“But he was never seen practicing” by Julia at her desk

Sunday August 18, 2019
1:38pm
5 minutes
Cato The Younger
Plutarch

He says he sets his alarm for 8:08am and that’s the earliest he ever gets out of bed on the weekdays.
Weekends? Jury’s out on that one. He says he wants to play basketball in a city that actually gives a shit.
He says the YMCA doesn’t have enough diversity. Not for what he’s used to.
Whatever that means coming from Ottawa.
When I ask him about the basketball courts near the beach he acts like he’s never heard of them.
I almost say but don’t: IF YOU WANT TO PLAY BASKETBALL YOU SHOULD GO TO A PLACE WHERE BASKETBALL IS PLAYED.
But he’s resistant to the thought of leaving his house.
In fact, I have never seen him practicing anything other than his litany of complaints about this city.
I too have traveled from away to get here, and I won’t be too judgmental since I used to talk shit
about everything and everyone and why don’t I fit in this, and why can’t I do that…
But I was homesick. So maybe he’e homesick. Or maybe he wants to say all the bad stuff to justify
his next escape move to another city. Tell them it wasn’t fulfilling, or the people didn’t meet
your expectations, or you couldn’t find any fucking basketball past the easy places to look…
I mean, if you were really that into something, wouldn’t you have searched high and low to find the right fit?

“A funeral” by Julia at her desk

Thursday August 8, 2019
10:21pm
5 minutes
Sophocles
Charles Kell

it’s a colour i can’t name
so i don’t bother

it’s not about getting it right
but the proof of you being gone

is louder when there is something
to nestle your name under

once here now not
the categories of today and yesterday

and should have called you more
and should have loved you better

it’s sad because i would have written
a really nice eulogy for you and

i know now i am holding on to that
as if it might have brought you back

right before you’d have to hear me
deliver it in front of everyone

no words can bring you back and i
have to accept that as hard as it is

not mine and not yours and not god’s
or whoever is doing the talking now

at the funeral someone else spoke
and it was fine for someone who

isn’t the colour that you are
the colour that shall not be named

“Arrow Lakes Hospitals Auxiliary Thrift Shop” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday July 3, 2019
4:39pm
5 minutes
From a sign in Nakusp, BC

I was dying to go in. I always am. You
on the other hand would be happy to drive
by the little spots and comment on how
quaint they look from the driver seat.
That is the problem with riding shotgun.

And what if there is a cute lapel pin?
Ever thought of that? How cute a lapel
would be with a pin of a tiny mountain
mammal? Or a reptile if you’re freaky,
and I know you are. Remember the reptile
museum we used to drive by? All those
exclamation points on the sign. Who has
that many exclamation points about
reptiles? The freaky ones, that’s who.
As we’d pass, I would shout out
REPTILES!!! and you repeat REPTILES!!!!
and everyone, both you and me, would
laugh because it was clear how many
exclamation points we were each using.

Maybe on the way back, you would say,
and I would know that by then it meant
we are just going to keep driving without
stopping and if we see something we like
or I like, I will have to be satisfied with
shouting it out to you. HORSES! I’ll say,
and HORSES!! you’ll repeat with an extra
exclamation point but we won’t pull over
to pet them.

“Fill those little spaces” by Julia on the 2

Thursday May 23, 2019
6:18pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the bus

I don’t have room for more feelings.
They say it you don’t let them out you won’t be able to make space for new ones and sometimes the old ones are what keep us sick. I thought I was releasing them but I’m feeling sick so maybe I was wrong. Feeling. I’m always the one feeling. Always considering how I might translate those feelings into words. There’s no room for new words. I have put so many in me that some of them knock around each other looking for a place to reflect quietly. They tend to fill up all the little holes and leave no air in the gaps. It’s very full inside. I don’t want to say too full because that seems ungrateful. I am grateful for it, whatever this is. I know it’s something good or necessary. I know there is no fighting it.
It is a practice, after all, this releasing. It needs attention in the morning, at night, on the bus.

