“The biggest personality among this trio” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday November 7, 2018
9:09pm
5 minutes
High Living
Jacqueline Ranit

I have to write about something positive. It’s been a long time and maybe some of you are noticing. Or not. Maybe none of you are noticing because none of you are reading these. You used to but maybe life got in the way which is to say got in the way of me. For you all it means is that you have one. A life. And that’s wonderful for you. I think everyone deserves that. I wonder if you’re out with your new family now that you’re not reading these. I wonder if you’ve ever thought to check in and see how I am doing. I might have been very honest in these and could have been giving you the real keys to my under belly but you might be busy is all. You might have other things to do, going to fancy picnics, ordering pizza on a Wednesday. Well in case you’re reading this, things are going really really good for me. They couldn’t be better.

“she continued to cook into the early evening” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday October 31, 2018
5:33pm
5 minutes
A quote from Pasquale Cusano

there’s a book i’m reading
about a woman’s love affair with food and cooking
you gave it to me
it has all the lines you like underlined
you used pencil mostly
but sometimes pen
I think that’s bold of you
it makes me read it through your eyes
it makes me think of you read and what you think about things
material things-as in you don’t seem to care much one way or the other
I wonder if you take notes during phone conversations
or pause the movie a bunch of times to record your favorite lines
I wonder how long it takes you to get ready in the morning
if you’re the kind who owns a steamer because you need a steamer or if
you’re the kind who wears wrinkly shirts because you don’t have a steamer

“in the blue plastic chair” by Sasha at Ocean Village

Sunday October 7, 2018
10:26pm
5 minutes
Illness and Literature
Tony Hoagland

Mia sits in the blue plastic chair and chews on the end of her braid. She’s waiting for her Oma to finish her treatment in the room with all the buzzing and whirring, where people of all colours and ages are hooked up to tall poles. Mia brought a book but she doesn’t feel like reading. On the way here, Oma said that Mia could play on her cellphone while she waited. Mia said, “No thanks”. Sometimes, looking out the window is enough. Sometimes, when you’re ten and a half, your imagination is what saves you.

“you should have asked me nicely” by Sasha on her couch

Monday September 24, 2018
10:04pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 4 bus

I stand up and I feel his eyes on me. I walk towards the bathroom and then turn around. I’m not going to take this shit.

“Do you have something that you need to say to me?”

“Uh,” he looks at his buddies like I’m the creep.

“You’ve been staring at me for over an hour. I’m trying to enjoy my book and my beverage, and all I feel is your eyes baring a whole in every vulnerable part of my body. Have some respect. Stop fucking looking at me.”

“Is it that time of the month?” Buddy A winks.

“My menstrual cycle is far too important to enter this conversation.”

“My parents expected brilliance” by Sasha at the desk in her hotel room

Thursday July 5, 2018
11:39pm
5 minutes
In Praise Of Incompetence
Lauren Slater

My parents never spoke their expectation of brilliance, but it was implied.
It was implied through their own self reflection, striving to always be better, do better. It was implied through how they spoke to me. It was implied through the dinner table and the art room and the backyard games.

Maybe I’m making this up. I lie, after all. We do. Don’t pretend that you don’t. Maybe my expectation of brilliance came innately, emerged inherently, was a natural trait. Maybe my parents, bless them and their wild hearts, had nothing to do with it.

Wouldn’t you say that this is the debate of adulthood? Wouldn’t you say that at a certain point you maybe go,

“This is who I am, by fluke or by nurturing, and I’ve gotta figure out how to do life regardless?”

“Then it went shooting back from the window.” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday April 10, 2018
8:49pm
5 minutes
Pope Hats
Ethan Rilly

Cinnamon and nutmeg
at the bottom of the cup

A tea reading of a future
I think about constantly

Okay Jessa
we’re ready for you

Why did you say yes to tea
who does that who actually says yes

I’m worthy I’m qualified I’m the best
candidate for this job

You come highly recommended Jessa
you’ve got get experience Jessa

I think it would be a great fit
I mean I think it will be a great fit

I’ll take your cup I’ll wash your cup
We’ll be in touch in the next week or two

I’ll wash it I’ll keep it I’d like to have it
if that’s okay I’d like to keep this cup

“For real people” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday November 22, 2017
11:22pm
5 minutes
From a storefront

This is for those real real people who pop blackheads and shout at their lover who eat too much salt and chocolate and butter who fuck up and lean in and reach out. This is for those real real people who live amongst dust bunnies and dirty corners and a patch behind the toilet that never gets cleaned. This is for those real real people who watch too much Netflix and drink too much coffee who are always feeling a little bit ill. This is for those real real people who don’t know what they want but try every day to find it maybe it’s love maybe it’s safety maybe it’s a chicken roasting in the oven maybe it’s music maybe it’s fame maybe it’s that all the people around them stop complaining all the fucking time.

“telling about the poem” by Sasha at Bump n’ Grind on Granville

Friday October 27, 2017
4:35pm at Bump n’ Grind
5 minutes
I Was Reading A Poem
David Rutschman

It’s telling when all the poems are about a broken heart
She isn’t knitting any more scarves or sweater for penguins
She isn’t going to miss another opportunity to floss her teeth
Flow chart after flow chart about empathy screenshotted on her iPhone
Isn’t getting her anywhere but deeper down

Irma wishes there was never an earthquake named after her
Makes her feel dry and hot and afraid

Her sister asks if she’s still writing and she says
“Not really”
“That’s non-committal” says her sister and
Irma knows that she’s right but she “Humph’s” and
Returns to her needle-point

“There’s a real market for the ironic stuff on Instagram”
Says Irma
Her sister isn’t listening

“What it means to have light” by Sasha in the garden

Wednesday September 20, 2017
10:52pm
5 minutes
from the LIT call for artists

My father wraps string lights around his hand, down to his elbow, around his hand, down to his elbow. He’s telling me something, but I’m only listening with my eyes. We’ve just eaten lunch – a chickpea salad – and I know what his breath smells like. Mine smells the same. I know what it means to have light between us, and to feel it, and to know it like I know the Christmas Carol. I know what it means when his eyes fall, when he laughs like only slapstick can make him laugh.

