“I could not agree with those who called the autumn a decline” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 4, 2019
9:08pm
5 minutes
Earthly Paradise
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

I will always recall the critique of my sixth grade teacher
in front of the entire class one afternoon as she made an
example out of me. The task was to draw three autumn trees
with pastels; the reds, the oranges, the golds.
I drew two reasonably lovely trees. I had spent so much time
getting those two just so and the bell rang. We were painting
on the hill outside our classroom and I was inspired by the
falling leaves, the perfect newness of September and all its
promise. Instead of quickly or poorly drawing one more tree,
or admitting that I couldn’t get it done in the time allotted,
I decided on the spot to rip the edges of the white paper to
frame the two trees I had drawn with an intentionality that I
was prone to back then. Such creative choices were so easily
discovered. I ripped it to give it a rustic look that would
mirror the trees and all their splotchy crowns: the dabs, the
finger tip strokes. When my teacher showed it to everyone she
said, This person was so lazy, they only did two trees and they
couldn’t even be bothered to use a pair of scissors.

“heart wrenching soaring n magical place.” By Julia on the 4

Monday February 11, 2019
6:04pm
5 minutes
Kits
Bill Bissett

Left my heart on the beach with the tide out

Sun dippin’ low givin’ glow to all the good neighbours

Those clouds, man, did they drink

I drank too like it might be my last sip and I swirled it there in my mouth, painting my tongue a kind of magic

Bear’s hands were holding the cups and I have the good eye so I took all the photos, freezin’ my hand skin as offerin’, trade, holy sacrifice

And then the red x pinged off the horizon and splashed us both diagonal, split us both in two cause then more of us could witness

Bear’s mug clanked my mug and we two stepped with the teasing foam as it came knocking on our boots, kissing at our toes

“Let us briefly consider the back” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday June 5, 2018
7:05pm
5 minutes
The Other Side
Sarah Ball

Built for carrying heavy all up and down the stairs
Used to holding tension in the crevices that can’t be reached without injury
The smoothest skin on the weakest part of me
The softest muscles bending forward and forward and the other way
Let us, if we might, consider how we can’t see it but must trust it’s there
even when it feels like it’s been buried under all the heavy
carried up and down the stairs
I would watercolour the shit out of yours, painting tiny villages along your spine
planting flowers at the base of the hinge that folds you
I would write you the sweetest words with the nicest flowing pen
straddling your hips, using your bum as a seat
and I would breathe life into you that you will never see without the help of a mirror
but will have to trust is there

“shit and eggshell” by Julia on the 9

Sunday, March 4, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
My Life Smells Like This
Amy Bloom

You are no longer sleeping here-I beg the smart side of my brain to seize the opportunity: Paint the fucking thing shit brown and eggshell, a reminder of just how useless you were. The smart part of body buys the brushes, borrows a roller and a tray, sticks colour swatches to the wall. The other side, the middle sister side, sits on the edge of the bed and seizes into a chemical tear bath. The salty breath is held there like a brown paper bag was trying to keep it from floating away. Laboured. Inconsolable. The smart side of my brain has it all figured out: Leave, let leave, let live, live, leave. Do not pick up the phone. Do not keep slippers in the room that fit only the feet who walked out on you. Don’t do it. Don’t ask the other side for grace.

“body painting” by Julia at her desk


Monday June 5, 2017
10:00am
5 minutes
A business card

The skin is smooth and ready for art. Kat slips off her robe, overrulling the knot in her throat trying to tell her to run.
“I am art”
“I am enough”

She is standing in front of a collection of new eyes. She reminds herself not to see them. Not to look directly at them.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
Kat lays herseld down on the cushions and waits. The instructor hasn’t said anything yet. No one has. Everyone watches. Nobody moves.