“it’s a space for lively discussion” by Julia in Rick’s studio

Thursday May 2, 2019
10:08pm
5 minutes
from a CBC e-mail

We’re in the circle and we’re all waiting
our turns to speak and I for one am happy
and I for one am excited to tell them

Yesterday something came up for me that
I will address and if I wait my turn I
will have the floor and when you have
the floor you have the room

Some of us aren’t speakers but some of
us have been practicing in the mirror
and all of this rehearsing is useful

If you are not prepared it’s best to
leave the circle speaking to those who
have taken the time to get ready

Yesterday something came up for me that
I will point out so that others can be
aware of it and so it doesn’t happen again

Yesterday something came up for me

The circle is where we get to share our
truths but if it’s not honest what’s the
point of opening your mouth to speak

It must improve the silence otherwise it
can not serve a purpose among others who
are listening with their ears wide open

Yesterday something came up for me
and now I am ready to speak about it

“The relevance to actual practice has been questioned” by Julia on M and N’s couch

Thursday April 4, 2019
9:06pm
5 minutes
Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Practice in College Mental Health
Stewart E. Cooper

I mean they say practice makes perfect right? Hi! I’m here to tell you that the only thing practice makes is you better at making messes. What’s the perfect thing? What’s the perfect thing I’m supposed to need anyway?

I practice not hating myself
I practice not destroying my face
I practice not jumping to conclusions
I practice deciding
I practice the ukulele
I practice patience
I practice anger
I practice not giving a fuck
I practice not stealing.
And yet.
I am still a pile of shit most days.
I am still regretting my pop and pinch and pick and pull.
I am a full blown mess and some days I know how to clean it up and some days I wish I could evaporate into thin air and live somewhere that doesn’t require a face.
I practice these five and this five and those five.
I practice telling the truth and still find myself lying.
I practice words lit by a nightlight in my bathroom.

“He had to warm the guy up fast” by Julia on her bed

Tuesday March 12, 2019
8:53pm
5 minutes
The Obsidian Chamber
Preston & Child

So Ray is playing ball this year and he’s got one hell of an arm. I was warming him up in my backyard last night and that kid almost took my nose off. One hell of a pitcher. He looks like he’s having fun too and that’s in spite of Rory coming to every practice with his stupid lawn chair trying to get inside that poor kid’s head. Surprised he wasn’t on my porch hollering at me. Ray gets all of his attention. His other kid, well shoot, I don’t even know her name. She don’t play ball, that’s all I do know, or Rory would be splitting his rage between the two of them. Maybe she’s better off. I can’t tell, really. Ray seems to have his head on straight but at his age he could just be showing his shyness. He doesn’t want to be like his dad, so there could be some intentionality behind it as well. Either way, that kid’s arm. I’ll tell you, if I were hitting against him this year I’d be out at the batting cages every damn day.

“Three hundred years” by Julia at her desk

Friday September 28, 2018
9:51pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Barack Obama

Tonight I walked by a raccoon party. There’s some symbolism already, K tells me, and I should probably start looking this stuff up. It’s 3 raccoons at first and then I look to the left and there are 3 more in on it. One skunk. There is symbolism about skunks too, I’m sure, and I take a photo cause I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do. K tells me to look up skunks and raccoons and snakes. Together? No, K, says, just when you get a moment. Don’t make it your life’s work or something. Like you? I joke, but K isn’t laughing at all. K has drank most of her blood red wine and is asking if she can have what’s in my glass. I give it to her cause she bought the bottle and I care more about looking up the goddesses and whatever associated with the little lawn party I feel like I was a part of. No snakes on the lawn, mostly in text books and on medallions, and in stories. K wants me to write the story of my first day on earth. I don’t want to tell her that it might be pretty boring. It’ll start with Cold Cold Cold and then maybe lead into Cry Cold Cry. K isn’t impressed with my comedy. She says I am wildly talented but have a chip on my shoulder and sorry for saying so but it’s true. I think she might be right. I wish I didn’t give her the rest of my wine.

