“Her bigness sweeps my being” by Julia at her desk

Thursday June 18, 2020
7:35pm
5 minutes
America
Claude McKay

Dear Inside Voice,

I hear you. I’m listening. You used to try to get my attention in little ways. You didn’t want to yell. And I don’t blame you for that. I shouldn’t have made you strain to be noticed. That was wrong of me. See this little seed of avoidance I planted deep inside me was right next to you and it grew faster than I could have imagined. I didn’t mean to block you out, make you feel small, or like you weren’t worth welcoming in. I see now how I would have been aided by your wisdom. I would have been able to give you big rooms to sing into. Big echoing stairwells to sweep your endlessness around. I want that today. I want that still. I hope you know that there is a shift and it’s happening now, from before, and all over. It’s not just me. I’m not the only one stripping away the layers, spiraling in to journey all the way to the core; the tiny voice matched to such big energy. I am not the only one.

“Pandemic of lilies” by Julia at the “cottage”

Wednesday June 17, 2020
10:03am
5 minutes
My Sister Says White Supremacy Is Turning Her Crazy
Morgan Parker

It’s now a different day but it still feels eerily like yesterday.
Uber Eats guy is on a first name basis with you. Wonderful. A bit
sad, but nobody else is witnessing this exchange, so, wonderful.
This time a spicy chicken sandwich accompanies the egg mc muffin
and double order of hash browns. Last time they forgot the extra
hash brown and you had to pretend like that did not make or break
your day but you could not stop talking about it for a week and
a half. The chicken this time, no mayo (you learned your lesson)
was a welcome addition and even though you felt greasy you felt
fed so you chose fed first and greasy as the bi-product and thing
that will likely get dislodged from memory with ease because that
is what keeps you and the Uber Eats guy on a first name basis.

You never ate takeout of any kind before the pandemic. You’d like
to think when this whole thing is over you never will again. But
you also know what lying to yourself sounds like and it sounds like
this. You wish you had a better habit, like buying fresh cut lilies
for the living room but you bought this habit. This deliver to your
door habit.

“describe what it might be like to be her child” by Julia on the couch

Sunday May 31, 2020
10:46pm
5 minutes
Room To Write
Bonni Goldberg

She’s soft and open
her thighs spill out of her shorts
like a river running over the cup
she asks permission before she lifts me or puts me down
it’s very important for her to talk to me while she’s chopping the broccoli or the cauliflower
she tells me everything she does

She dances with me when a beam of light hits the floor in the afternoon
she sings me to sleep
She is sometimes crying but mostly smiling
She makes eating fun, making silly faces and noises to distract me
I feel like she would swallow me if she could
if she could put me back in her belly and start the whole thing over
she’s softer today and more open than yesterday

“give me advice!” by Julia at the desk

Thursday May 28, 2020
8:51pm
5 minutes
from an email

I’ve been forbidden from giving advice and there’s nothing I can do.
I was told I can’t give it unless it’s asked of me, so who am I to
argue the great horoscope writer of these days? Maybe she has a point
these unsolicited comments that might not be helpful even though I
think I might see the light.

Lord rest this urge to give words when the silence is sweeter than me.

I have been listening with a scrunched up face like I’m about to say
something but I don’t, like I hear an opening to give a small piece
but then I won’t, cause the listening tells me I didn’t hear the words
that set the stage for giving more words.

I’m getting better at it. I’m realizing how little I’ve done in the
flesh and Ghandi said it best-when a woman asked him how to get her
son to stop eating sugar for a week he told her “Give me one week
and I’ll get back to you.” What did he need the week for? To practice
not having any sugar himself before he could tell her anything.