“astral projection, stress and depression” by Sasha in the bath


Tuesday September 12, 2017
10:42pm
5 minutes
Binaural Beats & Healing Sounds on YouTube

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

Magic mushroom toast root bake festival
Astral projection
Stress and depression
Forests of consumerism
Extra large M’s and double D WHY’s
Shaking our devices in our sister’s faces
Shaking our devices so we can feel somebody
Find a chin hair shake a leg
Take a bow and call for help
9-1-1 is just a static
9-1-1 is just a dial tone

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

Cocaine snow angels
In the ashes of our mothers
Water tastes like urine and coffee
Coffee is urine
Urine is coffee
The land’s most trusted caregivers
Are gathered in a place made of cardboard
And needles and songs
Stress and depression
Coffins under the ground layer

No one’s here to help baby
No one’s here to help

“Why does having children” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday September 3, 2017
11:59pm
5 minutes
Don’t Even Think About It: why our brains are wired to ignore climate change
George Marshall


So many babies already born
already needing love
already hurting
already here
So many babies taking up
so much space
I read about climate change
I read about destruction
over and over
and I know the stats I know the reasoning

And yet

Everything in my body says
MAKE LIFE
Everything in my body says
GIVE ME A BABY
I never thought myself traditional
I never thought myself wanting
wanting wanting a generation of
longing paid to want paying for the want

“You said not to read his old texts” by Julia on her couch


Thursday August 31, 2017
11:58pm
5 minutes
From confidential sides

Told yourself you wouldn’t log into his e-mail account.
You put a tally beside your computer and started calling it your sobriety calendar.
Eleven days clean. Haven’t checked it since that fall.
You told yourself that “this is why you don’t snoop through other people’s lives.”
You said “this is why you stop rationalizing all together.”
There are exes marked day after day. You nod, slightly to the fact that you are now an ex marked day by day.
You wonder if his computer will notify him that someone else is in his account.
You worry that he already knows what you’re doing.
You wonder why he doesn’t change his beautiful password.
You wonder why he chose her over you.
You wonder why you eat a tub of peanut butter every three days.

“You said not to read his old texts” by Sasha at her desk


Thursday August 31, 2017
9:24pm
5 minutes
From confidential sides

It starts in the morning
before you’re awake
I creep towards where your phone
is plugged in
Unassuming
Gentle turtle
I don’t know your passcode
but I will
I will learn it
and then I will
I will
read your
emails
texts
missed calls
made calls
listen to your voicemails
I will not listen
to your voicemails
That is an invasion of privacy
That is something only
a monster would do

“keep this info handy” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:32pm
5 minutes
The Shaw pamphlet

“The fucking cheque bounced again, Henry!” Maude shouts from the bottom of the stairs. She can smell that Henry took a shower and used her shampoo again. “Asshole,” she mutters under her breath. He goes on and on about how he doesn’t like it when they smell the same and then he can’t resist the smell of coconut and vanilla. “Henry!” Maude doesn’t want to lose it, but he’s ignoring her and she hates that. She hears the door to his study crack open.

“What are you hollering about?” Henry pokes his head around the landing and she sees him in his towel, with his glasses low on his nose, and she remembers the man she married thirty three years ago.

“It depends how aware you are.” By Sasha in her bed


Saturday August 19, 2017
3:51pm
5 minutes
Lennon on Lennon
edited by Jeff Burger


He comes home raging
his eyes are round open
he’s not sure what the point is
in doing what he’s doing

I’m questioning everything
where I come from
where I’m going
what I do and what’s the meaning

Four thousand strong
gathered twelve blocks away
give or take
take or give

I nurse a neck that’s twisted
wrecked and tense
with warmth and lemon
with ice and tv

“if you have troubles” by Julia on the reading chair


Thursday August 17, 2017
11:02pm
5 minutes
from an e-flyer

“If you have troubles, I know a guy,” Elvira called over, “but he’s out of the country until Monday.”
The window shut behind her and the lights went out. Elvira seemed to sleep easily and often. I supposed if I could I would too. I took off my tank top and threw on Vic’s t-shirt. I liked the way it made my nipples look. I took out my notepad and wrote down “Elvira” and “knows a guy” in two separate bullet points. I wanted to be able to tell Vic she didn’t have to worry. It would have been a nice moment.

“packing slip” by Sasha at her desk


Saturday August 12, 2017
10:18pm
5 minutes
A receipt

I open my hands for you and
you put a packing slip there
you skip a packing note there
my hands are empty for you
and now not so empty
you
I open my hands and you
breathe fire I say
it’s okay
it’s okay
and I put that slip
in my back pocket
Never know when you’ve
got a list to write
Never know when you
might be struck by
inspiration

“system of divination.” By Julia at 49th Paralell


Monday May 22, 2017
2:43pm
5 minutes
An interview with Chani Nicholas in lennyletter.com

Aunt Bobby moves to a ranch but hates horses
Mama Lilia tells her if she wants to hear what her voice sounds like
she should go before the noise comes
Aunt Bobby sells all her personal belongings but keeps Aunt Kay’s ashes in the urn
puts a label on the side, marked “fragile/necessary”
leaves her on the mantle, apology foregone or forgotten
Mama Lilia tells her peace is in taking care of living land and the more the better
Aunt Bobby staples scrap paper together to make her own notebook
She sharpens her number 2 pencils and sticks them in her hair like a cross,
like protection
Mama Lilia tells her to write the songs her bones sing to her
when she is alone in the wild

“A cherished pastime” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday March 21, 2017
9:08pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Samar shows me the sweater she’s been knitting since last Tuesday after learning how last Monday and I’m embarrassed because I’m impressed because she’s seven and it’s stunning. Samar tells me that the sweater if for her sister because she doesn’t want her to think the world is cold. I ask her what she’s reading these days and she pulls out the biggest book I’ve ever seen. She tells me she’d rather save reading for another time though because now would be a good opportunity to teach me how to knit since I liked her sweater so much. I’m embarrassed again but this time for being behind on my own life. I didn’t know what knitting was when I was seven. I wasn’t relying on the smell of books to calm me down.
I causally mention to her that knitting is a good balance to reading because you get to wield a weapon. Samar laughs at this and for the first time today I feel smart.

“I need a reader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday February 20, 2017
11:05pm
5 minutes
castingworkbook.com

Sometimes my eyes get so tired, looking at the bright light of the screen, that I wish I had a reader. I don’t even think that I’m an auditory learner, but I do love being read to. I really do. I often ask N to read to me before bed and he usually says no because his voice is tired. He talks all day. I get it. But there’s something about that soothing sound of someone reading aloud that is ultimate comfort, hey? Maybe, if it was work related, it wouldn’t be so productive. Maybe I should stick to reading for myself.

“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.

“all-day softness” by Julia at Souzan’s apartment


Monday September 14, 2015
9:19pm
5 minutes
from a tube of hand cream

Lounging around the house with my slippers on, feet up on the couch, and you lean in deep to kiss me.

-Whatcha reading?
-The Bible, what does it look like?
-Ohhh, recipes.
-Big surprise, huh?

You hunch your back and drag your right foot as you slouch back and forth in front of me.

-Would you still love me if I walked like this?
-No.
-Not even like this?

You start to flap your arms wildly by your sides, still dragging around your dead foot.

-Almost yes, but still no.

You grab my arms and you place them around your waist. You sway, and you shimmy hard under my hands.

-Wanna dance?
-Oh we are dancing.
-I’m dancing, you’re resisting.
-I’m reading!
-And she multi-tasks, everybody!

“What is “beginner’s mind”?” By Sasha at the desk at Joe Creek


Tuesday, July 28, 2015
12:03pm
5 minutes
From a tweet by Shambhala Sun

I read a short memoir about a woman with stage four breast cancer and my throat swells with fear. I resent her for reminding me of my mortality. I wonder about where I carry extra weight, if I eat too much cheese, is it dangerous to live in a city? Where does my unexpressed rage live? Is it in my breasts? My liver? I’m destined for the same fate. Sickness lies dormant inside of me and will strike when I least expect. The summer of my wedding. When I am pregnant with my first child. During the premiere of my most successful play.