“hence it is important that you DETERMINE” by Julia at the desk

Sunday July 29, 2018
6:24pm
5 minutes
Snark Tuner Instructions

You must be able to read the language of your personality with care
Know how to take the truth and swallow it
Understand how to protect yourself
how to avoid swallowing too much air along with it
You must get good at asking yourself the right questions:
Am I hungry?
Am I Lonely?
There are others
They can work for all of us
You must be able to determine which thing is occurring
You must be able to listen to the answer as if it were a
new born baby crying with reckless abandon
As if it cannot be ignored
And then don’t ignore it
Pick up your baby (You)
rock your baby (you) with love
Kiss your baby’s (your) cheeks
And wait there for a miute
to be informed

“hence it is important that you DETERMINE” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday July 29, 2018
3:05pm
5 minutes
Snark Tuner Instructions

Today I scrubbed the glass
of the sliding door and thought
Oh this is spiritual practise
as prayer is
Oh this is prayer
Sweat beading on my forehead
squatted and smelling of
newspaper and vinegar

In May when we’d get
the cottage ready for
a summer of rentals
it was my job to wash
the glass of the sliding doors
and while I probably procastinated
I loved doing it
giving to this home that held us
through the joy
and the madess
giving to this mother
who gave everything to us

I’m glad that we know the
clarity of clean space
that the act of clearing
dust from the surface of the altar
sends a smile to my lips

“I am not yours” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
10:54pm
5 minutes
I Am Not Yours
Z. Randall Stroope

I think I’m yours but I’m not yours.
I am mine. I am mine first and I forget
sometimes when you come into the room.

Maybe you don’t notice I stop
what I am doing and follow you around
to the blackberies and to the fridge.
I am not yours.
I was’t born attached to you. I did
that big thing all on my own (you know
what I mean. My mother is a saint and
the Lord blesseth her, Amen)
I can do what I am doing. I can love
you without wondering where I went.

“Flying Housewife” by Julia on the 4

Saturday April 28, 2018
10:58pm
5 minutes
www.independent.co.uk

She has wings

Her hands know how to flutter at the end of her arms
Watch how she keeps herself up
Watch how she treads the deepest air

She is getting things done

Busy busy flying throughout the house before her wife comes home because her wife is the only one who leave the house little bird stays inside floats in the living room
Above the coffee table hovering along the shelves lined with baby photographs she is cleaning up the disagreements the mirrors collecting dust in all the ghosts of her lipstick affirmations she is keeping things tidy for when her wife comes home because she doesn’t leave so what excuse does she have not to have the house clean for when she arrives

She moves quickly to avoid getting stuck

She keeps her wings flapping
So she will be ready to use them

“You could get lost there.” by Julia at the studio

Tuesday April 17, 2017
1:11pm
Up
Margaret Atwood

There are no signs and so they warn you before you arrive
to keep your hands inside the vehicle just in case something
falls out of the sky
you could take a photo of the sun setting
get it framed and keep it on a shelf or take the
picture with your eyes instead and lock it
for a lifetime in yourself and then there are all the moments
in between that might read like the spine of your dreams where
you got lost in the waiting so deep and when you surfaced
you had no idea which direction south was which direction you were
facing and how to force those next steps taken
toward the hill
that might lead you to the top of it all where you’ll be able to
see the vastness of it all and then after the work is done
collect those eye blinks one by one storing each in a perfect
corner of your mind for those lonely days where the glow is
harder to find

“I have been in love with a life—“ by Sasha in the bathtub

Saturday April 7, 2018
11:18pm
5 minutes
Grammar School
Megan Fennya Jones

I have always been in love
with life. That is a truth
as sure as laugh lines,
as sure as chapped lips,
as sure as your voice singing,
as sure as the horse’s grey mane,
and the rising sun,
as sure as magnolia blossoms,
as sure as my mother’s knowing.

Even when I’ve lost faith
like a bus pass,
like an irreplaceable ring,
like a lover in another city,
like the name of someone
who I’ve met once in passing,
like the sound of the crickets
in the woods at Knowlton Lake,
like the tune to a song I wrote
as a teenager,

Even when I’ve lost faith,
I’ve always known that

love

is the
language
is the
religion
is the practise.

“We can’t get nothin’ tomorra.” By Julia in her bed

Tuesday November 14, 2017
11:08pm
5 minutes
Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

J is beside me reading Grapes Of Wrath. He wants to read out loud but I’m not in the mood. I tell him I just want to let my mind think itself to sleep. I’ve been very good at doing that. I close my eyes or keep them open and I tell myself, okay, think of all the things you need to do tomorrow. And then suddenly I’m asleep before I’ve gotten to the good parts. Listen to J read. Go to the water. Say I’m feeling full instead of busy. Call my mother. I think I’m quite lucky. Some people can’t sleep because of thinking too much and here I am using it as a game. Sometimes sleep has to be a game or I will avoid it. J is the one who helps me the most. He knows when it’s is to sleep. He knows when I’ve had enough for one day. I forget how to bring myself to the edge of tonight and tomorrow when I am alone. I fall asleep on the couch 5 times before I drag myself to my toothbrush.