“when you went to Vermont” by Julia at the desk

Friday, May 8, 2020
10:00am
5 minutes
she is in the kitchen now
Nora Pace

I didn’t wait up every night I stayed up
I rubbed one out like it would be my last time
fell asleep in a crooked pocket of the couch
and remained despite the spinal chord damage
the knots now forming

If you were in a different time zone working
sleeping finding yourself in a bigger city
then this house would become a time zone all
on its own a spinning thing of waking sleeping
sliding across sheets and floors and into
breakfast without thinking about another
person’s hunger

It could have been a disaster but I don’t
linger on moments in between when you step
yourself out of town out of my life for six
weeks or something like that loosing track
and not counting and we stop calling each
other on the phone this distance making the
heart grow fonder for a thing that this isn’t

And it was worth noting how many boxes I
ticked off the list and all the living I
did without the help of another person’s
hunger telling me when it was time to eat
time to cook up the browning green beans
time to get out of bed

“When the rains come,” by julia on the couch

Thursday, May 7, 2020
8:13pm
5 minutes
Monologue of a Fly’s Shadow
Danielle Hanson

If I’m laying in the earth when the rains come
leave me there
let me drink at the mighty fall
let me drench in the midnight sink
lather my bones so they are ocean ready
force out the salt of my skin
till I am as clean as the first day of spring
leave me there to swallow what I’ve thirsted for

Do not bring a bucket
do not dry my hands
do not move the muck from my eyelids
I will be purified by the ends of this and I will have waited

After a new wind has blown me
if I’m laying when the rains come
leave me
oh leave me there

“August is coming” by Julia at her desk

Thursday March 26, 2020
9:43am
5 minutes
Any prince to any princess
Adrian Henri

August is coming and we will welcome her with arms butter flake and cloud kiss
we will hold her in our blanket fort and pin the fairy lights all around her
we will wind up her train on the backs of our hands and twirl her about
we will weep at her feet and bathe her toes in a rose water blessing
we will sing at how far she has traveled
flown around the world in hope but flesh set in stone and sand and grit
we will honour her presence with a basket of fresh basil and rosemary braids
we will give her a cluster of moments to rest at the base of our skulls
or next to the balcony gardens or by the hummingbird feeder
we will listen to her tales of triumph after a journey fraught
and how she never dropped faith even for a second
we will seed her new life with a promise to be children again
delighting in the moonlight of her smile and how her open chest beats a dance
for us all to dream

“I cried during the silent walking meditations” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday October 15, 2019
6:30pm
Reunion
Halina Larman

There is no such thing as silence in this house
this house is a home and no silence exists in it

I give myself five minutes so I don’t have to hear
myself or anyone else (you) say anything

and even sometimes the timer is on and the silence
is close, but it is not mine to hold

Someone (you) comes in with your questions and
your funny jokes that instead of me laughing

and letting them roll off the back, I condemn to
the floorboards so the downstairs neighbours

have to forfeit whatever silence they were
cultivating as well. I could laugh…

but instead there is 2 minutes and 30 seconds
left and instead of masterfully practicing

I am languishing in the almost but not quite.
I should display a sign that says “In the middle

of it” or “RIGHT IN THE FUCKING MIDDLE OF IT”
because even when it’s clear this is what I’m

doing, you are doing whatever is clear to you
and what is clear to you is that you speak

during cooking meditations and walking
meditations and laying meditations

“the feelings that have been aroused” by Julia on her bed

Monday October 14, 2019
9:35pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Susan Sontag

calm, a tingling, a lying buzz that I know well
You see me and then pretend not to
I see you and pretend not to
We are the same and yet I think yours
is not about hate the way mine is but
about something that is beyond me to name
yours maybe something to do with resistance
to what I might have represented for you

a calm, still, I do not care the way
I used to in the pit of me but the
tingling comes because your face has always
been a panda that should be cuter
and that is shallow but deep
as it teeters in the stagnant pool of me
that no one gets to see

A lying buzz because I am striving for
honesty but I told myself some
untruths to justify my ignoring you
I have not been the bigger person
but the more sensitive one
as I am contemplating you here and you
are likely not offering my name a second
thought

I know it well and I hate it the same
it comes for me to knock me off my
high horse and since I’m not high anymore
I can see if for what it is
and lesson is what it is
and letting go is what I must be practicing

You might not care and this is more for
me than it is for you and yes I see it
clearly now
I see it like the horse