Finally a voice cracks in the back of the room, letting the light in. Kat hums her panic away, steady, low.
“I am art”
“I am enough”
The first brush tongues her hip skin upward into a smile

“imagery is ignored” by Julia at her dining table/desk


Tuesday February 14, 2017
8:29pm
5 minutes
from a grading rubric

On the wall that she stared at day in and day out, good lighting bad lighting, Cynthia hung a portrait of a woman with black swollen eyes and puffy cheeks. She was something of an attitude more than an appearance. She wasn’t saying anything so much as she was receiving something. Accepting something. Most days Cynthia didn’t have a reason to look at the woman and she hadn’t fully taken her in. Something about it was hard to engage with. The expression lifeless yet the most honest thing she’d ever seen. The look in her face was not sadness nor sympathy. Cynthia found it hard to look at things like that.

“my drunken soul flies” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Tuesday July 26, 2016 at BATW
6:53am
5 minutes
from the write up on the painting “Ascend”

Heaven forbid I tell you how I actually feel. I say that under my breath because I’m too afraid to say anything about how I actually feel with full voice. What the eff. Where did that start? When I was a kid? As everything in this life does? I had to do what you did when we were young because I wanted to be you and the only way I knew how to be you was to do what you did or what you wanted. That made sense. I was looking for lightening. Wasn’t about to spend three to five years wishing I was you without trying to make it so. I still want to be you on most days. You were older than me then but now you’re a painting. I see you still: beautiful and still. You’re not going anywhere and I don’t have to run to catch up to you. I don’t have to hold my breath and count to three because you’re not running away from me. I am a mess. It makes sense that I would want to live your life and not mine. But I still can’t tell you how I actually feel. Because my soul is drunk on doubt and it flies high when it’s left to its own devices. You are still the moon, and I love you for that. The shiny thing in my sky that makes me want to open my eyes and see…

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Tuesday February 16, 2016
3:05pm
5 minutes
From a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

P. is on a date at a Painting Cafe. You know, those places where kids get all messy during the day and then adults get flirty at night? One of those places. She’s never been to one of them before. Her date suggested it. She wasn’t sure at first, and then thought, “Why not?”

P: I’ve never painted before…
A: Oh, me neither.
P: Not even as a kid?
A: As a kid?
P: Yeah.
A: I guess I did as a kid.
P: Not me!
A: No?
P: My mother is a total neat freak. She wouldn’t let me paint at home or at school. Too messy.
A: Wow.
P: I had to stay inside at recess if it was muddy, snowy or raining. I had a special doctor’s note.
A: Woah.
Silence.
P: Anyway, don’t judge me if my thing looks like a six-year-old did it –
A: I won’t. This is just supposed to be fun…
P. starts painting. Silence.
A: Nice use of purple.
P: I love purple.
A: Purple Polly.
P. laughs but is very engrossed in her painting.
A: So, did you grow up here?
P: …
A: Polly?
P. cocks her head towards A.
P: What?
A: I just –
P: I’m trying to focus.
A: Oh –
P: Sorry, I just –
A: No. No…

“Me time” By Julia in Brooklyn


Sunday, August 2, 2015
2:30am
5 minutes
Facebook

Jonette had her long chestnut waves draping down her body so only her breasts were perfectly covered. She looked like a pre raphaelite painting. She looked like she had just stolen the ease of the sun. She was laying across the couch as if she just always did this. She could have had a book, or a magazine. She could have had a bowl of angel hair pasta dripping in olive oil and parmigiana.

“suffers from a lack of imagination.” by Julia at her desk


Saturday, June 20, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
from a quote by Oscar Wilde

Teeny had all her materials splayed out on the deck. She was painting her white canvas sneakers–had the idea to make them look like sunsets without actually being sunsets. She wasn’t allowed to actually paint sunsets. Just the feeling of sunsets. The essence.
Teeny’s paints were smeared across her face and neck. She was allowing herself to “get messy” and “stay messy” cause that’s what professor Islington told her she was missing in her life. “You need to let go and paint from that place of freedom and ease. Stop trying to control the product.”
Teeny couldn’t help herself, she wanted to control everything. Even this uncontrolled shoe painting that’s supposed to be free and easy was becoming work. Too meticulous and too formulaic. Professor Islington made Teeny feel like she lacked imagination. She would show him with these half planned and structured canvas shoe sunsets.

