“10-year anniversary” by Sasha on her couch

Saturday November 10, 2018
8:34am
5 minutes
Into the Raven’s Nest
Curranne Labercane

I can still hear my heart beating in my ears and the rush of blood to my scalp. He pulled his chair back and came around in front of his desk.

“What do you think your punishment should be for this bad behaviour, Miss Bennett?” He’s so close to me I can smell his musky aftershave.

“Um… I don’t know?” I’m fifteen. I have never been sent out of the classroom, let alone in a principle’s office.

He leans down close to my face. The heart beat in my ears. Rush of blood. It feels like every hair on my body is standing straight up.

I’d heard rumours about him. This kind of thing.

“for young students who can’t sit still” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Thursday November 8, 2018
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the Beginning
Chelsey Burnside

Mickey makes the sign of the cross and rolls his eyes back into his head so that only the whites are showing. Sister Helen waddles to the front of the class and we all try not to laugh. We don’t want to get our knuckles smacked with her big protractor. She whips her head around and Mickey is still going, crossing himself faster and faster, tongue hanging out of his mouth. No one moves. Sister Helen narrows her eyes.

“Mr. Fitzgerald, do you need to visit the nurse?” Her voice could cut ice.

“No, ma’am…” Mickey says, quietly.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”

“No, Sister Helen.”

“Of course we should postpone.” by Julia at the desk

Tuesday July 31, 2018
10:02pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’ve been reading about community and how you don’t always get it without making one you fit into on your own. It brings me back to middle school. I was put with all the kids who weren’t try-hards or try-at-alls and I had to do the leading. I had to do all the deciding. I had to do all the work. And I still didn’t get anything out of it. I still didn’t get any respect. Didn’t get any thanks. Didn’t get any friends. Nobody surprised me. Nobody learned anything new about me. And those were the people I was getting. Were they the ones I was asking for by refusing to set boundaries or make my own rules? Maybe. Am I simply adverse to work? There are many maybes here. The point is, it’s not for free. It’s not a guarantee. So I have to learn to love myself instead. I have to learn to love myself so much so that the absence of community doesn’t destroy me. I have to be stronger than that. And it is more work than waiting around. It is more.

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” By Julia on the 98

Saturday March 31, 2018

6:10pm

5 minutes

A quote from Stephen Hawking

In the 4th grade I was a times tables genius. I won around the world so many times I had to give some of my suckers away. By the time I got to the 5th grade I became so deathly afraid of graphs that I had to excuse myself to the bathroom anytime we played games that required the use of them. By the 6th grade I stopped remembering math class as a place to learn and turned it into one where I could practice my stand up routine. I think that’s when I realized I was funny. When all the kids in my class were being tested for the special skills test, I was deeply saddened when they didn’t ask me to do it. They were going to decide if those kids needed an individual education plan and I had high grades and I felt smart, but it was not enough to get the fancy folder with my name on it. I wondered why they thought that numerical testing was the only way to determine if we were gifted.

“Luke punched a boy” by Sasha on the walk home

Friday March 23, 2018
10:43pm
5 minutes
Two Moons
Debbie Urbanski

Luke punched Isaac. Isaac kicked Luke. Luke spit on Issac’s face. Isaac called Luke a bad word. Hillary called the Ms. Gregory. Ms. Gregory pulled the boys apart. Ms. Gregory loves her work but she does not love breaking up fights on the playground. That’s not why she’s here. If only Todd could’ve taken her recess duty and she could’ve enjoyed her salad with bacon. Luke runs at Isaac. Ms. Gregory has her back turned. Isaac screams. Hillary starts to cry. Ms. Gregory closes her eyes and thinks about Spring Break when she’ll go to Oahu. Ms. Gregory walks Luke and Isaac to Mr. Polanski’s office. Isaac’s been there before, many times, but Luke hasn’t.