“I didn’t hear that part” by Julia on the 84

Monday November 13, 2017
4:08pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 84

Oh he says he loves me needs me wants to squeeze me
Holds me shows me deep down knows me
Dreams me means me in betweens me
Wants me likes me day and nights me
He says a lot of things
Forever and always
Lots of love love love
He says he can’t live his life without me can’t stop won’t stop hugging up on me
He says something after that and before
But I do not hear them
Over the noise

“Powerful, self-actualized women should feel no shame” by Julia on F’s couch

Sunday November 12, 2017
9:38pm
5 minutes
Communion
Bell Hooks

When speaking
When listening
When choosing not to have a baby
When changing her mind about having a baby
When saying no
When saying yes
When crying
When asking the bus driver for help
When helping
When wanting to be alone
When wanting to be with him
When wanting to be with him even though he still forgets
When speaking
When listening
When making dinner
When waking up
When brushing her teeth
When taking a long shower
When touching herself
When asking to be touched
When deciding not to give an answer
When deciding not to justify her feelings
When not justifying her feelings
When saying no
When saying yes
When speaking
When listening
When wanting someone to hold
When wanting to be fucked and never called again
When fucking and not calling
When talking about her dreams
When breaking down in the supermarket
When buying a box of cookies

“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“astral projection, stress and depression” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday September 12, 2017
8:40pm
5 minutes
Binaural Beats & Healing Sounds on YouTube

I believe that some horoscopes are life changing and I’ve read them. I know they exist.
I am confused, however, that I can read something, understand it, find it moving, and then not be moved by it. I don’t know why putting perfect phrases, keys to the universe surely, into practice is so damn hard. All you have to do is realize your worth, allow your heart to express itself, decide what it is you’d like to do, and then do it. These are the simple steps laid out and yet I read them, but won’t remember them. As if I never saw the answers in the first place. As if I have to take the test day after day without having studied the material. Some days I am always guessing. Water? Do I need water? Do I need to flip an egg? Scramble it? Fresh air? Do I need to use the bathroom? Do I need to stretch? Vomit? Be so mean to all the good things? Do I need to cry it all out?

“I was speaking body-to-body.” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday June 21, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
from an interview with Lidia Yuknavitch on http://www.bloom-site.com

Horay, you fixed the bed. Now our bones don’t crumple in at the meeting place. I never knew how much knee crawling I do until receieving the cease and desist.
It is bad for some reasons, but you don’t want to hear that because it would get in the way of you patting yourself on the back.
You don’t want to hear them but I am not built like a slow cooker. I make popcorn with my feelings. I burst through every single lid in this apartment.
I don’t like sleeping in and now I am more comfortable because my spine is no longer screaming at me. I am speaking body to body now. If you don’t want to hear how my silence stings, you better set your chest to ‘Listen.’

“receiving invitation” by Julia in her bed


Tuesday June 20, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
from an email

I’ve been bleeding for days and nobody knows why. 
Nobody knows why because nobody knows and I suppose it’s up to me.
I make the calls and the appointments, I pay the bills or I don’t.
This growing thing, this fleshy bump is getting me down.
Isn’t that ironic-If to you growing means up. It is ironic that to me growing means up.
My impulsive decisions are growing too. In.
When Sarah pierced my ears on the back of a potato I didn’t think they’d ever be anything but proof of my young nights.
There was blood then too, on the carpet.

“Part of the explanation” by Julia on F’s couch


Friday June 9, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
The Globe And Mail

I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.

Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
She laughs.
Then later she cries.
We both do.

