“God may have written” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

10:33pm

5 minutes

From a quote by Nancy Cartwright

Aubrey tells me that she wishes she could sing without trying. Without crying. Without opening her mouth. She asks me to ask God what can be done about that. She asks me because I’m taller than her and therefore closer to God. She’s not wrong…

When I ask her why she wants this she doesn’t answer with words but with a look of disapproval. As if I didn’t already know. As if it needs to be spelled out.

Aubrey tells me it’s important that singing be true. She says she’s heard enough people trying and she doesn’t want to be the kind who has to push put feelings; one who tries to get it right.

Would you be okay with being wrong? I ask her, a little afraid now that I’ve pushed her too far.

She smiles then and blows her bangs out of her oval face.

“It’s the nicest gift anyone’s given me” by Julia on her couch

Monday January 15, 2018
10:39pm
5 minutes
Fetters
Madeline Sonik

I still remember it even though I don’t really like to remember her.

I didn’t get into chamber choir when I was in the eleventh grade. I couldn’t read music but I could sing by ear. I was good. But I wasn’t good enough when it came to clapping out the bars. I had never felt more alone. Mrs. C had a look of pity on her face. I was sure I would never sing again. The next day K brought me a hand-bound booklet of music-reading printouts from the internet. She told me not to quit. I was moved beyond words. My friend believed in me even when I thought it was impossible to prove myself. The day after that I got the courage up to go and talk to Mrs. C and tell her that I would work hard and that even if I couldn’t read music, I belonged in the choir. She relented and let me in. I don’t remember now who gave me the idea to plead my case, but I will not forget that music booklet: the holes gathered by the cutest little sewing thread. When I think of her in my life I try and remember that version of her. I try not to let that part get swept away with the others.

“I’ll sing til morning” by Sasha in her bed


Monday July 10, 2017
11:32pm
5 minutes
Night, Mother
Marsha Norman


I’ll sing til morning I will I will
I’ll sing up high and I’ll sing so shrill
I’ll sing when the sun is high in the sky
I’ll sing my babe a lullaby
I was born to sing out loud and strong
I will sing all the right to all the wrong
And then sometimes we’ll sing together
Deep as the sea and light as a feather
When we sing we do it so free
that I become you and you become me
I’ll sing til morning I will I will

“what curious sense does it make?” By Julia at Sasha’s kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


She looked around the room
wild eyed and buzzing
her tiny eyes still too glassy
to make sense of any faces
or shapes
little hands and noses mushed
into her field of vision
blurring in and out
in and out
Her head was fully held up
by the neck on which it stood
Advanced, some of the other new mothers
were marveling
She was anxious to be independent
ready, rather, since she popped out
her new mother said nonchalantly as she gnawed
on a meaty rib bone with her free hand

She gulped at the air
her mouth the same shape as her tiny fists
eager to be in the glory of it all
curious and young
to be so new and so old
all at the same time
a thousand tiny lifetimes lived
in every breath
every glance
every nod
of her perfect little head

“what curious sense does it make?” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 10, 2016
2:45pm
5 minutes
Upstream
Mary Oliver


What curious sense does it make
the mouse nibbling the corner of
the book page, rice collecting at the bottom of
the bird cage
Tiny animals lined up in a row?

The majesty of monarchs
sending smoke signals up to the Gods
The killer whales sonar harmony
that’s just for the coral and
the lichen and the squid and the moss?

Pandora’s Box left open on the counter
tied in a red ribbon
wrapped in a green shawl
dusted with dirt and the smell of home.

You step closer.
You step closer.

You open it.

All of a sudden
it’s clear as the timer
as the coffee
as the inspiration!

All of the animals
aren’t in a row
They are in a circle
Stretching land and sea and sky!

They are in a circle
and they are singing
raising their calls.

“every minute” by Sasha at the table in Mississauga


Sunday, July 24, 2016
11:03am
5 minutes
From a birthday card

You sing Jann Arden at karaoke like it really matters, like important people are watching. This speaks to something in you that’s superior to most people. You aren’t afraid to belt:

Maybe you might have some advice to give
On how to be insensitive
Insensitive
Insensitive


You sit down next to me, after you’ve wrapped up and some bro in a pink tank top is trying to sing the Beastie Boys, and you’ve got tears in your eyes. I grab your face and kiss your nose. You are surprised, but you like it, and you tell me so.

“Are you gonna sing something?” You ask, swigging soda water.

“Yeah,” I say, “I absolutely am.”