A hummingbird feasts from a hydrangea, slurping up her fill until she’s drunk, flying into the morning before I can reach for my camera. I drink coffee, now cool, the bitterness sour long after the swallow.

I weave a whole narrative before I’ve finished my fried egg on toast. I hate her, this beautiful bald writer, I love her, I wish she were closer and that I might know her phone number so that I can call and thank her for this late July, early morning meditation on death.

“WOMAN SENTENCED FOR BUTT INJECTIONS” by Julia at her desk


Saturday March 28, 2015
1:19am
5 minutes
An unknown transit newspaper

Not a crime, is it, to want a better backside? I don’t know when butts became so in demand. What makes a great butt? I know the answer is one that can have a bowel movement whenever necessary. I know about functionality, let me tell you a story. Oh you really want a story? Shoot. Once upon a time, there was a human being that could not have a bowel movement and it really really sucked. The end. I mean, where do you go from there? And I’m not talking about the humans who don’t have pleasant bowel movements, cause that is a very different category. I am convinced there is no such thing as a human who can not expel waste from the usual place. I believe that if there did exist such a creature it would be an old wives tale. But…then again, I don’t read the news so I only know, in total, like, a handful of things about this world, and butt conditions is definitely on the speculative list

“2 hours or longer” by Julia on the plane


Tuesday January 27, 2015
12:30pm
5 minutes
the Air Canada cafe booklet

Saw him standing by the vending machine. He was biting the inside of his top lip again. There’s a little flap of skin that he likes to chew when he’s focused. His fingers were in his pockets fiddling with a twist-tie or a beer cap. I didn’t see in his pockets but that’s the stuff that’s usually in there. I was already late to meet him but I stood where I was, watching him from my hiding place,and wondering if this was the real him. Alone. Unknowingly being spied on. I could have stood there for 2 hours or longer, just making assumptions and being deeply curious about this human. It made me question if anyone really knows anyone at all. If everyone has a secret self that even we don’t know about..

“Man vs. Wolves” by Julia on her couch


Monday January 26, 2015
12:08am
5 minutes
from Outside Magazine

It takes a pack of them to keep me down. A pack of them, all fired up and caged for too long. Otherwise I’m like they are, clawing my way through hearts…and the flesh that was born to protect them. I see the moon and I transform into a nightmare. Into a bloody, toothy, shit eating grin. I’m the face that the dark stays dark for. And it’s not anger. It’s not rage. It’s torment and pain and obsession and truth. It’s raw like the wild and dangerous like the wind.

“Isn’t that the same thing?” By Julia on her couch


Saturday January 24, 2015
6:29pm
5 minutes
The Green-ish pilot

Ari told me to ask the Universe for what I wanted in life and make it very specific. She said, “what’s the harm in asking?” And I didn’t have an answer so I told her I didn’t know and that I would try it this weekend. I realized she wanted me to do it in that very moment while she was there so she could share it with me, but I’ve never been very good at asking for help and I didn’t want her to catch me in the middle of my ineptitude. It would shine brightly, stick out like a sore thumb, and remind everyone that I don’t have a clue. So I thought of Ari as I walked home in the most perfect light and Canadian snow, and wondered for the first time if asking was actually easy..Once you strip it bare of its shame and crippling vulnerability…
I remembered once asking my dad if he could lend me $1100.00. Some might argue that asking him or the universe was actually the same thing..

“there’s nothing to switch on” by Julia at Pearson Airport


Thursday January 22, 2015
4:10pm
5 minutes
enRoute magazine
January 2015


The girl overreacted. I watched her do it. Someone cut in front of her in line at the dollar store. She reacted. It was over the top. An overreaction, you know. She looked like she was searching for answers-as if they’d come by opening and closing her eyes rapidly. I wanted to yell at her, “Hey! There’s nothing to switch on!” But it wouldn’t have been worth it. It wouldn’t have meant anything to her. I think she was just one of those empty birds, desperate to hold onto something. The type of girl who says, “I’m not much of a reader. I don’t have the attention span.” Or “I prefer audio books cause then your eyes don’t get tired.” Or “Each to his own. Each to his own.”

“Isn’t that the same thing?” By Sasha in the Green Room at the Vancouver Playhouse


Saturday January 24, 2015
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Green-ish pilot

Every time I set out to write something sexy, I end up writing about oatmeal or the ocean or someone yelling. Or moving, I write about moving a lot, too. You know when you read something and you’re like, “GODDAMNIT I SHOULDA WRITTEN THAT! THAT SHOULDA BEEN MINE!” Or that moment when you read about a play opening on Broadway that’s about pretty much the exact same thing you’ve been been writing for oh, four years? That moment is really cute. For me, it usually means a knot in my stomach and a bowl of popcorn. Maybe an episode of Nashville. What about the times when you write something that’s so brilliant you know it’s going to not only change your own life, but change other people’s lives too? Then, the big resounding questions is –

how are you going to spread your words like honey across the earth?

“you either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.” by Julia at Camera a Sud in Bologna


Monday November 24, 2014 at Camera a Sud
1:10pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Charles Bukowski

Ahh I’m falling. I’m falling. It’s a good feeling. You replace the A, the L, with two Es. You want to know where I’m going? To the place were my brow furrows…concentration and magic and old habits. You want to touch that spot on my face. Remind me not to clench my jaw, hold tension in my forehead. “Don’t get old before you have to.” And I have that falling feeling. It’s a good one. It’s when the inspiration breathes and lives and stays awake next to a roaring fire.
You steal the wood off the side of the road for me.
Stoking my pilot light with a little consideration, saying, “yeah, you need five minutes to get that beauty down on paper, I give you ten. Take a hundred of them if you want. A million minutes, even, and I’ll be here watching you and making sure you don’t loose that spark. And that you don’t get wrinkly from the thinking and the trying hard to focus right.”
I remember you like that, rocking in your reading chair and sitting content in the million moments reserved for being apart but together in the same room.
I tell you after this “I want to drink a bubbly white wine and I want to eat an oven-baked fish with the head and tail still attached.”
You say you have the perfect one and it’s in the fridge when we’re ready.
“How do you already have what I want?” And you smile into your book and say, “Cause we’ve been here before. We’ve done Sunday like this a thousand times already.”
“Ahh,” I say, “You’re right. I guess it’s good this spot, this falling feeling place.”
You chuckle quietly, reminding me, “You’ve said that before too…”

“The realist canon” by Julia at her desk


Thursday October 23, 2014
1:14am
5 minutes
Realisms of Redress
Natalie Alvarez


saw that pretty little thing reading in the corner
the edges of her book tattered
the pages ripped and curled
she had a bookmark made out of a piece of toilet tissue
making me smile
knowing she likes to read in the bathroom
and why not?
why not read in the bathroom?
she wasn’t looking at anyone at all
not distracted for even a minute
the book was a good one
I couldn’t tell which one it was
the cover was a solid forrest green without any writing
but she didn’t stop even to sip her tea
probably purchased just to have something on her table
a place holder for the idea of multitasking
she was wearing a potato sack
or at least she could have been
I wasn’t looking at her outfit
I was busy trying to see inside her mind
wondering if she could see me seeing her
wondering if she was in fact so distracted by me
that she had to pretend to keep reading
to prevent herself from turning red
or if she was engrossed
in love
with the words on the page

“But we will judge you.” by Julia at her kitchen table


Monday July 28, 2014
11:40m
5 minutes
from www.winnipegpoetryslam.wordpress.com


She had a beautiful accent and I fell in love with her voice before I ever saw her face. I was lucky then. Oh I was so lucky my friends used to joke about me having a horse shoe jammed right up my ass. But the difference between me and some of those other lucky ones is that I know damn well how lucky I am. Maybe it was even just luck that the first time I got to listen to her it was at a poetry reading where she read the prose of her favourite poet. It’s luck when you get to hear something as intimate as a confession. That’s what I heard when she spoke and I could understand her. I could see her. I don’t think I ever saw anything after that that mattered as much as her.