“peel and core the remaining apples.” by Julia on the 84

Sunday November 19, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
Apples
Andrea Albin

Unra is being asked to pack the kids ” inclusive lunches”
Unra has never heard of “inclusive lunches”
Unra does not have time to figure out what “inclusive lunches” are
Unra is tired of being called a “clueless mommy” by all the other with-it mommies
even if the with-it mommies are inventing ways to make other women feel bad simply because they’re working
the with-it mommies create drama to gossip about because their lives are so small
the with-it mommies meddle too much in their kids’ lives and their kids are brats
the with-it mommies call each other up at lunch because they can’t stand to be alone with themselves when their kids have gone to school
Unra is not a with-it mommy
Unra is sleepless
Unra feels bad enough as it is

“She insisted I make no special concession” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday October 25, 2017
5:43pm
5 minutes
from Swing Low
Miriam Toews

I told you. She expressly insisted that I make no special concession! Yes, yes, I know that she’s my daughter but she articulated in her own words that she wants me to treat her as I would any other student. Mr. Black. You must listen to me. I know that defacing school property results in two weeks of detention, and probation for the rest of the year. Elizabeth is old enough to know better. I’ve already apologized for her behaviour, as I would with any of my students, but she must take responsibility for her actions. This has gone too far! Mr. Black. Please don’t look at me like that. Please.

“keep this info handy” by Julia at her desk


Sunday August 20, 2017
10:01pm
5 minutes
the Shaw pamphlet

Mom gives me the phone card passcode so I can call Nanna in Berlin. She lives there now. She said it’s nicer than Whitby. I tell her that I probably don’t have time to call her cause I have finals this week and she doesn’t let me finish my sentence. She doesn’t think school is a good excuse not to do anything. Probably because she only finished the 8th grade. Probably because she knows when I’m talking out of my ass. Mom tells me to keep that info handy and maybe taake a photo of it on my new fancy icamera. I tell her it’s not an icamera, it’s an iphone, and it’s not fancy, it’s a 4s, and life is not as easy as she thinks.
When I ask Mom why she cares so much if I call Nanna or not, she laughs for longer than is necessary and comfortable. “If you have kids,” she says, “and they don’t call me, I will always blame their mother first.”

“an advanced degree in creative writing” by Sasha on her balcony


Thursday April 26, 2017
1:19pm
5 minutes
Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert


Sitting on her bed, the woman shoves
chocolate chip cookies into her mouth
one two three four five six seven.
She barely chews, inhaling the
sweet soft hardness, exhaling
the loneliness, the fatigue,
the face and the feet.
The woman has just been accepted
to an advanced creative writing program.
Three, in fact. She tastes the imposter.
She tastes the unlovable. She tastes
the big body big story big in a world
where she is only wanted if she is
small. She tastes the failure of the
places where she has not been accepted.
She catches herself. She sweeps crumbs from
the bedspread and walks to the bathroom.

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Julia at Trees on Granville


Thursday April 20, 2017
2:20pm at Trees Organic
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


The other day I found a note written on a teddybear notepad by my junior kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Beliveau. She signed her name with a heart in the ‘i’ and I remembered just how much I loved her-her and her soft nylons, and her “snot-free” desk (which I violated often and blamed on Justin Martens). The note was addressed to my parents telling them that I had a very nice first day of school: I painted a lot and loved story time (shocker), and sang a song for the class at Show And Tell (I remember this-I didnt bring something to show, like a doll or a toy I liked, so I made up a song and sang it for the class when it was my turn. Super shocker! Just kidding). I have always done this. Four year old me has always lnown this. Thirty year old me is grateful.

“their grass-stained skin” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday December 21, 2016
8:34pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher “


I would have given my right arm to spend my afternoons with Alison the way Casey got to; the way everyone seemed to get closer than I was ever able. She was the most beautiful funny person I had ever met and I was in love with her. Everything she said made everyone laugh. Everything she wore set the trend for the rest of us. Every song she liked was automatically my new repeat ballad that I would dedicate myself to on nights I stayed in laying on my bedroom floor by candle light. I watched them play at recess and make up fun dances or do cartwheels down the hill. I wanted to know where she got the rule book-where she found the secrets to the universe all while still being a kid like the rest of us.

“in a less than forgiving city” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday September 28, 2016
7:32am
5 minutes
vancouveractorsguide.com

I came to the place in myself I always worried I’d find. The part that doesn’t have patience for people who don’t pull their weight, the part that doesn’t feel good about having to remind a group of adult children how to get by. Maybe I should have signed up for this in advance. If I had chosen to help people maybe I wouldn’t hate them so much. If I worked in a place where my help was needed…

I am so disgusted with the hole in my chest that comes from resenting other people. I don’t want to admit it but I need help too. I guess that’s where the pain comes from.