“I’d say that’s OK” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 10, 2019
9:30pm
5 minutes
On A Cliff With You
David Allan Cates

turn the lights off
flash the head lamp
talk about what might
happen during a camping
fiasco
say these bulbs are only
bright enough in a power
outage to wear until
the candles are located
that’s what you get for
spending 10 dollars less
and for never going camping

the other one in this room,
the light decider
prefers fairy lights for their
name and for their hue
it must be slightly hard to
see at all times
in the morning
at night
Is this OK? is asked
without really caring if it
is okay because if more light
is needed then the failed
headlamp can be re-visited
since that is already deemed
successful when used in
the confines of our
1 bedroom apartment

The fairy lights sometimes
stay on all day because
ambiance is an inside out
kind of thing

“Gladys was a hefty Puerto Rican” by Julia at her desk

Monday October 7, 2019
7:20pm
5 minutes
Anything For Love
Ruth L. Schwartz

In this dress she wore, she swore she
would not conform to the pressure of
being beautiful like this or that as
if some magazine might be the deciding
vote.

Gladys in her big swooshy dress, covering
the curves and equalizing the line that
leads her all the way down to the floor
and back up again. She stood tall.
She wore the bright pink like a medallion
to ward off the evil eye.
The evil kind of eye that keeps a person
small.

My baby, Indie used to hide underneath it
and count the love on her kneecaps with
slobbery kisses and giggles.
Gladys let her and only her go under,
see what was beneath the fabric.
She liked the love adding up on the
tongue of two year old on a mission.

This is the way she felt beautiful.

When Gladys came by the house she would
bring us cookies baked from scratch,
her own personal recipe and tell us
if we didn’t eat them she would eat
them and what kind of friends let friends
lose track of fallen crumbs.

“The ship had sailed” by Julia on her couch

Thursday October 3, 2019
8:08pm
5 minutes
Just Enough
A.J. Liberling

What would you do if I sailed away
stole the boat straight from you
and I took on the waves
would you come after me
I’m just wondering if I
should stop the boat in the middle
and wait up for you
cause we could sail around the world
and back, I’d wait for you
are you coming along
there’s no right or wrong
I’m just wondering what you’d do
come sail around me with me
oh just me and you

picture it now, the world gives
you one choice and you
have to decide between falling
and falling behind
do you do the new thing
do you take the big leap
sacrifice everything you have
if the feeling is real
the future’s not sure
but you could not ever go back

trust me I’m not
trying to make you just pick
up and go
I just want to know

what would you do if I sailed away
stole the boat straight from you
and I took on the waves
would you put on your life vest
and invest in everything
we can’t yet prove

“sorely tested—and found wanting.” By Julia in bed

Wednesday October 2, 2019
11:18pm
5 minutes
Assignment To Hell
Timothy M. Gay

a matter of stimuli, and it would be with that attitude

but where is the reward?
in the resistance of temptation, then? in the discovery of so many quick-legged spiders?

we release the tiny scurrying living being while we clean

if the start of a home becomes uprooted by the sudden decision to weild an unruly hand with a broom at the end of it…the home goes but the little friend stays

(the secret is to find another corner)

(the secret is no bites exchanged if asylum granted)

(asylum is granted for friend one and two and three and four)

but if this were not a moment of sobriety who knows what other homes would have been ressurected

“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.

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“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???

“It is important to notice the differences and similarities in the success stories” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday March 20, 2016
3:32pm
5 minutes
from authorspublish.com

When William came home from his first day of grade 1, he showed me a chart he made- a Venn diagram with the titles:

THINGS I DO AT HOME

THINGS I DO AT SCHOOL

William had scribbled in Colouring and Playing and Fun and Story Time in the At School Circle. In the At Home one he had written Eating and Bath Time and Bed With No Dessert and Chicken Nuggets
I realize how little I can control what he will do or say when he’s not around me. How I can’t protect an identity or a culture that I’ve built in my own home because people will always have their opinion no matter what the context. I realize how much he absorbs and how he defines himself as a member of my household. It makes me want to make a spinach salad for dinner and spend time cutting out magazine images for a collage to hang in his bedroom.