“Develop the skills needed” by Julia at her kitchen table


Wednesday May 14, 2014
1:04am
5 minutes
A centennial college poster

I suppose it comes from reading a book in a way that you don’t actually ever read it because you’re too busy writing down the quotable quotes in a little notepad that sits beside your bed.
When you see all the answers to life’s great questions and you think, yeah, I have to write this down or I’ll never remember it and I’ll never be free.
Free of what, the unknowing? Because now that you know, you can’t unknow, but you can forget and that’s worse. Worse because you have the taste in your mouth but you can’t recall the flavour. It loses its power. So that’s why you spend hours writing down your favourite words in sequence. Even though you told yourself you’d reread them every now and again…you don’t because life gets busy. But at least you wanted to better yourself and learn something new and develop the skills needed to survive as a human in this day and age.
That’s the kind of rainy Sunday you tell yourself you’ll have only after you’ve made it. But when the light from the kitchen beams into your bedroom and tries to trick you into doing something else, you’ll have to find those quotes again and then instead of just absorb them, you’ll have to use them as a springboard. Focus.
Focus now.
Focus always.
And then the rest of the words you knew once will resurface, and you’ll find them popping up in your memoirs, and your poems, and your love letters, and your address book or contact list.

“the good life” by Julia on the 506 going west


Monday April 7, 2014
9:25pm
5 minutes
from a GoodLife Fitness sign

started off with a bang and i thought to myself, why do i live so close to other humans?
you rolled over and you said the same thing, only in spanish, and we both yawned like it was the answer to the universe.
we tried to get back to sleep but the banging persisted. was a saturday morning sleep-in just far too much to ask? i wondered about it with my eyes shut tight, trying to keep the light out. i groaned and thought to myself, next time we should close the blinds before the weekend starts.
you rolled over to face the wall and you said the same thing, only in spanish, and we both yawned like it was a signed contract for future weekends to come.
the banging. the banging. why can’t those tiny bottle-seeking women just come back after 10am after the lazies and the tired have forced themselves to get up?
finally i had had enough. i got up from our warm cocoon and hobbled over to the window holding my bare boobs with one hand. it wasn’t a human at all. It was a squirrel trying to get into our garbage bin.
mother fucker, i said out loud.
you rolled over and said the same thing, only in spanish.

“the good life” by Sasha in a taxi on the way home


Monday April 7, 2014
12:15am
5 minutes
from a GoodLife Fitness sign

The clock on the stove reads eleven fifty three. Marge wasn’t able to make the book club today because Bruce was in the hospital with pneumonia. That just left Irene and Nina. They’d never really liked one another, these two women, with greying hair and slender frames, but they respected their differences and were civil and friendly. “But we aren’t friends,” Irene told Brent, as she folded the laundry and he ironed his ties. See the three ladies of the Iroquois Falls Book Club, Marge, Irene and Nina, were married to the Morningstar boys – Bruce, Brent and Bobby. If they were going to be sisters, they might as well connect through the one thing all three of them truly loved – books. They took turns choosing which book they’d read each month – Marge gravitated towards quirky stories of redemption, Irene preferred non-fiction with a political bent and Irene was partial to historical fiction. They’d grumble through the first chapters of a book they thought they’d hate, but then, part-way through, each would realize they had something to learn from it they had something to learn from one another. They took turns hosting, although between May and September, the Book Club often ended up being at Irene and Brent’s place, as they had the nicest garden, buzzing with bumble bees and smelling of wild flowers and lavender. In the warm months, the three women would sit outside on the deck, shawls over their shoulders so they didn’t burn, sunglasses perched on their noses.

“can be eaten off paper plates” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 19, 2014
8:18pm
5 minutes
Kinfolk Issue Eleven

She tells me every time, “Linds, don’t worry so much, we’ll just by a whole wad of those styrofoam thingies–” and I say, “You mean plates, Mom?” And she says, “Yeah well whatever they are, you know what I mean.”
I say to her, “You know those ‘whatevers’ are not good for the environment, right?” And she just laughs and tells me, “We’ve gotten this far by using them, haven’t we!? Nobody’s quite died yet!” I am at the point in my life where all I want to do is host a proper dinner party without using paper anything. “Cloth napkins!” I remember, “Those are way better. Sophisticated.” She shrugs it off like I’m making the biggest mistake of my life, and I want to wring her neck a little bit and tell her that this is a dinner for some close family and not the end of the godforsaken world. “Linds, you’re just so hell-bent on proving how much better you are than everyone and I worry about that showing through. You don’t want to allante your dinner guests!” “Alienate, Mom. It’s alienate.”

“everyone is committed” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday March 18, 2014
11:21pm
5 minutes
from an essay by Deborah Stein about collaboration on howlround.com

Round the table we sit, Liddy pissed off because she still has to sit at the kiddy table made worse by the fact that her name rhymes with it. Adrianna can’t move her face because of the recent Botox and so Ed keeps making jokes just to see her not laugh. Darla is still in the shitter after eating a wad of mashed potatoes because Tyson dared her to defy her lactose intolerance. Mom is singing her happy song because she’s trying not to go insane and Dad is trying to get the kids to stop trying to undred Liddy’s hair. The food is mediocre and I’m trying to give Liddy looks of encouragement but she hates me most of all right now. Maybe because I left. Maybe because I came back. I never know with her. I sneak pour her a glass of wine and try to pass it over without anyone noticing.

“the porn industry” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 15, 2014
3:07pm
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.

“for being born and stuff” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 14, 2014
11:44pm
5 minutes
Nelu’s Birthday Card

When I welcome baby Preston I will tell him, “you’re little and I’m big, so that makes me the boss of you!” He will laugh at all my jokes and tell me I’m his favourite sister with his eyes, and we’ll both giggle cause I’m his only sister! I will take him for walks and introduce him to Mr. Andrews who rakes our lawn, and Mrs. Edwards who helps us cross the street with her bright yellow vest. Then when the grass is dry, I will take him to the park and show him what the sun really looks like! I will feed him chunks of bread dipped in Cheese Wiz, and he will make sure the flies don’t land on our stuff by drooling everywhere! I know baby Preston will drool because my Mommy told me so! She said, “He will drool as much as you did,” and I drooled a lot! Baby Preston is supposed to come from Mommy’s tummy in exactly one week from right now. If he doesn’t show up at 2:22 PM, he will be late for his first big appointment. I will teach him how to always be on time and run when Mommy or Daddy calls him. Sometimes you think you’re already running very fast, but I will show him that he should always run fastest before dinner.