When I was in elementary school, I was often ahead of the class and I cared about school and being great. I was always assigned to work in pairs with the students who didn’t understand any concepts, or who didn’t like being there. When I asked the teachers why I couldn’t be put with someone who was going to work hard and push me to be better, they all told me the same thing: You’re a strong student, you don’t need help as much as they do.
So when did anyone look down at me and think, well there’s some potential, why don’t we try to lift that one up? Why didn’t I ever hear, well she could use a mentor or an opportunity?

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“dies in slow motion” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 5, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


Cut to me, 4 years old–MAYBE 5– and all the tiny humans in Mrs. Beliveau’s class have just come back from an assembly. We don’t have enough time to learn anything, not that we really ever did, so Mrs. B. tells us we can play on the structure if we can change as quickly as possible into our gym clothes. I see no one is on the structure and for some reason today I need to be the first one. So I strip down and throw on my shirt and I go running up to Mrs. Beliveau to ask her if I may “board the spaceship” (because we were in kindergarten and that’s what we called it, even though it looked nothing like a spaceship)and she looked down at me and said, “you may, as soon as you have some pants on.” And I looked down and I was standing there in my orange-starred underwear, in front of everyone, made to be aware of shame for the first time in my tiny life. I did whatever Macaulay Culkin got hired for in Home Alone then proceeded to die in slow motion; my face a shade of fire that burned me to death.

“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.

“you may feel strong emotion” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday January 27, 2016
3:55pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


You may feel strong emotions approaching a budget
When the numbers on the page are bigger than you’ve ever seen in a bank account
When the commas and the decimals won’t add up
When there are too much items and too few revenue opportunities
You may feel strong emotions that carry you back to grade school and not being able to get the seven times table past 28
Carry you back to math tutoring in the computer lab with the mock turtleneck wearing teacher
Carry you back to wishing you could bring yourself to cheat because you need that scholarship you really need that scholarship
What would you have thought you could do if it weren’t for these nasty numbers too straight too clear to little room for flexibility
The satisfaction of subtraction and addition isn’t lost on you but
in all the space in between
you fall

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“ASPERTAME CONTAINS” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday October 31, 2015
5:32pm
5 minutes
The pack of gum

Reggae bleeds out of Oli’s headphones and I take them off his ears. “What are you doing?” He looks at me like I smell of something putrid.

“I’m listeninggg.” He draws out the “g”.

“No music in detention, Oli, you know that.” He glares at me. I want to slap him but of course I don’t. Of course I say,

“I’m sure you’ve got some homework or something?” He doesn’t respond.

Oli transferred from a school in the West End at the beginning of the semester. Rosie said that his father was killed in an accident at work. “He was a roofer,” she said, lipstick on her front teeth, voice lowered as one has to do in the staff room at lunch. “He fell off a roof and apparently he just went, “splat”.”

“A boy in my algebra class nicknamed me “terrorist”” by Julia at English Bay Beach


Saturday September 12, 2015
8:01pm
5 minutes
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/life-as-a-hairy-muslim-girl-after-911

I think Luke heard it from his dad or something. Luke is always coming into class with his big words and his big hate and it sounds like stuff his dad says. My dad says that Luke’s dad is a vessel of pure sadness. I don’t get how he thinks he’s sad, cause Luke’s dad is always yelling and screaming and swearing and stuff and that seems like he’s pretty angry to me. Sad is when you cry and when your nose leaks and your stomach gets that empty feeling. How do you get that sad empty feeling when you’re always filling your stomach with cans of beer?
Luke is always saying things to me or to Ruby about our skin and about our voices. He laughs and his face goes all red when he holds my arms behind my back and calls me a “terrorist.”

