“she died before age forty” by Julia at Wabash and Washington, Chicago

Friday September 7, 2018
12:44am
5 minutes
F*** Face
Amber Dawn

She didn’t know what she wanted. Thought she wanted to change some minds and open some hearts. Thought she wanted to tell the truth and free herself of the lies she told herself. Guess some
dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

On a Friday she realizes she
needs to define her path. She cries about the roadblocks but doesn’t even know the road. Her friends seem to be making strides. Putting their hands in all the right collection plates, offering themselves to the highest bidder. Maybe God is a good excuse not to do anything. Maybe having a baby is a better one.

She didn’t know how much the lion’s roar would sadden her. She didn’t know how small a big thing kept would feel when she wasn’t allowed to be free. Guess some dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

“literally naked, mopping, and crying ‪at midnight‬” by Julia on the 99

Sunday June 3, 2018
10:04pm
5 minutes
quoted by Sienna Miller

This house casts a shadow on all the rooms emptied of you. I don’t like it. I don’t like that I like it. I don’t like it.

The hum from the radio breaks my heart so I turn it off. The sound of your music playing on the iPad doesn’t help. I’ve tried keeping you here.

Wandering back and forth like the in between needs discovering. Laying in bed like the rest of the house will burn me if I move. I have been late to meet friends. I have stayed under.

A phone call a day lets me know you wish I was where you are. Am I supposed to unravel the day’s decisions for you? Are you interested in hearing how nothing I feel?

The new waste bin is drying upside down in the tub. I scrubbed it after I finished my shower, still dripping wet, my hair pasted to my neck and back. I know how to decide. See? Somethings are easy.

“Oh my god it HURTS!” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday March 7, 2018
8:31pm
The Stand
Stephen King

Hands on hips and butt naked Martha gives me a look like I’m never escaping. “But you lied to me!” She shouts at the top of her lungs.

“It’s a white lie…” I look at Billie, her mother, and Billie tries not to smile.

“I don’t even know what the is!” Martha wails.

“Why don’t you put on your pyjamas, sweetie,” says Billie and Martha slowly goes to her purple dresser and chooses a striped nightgown. It’s flannel. Billie made it.

“You’ve both really disappointed me,” Martha says, and we can’t help but laugh now. We laugh and laugh and then she laughs a bit too.

“Will you still give me a loonie? Even if the tooth fairy won’t? Can we pretend that she’s real? Just til I’m eight?”

Billie and I pinky swear.

“shit and eggshell” by Julia on the 9

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

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

“I was so annoyed with Wendy” by Julia on the 99


Thursday December 8, 2016
10:56pm
5 minutes
overheard at JJ Bean on Cambie

I had to act like I hadn’t just spent a year covering her ass every time she drank too much to come into work. Where’s Wendy? She’s sick, she’s stuck at the airport, she’s adopting a puppy, she’s at a doctor’s appointment, she’s at home waiting for Rogers, she’s at home because there’s a bat in her living room, she’s taking a personal day, she’s helping someone do something, she’s figuring out something for someone, she’s not coming in today, she sends her regards, she’s sorry she has to reschedule, she’s not coming in today. And part of me still felt bad that I couldn’t come up with a more convincing lie. Or that people probably knew because I had gotten lazy with my excuses. But what was worse was she was still so sad and there was nothing any of us could do. Or maybe there was. Maybe I could have said something. Or offered to take her out for coffee just so she’d remember people cared about her.

“I’m just so sad” by Julia on the 99


Saturday November 19, 2016
11:14pm
5 minutes
overheard on Oak St.

The layer of sad is thick and close by
I feel like I have to dodge it on my way out of my own hallway
And then again on the stairwell
and once more as I walk into the street
It is not mine alone
It is all of us
It is all of ours
Some of us refusing to name it
Others pretending it doesn’t exist
By now the thick and low hanging sad is making it hard to see straight
It is as grey as November rain
and as always
I have heard it called Armageddon
And those of us who carry pocket swords dripping blood and ink say it’s our time to be precise
It’s our time to go to battle

“an unexpected family thing” by Julia on her bed


Monday, July 25, 2016
8:13am
5 minutes
From a text

Annie calls me from the other room to see if I’m awake. I am. But I ignore the ring. Letting it finish its tune before I toss in bed some more to make it seem like I’m still asleep. Annie hasn’t been sleeping well on the couch, even though she says she has been. She makes sad squealing noises throughout the night but doesn’t remember doing it. I know she isn’t well but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. I told Jeremiah about it and he told me he needed at least eight hours sleep to get through his day and if he could sleep on the couch, he would. I told Jeremiah I would sleep on the couch if he would let my sister sleep on my side with him in the bed. He looked at me like I had just swallowed too many blue pills. He shook his head slowly from side to side and said, I don’t know, Lisa, I don’t know.
For the first time I wonder if Jeremiah is attracted to Annie. Or if he is trying to assert his power.