“As a heavy-metal band” by Julia at Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar


Wednesday March 2, 2016 at Platform 7
2:59pm
5 minutes
The Comic Toolbox
John Vorhaus


I am joining a band!
A Circus!
I don’t care about the big hair part! I just want to eat music for breakfast!
I’m big when I want to be, loud when I’m allowed. I don’t like walls, unless they’re made of sounds.
Mama says
BE CAREFUL
Pa says
DON’T SHOUT
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
And I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
Mama says
YOU MAY BE TOO LITTLE
Pa says
NOT LITTLE ENOUGH!-patting my head, chuckling HA HA
I want to tell them I can be what I want!
I am big like a thunderstorm.
I am loud like a parade!
I am going to sing with my mouth open like this:
( )
( )
Swallowing songs and guitars and applause!
Mama says
BE WHAT YOU WANT!
Pa says
DON’T FORGET US!
Baby Brae says
AHHH! AHHH!
I say
YEAH!! YEAH!!
I am going to see the world!
I am going to be the sky!

“Secret Sundays” by Julia in her bed


Thursday January 28, 2016
12:12am
5 minutes
A Mission Kitsilano business card

There’s a few of us who meet at dusk and always on Sundays. Meredith came up with the idea but had no real concept of how important it would become. None of us did. She came to me with the thought of gathering, combining energies, uniting, and giving offerings. Meredith thought it would be a nice gesture if she danced while I offered my singing to the powers that be; to the earth; to the sky. The others started joining us, Reemah with her prayers and Tilda with her tears. Our ceremonies last for sometimes 90 minutes. There is a lot of openness and engaging that none of us get elsewhere. The group is especially honouring of my offering and sometimes ask me to sing three or four times. I am good at creating safety with my voice: acting as an umbrella energy for all of our gifts to come together underneath and feel at home.

“Why do we do that?” By Julia at Christie Pits Park


Thursday, August 13, 2015
12:48pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the Spadina streetcar

So I met her on a subway platform. She was going to jump and I didn’t say anything. I just stood close to her thinking maybe she would feel something from me and decide not to do it. I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t say it was my brightest moment. But I felt bad interfering. She had decided this would be how she goes and who was I? Someone she didn’t even know trying to convince her not to take her own life. I started humming. What else do you do when you’ve basically resigned yourself to assisting a stranger’s suicide? It was Chariots of Fire. God, don’t ask me why cause I’m still trying to figure that out. But it was like a movie. Maybe a badly written one. She started humming a long. I kept going. I could keep going with that song more than others. Maybe that’s why. Maybe not. I could see the light on the train coming toward us. She hadn’t looked up from her feet yet. So I just sang louder. She sang along with me, and then she looked me in the eyes, tears in hers. I smiled.

“wrote a long great piece” by Sasha in her bed


Friday, July 17, 2015
11:57pm
5 minutes
A tweet by Sheila Heti

Sky dancing stories across your cheeks
Light like fingerprints
Eyes are heavy with the week
Open and close
Open and close
Whistling a tune for a new song
Arrived
A shooting star
Picking chords
Cherries
Callouses prove it
Harmonies don’t come easy tonight
It’s work
Kneading the dough
Waiting for it to rise
Patience
YouTube videos
In the oven
Crust turns golden
Sky dancing stories across your cheeks
Sun so high for evening

“within 15 days” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, July 9, 2015
4:44pm
5 minutes
A letter from Health Insurance BC

The vines climb her legs like a joke
Like a hiccup
A mistake

Thursday night karaoke
no one can look away
from her song
She’s naked
Nipples like rosebuds
“Pat Benatar’s a good gardner”

She left her wedding ring at home
Not because she doesn’t love Cal
Because she’s too hot for metal
She’s melt it

The bartender makes a joke about the weather
Someone says
“Shhhhhh”
A sacrilege

“Who is she?”
A hand on a lower back
Mine
No one answers
It hangs in the air between the chorus and the bridge
A river

In the bathroom I want to kiss her but I don’t
I’m a puddle in my jean cut-offs
I know she’ll be gone in two weeks
They are moving to Mexico City
Cal got a job there

“Why don’t you ever sing?”
She puts on fresh lipstick
Red like the sky

“Last night I was like fuck it” by Sasha at Arbutus Coffee


Friday, June 5, 2015 at Arbutus Coffee
2:52pm
5 minutes
from a text

Vera walks by the ocean everyday, and she has since she was fifteen, since she moved to Vancouver from Windsor with her stepmother. Her father had gone to Hong Kong for a two year placement at a Chemical Engineering firm and both she and her stepmother had sworn they wouldn’t leave Canada. “Well at least go someplace fun,” he’d said, probably stroking his beard, probably narrowing his eyes the way he did when he was deep in thought. “Vancouver!” Her stepmother had said, with her Polish accent. “Okay,” Vera had shrugged and gone to her room and listened to Joan Baez. She has walked by the ocean everyday since she got here, different shores, but the same changing ocean. Today she sees an Orca. She blinks several times, as she does when she doesn’t trust her eyes, maybe she hasn’t drunk enough water, maybe an orange and a piece of toast wasn’t a big enough breakfast. Nope. It’s definitely a whale. She watches and listens, he’s singing! He’s singing just for her.