“my flight leaves for Edmonton” by Julia at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre


Thursday June 8, 2017
9:17pm
5 minutes
overheard at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

“Did you pack her neck pillow, Dana? You know Mom can’t travel without it.”
“I packed it, Leigh, you can officially back off now.”
“I’m telling you she won’t even set foot on the plane if she doesn’t have it.”
“What did I just say? I’ve already got it. You left very detailed instructions. Very detailed.”
“She hasn’t left the house since Dad got sick, much less the province.”
“I know that, I will make sure she is as comfortable and distracted as possible.”
“You’re not going to slip her any of your little…pills…are you?”
“What makes you think I’m still taking those little pills?”
“Dana.”
“I’M NOT TAKING THEM ANYMORE! Why does nobody trust me around here? I can’t escort mom to fucking Edmonton, now?”
“Well maybe because you like to make things about you.”
“You are such a little cunt, Leighanne.”

“also fun” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 6, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

She comes over to sit with me as I attempt to airplane a chicken noodle into her baby’s scowl. She brings cheerios and cottage cheese and sets them next to the breaded chicken, the cup of green peas, the watermelon, and the cheese quesadilla. We alternate forced forkfuls from the grand buffet he cannot appreciate. She looks thankful to be talking to an adult that isn’t her husband, sick from back pain. She tells me they haven’t gone on a date since he was born eighteen months and two weeks ago. She says sometimes they just have a glass of wine in bed after he stops crying.

“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

“Cut cucumber halves crosswise” by Julia in her bed


Monday May 29, 2017
12:29am
5 minutes
The Silver Palate Cookbook
Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins


Thanks for doing the shopping and buying the cucumber. I dont know what made you think to, but i’m sure glad you did. I really wanted it. I was going to make us a cheese salad, you know with at least three different kinds? Goat and feta and all those guys. I didn’t want to ask you cause I didn’t think you cared one way or the other.

“All winter we went on like that” by Julia at her desk


Saturday May 6, 2017
6:30pm
5 minutes
After Birth
Elisa Albert


It was a tough one with all the rain seeping into all my dry
I think it’s safe to say that something was trying to be planted
Something needed care enough to sprout

I used to dread cleaning my apartment when the grey outside made the inside feel dirty
Today I swept up a spider and saluted to her as she crawled away and into a safe place
The light painted my home in a newness that I’ve been waiting for
Everything on the shelves, a choice, a decision, an opinion
Spring has signed the contract, says she can take it from here
I cannot wish for something better than feeling home in the home I live in
I give thanks for the cupboards that hold every envelope, every light bulb

“the wild nature teaches us” by Julia on her living room floor


Friday March 31, 2017
10:25pm
5 minutes
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


when my insides echo
when the only thing that can fill me is silence
when the forest begs for a closer look
I may know no home like the moss-covered stumps
like the nurse logs championing life
or the quiet stream carrying the whisper of souls reconciled without debt
we are taught so little about where we come from
some stories are passed down but are not built for us
we are reminded that one size does not fit all
even if the tongue doing the telling is loud

“he digs into that” by Julia at her desk


Thursday March 30, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
overheard at kafkas

We keep talking about getting a dog. We sometimes talk about if we ever moved it might make more sense, so we keep talking about moving. I don’t want this to happen. He does. Sometimes we talk about settling for the tiniest dog in the universe so if we can’t convince our current landlord to let us keep one, we can pretend like there is no dog, what dog? Oh that little fluffy..entity…nothing…just…tissue…?
We haven’t quite figured it out. I’m glad. He is not. But we can’t justify getting a dog when there are so many other items already on the list. First things first. Like getting a new matress, a vaccum cleaner, laundry detergent, a vaporizer, toilet paper, and bananas.

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday March 29, 2017
9:19pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


Sometimes I forget how easy it is to listen to my body. I’ve been living under the impression that there’s some kind of decoding I need to do, some deep analytics about what signals I am feeling and what they mean.
Today I held the hand of a three year old while we ran him to the bathroom. I didn’t think he looked well but he was the one who told me he needed the toilet. I continued to hold his little hand as I watched this yellow caterpillar respond to what his body was telling him without questioning if it were true or right. As soon as it was over, he wiped his face and smiled. He felt better. He wasn’t going to keep thinking about his sick. His stomach had stopped speaking to him. It no longer needed to be heard.