“I don’t have anything else…” by Sasha at the kitchen counter


Thursday July 14, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
overheard at The Tenant

I don’t have anything but these boots and this hat, honey, so if you’re looking for a sugar daddy it’s not me. Hate to disappoint you, I can smell disappointment from a mile away. My Ma was always disappointed, not just by me, by life, by her folks, by my Dad. You learn to develop the ability to know when a person is really swimmin’ in it. I knew to stay away. I’d busy myself with something or other, you know, in the barn or cleaning up. When Ma was down in the dumps the house got like the pig sty. Only worse. Pigs are actually pretty clean beasts. Not like us.

“I might be” by Julia on Jessica’s couch


Monday January 19, 2015
8:40am
5 minutes
from a poster in Ricardo’s studio

I might be lost
I might be confused
I might be hurt
I might be sad
I might be broken open
I might be letting in the everything
I might be too naked
I might be too analytical
I might be too exposed
I might be getting infections
I might be growing
I might be expanding
I might be learning
I might be transforming
I might be forlorn
I might be overflowing
I might be expressing
I might be adjusting
I might be returning
I might be reliving
I might be remembering
I might be better
I might be worse
I might be stuck in my body
I might be breaking free of my old skin
I might be making assumptions
I might be transcending the space between oceans
I might be self actualizing
I might be developing a new form to exist in with a tougher shell
I might be more prepared now
I might be home

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


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


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

“Our human lives seem to unravel” by Julia at Pigneto 41


Friday September 12, 2014 at Pigneto 41
1:22pm
5 minutes
from Thunder and Lightening by Natalie Goldberg

In any given moment Talia will be coming home. Talia likes butter on toast, then orange marmalade. When Talia’s dad isn’t looking, she sneaks the spicy nduja spread that he likes so much. She sticks her finger in the jar to lick it quickly in case he emerges from the TV room and sees her taking his favourite snack without asking. Talia will be coming home soon and she will tell us the news of Sofia–she will remind us of what we already know and that’s not to get our hopes up about her memory. Talia always tells us the same thing about Sofia but we wait for her the same, with bated breath and fingers crossed that today Sofia will remember something new. Talia isn’t even Talia to Sofia but she gets to see her because Sofia thinks she is her imaginary friend from childhood. Sofia called her Naya and used to say Naya was a trouble maker with a beautiful singing voice. Talia doesn’t sing at all but she hums to Sofia and Sofia believes. Talia hasn’t been the same since she started pretending to be Naya. But she does it so she can see her sister every day.

“Our human lives seem to unravel” by Sasha at Momento


Friday September 12, 2014 at Momento Coffee House
8:04am
5 minutes
from Thunder and Lightening by Natalie Goldberg

I hear you giving advice and I wish you’d take some of what you give. That was mean. I apologize. You do, you do take some. You take a lot… I just wish you took one particular thing that you give, one particular drop of… You know what, nevermind. It’s dumb when I talk when I’m mad. It never ends well for any damn person. Especially this one, especially me. You come home and you look at me like “Where’s dinner?”/”Why are you so fucking sad all the time?” You look at me like you didn’t have a good day. You look at me like you might want sex later but you might not, especially if we eat big plates of pasta. Nothing worse than pasta sex. Please don’t pour yourself a drink. That complicates things further.

“Ha parlato troppo” by Sasha at the International Plaza Hotel


Friday July 11, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
overheard on Corydon

You call me and you’re breathless
You’re sobbing
You’re hiccuping.
I say,
“Breath Betsy, breath…”
And you try to listen
But it’s hard.
You tell me that they’ve been killed
the little girls you nanny
five and nine
brown hair in braids you tied.
I say,
“Breath Betsy…”
And you try.
“They haven’t found who did it…”
You repeat
as if it might help.
“Come over,” I say,
And you silently decline.
You’d been there five hours earlier
And then their mother had come home
had forgotten something at the grocery store
“Zucchini,” you say.
She’d gone out to get it
Leaving the girls alone.
She’d done it before.
When she got back
the house was quiet.

“I don’t understand why I sleep all day” by Julia in the park


Saturday June 28 2014
5:27pm
5 minutes
No Rain
Blind Melon


Maybe because the rain doesn’t stop here or because waking up means having to plan something to eat. Maybe because the sounds of the wind coming in through the holes in the bedroom walls means that if it’s not okay in here, the one place where it’s supposed to be, then it most definitely is not okay out there.
Maybe because the ego is a sensitive and fragile organ and if it’s wounded, even mildly, it takes days and days to recuperate. Maybe because the skies are vast but filled with grey clouds and looking up at something so big and seeing it filled with something so sad is enough to keep anyone laying under the covers until the sun peeks out long enough to put on pants and go outside. Maybe because if I told you how I really felt you’d stay in the kitchen and I’d have no where else to hide if I wanted to stay behind a separating door. Maybe because I’m a bit broken and disappointed in myself after all the wrong choices I’ve made lately, or made ever, that having to face them in broad daylight feels too hard or too easy and I don’t know which one is worse. Maybe because I’m tired. It could be that simple. I sleep because I have to. Either that or I’m aware that being awake means having to try.