“Ungouge yourself” by Sasha at Benny’s


Friday, April 16, 2015 at Benny’s Cafe
11:17am
5 minutes
A yak.ca bus ad

Climbing into the oldest pair of pants I own, khakis that I got at a flea market when I was fifteen, I consider leaving this place. I won’t, of course, because Pete’s here and he needs me, but I have to give myself the gift of consideration. So, I’m painting the first floor. The furniture is moved away from the walls, draped in old sheets. The rollers are in from the garage, and I got discount paint at that place on Adelaide. It’s hot. Summer is full-bodied here, all sticky sleeps and popsicle drips. I might leave. Pete is getting worse. No one wants to say it, but it’s true. When he goes, I’ll leave. No one will need me anymore. That sounds sad, but I don’t mean it in that way. I’ll be free. Pete texts. “Can you bring orange juice?” He’s never liked orange juice, but chemo has left him wanting strange things, things he never had a taste for, like pulled pork and Oreo cookies.

“too damn cool” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday November 21, 2014
9:32pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Cool is the currency
Cool is liking that pink hat
Or… Is it?
Cool is
Cool is
Cool isn’t Celine Dion, he says
But when I was there
On the other side
The blonde haired dark skinned one
Low slung jeans
And sad eyes
Played My Heart Will Go On
With utter sincerity
Cool isn’t the painting above the toilet
Cool isn’t scrolling through your phone looking at picture of women in lingerie on Instagram
Cool is a judgement call
Cool is traded
Cool is coded
Cool is switched
Cool is that tree
Trees are cool
Effortless
Attachement (Roots)
Unattachment (Leaves)

“Pumpkins are awesome,” by Julia at her desk


Friday October 31, 2014
2:55am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Carlos came over and he had this great idea to carve each other’s face in our pumpkins this year. He said it would be more fun, and I was like, Carlos, I already know how this is going to go, but sure, fine, let’s carve. So I sat behind my pumpkin like I would behind an easel…or what I’m assuming I’d be sitting like cause I don’t paint or anything. It was just an example. And I looked at him, I studied him and all his features. I wanted to carve his face perfectly, and for someone who doesn’t ever do things like this, it was going to take all my concentration. I looked at every part of him: his eyebrows, his slightly larger left ear, the groove in his chin, the scar near his eye from the fallen icicle 5 years ago. I knew this face and still I was like, who are you? Like not to Carlos, cause I didn’t want him to get weird. But it’s like that when you look at a face for a long time. New things appear. Old things too, but mainly lots of new ones.

“You steal the water from the valley” by Julia at Bar Roma in Monteleone


Tuesday September 16 2014
5:35pm
5 minutes
Screenplay
Sid Field


An abstract painting is stuck in my mind-I think it’s an artist unknown and I think I dreamt about it this morning. It has lines across it like a grid and speckles of what I’m interpreting as gold or light are all winding around the thick grid’s lines. I think I’m happy to be in this memory but I can’t tell because I’m trying so hard to peace it all together to figure out what it means, and I know you’re not supposed to do that with abstract paintings. I know you’re not supposed to do that with abstract paintings. I know you’re supposed to just look at them and feel something, usually lifted or weighed down, happy or sad. When I see this painting in my head, I see it perfectly and I calculate it imperfectly. I become obsessed with the measurements, the directions, the reasons. I don’t know if I feel anything because of it other than confusion and attraction and my wondering of this angers me because then I’m stuck figuring out my feelings instead of just feeling them. I put down my guard for a second and a taste of honesty slips through. I can’t catch it in the air–I don’t dare welcome whatever might change me.

“do something which both parties desire but are unwilling to do” by Julia on Nicole’s couch


Tuesday September 2, 2014
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the English translation of mamihlapinatapai

It was a look. It started out that way at least. He saw her standing in the rain with a broken umbrella at her feet and melting ice cream cone in her hand. She was letting it drip down her wrists and arms. It was sort of beautiful. Like an abstract oil painting of a feeling or a sentiment, captured by circles and lines and bright colours all winding into each other trying to tell a story of life and suffering.
She didn’t notice him there because that would have diminished her moment. She didn’t see anything but the rain falling around her so hard it looked like there was none coming down at all. She didn’t see the look he gave her which came from not his eyes but his chest. A heart beating wildly inside and for something he couldn’t quite explain or express. It wasn’t a quantity he could estimate or a dream he could decipher. It was her in all her perceived loneliness, in all her pain that he was adjusting to. Without moving, careful not to disturb her; careful not to disrupt the catharsis that was forming in his throat.