“Sarah is currently working” by Julia on her couch


Thursday March 13, 2014
12:09am
5 minutes
the Wikipedia page for Sarah Hudson

She has it in her mind to become the president of the “Tights Club”. Maddy and Addy started the club last year, but Maddy moved away and Addy got in trouble for being in a club. Sarah doesn’t want to tell any of the other girls about her hopes to be the president in case they’re all thinking the same thing. She doesn’t want it to become a competition. Sarah has to work hard to pretend like nothing is going on, and plant the idea in everyone’s head that it was their idea first to have Sarah as the president. Maddy and Addy shared the presidential duties, and because they started it, no one really questioned their authority. The only thing that Maddy told Addy was that if she ever wore non-tights outside of the Tights Club she’d have some serious explaining to do. Maddy only told Addy that because one time Addy did wear non-tights. They were jeans! She wore them because her mother told her that “tights are not pants” and if she was “going to go to cousin Jamie’s house, then she better put on some pants”. Sarah already only wore tights ever. She would make a perfect president.

“Axe throwing league” by Julia on the subway going west


Sunday March 9, 2014
7:33pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 72 pape bus
_
I got there and I thought it would just be a bunch of hipsters with lumberjack beards but surprisingly there weren’t any lumberjack hipsters; only real lumberjack lumberjacks. Chris spoke with a northern Woodbridge lilt, and Mickey wanted to show me all his photos or his dog, Carrie, who he said spoke to him more when he wasn’t home. I was staring at the targets thinking “how the hell am I supposed to hit those?”. I was admittedly even scared that I would kill somebody on my first night and not be asked back, much less make it to playoffs. Deter was scoping out the newbies so he was on my back like a hot summer’s day sweat, sort of patrolling me and making sure I was never anything more than uncomfortable. I told the guys I didn’t need to throw in case there weren’t enough for everyone. Deter didn’t like that. He called me soft and told me to “look around”. Shayna was competing against Sid but she had a smile on for me. She came up to me after her win and handed me her axe.

“Less like a lightning strike” by Julia on the subway going west


Saturday March 8, 2014
8:49pm
5 minutes
an interview with Barbara Kingsolver

More like a gun shot
More like a tooth being ripped from warm gums
More than a giant axe to the heart
More like a life being promised to another
More like heart ache with great similes
More like a dream that started off as a nightmare
More like a wish that turned into a threat
More like a canyon filled up with dirty lies
More like a soft spot being crushed with one squeeze
More like the crippling news of somebody’s end
More like the devastating sadness of ruining the last chance
More like the idiotic blindness from staring into an eclipse
More like a harsh word in the middle of a funeral
More like a meteor hitting the same place
More like a story being killed before its conclusion

“With lots of ice-creams” by Julia at the Fleming Cottage


Saturday March 1, 2014
1:29am
5 minutes
My Dream World
Parul Naveen


I had a really perfect moment the other day. It was Wednesday, not any other day. I always have my really perfect moments on Wednesdays. I don’t know how that came to be, but it’s something I have learned to be grateful for, and to count on. The moment I’m talking about now is the one that I will be talking about forever. I was walking across the grass at the little park near my house. I was thinking about investing in something. I can’t remember that part. It might have been a new vacuum cleaner, or maybe it was even just a broom. But it had something to do with tidying, and cleaning up messes, and collecting all the dirt we try and hide and putting it into one easily accessible spot to then throw out, or away, or suck up. I was thinking about something like this. The necessity of tidying. And then that really perfect moment happened to me. A little boy on a tricycle was licking the top of his ice-cream cone with such delight. It was beautiful. He was so young, and captivated, and innocent. And as I walked by him, I worried for just a brief moment that he might drop his cone, as kids sometimes do, and not get to enjoy it any more. And then, instead of that happening, he handed it to me. I only took it because I could see it in his eyes, that he truly wanted me to have it.

“washroom of the bar” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday February 27, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
2:55pm
5 minutes
spiderwebshow.ca

I go down, I slip down to the washroom of the bar so nobody notices me. So nobody realizes I’ve gone. I need some alone time and I can’t have that here with these people drinking these cocktails eating these dirty fingered bar nuts. I bring with me my flirty lipstick. I leave my phone in my purse hung over my chair. I don’t tell anyone to watch my stuff cause I don’t want anyone watching my anything. I go down, I slip down to the washroom of the bar so I can look at myself in the mirror and give my head a break. I need to see myself sometimes when I’m in a crowded place. When I’m so busy smiling and listening with my whole face that I don’t remember what I look like. I don’t remember what my soul looks like. I’ve got my flirty lipstick. I can hear the bass, I can hear the shriek laughter, the bartender breaking a second glass. I escape. I escape it all. I get into the washroom. The washroom of the bar and I want to stay here for a bit. I finally understand why they call it a ‘stall’.

“Baby you’re much too fast” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 26, 2014
12:09am
5 minutes
Little Red Corvette
Prince


I called you up, I said Vroom Vroom baby
you told me I was out of my mind
I casually laughed then told you I was taking you out tonight
You shrieked a bit and then you were hooked
Where are we going?
And then I said it again, Vroom Vroom baby
You leave that part to me
You had on your jean jacket and you twirled in front of the mirror
Listening to Madonna or Tina
I had the keys and all I had to do was get to you
On my way over I remembered how you liked to bite my bottom lip when you kissed me
I thought about how if I close my eyes and lean into you, I always find your mouth
Or yours always finds mine
I felt cool with the hood down and the midnight air whispering through me
You were just a couple minutes away
And I couldn’t get to you fast enough
I almost ditched my ride on the side of the road
Just to run to you and make the wait disappear.
And then my song came on
Our song
The one you liked to sing in the shower

“#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?

“I might forget” by Julia on the 506 going north/south/west


Saturday February 22, 2014
10:51pm
5 minutes
overheard on Roncesvalles

So I’m on the streetcar and the conductor is like, so listen up folks, the next stop is Spadina, but here’s where I need your attention. After this light on the other side of this intersection, there’s a good hunk of rail missing so I’m going to go north on Spadina, all the way up through the station, then back down Spadina, and across college on the other side to continue going west. Anyone who wants to get off now please do so, anyone who wants to stay on there will be no stops from here to there so no one ring the bell. It’ll take a whole 4 minutes extra so don’t worry, I’ll get ya where ya need to go. Then after all that he starts driving up north on Spadina right? And then not a second later, a guy rings the bell. The conductor is pissed. He’s like. So what’s going on here guys? I told ya, no extra stops. Then like 14 people get off all saying they didn’t hear him. Now I was even reading my book and I heard him loud and clear.