“He leaned forward” By Julia at Belly Acres


Sunday July 28, 2013 at Belly Acres
9:32am
5 minutes
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway


He had been rocking in his chair for over an hour, flipping through the same Living Home magazine from cover to cover. Stopping to point out his favourite pictures each time as if he had never noticed them before. He was getting old. And tired. And a bit more cranky than he used to be. Sort of lost his tolerance for the usual daily delights. He’d rather sit there silently, not looking at anything in particular and thinking about Sandy his Border Collie who was his biggest joy. Sandy hadn’t been around for years but he still missed her. He didn’t miss anyone else. Not even his late wife Margaret who never completed a day of her life without complaining about the weather even on the most beautiful days. He was convinced it was about time for lunch, but had given up with clocks too. They only reminded him that he was spending another hour by himself. The rocking chair felt like a good place to hide out. At least until his chicken noddle soup was ready.

“Never say never, Moby!” by Julia on her couch


Monday, April 1, 2013
12:06am
5 minutes
Overheard on the subway going west

yeah i guess he was talking to me, referring to me, inviting me. i guess you could say he was reaching out or something. anyway, not important. he had his mouth facing my general ear direction, like you know? talking? and then suddenly i just sort of flashed back from out of my body and into his and i could like, read his MIND. his MIND! that’s so wild, right? but like, the worst part was, it was as if i was lucid dreaming and i could control everything, except i was in a jail cell and there was like, nothing to do anyway. does that make sense? i was trapped in my own lucid dream! and i wanted to get out, believe me, but i felt bad for the guy. it felt like there had been no one inside his mind for years. just sad, you know? he wanted me to go with him to the promised land. he said that in maybe fewer words? but the sentiment was there. he was severely connecting with me and i was obviously doing the same because i wanted to know what he wanted from me and to make sure he wasn’t just some creepazoid tricking me into getting captured or something. he never once said my name, so i guess i might be speculating here after all. but i could feel him trying to break through to me. i pulled out my earphones and i stared at him, like, okay go, i’m listening just do it now before i change my mind. like all of it was happening in split second intervals. and he just said it to me then. he said, never say never, Moby!

“creating a tension” by Julia at TAN on Baldwin


Monday February 11, 2013 at TAN
5:13pm
5 minutes
Sex,Drugs,And Cocoa Puffs
Chuck Klosterman


Dear friend,
I’ve been better, Hannah. I really have. I am looking back on my life right now and can only safely say that I have been happy a total of 3 times in my entire existence. What happened to me, Hannah? Was I not full of life in our youth? Don’t you remember me wishing on stars and running around without shoes? All that hard work trying to be free has not paid off. I’m a solace to no one. I am a slave to the society’s fixed price life option. Beginning. Middle. End. Nothing in between, Hannah! Nothing to set me apart from the status quo. Oh and my mind aches. I am so tired from all the poor decisions and lack luster ideas I’ve been having. What changed, my dear Hannah? What could possibly be different now. Have I aged without grace? Have I chosen a path trodden by too many? Am I an embodiment of my own regret?
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And you, Hannah, how are you?

“Ballerina afraid” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday, January 31, 2013 at Starbucks
2:12pm
5 minutes
Metro News Thursday January 31, 2013

I’m clenching my teeth because when I get focused I really start to hurt myself. Only started cutting when I was finished university, so that’s something I’m truly proud of. Made it pretty far before they had to operate on the disgusting hair ball in my stomach too. That’s from the stress. It’s cause I have a lot going on. Who doesn’t, am I right? My jaw is a mess. My dentist tells me to wear a mouth guard to bed, but I don’t because back in the day, there wasn’t a fix to these problems and people got on just fine without any help.
I’m not saying I want to do this all on my own, I just mean, if my body is reacting to certain things, fight or flight, then I should trust that. Not everyone is meant to have a perfect set of bottom teeth, okay. Not everyone is meant to weigh 108 pounds and lift their legs over their heads. That’s my bag, I guess, I was just sort of thrown into it based on one experience as a child, expressing some vague interest in prancing around in a leotard. Now I do it, I’m not saying I don’t, but I do it, and this is my life. I maintain a low weight, I cut the places no one sees or thinks to see, and I don’t eat my hair anymore, but I want to. We’re all a little fucked up. I’m just worried that when my dad finds out about the cutting he’ll try and quarantine me again. It’s his way of doing a casual intervention.