“As Elizabeth lost” By Julia on SM’s couch


Tuesday March 7, 2017
9:43pm
5 minutes
the Globe and Mail Lives Lived

It had been an hour and Remi still hadn’t called. Elizabeth paced the shiny tile in front of the door. She wasn’t angry because she wasn’t surprised. She’d stopped expecting him to get it together because Allie and Nathan needed one of their parents to show up for them. Elizabeth had given up on Remi a long time ago. She couldn’t keep space for him anymore. A car zoomed by outside and Elizabeth stopped in her tracks. It wasn’t him.

“Now that I’m free from any such shackles” By Julia at her desk


Monday March 6, 2017
10:18pm
5 minutes
davidsilverberg.ca

Of course he asks what I’m working on the moment I leave my work to check my Facebok account.
“Nothing really,” I tell him, because saying, “well, I was working on my novel, and before that the pitch for my television show, and before that I was busy securing some income so I was working on that” just sounds like an excuse train. In this very moment, no, I am not doing anything, and at least in this very moment, not doing anything means also not lying. I don’t need Facebook although I tell myself I do. It’s filled with opinions and videos of cats and maybe some event information that otherwise NOBODY would e-mail out. It’s filled with endless scrolling down the lives of others who are also not doing anything right this moment because they are on Facebook too and have posted an article to their wall to make it seem like they are working very very hard.
I imagine him giving me a pittying smile and saying, “oh, yeah, of course you are” with a snide undertown of prentiousness since he’s already been off Facebook for a month and a half. He doesn’t smile at all. He says nothing.

“You know I’m fallin'” By Julia at her desk


Sunday March 5, 2017
10:18pm
5 minutes
Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac

The sidewalks were icy underfoot as Kim skated her way down to the movie rental place on the corner. She was meeting Greg there to decide what they’d watch for their Friday Fun Day. Last time Greg picked and said this time it would be up to Kim. She spent a good hour researching movies she thought Greg might be into, completely consumed with dread that she wouldn’t do her job properly and deliver. Kim continued to slide her way down. She passed a woman in a great big shall wrapped around what seemed like her entire body, head to toe, who caught her eye and smiled. Kim smiled back, the corners of her mouth dropping suddenly, as the woman fell to the ground.

“I felt stung” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:29pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

When Heloise first saw Penelope, she knew that they’d been cut from the same piece of floral corduroy. It had nothing to do with the hands of the mothers that they were each holding. It had everything to do with their size. Both a head taller than everyone else in their Grade Three class, the girls became fast friends. Height aside, their physical features couldn’t have been more different. Heloise had jet black hair cut into a bob, with blunt bangs that ended just above her eyebrows. Her mother had the exact same haircut. They went every five weeks to the salon on 10th. Heloise’s eyes were brown, like her father’s, and she had a small mouth, which she regarded with disdain. Penelope had auburn curls, which she wore loosely braided down one side. She had her ears pierced, and wore small jade heart studs. They’d been a birthday present from her mother. Penelope’s mother reminded everyone of someone they knew. “I have one of those faces,” she’d say with a smile.

“Clear eyes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:47pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

“What would you like for dinner?” He said.
“Pasta?” She said.
“I thought we were getting off wheat?” He said.
“Pizza?” She said.
He smiled.
She kept her eyes on her books, sure that if she moved them that she’d lose what she’d learned.
“Salad?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
She was unenthused though.
“Soup?” He said.
“Yes! Soup!” She said.
It was still cold out and she needed the nourishing warmth of something hot and filling.
“Lentil?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
He watched her, so focused, and he thought about the first time he met her. He thought about her clear eyes.
“So rare,” he’d told his mother. “So rare to see such clear eyes.”

“Sad to see you go” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 17, 2017
11:48pm
5 minutes
From a Goodbye card

You don’t tell her that you’re sad to see her go.
Not with your voice, at least.
You wait until the coffee’s cold
and her station wagon is halfway to the highway
and then you send a text:
“Sad to see you go…”
Most important is the ellipses.
Most important is the space between the dots…
That’s where her hands would go.

You wonder when you’ll hear from her.
If she’ll call from the side of the road
or the backseat, sweaty in her sleeping bag.

You wish that you’d been able to
articulate the expanse of the truth.
You wish that you’d bee able to
speak the three words that filled
every room that the two of you
were in together.

I love you.

VANCOUVER WRITER’S WORKOUT!