“Complete all sections” by Julia on Joe’s couch


Wednesday, August 26, 2015
9:09pm
5 minutes
from the Canada Arts Council Application Guidelines

During the testing Jeremy looked around the room to gauge the progress of his peers. Amelia had a crooked smile on her face and was scribbling with utmost vigor. Gareth had his boogies in his hands again and was rolling them between his palms, making them long and roll-y. Jeremy glanced at the clock and saw that he had only 29 minutes remaining. He shot back down at his papers and realized he hadn’t don’t much of the exam at this point and would have to hurry. Even still, Jeremy was preoccupied with his beside neighbour and his horizontal neighbour. Did Erin like to scribble tiny hearts where the tops of the ‘i’s should go? Did Reilly smell his fingers like that every day, or just the day after spaghetti night where he gets to chop the garlic and add as much as he likes?

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


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

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

“the important mother” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, June 16, 2015
11:47pm
5 minutes
Back of the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar bottle

She wasn’t a very good mother, I can say that without even feeling the slightest pang of guilt. Wanna know why? Cause she wouldn’t let me love her. Not even a little bit. She made me call her by her first name. She didn’t want to be a mother, you understand? She didn’t want me at all. She used to send me to school with half used packets of Sweet And Low. And that was it. No PB&J with the crusts cut off, not even bologna and mayo. Sweet and Low, not ever the full packet. And that’s what she expected me to eat. Or that’s what I thought. It took me longer than it should have to figure out that she was trying to get me taken away from her. She thought maybe the teachers would see what she was packing me for lunch and send a note home, a warning, then maybe get a social worker to come and break the door down or something while she was watching Days of Our Lives. I guess every system failed me, cause I was never questioned. Maybe Deena’s first mistake was sending me to a school that couldn’t give a fuck about me either.

“I would have been an eighth-grader” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday May 3, 2015
10:15pm
5 minutes
On Writing
Stephen Kingk


I would have been an eighth-grader this year if they hadn’t held me back, if they hadn’t oppressed my rights and made me wait for it, made me beg for it… Graduation. I saw my classmates who I’d been with since the very beginning, since tear-away track pants and Pogs, get up on the stage in the gym in blue and yellow gowns and hats. I heard Davie Bernstein make the valedictorian speech. “Hey Davie,” I said later, side-by-side in the urinal, “Nice speech.” He looked at me sideways and said, “Go suck a dick, Howard.” He tucked his into his stupid dress pants, didn’t wash his hands and left, laughing and talking loudly with the rest of the class. They held me back not because I’m not smart, not because I can’t write an essay or solve an algebra equation. They held me back because I’m not a go-getter. “You’re just not a go-getter,” Mrs. Sherman said, purple lipstick on her front teeth. “We think you’ll do better with one more year in Grade Six. We think you’ll thrive with Miss Davidson.” “Who is this “we”?” I asked, scratching the scab on my right knee. “The faculty, your parents and me,” Mrs. Sherman said, blinking her cow-like eyes quickly, like the question caught her off guard.

“we are in a war to the death” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday February 18, 2015
2:30pm
5 minutes
The War of Art
Steven Pressfield


We have been at odds, all three of us, since that summer when Jenna decided to strip. We weren’t prudes, Angie and me, we just got angry that she didn’t want to finish college. “It’s to pay for college, you idiots,” I remember Jenna spitting at us. “Well what’s the fucking point of paying for it if you’re not going to keep going?” Angie got pissed at everything, but for once, her anger was justified. We had spent our entire senior year helping Jenna get her shit together. We worked in shifts at her house, Angie tutoring her in Calculus, me practically writing each of her English papers for her. Jenna was a smart girl but she didn’t want to try very hard. Yeah, yeah, likely story; it seems they’re all smart until they’re not. Jenna wasn’t stupid, but she did have a knack for making some pretty questionable life choices.

“super true to who they are” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday December 8, 2014
6:12pm
5 minutes
from an interview with Annabel Soutar

it’s loud in here those voices those voices i feel bad about not remembering those names those names this huge place these booming halls those sounds those sounds they are super true to who they are these people these people it’s nice it’s nice all heart all teeth all chicken schwarma pens and pencils and scratching and words like maple syrup tapped from a tree from a tree these cobwebs are clearing and when they do there’s magic there there’s magic there

“How many yaks could a yak pack pack” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 2, 2014
12:27am
5 minutes
Tongue Twisters at Americanfolklore.net