“can’t go a day without” by Julia on her bed


Monday March 9, 2015
9:27pm
5 minutes
from a comment on YouTube

thinking about bread
wishing i was better
praying to a god i no longer believe in
touching my hair
remembering
examining my fingernails
snagging my ring on the inside of my jacket
sighing deep and audibly
dreaming about chocolate
playing with my earrings
singing to myself
communicating with my love
apologizing for something
tricking myself into stillness
cracking my back
touching my face
biting my lower lip
smiling
holding space for pain

“I’f I’m ever lonely” by Sasha on the subway going West


Saturday February 21, 2015
4:11pm
5 minutes
mirandajuly.com

If I’m ever lonely just send me out to sea
Floating on the water
All the fishes and me

If I’m ever lonely I won’t sing this song
I’ll sit in the dark quiet
Thinkin’ what else might go wrong

If I’m ever lonely I’ll make a pot of stew
I’ll chop up some onions
Nothin’ else will do

If I’m ever lonely I’ll lay in my bed
I’ll listen to the clock tick
And rest my weary head

“you can power through” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday December 11, 2014
11:43pm
5 minutes
from a Nurofen tube ad

When Miracle makes pancakes she puts peanut butter in the batter. Then she chops up bananas real thin and fries them in butter and syrup. It’s my favourite thing. She made ’em the first night I slept over and after two plates I asked her to marry me. She laughed but she knew I wasn’t joshing.

When Miracle goes to bed she puts a hot water bottle under the covers so that her feet stay warm. “Makes all the difference,” she says. She has bad circulation.

When Miracle takes a shower, it’s the only time you’ll hear her singing. And you’re lucky if you do. She has the voice of a Hallelujah angel.

“Sunset and the city” by Julia on her bed


Monday October 20, 2014
6:19pm
5 minutes
The front cover of a notebook

Babs calls me and she’s in such a tizzy. Her brain has sincerely exploded, and I’m putting it mildly here out of respect because she’s a dear friend of mine. But she calls, her words don’t make a bit of sense, which is, I suppose, if I’m being honest, and who doesn’t crave a little honesty in the mornings, isn’t so rare. She’s dear to me, I tell you this, but she’s a bit scattered. You know, her thoughts always seem to be half formed or a bit demented. You know, kind of like the human products of incest, you know, a little bit not very normal. Ah, it’s just the truth, I’m not trying to be, uh, insensitive. But you have to know about Babs in all her glory if you’re going to follow this story.
So anyway, she calls me, her brain is, put it this way, worse than usual, and she starts singing!

“study and travel” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 5,2014
9:11pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

She chose her own name and she chose “Alibi”. She heard her father say it, something about his work, something about people with scars on their wrists and tired tongues. She chose her birthday and she chose today. Crisp, like a Gala apple. Blue sky like the birds soaring. She sang only in the forest because she found the trees to be the most receptive audience. She found the trees to listen with their whole being, not like people, not like us, arms crossed, teeth gripped like we’re afraid our own voice might escape.

“Have a beautiful night, beautiful.” By Julia at Nicole’s desk


Tuesday August 26, 2014
12:31am
5 minutes
Overheard on the streetcar

On our night in the woods we drank the blue stuff and turned the yellow stuff into powder. We clinked our glasses, and our thumbs, and we tilted our heads back to send the gift down-offering up an opportunity to our souls (we were looking for some peace of truth, whichever came first). The stars twinkled in sequence, telling a story, singing a song, drowning in ecstasy and not waving or struggling to stay above the tide. The moments lasted as long as they should have-the romance elongated, the touch softened. Our tongues traced tiny hearts on each other’s belly and we prayed with the night’s temple lit on fire from our commitment. We spoke only with our eyes and I said, Forever, and he said, Yes please.

“Image Dip” by Julia at the CSI Coffee Pub


Wednesday May 28, 2014 at The CSI Coffee Pub
10:42am
5 minutes
Image from The Sun Magazine

I can’t tell if the sky is blurry-foggy-or if this is just my mind-blurry-fuzzy. I can hear you breathing-panting behind me-your footsteps trying to keep up.
I say, You okay? And it takes a second before you respond-
Yeah.
The road is shining so I keep my eyes down and I hum the song that I know calms you-I wait for you to sing along-start singing along with my calming song-but you don’t. You’re just breathing-panting behind me-and I’m navigating through the dizziness-trying to pinch my left arm hard enough to wake me up from this.
Almost there, I call back to you, but you don’t answer and I’m glad cause ‘there’ is a place that as far as I’m concerned I’ve made up.
I hope I’m not wrong. I pray silently that I’m not.
I reach back to see if I can touch your fingertips but I don’t feel you-I don’t stop, I know you’re still there. I don’t want you to feel like you’re holding me up-
I hum again-I hum louder-
You’re not singing along with me but you’re using my voice as a guide-
Under the boardwalk-I call-Down by the sea-On a blanket with my baby-
and you say, That’s where I’ll be.