“customize the formula” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday April 3, 2014
10:36pm
5 minutes
ivillage.com

She thinks about her future, yeah, she sees the colour of her life. The mornings are blue, yeah, soft, yeah, like cheek, yeah. The afternoons are yellow, yeah, like a daffodil, yeah. The nights? The nights are velvet red, rich red, yeah, like lips. She thinks about her future, yeah, and she sees that wide colour palate, the one that stretches across the horizon at sunrise, yeah, sunset, yeah. She mixes midnight herself, yeah, she forgets about taking away and only adds. She adds, yeah.

“photo or canvas prints” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, September 12, 2013
1:33am
5 minutes
from a photography brochure

I think because I bought them for him for his birthday, Al thought he needed to use all the canvases up in one week just to show me that he was appreciative of the gift. Truth is, I didn’t know what else to get him. Everyone else, it seemed, was giving in to all his childhood desires and making sure he was spoiled rotten. Video games, and movies, a couple baseball hats. I didn’t even buy one thing for the kid, just showed up to Amy’s house on Saturday afternoon, early enough that there were still pork sliders left, and watched what he was getting. Then I slipped out of the party kind of sneakily I suppose, and I went back home to my garage. I was thinking about giving him some of my old ones, but when I saw how discoloured they were, I thought, no, I can’t give those to my nephew for his birthday, it wouldn’t be right. So I took myself to the art supply shop and bought him some brand spanking new canvases, two brushes, and a variety paint set. Hell, I didn’t even know if the kid was artistic or not, but I sure as hell didn’t want to be like everyone else keeping him inside and cooped up just so he wouldn’t bother any body. Turns out he likes to paint.

“you fit the part” by Julia on her couch


Sunday , August 11, 2013
11:30pm
5 minutes
from a thank you card from a friend

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

I’ve heard it’s hard to paint ringlets, and if so, get researching. I have a head of hair that could combat the storm, and it needs to be perfect, perfect.
you have the fine lines of an artist, the deep set brow lines that let me know you’ve been examining again. The off colour in your cheeks when you prefer painting in your garage and not with natural light. The lonely things you say sometimes that remind me you spend most of your days by yourself.

I want to be your muse, paint me up, make me up, I’ll be on your canvas bright.
You can opt for brushes, or use your feelings to make it work,
work me up, work all night, just to get you through.

Let me help you out. I’ll come in, read books to you, massage your shoulders, and prance around in tiny pyjama bottoms that show of my legs so you can be inspired. Or I’ll bring you your deep dish pizza from Dominos and we can start a fire with all the scribblings you’ve done that don’t quite capture my smile or my spirit.

“in places like London” by Julia in her backyard


Sunday, July 14, 2013
10:02am
5 minutes
For Selma
Langston Hughes


That’s where we went and I found out I hated you. Sort of a last minute decision to go and then I was excited I went, but soon after all you could talk about was money and clothes and shit you do that’s better than me and how you thought I wasn’t grateful because I criticized the paintings hanging in your brother’s hallway. I didn’t know they were yours. I knew they were shit but I
didn’t know you painted them. So sorry. But like, not really. And I hated you because your hair was always perfect. And I hated you because your tolerance for alcohol and smarmy men was higher than mine. And I hated you because you smelled like almonds even after drinking. I don’t like feeling inferior to you. I don’t like feeling like you decide when I get to laugh or cry. I’m mad still, I realize this now. And I don’t want to go back to London. I didn’t get to see all of it because I spent the majority of my time thinking about ways to poison your croissantwiches or your shampoo. I was so angry that I forgot why I started to love you in the first place.