Vancouver get ready!
Another writer’s workout is coming your way!
Check it out, share, and get your write on.

feb19-t5mwritersworkoutfeb19-t5mwritersworkout2

“Don’t carry it all” by Julia on her couch


Monday January 23, 2017
8:53pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar: Writers Resist

Isn’t it nice to drink something out of a circular rim? Tiny lips on tiny lips! I just don’t like being left out to drown, do you know what I mean?
I don’t like spilling things. And those glasses are only there to make a fool out of me. It’s not fair. It’s not nice. it’s not good. What if you spill some? What if you lose it? I-I-I-I… It’s.. There’s more. I’m not able to carry it all. I’m not able to have one more thing that could go wrong, that I could be bad at. I am not good enough to be bad at some things. I have to be good.

“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 hands upraised” by Julia on her couch


Friday November 25, 2016
8:01pm
5 minutes
from the back of a Buddha greeting card

She was the kind of person
who declared things,
sent everything up to the sky then washed her hands of it. Nothing to debate.
This is feeling. Feeling is real. I feel. I am.
Thank you. Goodnight.
He hadn’t stopped her yet from saying everything gospel.
Telling it all to the hilltops. Mountains.
He hadn’t noticed yet the tone she wasn’t intending.
Made it seem okay
or fine
or nothing. But maybe
was noticing it.
Maybe silently adding it up in weapons of mass cold shoulder
or gas light
which is to say
destruction.
She had put her arms up that night to veto the smell of his feet. No ifs or ands–
he changed his socks emphatically.

“butler service, gourmet dining” by Sasha at Pascoe Rd.


Sunday October 23, 2016
9:59am
5 minutes
Westjet magazine

Shaving off his moustache was an identity thing. James didn’t want to make a big deal about it, but it was a big deal and everyone knew it. Facial hair quickly becomes a meaningful manifestation of identity and no, he didn’t first grow it during Mo-vember and yes, he does use wax. Fiona had suggested it when she witnessed James’ profound attachment to his moustache. She introduced the idea with subtlety at first and then got a little bit more bold.

“LYING TO TELL THE TRUTH” by Julia in the kitchen


Thursday October 20, 2016
11:04pm
5 minutes
from a workshop description
Johnny MacRae


Sat still with my mouth shut
didn’t know if I should breathe
Didn’t want to let it slip out
and seem like I had something to present
I wanted to say more
I sat stiller than I thought I could
Waited till the silence doubled itself before
I let myself exhale

In the space between me getting enough air and you sucking me dry
there is a house.
Nobody wants to live there
It hurts
It is blessed hot and cursed
incestuous
I wanted to say more

We wither and die in the shape of our smallest self.
We do not notice how far from the sky we have sunken
But our bones know
And a child who spends two minutes with you will know
And every time we and you and I
hear the words
I’m proud of You
we will all know
And there will not be enough time

“whenever I decide to finally” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday October 16, 2016
10:56pm
5 minutes
From A Pinterest board

Whenever I decide to repent my sins
it will
smell like spring.
Damp earth
pine needles
baby’s breath
You’ll light a bonfire on the beach.
The gulls will gather.
I’ll write down each of them
my sins
on bark and newspaper
and I’ll burn them
one by one.
Thank you for your patience
as I purge
and dance
as I sweat
and scream.

“community based competitions” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 19, 2016
10:38pm
5 minutes
http://www.academicinvest.com

I’m standing at the microphone and I can hear my own breathing inside my head, but everything else in the room is perfectly still. I am ready. I am prepared. I am under water. I feel true calm. I hear the speaker bellow out a long word in slow motion. I hear every single part of his word. I see every single part of his word. I take a deep breath and I pause. The silence is back. My focus is razor. I repeat his word, his multisyllabic and challenging word and I spell it back to him, punching. each. letter. It is good to be good. I am floating. I am waiting. The sound of the auditorium floods back to my ears and there is thunder. There is pulse. I am lifted.

