it’s hard for him to say it. I feel badly for him. I wonder how dominant his mother is, in her parenting style.

“What is your name?” I whisper.




“What does it say on your birth certificate?”

“Michael J. Johnstone.”

I nod again, to save my voice.

“used to cook turnips” by Julia on the 4 bus

Saturday February 6, 2016
5 minutes
A quote by Rumi

Pine doesn’t like to eat anything with a fork. Like some weirdo with a weirdo name, she’s my mother in law incarnate. I swear when Krista wanted to name her Starcup I had to intervene cause she was hellbent on turning our kid into a a damn lightening rod–someone sticking out like no tomorrow. Krista wouldn’t settle on anything more normal than Pine. And Pine only eats with her hands cause Krista likes to tell her “challenge the system” or something.

“She said she was an actress” by Julia at Grange Park

Friday, July 3, 2015
5 minutes
said by a Valens customer

She said she was an actress
Her heart the bleeding kind
She said she was a change maker
Her heart the bleeding kind
She said she was only half living
Her heart the tortured kind
She said she was only half being
Her heart the tortured kind
She said she was a lover once
Her heart the open kind
She said she was mother once
Her heart the open kind
She said she was an actress
Her heart the beating kind
She said she was a slave to the art
Her heart the beating kind
She said she was unhappy
Her heart the breaking kind
She said she was wasn’t done yet
Her heart the breaking kind

“we thought we’d play a little trick” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday February 25, 2015
5 minutes
Betty and Veronica Double Digest
The Archie Library 215

You played a trick on me – running like there was something chasing. I’m being chased but that’s the funny thing, that’s the strange thing, you’re not chasing, you’re TRICKING. Every time you say, “I’m not”, you mean “I am”. TRICK! Every time you touch my face, gentle like dew, you say, “I’m here”, you mean “I’m gone”. TRICK! And then I do the inevitable thing of looking at your phone BEEPING all the damn time and there are names I don’t know there, so many names, S names and L names and M names and O names and I’m overcome with the TRICK and the TRICK tastes like garbage. I do the inevitable thing of pretending. Now I’m the TRICKSTER! I pretend I didn’t see the S and the L and the M and the O and you pretend you didn’t see them either and we’re both so fucking good at pretending, we’re the TOP TRICKSTERS, we’d get the gold and the silver and the bronze.

“Share with a friend!” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 26, 2014
5 minutes
from a thank you card

She stole my baby name and that’s why we’re not friends. I told her, I said, I’m really excited about this name, it means a lot to Philip and I, and I can’t think of a single better name for our future child. So I laid it all out. I was honest, I was candid. I made sure she knew the stakes were high for me. There has to be some sort of unwritten, or even written, fully and explicitly written rule about baby name theft. And how if it’s not illegal, should be. Even if someone isn’t pregnant, it doesn’t mean their baby name is not still something incredibly important. And Sheila was pregnant, sure, and fine, but, but, she took something from me. A million other names in the free world, and my best friend, takes my best name, and then acts like we never had that really clear conversation about what we would name our kids that rainy march saturday afternoon. The nerve. So obviously when I found out that I was unable to conceive, I withheld that information from Sheila because I learned to only share important things with real friends.

“A lot of new clients” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday October 9, 2014
5 minutes
from Million Dollar Critic premiere episode

It’s okay, Little Tweet, it’s okay to have those nightmares. I heard you cryin’. I heard you banging those sticks together, Little Tweet! Oh, I wanted to come an’ see you and tell you it’s okay but… Oh, Little Tweetie… Lemme hold your hand. Let me hold that little seashell hand. It’s okay, sweet one, baby, little tiny Little Tweetie. I’m gonna tell you a secret that I learned from a woman on a Vision Quest… That’s not what they called it at the time but it’s what I’m going to call it now. Because you’ll understand that. It’s about names. It’s about changing your name. I’m not saying that you should change your name, Little Tweet, it’s that you have options… See… I used to be Barbara. I ever told you that? On my Quest the woman said that I appeared to her to be Talahena. So. You know me as Talahena. And it may change. It may change. Now, your Papa gave you Little Tweet but I don’t know if that’s who you are anymore!

“study and travel” By Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday October 5,2014
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

She chose her own name and she chose “Alibi”. She heard her father say it, something about his work, something about people with scars on their wrists and tired tongues. She chose her birthday and she chose today. Crisp, like a Gala apple. Blue sky like the birds soaring. She sang only in the forest because she found the trees to be the most receptive audience. She found the trees to listen with their whole being, not like people, not like us, arms crossed, teeth gripped like we’re afraid our own voice might escape.