“I’ll avoid her for a few weeks” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 19, 2016
6:35pm
5 minutes
from a text

If I close my eyes I can almost hear perfect silence. The buzz of the fridge seems to disappear. The beeping of the trucks backing up outside my balcony are muted. I can get centred without going anywhere at all. I’ve been practicing getting zen and doing it under pressure as that’s the most necessary time. Sheila says that if I practice every single day, reaching for meditation every single time I have the urge to call her instead, I’ll really start to form a habit. I think Sheila has a point. You can’t reach zen when you’re trying to make plans to go mini-golfing, or asking someone about knitting. I think Sheila is doing the exact same thing every time she thinks of calling me. I imagine her sitting there on the floor 6 or 7 times a day if she’s being diligent about curbing the urge. I don’t remember the last time Sheila even called me so her approach must be working! If I can get to a point where I don’t even think about how little human contact I’ve had, I’ll call that a success.

“methodological, theoretical, practical” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 19,2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
from the back of a theatre theory book

Belief isn’t strong enough on its own, she tells me, as the crumbs of her double baked almond croissant stick to the corners of her mouth.
You need to put beliefs into practice, Marnie. It’s all about practicality here.
I can’t stop staring at her lips. Encrusted in almond flakes, spewing some wisdom or advice that I can barely pay attention to.
Do you think you put your beliefs into practice, Marnie?
She notices where my eyes land on her face and instantly reaches up to swat the crumbs away. She looks embarrassed now. She keeps her gaze on me.
Have you been listening, Marnie?
Yes, I tell her quickly, before she tries to ask me if I’m sure.
Good. That’s good. Is there anything you’d like to add? I don’t want to be the only one offering ideas here. That’s not why I asked to meet with you, is it?

“Confronted issues of racism, identity and social tension” by Julia on the 47 going South


Sunday February 8, 2015
8:14pm
5 minutes
http://www.ago.net/basquiat

We were at this line, standing on a cliff looking out into the entire world. We could see all the sadness, because of all the possibility. We could feel the stars shedding their light for us to soak up if we had enough space left inside after all the room we made for darkness. Deep down we had a fixed price for what we’d pay for happiness. We were told that we needed to buy it. We were told we needed to hide it. And at the same time we could hear all the first laughs of every perfect infant. We could paint courage and intimacy with a brush so soft we could swear it didn’t even leave a mark… And that’s why we stood there. On the edge of everything– and not knowing one single thing to do.

“make myself solid in this transitory world” by Julia at Source Centre for Health and Wellness


Tuesday February 3, 2015 at Source Centre for Health and Wellness
9:04pm
5 minutes
A Time Of No Place
Natalie Goldberg


If Regis (that’s the dog that I’m watching) licks my left ankle one more time, I’ll take it as a sign from the sky gods (that’s a term my friend Birdie told me about recently. Her real name is Roberta, but what fun is that?)that I’m connecting with something magical. Mirabell (that’s Regis’ long lost love) died two years ago today and he never fully recovered. Now he licks ankles but I don’t think those things are related. Tiger-Blossom (That’s my spirit animal. He’s a she and sometimes she’s a monster) says that when it’s really cold at night we must let our lives live without the halves we think they need.

“Each person comes into this world” by Julia on the 501 heading east


Saturday January 31, 2015
4:37pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Osho

And boom boom can we get the drums a banging
cause the moon moon has all these people clanging
We
Join
Life
From the wombs wombs meeting memories in this world
to the tombs tombs where our bones lay stripped and curled
We
Leave
Strife
And boom boom we celebrate the hearts a thudding
with the moon moon keeping far the doors that need shutting

“to firm up” by Julia on the 506 heading west


Friday January 30, 2015
8:08pm
5 minutes
Ani’s Raw Food Desserts
Ani Phyo


Someone’s been spying on me. I tell them. I tell them in my eyes. No more of that, I say. No more. And I ask them not to bother. I ask them. They don’t listen. They never listen. I can feel it now in my belly button. It tingles and it’s in crying. It’s making a hurt feel. I want to say nice loud Please Stop, Please Stop Now Now, but I don’t know how that is. How that is? And I don’t like having big windows. And I don’t like being big windows. Birds flying hurting into big widows. It isn’t me. It isn’t the real me. But I get big when I have to. I get very high if I need to stand. And no more sand for my feet to live.