“lives right here in Halifax” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 21, 2014
2:12am
5 minutes
The Vinyl Cafe radio show

Oh that’s where my ex girlfriend was born! In Halifax. She used to brag about it like it was the best place on earth. Not saying that it was or that it is, but she was proud so that was the thing we went on. She kept telling me I had to go to Halifax, I had to see Halifax. I was planning to go just as much as she was but there was always something that got in the way. Big storms, delaying take off, or canceling flights all together, or someone in one of our families dying. It wasn’t meant to be I guess. My ex, she’d always say it, that it was a crying shame I never got to go. I told her that maybe someday I would. It doesn’t matter now, we haven’t been together for years.

“when I got back to Toronto” by Julia on the 506 going west


Saturday February 15, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
the NOW magazine cover story
Feb 13-19, 2014


Everything had changed. Everything had glossed over. It was like viewing myself through a snow globe, sort of fluttery and beautiful but because I was the spectator. If I had been anywhere close to being inside my own body I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt so free. But I had taken a trip to a different part of myself and I was enroute back to the original me, the youthful, good natured me, when it went to shit. There was a detour sign and so I had to take back roads. There was a situation with a dangerous hitch hiker. There was the misread map moment taking me to the worst parts of myself. As if a tour guide were leading me there to make sure I didn’t just get a romanticized view of the thing, I was forced to stay with the group and take photographs for the album I’d make later. When I finally made it back to the centre I was not me anymore. I couldn’t recognize myself. I couldn’t recognize my shoes.

“we loved with a love that was more than love” by Julia at her desk


Thursday February 13, 2014
10:16am
5 minutes
Annabel Lee
Edgar Allan Poe


And we knew it by the candle light that threatened to disappear
With kitchen slow dancing to a Sam Cooke masterpiece
And a couple loose kisses caught by whoever’s mouth was closest
And we knew it then
And we knew it then
The tile underneath our stocking feet
Inviting us to glide with the movement of each other
And a fistful of tickling hairs brushing across our cheeks
And we knew it then
And we knew it then
The night was our playground, our solace, our cure
Saving breaths for only when we needed them
Not wanting to disturb the peace our hearts had found inside each other’s chest
And we knew it then
And we knew it then
Holding dear those smiling eyes and those fluttering eye-lashes
With a whisper of eternity in the chorus of our love song
And a natural tendency to sink into the only moment that ever mattered
And we knew it then
And we knew it then

“you crave” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 12, 2014
11:01pm
5 minutes
the bag of ketchup chips

You crave to be in the middle
in the spotlight
in the memory of many
in the hearts of many more
you crave to be in the centre
in the moonlight
in the laughs of many
in the arms of many more
you get what you want, that’s a fact
you ask the universe if it does complimentary gift wrapping
you want to untie the bow on all your presents from the anniversary party
of your dreams and reality meeting at the park and kissing on the mouth
you get what you want, that’s a fact
you crave to be in the photographs
in the perfect moments
in the history in the making
you crave to be in the love letters
in the words of many
in the nightside table drawers of many more
you crave it all
and you get it all
you’ve charmed the world with your wit and your generosity
and you knew that was all you ever really wanted

“safety matters to us” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Starbucks
12:24pm
5 minutes
TTC subway poster

We salt the sidewalks, we do the whole thing. We get all the late night volunteers to bring their shovels and if they have them, their snow blowers. We take the whole street by storm, and if we’re feeling particularly energized, why hell, we take the whole subdivision. That’s how you get things done in Bimble Lake. Small citied people but big worldly hearts. I started operation GO-SNOW in 2001 after the Cearsons’ car got stuck in their drive way right as Eva was going into labour with Matthew, or maybe it was Logan. They weren’t the kinds to ask for help, but I could see them from my dining room window, and I had the tools so I went on over there and helped before they could say no. Not that they’d say no, I mean, Eva was pretty close to a car delivery! Would have been a great story for the town, but I’m doubting it would be as wonderful for Eva and Cam. I enlisted some neighbours’ help the following year to dedicate a couple nights of the week to planning, and to prevention. We started using my garage as a storage locker for all our materials and I gave Eddie, Tim S., Tim L., and Orval a key.

“turning to the little girls” by Julia at Cafe Novo


Monday, February 10, 2014 at Cafe Novo
9:13am
5 minutes
Under the Lilacs
Louisa M. Alcott


All the little girls with their little girl curls, running wild in the parks and the lawns of strangers. Flying high with the morning giggles syphoned from a rainbow’s end, learning to hold hands with the younger ones and protect them from the mean ones.
All the little girls with their little girl curls, eating blueberries from the bush and getting raspberry stains on their little girl frill. With sighs about the afternoon and their late day naps, not wanting to miss the moments of growth and maturation that come from watching Mommy.
All the little girls with their little girl curls, thinking they can change the moods of the wind and the ocean and have them turn in their favour. They dream big with their wide-eyes and believe the impossible is possible and not only possible but easy.
All the little girls with their little girl curls, drinking sweet pear nectar from a bright blue or yellow cup. Gulping back the flesh of a fruit in a juice so perfectly constructed to suit their needs and satiate their every curiosity.

“And I like to surprise him with something sweet” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 9, 2014
1:33am
5 minutes
http://www.brooklynsupper.net

Putting on my black lacy thing, I’m like Oh yeah this is all for you. Let the back ties stay a bit loose so he can see my skin and the birthmark that looks like a map of Africa. Spritz and spritz and spritz some more. Get that sweet vanilla frosting scent he likes so much and make sure it’s everywhere, on my neck, my hair, my inner thighs. He’ll go wild. I dream of it. He’ll come home and my intoxicating smell will arouse him from the door. He’ll be like Oh baby where is that mouth. I need to put my mouth on your mouth. And I will emerge from the kitchen with my black lacy thing underneath a red apron, wearing oven mitts and carrying a tray of heart shaped cookies with little inscriptions thoughtfully detailed on each one. Got some D’angelo playing. Oh yeah. He’ll take one look at me homemaking in my heels and he will accidentally yell Beyonce?? And I will giggle as I walk up him with that perfect little walk I do that drives him so perfectly crazy.

“go viral” by Julia at her desk


Saturday February 8, 2014
11:18am
5 minutes
http://www.nationalpost.com

Savvy had wanted to be one of those YouTube singing sensations. She had picked a new name and everything. She was going to get followers and fans and a music deal and a drug addiction. She was going about it all in the right way. She had followed other YouTube phenomenons to see how they had done it exactly. What surprised her were the videos themselves. Well edited and creative and at times using so many other individuals. Savvy wondered how she would get that fame if she were always competing for smiles with her friends and the extras she paid to be in her music videos for a cover she was singing of a band that every other YouTuber had done a cover for. She did not like the idea of learning to use a software. Not after spending so much time perfecting her singing face and learning which angle her nose looked best in. Savvy’s only M.O was to become a star, to be in an Us Weekly magazine and to maybe start her own perfume line.