“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

“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.

“Behind the new shopping centre” by Julia on the 506 going east


Thursday December 19, 2013
10:48am
5 minutes
The Globe and Mail
Thursday December 19, 2013


Hal had me waiting in the car with the damn thing running because he said he’d be “two secs”. I hate when he says stuff like that. “two secs” sounds dirty no matter how innocently you mean it. So I was sitting there flipping through radio stations, seeking through them hoping to find a song I knew. I feel like I always have a hope for a certain song to come on. As if I deserve to hear it just by being in the car. I heard ones I knew but not ones I wanted to sing. I think that’s the difference. No one sits in a car alone and doesn’t sing! What’s the point of that! I like to belt it. Try to harmonize badly with good songs. Anyway Hal told me he’d be quick and to be honest I had lost track of time. I wouldn’t have minded if he stayed away a little while longer so I could find that song and just sing it out. I must have missed him calling my phone. Turned it to silent so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it every few minutes.

“EXIT HIGH PARK AVE.” by Julia on the Greyhound


Saturday , August 10, 2013
11:30am
5 minutes
from the High Park Subway station
Writing a new song
Don’t want you to try to learn it
I’m a good friend of your mother
From a long long time ago
I met you at the Ferris wheel one fall evening bright
You were wearing your favorite jacket looked like you borrowed it from your mother’s closet
It was her favourite too
I remember her
I remember you
I didn’t want you to know who I was so
Iied about my name and my living situation
Told you I was in investments and you smiled and said oh how nice that is
Everyone you meet lately is a struggling artist like yourself
I knew I was singing to you right then
Making this truth song play out in my head just for you
My little inspiration wouldn’t know my intentions
Wouldn’t know who I really am
Too painful for all the memories of me
and
her
That you will never see

“here’s the part where I encourage you” by Julia at her desk


Friday, June 21, 2013
3:13am
5 minutes
http://www.joythebaker.com

You had on those bright yellow dish gloves and you looked ridiculous. You didn’t know I was writing about you. You didn’t know I write at all. I was watching you try to fight with them to get them off. You could have bought a size up but you’re a boy and sometimes I forget this. You also looked very cute. Your sleeves rolled up past your elbows and your eyebrow furrowed because you do that when you’re concentrating, even it’s not a hard task. I like that furrow. That little crinkle you get. I think you were humming something by Rihanna, and you might not have realized it but your joke singing actually sounded pretty good. I think if we ever got to that stage, I would like for you to sing to me. Mostly when I’m tired and falling asleep on the couch in front of Letterman. Or if you ever came home from picking up some calamari salad with chives, you could do it then.

“small children who sang together” by Julia at the Dunn cottage in Keswick


Saturday February 2, 2013
2:31am
5 minutes
Sicilian
Mario Puzo


Where was I the day that Aggie stopped singing? Was I on a plane to Moscow? It doesn’t matter, I know this, and yet I’m just dying to know. Not that I could have stopped her from deciding, but at least then she would know it was a mistake.
That girl could truly belt out the loveliest notes you’d ever hear. Her and her little friends used to form choirs so they could sing together, but only Aggie ever got the solos. She didn’t want them, even, but no one else wanted to sing next to Aggie to compare. She was that kind of good.
It’s hard to believe now that a hundred times over by the weeping willow, I used to sit and wait for Aggie to delight us all with one of her little concerts.
Not going to listen to her anymore, that’s her choice, I understand that. But I can’t help but wonder if she is making a mistake. Was. Was making. I did myself struggling to remember that this isn’t happening now. There’s nothing I can do.

“33. Make mistakes faster” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday, December 11, 2012
12:27am
5 minutes
The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth
Bruce Mau


Just because the answers look like pretty little humming birds doesn’t mean you need to hold them in your hands and doesn’t mean you need to want them like you do. You can’t hold a humming bird at all, they don’t like that. But they do like to do what they do so it’s probably best if you just let them do it.
A kind of loneliness occurs when you’re told not to touch the birds. Any bird. We think it’s within our rights just to touch them and watch them, and keep them in cages. We find ourselves justified because they represent freedom with wings and we want some of that for us. Caged Freedom is what they become, singing songs of desperation for release, singing songs of melancholy dreams.
They don’t like to be behind bars. How could anything with wings like that? They need the sky at its grandest, its most expansive, its infinite, to catch them and let them fall, and guide them through the night without beacons or signs. They just need to go where they were meant to go. Here, there, tomorrow, today.
Little birdies with their beaks twisted into knots.
The smart ones keep them closed; only this way will we get bored of them and let them go.