“I’ll try and take it off” by Julia at Mina’s Fabric


Thursday January 29, 2015 at Minas Fabric
4:33pm
5 minutes
overheard at Mina’s Fabric

I’ll try and take it off-the layer of whatever it is I’ve been hiding behind.
I used to be such a pretty girl. Such a pretty pretty girl. And he’d sing to me from the top of the stairs, “I see you and I see you because you make it so hard not to.” And I’d feel like I belonged to something perfect on this earth even if his love didn’t last and his opinion of me changed.
I had to consciously say that out loud to the next one once–that I’d try and take it off—because he looked at me with such kind eyes, but in a confused way as if he desperately wished he could see through the wall and share a moment in my soul–just swimming around, testing the water.
I have to say it out loud so I can remind myself that sometimes it’s more for me than for anyone else: that it’s hard to see clearly just as it is to be seen clearly.
I think of that searching look he gave me when I need to stop myself from fading…

“Sell it to me! I want to fix it!” by Julia on the 63 going North


Wednesday January 28, 2015
1:12am
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

Well I went through a phase in my life where all I wanted to do was sell bracelets made out of human teeth. It was a longer phase than maybe I’d like to/should admit. I thought it would be really sweet to market to mothers–you know, Never Forget How Precious Your Child Once Was…
It was a strange endeavour, I know that it was, because you’d have to wait a couple years to get enough good teeth for a bracelet, but you’d have to have permission first and the whole thing. So I sold one or two bracelets. I knew there would be some people interested. And by some I mean…just the two. I don’t know if they bought them out of admiration for the craft or out of fear that if they didn’t I would cast some witchy voodoo curse on them, because honest to God, who collects and then sells human teeth?

“Sell it to me! I want to fix it!” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday January 28, 2015
9:19pm
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

Sell me your shit! I wanna make it cool! I wanna fix it! Sell it to me cheap! I can do better than you, but I’m to laz-yyyyy! Gimme dat blanket – Imma make it a pillow. BANG! Gimme dat dreamcatcher! Imma catch some real randy dreams! Sell me your shit! I’m jonesin’ for a nice hit of… STUFF! Your stuff. Your old, used, wet, wilted, sticky, sexy, slimy, gross, gorgeous stuff. Imma make a soup outta it and let that shit simmer simmer simmer. Have a garage sale, biatch, and I’ll be the only muthafuckah there!

“#PRACTICE” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Starbucks
9:45am
5 minutes
The Dentyne Ice Subway Poster

Trent was a bit of an overachiever. He worked very hard at everything and always had the least amount of fun possible when doing things. He started out as a controlling child, and no one ever led him in any other direction, so he became a controlling teen, then a controlling young adult, then a controlling full adult. He didn’t seem to mind that none of his friends ever lasted more than 4-6 months. He was not interested in forever friends. He was interested in his forever future. Trent once chewed a stick of bubble gum for over 6 hours because he wanted to prove that it could be done. No one was competing against him. He wanted to win all by himself and for himself. Trent knew how to centre his mind and ensure that even if it were an uncomfortable circumstance, he would be able to persevere. He practised meditating more than anyone he could think of because he wanted to be a master. He wanted to be a master of literally everything imaginable. He meditated so hard sometimes he would miss meals, miss weddings, miss important things in life. Trent considered “importance” relative anyway. Who is to say what’s really important?

“turning to the little girls” by Sasha at La Merceria


Monday, February 10, 2014 at La Merceria
4:40pm
5 minutes
Under the Lilacs
Louisa M. Alcott


I wasn’t feeling grateful when I got home and the house was dark and the walls were quiet and the bed was cold. I wasn’t feeling grateful when the cat was thirsty and the garbage was full and the toothpaste was empty. And, still, it’s Thanksgiving. I text you: “WTF?” I wait. Nothing. I get up to pee at twenty past two and I check my phone and you’ve responded. I should make you a flower crown. “Exams” is all it says. I wonder where things went wrong. Was it your (s)mother? Was it deciding to go straight to University after High School? Was it your older brother’s MDMA problem? In a fit of middle-of-the-night sleepy rage I too type a single word. I am not better than that. I will speak your language. “Shit.” I write, hoping you don’t catch on to my gargantuan caring, to the balloon that was formerly known as my heart, growing daily in my chest.