“I’m working on organizing” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday February 7, 2014 at Starbucks
3:45pm
5 minutes
An e-mail from the Playwright’s Guild of Canada

I’m working on organizing my life better. I told my mother on the phone that I couldn’t talk right then and that as soon as I got my shit together I would phone her back. I haven’t called her since December. That is not okay, and as a human being with higher education in more ways than one, I know this. I fully understand and acknowledge my position here, I really do. My mother never wants to disturb me. Even when it might be a good time to tell me that my grandmother who was in the hospital with something as small as anemia, actually died in there, and I would have gone to see her, if I had just known she was sick. So now that I haven’t called her, she hasn’t called me, and honestly, that’s a great great thing. Because she’ll ask how I am, and ask me to come visit, and ask me to come live with her, and ask if I say no to all of those things if she’d rather she just offed herself with sleeping pills, and when I say no to that, she’ll ask, even the ones that Michael Jackson was using, and I’ll say too soon mom, it’ll always be too soon.

“Hooded Shawl” by Julia at her desk


Thursday February 6, 2014
11:40pm
5 minutes
the Circle Scarf tag
American Apparel


I can remember her smile, her eyes underneath that hooded shawl. She was some kind of–don’t worry; I won’t say it. I won’t say that lame thing you expect. She was something, though. Her name was Wanda. What a name, am I right? Wanda with the big blonde hair and the face that matched her daughter’s identically. From all of the plastic surgery, obviously, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about how she could have passed for her daughter’s younger sister, even. It just didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was the scar on her chin that looked like someone had tried to remove the bone by going through the skin. She was beautiful in every way, including that scar, but it just made me sad to see it is all. That a thing like that could have even gone through pain at some point, some unstoppable pain completely and utterly beyond me, in her lifetime, was the single most troubling thought I could have. Wanda. Oh, that name! I almost hate it, it’s so awful, and yet, instead, I hear it, and I think to myself, That woman could be named Tree and I’d still love her with my whole being. Wanda, Wanda! I am transported back to a day where a name like that was a dream come true!

“he said I wasn’t suitable for the rodeo no more” by Julia on the 506 going west


Tuesday February 4, 2014
10:41pm
5 minutes
Talking With…
Jane Martin


Probably cause I bucked a guy. I bucked him. I’m not sure it needs further explanation. Cause that’s what I did, I bucked him. Where? In his face, obviously. Cause. Cause he deserved it. I wouldn’t buck a guy if he didn’t deserve it, of course not. He was rude to me. He was patronizing and rude to me. So what? So I bucked him, that’s so what. Because! I didn’t like his attitude, my words weren’t going to do anything and so I just turned around and I buck–I just know. I just know. I just know. Because he wasn’t the type to listen so I didn’t bother–I didn’t want to waste my time on explaining something to someone who wasn’t going to receive it. You weren’t there so I guess we’ll never know. Cause he deserved it, am I going to have to repeat myself all nigh–no. No I said I bucked him. Yes that’s what I said. Well try to just picture it exactly as it sounds. No you didn’t hear wrong. I BUCKED HIM.

“while the real work is done outside” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 3, 2014
2:08pm
5 minutes
The Essential Rumi
Rumi tr. Coleman Barks


Get on those steal toes, that hard hat, that tool belt. Get on outside where the real world fights its fights. Protected by the construction of our warm and cozy houses, we sit and we contemplate. We fear the windows when the blinds are drawn, we fear the callousness of strangers we have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. We fear the ambulance and its never-ending cries. We stay indoors, thankful for running water and a steady stream of television programs or movies ordered by e-mail. We don’t leave the couch to see the world in action outside of us. There is a whole big thing out there, and it looks just like your imagination dreams it does. Only worse. Only better. There’s no way of knowing if the dead bolt on the front door stays locked. Just a thought. Just a hunch. That we thank those pillars and roofs and hardwood floors for keeping us safe and sheltered and avoiding anything that might cause us even the slightest amount of pain. There are people living in their nightmares all around, and not in a house with books rescued from the streets. Not in a house with a pumpkin loaf baking in the oven. Not that we should choose sadness. Choose hardship. But we should not stay in our pyjamas until noon, just because our jeans are cold from the wind blowing in through the cracks.

TJ & Sam by Julia at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab


Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
1:03pm
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

They were brothers–not really–well, really, but not really. Not blood. Just blood brothers in expression–when you open up an old paper cut, or scratch a patch of skin back to make it bleed–rub your wounds into each other’s and promise something of yourselves to the other. For example: I’ll always be there for you, man. Or: No matter what, bro, no matter what.
It feels like when two dudes do this kind of thing they also automatically repeat key phrases like the MSP on a triple A baseball team…Atta boy, atta boy.
It’s nice.
TJ and Sam were like that–only contrary to common belief, they didn’t say anything when their blood was mixing together. They both closed their eyes and just felt it. TJ and Sam had that kind of bond where they could sit in an open space with their blood dancing–with another guy’s blood, and feel a connection without having to say “No homo” just to ease the silence, the magic. They gave it its space–they gave their blood a minute before they said a single thing.

“I ordered a half sandwich” by Julia at The Holy Oak


Saturday February 1, 2014 at The Holy Oak
12:05pm
5 minutes
The True Secret of Writing
Natalie Goldberg


I had just spent the day talking to Olivia about her juice cleanse and how she felt invigorated by life and her own body and the new colour of her urine. I was half listening to her go on about it and half just imagining her peeing every seven minutes as if the juice was speaking to her through her urethra. That’s literally where my mind went, so when she asked me how mine was going I just said, “so great!” She was like, “where is yours?” And she meant my juice. She said it as she was drinking back a goopey red thing that looked more like period blood than anything, and I waited before I answered to see if she’d get those “strawberry wings” on her mouth…
“I drank my morning one at home!” I told her. I lied. I always lied to Olivia. Truth is, I had eaten an egg and mushroom tuna melt on marble rye and I was so damn pleased with myself that I didn’t even feel bad for bailing on our “joint cleanse”. She looked at me from the corner of her eye and paused. A little red period burp escaped her wet lips. “Oops! Excuse me!” I suppose her juice was speaking through her again…

“weather permitting” by Julia on her couch


Friday January 31, 2014
1:18am
5 minutes
The Actor’s Survival Guide
Jon S. Robbins


i guess my whole life has been ‘weather permitting’. like will i read a book today? yeah, maybe, ‘weather permitting.’ or, another example would be, will i get out of bed before noon today? yeah, maybe, ‘wether permitting.’ it makes sense because i’m a very sensitive person. i’m activated and deactivated by the temperature, by the sun, or the lack there of, by the rain, by the copious and dreadful amount of rain, by the mud, by the slush, by the snow, by the hail. like i’m not saying i’m the only one who is, cause, i know i’m not. i know i’m so not the only one. i don’t even have one of those lamps, like, to ease you into the day, to wake you up naturally like the sun does when it gets super depressing. like i don’t have one of those so i know i can’t be that bad, but the productivity that i base my success and failures on, well. yeah. that’s when i’d say it really effects me. almost so much so that i can’t even string more than three thoughts together to form a complete sentence or like, do the load of laundry that separates me from being a dirty hobo and a decent looking human being. you know when you just have one of those loads that has all your decent items in it cause you wore it all one week cause it was probably nicer out during that period? like all the coloured things or the shimmery stuff that you don’t feel like just busting out when you don’t get out of bed cause there’s like seriously no need, right?