“and lifted right up” by Julia on her couch


Saturday June 18, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews


Caught me in the middle of ‘researching’ various porn sites and I got mad at you for barging in unannounced. Kendra, you said, I live here. Do I really have to announce anything? I was embarrassed, obviously, that’s why people get defensive and upset in the first place, but I was not about to tell you that.
Listen, Matt, I don’t think a text or a phone call is a very big inconvenience just to tell me you’re on your way or that you’re 5 or 10 minutes out, or that you’ll be disturbing me and just wanted to give me a heads up.
Disturbing you? You asked.
Yes, I told you, or disrupting the flow.
I didn’t know there would be so many arbitrarily chosen rules popping up when you moved in.
I’m just saying we share the space and it’d be nice to be aware of each other.
Fine, Kendra. You said. You were on your way back out the door. I’d like all parties present to be informed that I am, ANNOUNCING, that I am leaving for the night, and all parties present can go back to being a huge dick for no reason, by herself.

“the nervous towns of Mars” by Julia on her couch


Monday June 13, 2016
10:22pm
5 minutes
The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury


I don’t have words right now
not for the pain
not
for the other stuff
I have alien feelings
not happiness
not fear
something is in me breaking
as we speak
I would ask for
permission
to go home early
from all of this
try my lungs out
call to the wild but
there’s a scientist
waiting to take
my blood out
and I think
she owns me or something
Because my thoughts don’t feel
like mine anymore
they feel
like nothings floating
deep
and bobbing up for air
every
now and again
she tells me
stop trying
and I assume she means
everything
everything
everything
My arm is her best friend
my vein
is her guilty pleasure
she looks at my dancing
blue fluids
my
inside life
with fluorescent sparks shooting out
of her eyes
getting ready to keep me
from jumping out of
my skin
and into the world
beside this one
I tell her
They have much more
star-dust because it’s a destination
Not a curse
She says
and I know now
stop
which means
shuffling around while this
thing is in me
which means
talking
because I use
my hands
too much

“screaming like Tasmanian devils” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday June 12, 2016
8:51pm
5 minutes
Bye Judy and Good Luck
Mona Awad


Madelyn had stepped out onto her porch, dimly lit, a few mosquitoes, joint lit. No sweater, it was good to feel cold every now and again. Not impossible cold. Awareness-making cold. She glanced down at the stain on her yellow cable knit T-shirt, pulling the base of it down and out to examine the damage, to survey the crime scene. They had been screaming like Tasmanian devils; running up and down the house so feverishly and never-endingly causing the whole house to vibrate. Madelyn didn’t know if the love she had for them was enough to keep her from hating them when they were like this. She thought she might have to take notes and keep watch on their behaviour with the cycles of the moon. She picked again at the orange-red blotch of defeat on her top. She picked again. She swatted away a mosquito.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“the way you would like them to appear” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday March 22, 2016
9:18pm
5 minutes
on the artist program guide site

A woman just crashed into a table behind me. I didn’t look up. I don’t know for sure that it even happened but I sensed it in some way and then I accepted it as not my problem. I hope I don’t go to hell for this. Like people say there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. Well is there a special place for women who sense that other women around her are in distress but don’t actually have concrete evidence or even a witness account that that’s the case? I mean. If I can be real for a quick second, I very well may have invented that there was even a woman behind me at all. I felt the room’s energy shift. I also could have had a heart palpitation and confused it for someone being hurt? Maybe I’m the hurt one? Like is this even an issue. I’m sure she’s fine. No one around me has changed their activities. Either it didn’t happen or she didn’t need help in the first place. It’s not fair to invent victims. I’m simply saying if I had turned around to just see, I could have better assessed my destination as hell or otherwise.

“It smells like fucking McDonald’s” by Julia on the walk home


Monday March 21, 2016
11:03pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

Remind me not to want to fuck Elliot for future’s sake. I swear to god this kid’s skin actually reeks of Big Mac. I saw him mowing down chicken nuggets this morning and then he somehow had special sauce on his face all through 3rd period so someone please explain that to me. When I first saw him and his giant sensual lips I was like, whoa, damn, hot damn, good lord, seriously, holy shit, no way, seriously, take me, touch me, holy shit, snail trail, holy shit. I would have wanted him to mack up on me but I think if he were to now it would have a completely different meaning. But it’s cause he also plays the guitar and that’s a huge turn on for me. But the excessive deep fry that seeps out of his pores is the opposite of everything I’ve ever wanted. I wonder if I can wear an inconspicuous nose plug???