Casey was trying to write a bunch of rhymes about penguins for her 5th grade poetry assignment. She was having a hard time because nothing really easy rhymes with “penguin”. She didn’t even know why she chose penguins in the first place. She could have picked anything, like leaves, or malls, or berries. She thought that maybe because she did her first major school project on penguins, she’d have some more luck. Only her mom did it all for her cause Casey didn’t know how to research anything yet. She wondered if she could use some of the information from the bulletin board her mom made and turn it into a poem. So far she had “dressed in tuxedos and loving the sky, penguins are classy but don’t know how to fly.” Casey had already crumpled up six sheets of paper cause the other rhymes were a bit lame. She wanted to ask her mom what she thought but that would make two whole projects on penguins that Casey hadn’t done on her own.

“If you don’t have it” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday October 22, 2014
7:42pm
5 minutes
A recipe for millet banana bread

When we met, Timothy knew nothing about Rembrandt. Not that I judged him. He just didn’t. He was taking an Intro to Art History class. I knew nothing about how to make a fluffy omelette, so… We taught each other. More than just about art and breakfast. We taught each other about love.

When we met, Timothy was wearing round, John Lennon glasses, a page-boy cap and a tweed blazer with corduroy elbow patches. He smelled like pipe smoke and cilantro. He asked me if I liked beer and I said, “Yes,” and he asked me if I might like to drink some. Together. I said, “Yes…”

When we met, Timothy hadn’t come out yet, but I knew that he was gay. I’m never wrong about that. He thought that perhaps I’d become his tutor, or, at least he could pick my brain about things.

“Last date to withdraw” by Sasha at the UBC Library


Wednesday September 3, 2014
1:02pm
5 minutes
UBC Student Servies website

These places, educational institutions, are funny places.
Everyone shuffling – new shoes, new backpacks, new pencils sharpened and ignorantly poking holes in new pencil cases.
Herds and herds of people, few making contact with eyes, or fingertips, or smiles.
We’ve come here for what
For learning
Okay…
We’ve come here for learning.
We’ve come here to further know ourselves.
We’ve come here for time.
I
I’ve come here for time.
For this, for words, for understanding of the why and the when and the who has come before.
I catch a glimpse of you,
also feeling like a fraud,
also feeling lost,
clutching your iPhone like your life depends on it.
I catch a glimpse of you and you catch me
catching a glimpse of you,
Confident and alone and one of millions.

“you want to be chosen” by Sasha on the Queen Streetcar going East


Tuesday June 3, 2014
6:38pm
5 minutes
This American Life podcast

They’re both wearing V-neck T-shirts (black and blue) and cardigans over top (grey and lighter blue). Haircuts like men, like the popular haircut for men right now, a bit combed over, part spread like margarine. Mancuts. They’re scholars. They’re studying feminism, all the waves of it, all the ups and the valleys of it. The taste of it. They’re wearing scholarly shoes (black and brown). Their shoes speak to their intellect. They write with HB pencils, practising impermanence, erasing away the “his” in herstory. When they fuck, it’s lighter than their bodies, it’s light like sparkles, carried by the air. When they sleep their dreams are mirrors of one another. “I’ve learned it’s better to make them like you and then tell them how what you do is a little bit weird,” one says to the other.

“Return for redemption” by Sasha on the Keele bus


Saturday April 12, 2014
6:10pm
5 minutes
A can of Magners

When he makes his way back into the classroom, the letter “F” has fallen from the felted alphabet that’s pinned up above the blackboard. He wonders if its a sign. “F” for “Failure”. “F” for “Fucked”.

He hadn’t meant to do it. But he had. The rumours circled faster than vultures to a dead deer.

“He’s a fat fag! Look at that fat faggy nasty ass face!” He’d walked in, just before Jay punched Alfonso in the nose. More blood. More broken. He’d seen it since September, one thirteen-year-old picking on the other, bullying the other, rallying the other eighth graders with the power of an army general. He’d been patient. He’d dutifully given detentions and sent home notes. He’d even called in Jay’s father for a meeting. He’d been stood up.

He moved faster than he knew he could. He pulled one boy off of the other, face covered in tears and snot. He threw all one hundred and three pounds of Jay Eiserman up against the wall. The inspirational quote calendar fell to the floor. “You lay a hand on Alfonso again, you little shit, and I’m gonna kill you.” Jay dropped to the floor, rage shooting from his eyes. He ran to the Principle.

“THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL” by Julia on the 506 going east


Thursday December 12, 2013
9:20am
5 minutes
cover of aux magazine September 2013 issue

And it was a real battle
Hair pulling and ripping
Teeth grinding and popping
Skin scratched and bruised
Clothes torn and stained
It started early Monday morning at the jungle gym
Theresa was hosting a “peaceful protest” about My Little Pony being banned from recess. Turns out teachers don’t like when little girls and boys make believe they’re unicorns.
Theresa was trying to make a difference.
She was calm and she was smiling.
But Nadia didn’t think it was right. For whatever reason, and no one seemed to ask her, she was against the protest from the start. She had rallied her side and there were tomatoes and mashed butternut squash involved.
It had taken about 2 days to fully escalate.
Theresa didn’t know it was coming. Suddenly at the end of lunch, a group gathered around them, black zinc face paint under each of their eyes, and all hands cocked:
ready, aim,fire.

“when he was only 16” by Julia at Rustic Owl Cafe


Saturday, November 16, 2013 at Rustic Owl Cafe
12:36pm
5 minutes
Edge Studio DG Tour Script Selection

Learned how to play the ukelele to impress girls,
asked a lot of stupid questions he already knew the answer to,
refused to go to bed before midnight,
ate crepes at lunch, and dinner, on weekdays,
preferred to jam in the garage even in the winter,
warned his mother about him leaving someday,
dreamed in vivid blues and purples and reds,
spent Saturday nights playing Gin Rummy with his grandmother,
asked a friend to knit him a scarf for Christmas,
watched and re-watched The Sandlot,
ran away from home for one night only,
made a batch of cookies to bring to his teachers,
ran in the Student Council and became an Athletic Chair,
drove his father’s Toyota Corolla into the neighbours basket ball net,
sang in a choir at church for the last time,
prepared to-do lists on napkins, and hand towels,
avoided cleaning his room at all costs,
helped mow the lawn and water the rhubarb,
brought home the girl with the broken glasses out of fear.

“2009” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, July 9, 2013
1:39am
5 minutes
From a stamp in the sidewalk cement

This was the year things changed. Dad was recovering from his minor surgeries because of his minor heart attacks, Alessia became a vegan, and mom decided to take up smoking marijuana in the garage every night after everyone went to sleep. Alessia’s best friend’s brother passed away so we all considered ourselves very lucky that we were all recovering. And I…I stopped wearing makeup and thinking about mirrors as if they’d be able to save me. Mom didn’t want me to go back to school, even though I was pretty sure I had wasted grandma’s tuition money the first time around because I was “too eager to learn”. I studied philosophy for a year, then transferred to theatre studies, and then finally finished in children’s lit. My mom said that was enough learning. I had to get out of the house more than I thought possible. Everyone was eating dinners with some fake alternative salt product, and not really enjoying steaks any more because they were practically banned.

“big red sneakers” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday February 6, 2013
12:36am
5 minutes
Women of Manhattan
John Patrick Shanley


She was a meanie, Mrs. Appleton. She wore big red sneakers and I HATED THEM. Why would a woman her age wear sneakers for children and try to teach a classroom OF children? Obviously it was so she could “get on our level” but I saw right past it, yes I did. She was a loser. THERE. MRS. APPLETON WAS A LOSER. One of those ‘failure at life’ types. She tried, boy did she, but it wouldn’t win us over because we were smart. Such a meanie. Just one of those people who would give Donnie Kits a C just because she didn’t like that he was chewing gum during his history presentation. And once, when I was trying to be ARTISTIC, I ripped the edges of my pastel tree drawing so it would look like the EARTH, she completely made fun of me in front of the whole class and told us all that it was lazy and we should learn to use scissors like adults. I HATED HER THEN. And you’d be sitting there, just minding your own business, just working on multiplication tables, and really for the first time understanding the 9 times tables, when all of a sudden, squeak squeak. There she was behind you, Mrs. Appleton and her snarled up lip and her squeaky too young for her red sneakers. She’d make you feel like you were doing something wrong just by BREATHING on you. And her breath. Ugh! Even her breath was mean!