“I start anywhere and finish somewhere else.” by Julia on her couch


Thursday January 30, 2014
5:14pm
5 minutes
Kitchen Ghost
Teetle Clawson


I was born in a big city
A big big city
Lots of doctors
Lots of people saying they’re gonna do great things
Lots of immigrants trying to prove they made the right decision in coming here
I was born where I now am
I left for a while, barely knew it was my first home until two decades later
Lots of people
Lots of people like my family but even more unlike them
The ones I didn’t realize also lived here
When you’re young you don’t know
You just don’t know what the composition of your city is
You think it’s smaller than it is
You think it’s bigger than it is
You grow up and you leave where you had no choice in living in the first place
You come back to your big big city
And you try to fit in like you never left
You try wearing the clothes of your city
Try smoking the grass of your city
And when you’re away from where you knew, that’s all of a sudden when you need to write about it
The country
The schools
The mean kids
The narrow minded views
The Mennonites
The cheese factories
The empty highways
Cause you write about what you know

“BIG NEWS!” By Julia on the 511 going south


Friday January 24, 2014
5:40pm
5 minutes
From a nondescript newspaper

If there’s ever a time or a place that you’re looking to unload some of your shit or whatever, DO NOT CALL ME. I’m serious, I will not be a helpful person to call. Reason ONE being I do not own a phone. Reason two being I do not enjoy speaking on Thursdays, Sundays, and days of SOLAR ECLIPSE. Reason THREE being I have short term memory loss and will never ever be able to store our conversations in my brain. It’s not that I don’t want to help, just more so that I am UNABLE AND INHIBITED BY LIFE’S TRAGIC MISFORTUNES. If you want to call me you can. I’m saying do not to help us both out. If you need assistance you can send a letter in the mail? If that is appealing to you? You can write it by hand if that’s better for you or you feel you might elicit some quicker response. You are welcome even more TO COME OVER TO MY HOUSE on days that are not aforementioned.

“You don’t have to look at me like that.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday January 23, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
3:22pm
5 minutes
http://smittenkitchen.com/

There is a man named Eliot and he had weird fingers but those are not the things I mind about him mostly just his laugh that bothers me I think I wish he had a different one more because the one he has makes me feel less funny it’s so big that’s the problem his laugh makes everything seem like irony or sarcasm and I’m not prepared for that and everything else that comes out of his mouth always claiming that’s funny as if his big laugh wasn’t enough so maybe now that I think of it the laughing combined with his talking is what I dislike most if I had to choose and if I had to be specific what’s the haunting echo you wonder not quite relevant to the man with weird fingers but I’ll tell you it’s his twin he had a twin I’m telling you he killed it at birth because he wanted to be the first one out and the twin wanted the same thing I know it’s true because that’s how his fingers got weird they got that way from sticking themselves so deep into another person’s flesh and bones they get twisted up and there’s no fixing it and now that I think of it is in fact relevant

“simultaneously ancient” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday January 22, 2014.
12:19am
5 minutes
KINFOLK, Volume 10

She was old and she was young
Not sure which parts were which
Sometimes her bones cracked
Sometimes they didn’t
Sometimes her mind forgot
Sometimes it didn’t
She was a glow
Any age can be
She was dark and lived
But in her face only at times
Other times in her soul alone
She was wise
And she was naive
She gave great advice
But she didn’t know how to take it
Her heart held lullabies
Her heart held broken pieces glued together
Her eyes were deep and lived
And sometimes flickered like someone who had never seen anything before
She was young and she was old
She was living and she was learning
Some days she taught herself something new
Some days she taught someone else to feel loved
Others she wouldn’t have anything to do with learning at all
She was grown
She was new

“finally after 32 years I discover music” by Sasha at Holy Oak


Saturday November 2, 2013 at Holy Oak
1:15pm
5 minutes
Sheila Heti’s e-mail in “An email that’s an apology”
from We Think Alone, Week 18 by Miranda July


Finally, after thirty two years I discover music, and then my Discman breaks. You might be thinking, “oh, isn’t he ironic with his Discman”, but it has nothing to do with that. I’m lazy. I don’t want to transfer all of my Cd’s to my computer. Can you imagine how long that would take? Besides, no one is going to mug me for a Discman. A shiny MP3 player? People are stabbing for those things. Stabbing and shooting people. A Discman? No one bats an eye. I discover music because I start reading again. I know it might not sound logical that those two things are connected but it is. Words inspire sound. I read and I crave my ears to be filled with the up and the down of the saxophone or the double bass. Get into it. You understand more than you think you do.

“This guy will change your mind” by Sasha at BellJar Cafe


Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at BellJar Cafe
3:05pm
5 minutes
The front of the Globe and Mail Life & Arts Section
Wednesday, June 19th, 2013


Remember when you learned to read? And you thought, by virtue of this new skill, you were finally a real grown-up? Remember when the world opened up to you like a Florida orange, juicy and fragrant, as you read aloud every street sign, every subway stop, every take-out menu? Remember when you read aloud each book of Little House On The Prairie >? Remember when your father asked you to please stop reading each one of the cookbooks on the shelf in the pantry and making dinner recommendations based on your findings? Remember the freedom, the inner soaring, of knowing every word was yours now, yours alone, yours to share only with the other millions of people who too had broken the code?

“my wrath did end” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, April 24, 2013
1:01am
5 minutes
A Poison Tree
William Blake


When you wrote me the e-mail telling me that you’d found a hostel to work at, that you’d arrived, that you had a bed, and a roof, and a place to charge your camera battery, I couldn’t help but look up, to whoever is up there keeping the clouds round, and say a quiet, “thank you.” I hadn’t expected you to do that. To land safely. To find a place where you could live and work and settle. When I had your tea leaves read I felt like I was doing a very naughty thing. I gave the man, the reader, with tattoos of sanskrit words up and down his arms, all of the details I could think of – how you were born in a leap year; how it had taken a long time for your adult teeth to push out your baby ones; how you find your deepest solace in a deep dish pizza and a crime novel. The man, the reader, looked at me like I was the one who was crazy. I was only concerned, and filled with unbelievable love. “His future stinks of hardship…” The reader said, blue eyes darting towards the door, as if you might burst in at any moment. He wouldn’t ever have told you that to your face. He could tell me, a woman once removed from her man, a man who was her man and now is just a man, on his own. You decided to go to Johannesburg because you spun a globe at an antique shop and that’s where your finger happened to land.

“Everything is all right” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, March 17, 2013
2:34am
5 minutes
Dharma Bums
Jack Kerouac


She sits by the window reading her favourite book this week for the second time. It’s about mystery, and passion, and deceit. Her book, that is. It’s a good one because it makes her stop to think about what it is she actually wants. Relatively speaking, of course. She wants daisies to be brought in bunches. She wants an impromptu car ride to the hill, or to a swimming pool where illegal night swimming happens every Thursday. She gets caught up in it all. Yearning for Mr. Abbotsford to casually ask if she’d like her lawn…mowed Or her sidewalks…shoveled. Mr. Abbotsford is the closest thing she has to The Gardiner. The Contractor. The Mailman. All of these dream-boat men exist in her book, but in real life she has to take care of her own yard. Not so glamorous when the fantasy gets squandered by reality. She keeps her nose buried deep in the pages, afraid to look up. Afraid to get anything done.