“Virginia” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Thursday June 5, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
from a sign on the wall of the Antique Shop

I wanted to call her Ginny because I thought that was cute but Madeleine bit my head off about it and said I had to call her by her full name, Virginia, or everyone else would start calling her stupid “off-shoot” names. She said “off-shoot” as if it were some terrible disease. I think nicknames are sweet. Mad never cared that I called her a short-form. It wasn’t an “off-shoot” as much as it was a term of endearment. Something you call someone that means something to you because it’s your thing and her thing or his thing or whatever. Anyway, Virginia ended up being a boy so we had to think of another name for her after all. I always picture when we have a girl, or if we do, that Mad will want to still call her Virginia and maybe I can call her Ginny when Mad’s not around so it can be our special thing, just the two of us. Names are a very important part of a person’s identity. I don’t want to have a kid that has to go around correcting everybody just because they call her a name her mother doesn’t like. She’s the one who calls me Mike when she knows my mother hates it when I get anything other than Michael.

“You want to be just interested enough” by Sasha at Fresh on Spadina

Monday March 17, 2014 at Fresh
5 minutes
from an interview with Barbara Kingsolver

After it was all said and done, we named you as our CEO. The Coolest Ever-changing Opinions. The Clumsy Effervescent Oracle. We weren’t sure what the letters stood for, just that we liked the ring of them, strung together in a row, like bauble beads on a necklace of our grandmothers’. We crowded around pots of peppermint tea and tried to rationalize our self-righteousness. You told us to quite Facebook, like a kind dictator, and we did. Jon didn’t, too addicted to the Newsfeed of his ex-lover, and he was ousted quicker than an illegal immigrant in San Francisco. You and I made love on the couch and were discovered by Viv and Javier but they just kept on, into the TV room and watched Survivor. We came to the sound of tribal drums and someone called “Elizabeth” being voted off. You also made love to Viv on the couch, and Larissa, and, perhaps Jon, before he was ousted, but it didn’t even matter. Or, it did, but what mattered more was that we had a leader, and that that leader had broad shoulders, ripped jeans, and had been to a commune in Vermont where they make kimchee and grow strawberries.

“Namesake” by Julia on her couch

Monday December 23, 2013
5 minutes
the album Love Takes No Prisoners
Anthony Wilson

I was supposed to be a Zoe. My mother always liked that name but she felt weird giving me one that didn’t tie with the family. I’m glad she didn’t. It’s always weird thinking of the differences in my life that would come from just having a different name. I was worried when I was younger that my name would dictate everything. Not a Britney. Not a blonde. Not an Emily. Not the cute one. It was silly. I know that now. My father jokes about planning to name me Geppetto. From Pinocchio. That really bothered me. I was a dumb kid, I believed everything anyone told me. And I was mad at my father for trying to name me something so stupid. As if that were the real name I should have had and thus developed all the qualities that go with it.

“I spent decades awakening” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake

Sunday, September 15, 2013
5 minutes
Her Account Of Herself
Amy Gerstler

It’s like you re-learned your name. Now, when you say it, you claim it like a plot of land. You put your flag down and mark the territory as yours and only yours. Remember when you called yourself “stupid”? Remember when you looked at yourself in the mirror and you sucked in and pushed out and puckered and picked? Remember the sound your father makes when he sneezes, rattling the paintings on the wall? I was glad, when you breached for air, that your face wasn’t blue. I was glad you had colour, high in your cheeks, the colour of fruit salad. You’d been underwater for quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what it was all going to look like. You were stronger, your shoulders screaming “SWIMMER!”

The last time I saw you, you were wearing your flippers and goggles, your navy blue bathing suit, but you said you’d misplaced the mouthpiece, the scuba diving paraphernalia that would allow you to breathe down there, with the coral and the tiger-fish.

‘ONE DRY PINT’ by Julia on her couch

Thursday, April 4, 2013
5 minutes
from the cherry tomato carton

Harry sat at the bar hating his name. He couldn’t stop thinking about how old he sounded on paper–how British. Harry’s mother didn’t speak a word of English and heard the name Harry once while struggling to shop for what she called a “water go, pasta stop.” No one at the store understood her-except for a lucky encounter with a shopper named Harry who recognized her needs. “A colander?” He asked, helped her pay for the stupid thing, then smiled and said his name. She didn’t tell him her name. She was private like that. But she felt like she should thank him somehow for helping her the way he did when she felt all alone in a new country. And unlike any one else who’d buy him a nice bottle of wine or something, she named her first son Harry. Harry always hated his name. He orders a pint of Guinness and stared at it while thinking about his assignment due in the morning for English Lit. He shouldn’t have gone to the bar in the first place, but he was stressed out because his roommate, Ryan, had just gotten dumped by his long distance girlfriend. Harry wished he had a name like that. Ryan.