“your name is the strongest” by Julia on L’s couch

Sunday October 8, 2017

10:55pm

5 minutes

milk and honey

Rupi Kaur

They tried to call me everything but my name to keep me small. Nicknames that referred to me as Other. As too smart. Too different looking. Too unlike them. But big spirits don’t stay trapped in small towns just because everyone else is.

They learn early which opinions to keep and which to let slide. Sometimes they don’t even know how much they already know about themselves. They don’t realize they’re bursting at the seams but they are. They’re not changing to conform. They’re not easily bent. They’re busy trying to stay loud while being silenced.

“Cut cucumber halves crosswise” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, May 29, 2017
8:03pm
5 minutes
The Silver Palate Cookbook
Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins


For her nineteenth birthday, Cath makes Tal a cookbook of all the recipes that she loved growing up. Cath’s still known around town as “Tal’s Mom”. She wonders when she’ll regain her one-ness, sometimes, when she runs into Rita and John at the IGA. “How’s Tal?” Rita says, putting hamburger meat into their basket. “She’s good! Really good.” Cath says. “Still playing basketball?” John strokes his grey goatee. “Yup, varsity,” Cath smiles. “You must miss her so much,” Rita shakes her head. “Girl that talented, you hope that she sticks around…”

“remove all valuables from your car” by Sasha at the table in Swansea


Friday August 5, 2016
1:32am
5 minutes
From a parking sign in Decatur

Ma smokes cigarettes the day before she gets her period and no one questions it anymore because Hunk doesn’t and if Hunk doesn’t we shouldn’t. She smokes anywhere between six and thirty nine, but she’ll never smoke forty. At least that’s what Hunk says, out by the dump, when we’re huffing and picking at scabs. Ma says that the town’s changing now that the Mill’s closed and McMahon’s is opening up another dog food factory. “Different kinda person, who grinds animal faces for a living,” Ma says, stirring the pot of chilli and adding some Kraft singles to the cornbread. It’s my night for dishes, but I sneak out to the garden and pick tomatoes and hope no one knows their Mondays from their Tuesdays.

“starting in the same spot” by Julia at Arbutus Coffee


Wednesday,January 20, 2016 at Arbutus Coffee
2:52pm
5 minutes
overheard at Arbutus Coffee

I can’t write about someone else doing something interesting or brave or great or even good. I physically can’t. Mentally can’t. My body refuses to listen to what someone else is doing, how they’re feeling, who they’re talking to. I have tried, I have erased. I have wondered, I have stopped. I don’t know why other than the fact that I have no choice but to write about myself. I suppose that is a strong enough reason for a writer going through things of her own. Can’t pour from an empty cup or however the saying goes. Put oxygen mask on self before assisting others. Something like that. All these ideas wrapped up in a journal or diary or confession or voice memo. They don’t belong in someone else’s mouth, or phrased in someone else’s diction. I can only put myself on paper, hope it doesn’t bleed through every single page and tarnish the book I’m writing of me. Unclear but honest, I am city girl noise and small town heart, bursting.

“loading up the cart sheer to the brim” by Julia at Nicole’s house


Sunday, January 3, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
http://www.bonappetit.com

Tilly-Jean names her new rooster Amelia and asks her best friend, Fannie if she wants to come over and parade her around. Fannie loves parading around Tilly’s roosters but the last one was very traumatic as she was shot in the middle of the parade and nobody can really forget the death of a parading rooster.
Fannie tells Tilly-Jean that she will come over only if she promises to avoid the Overly yard and take the Elmsview route instead.
Tilly-Jean tells Fannie that the point of a parade is to SEE Amelia, not keep her hidden. She tells Fannie that she doesn’t know if that’s a fair condition. Fannie doesn’t like seeing death more than she needs to so she tells Tilly that she will not change her mind and to call her back after she has made an educated decision.

“Her head is down.” By Julia on her couch


Thursday November 5, 2015
9:08pm
5 minutes
An assignment in the marking pile

Walking along the dirt road, she shines her new smart phone flashlight along her feet to light her path.
“Why are there no fucking lights on this street?”
She is so over this shit town, she can’t stand it. She never yelled to herself before. She never was one to talk out loud to nobody.
“Maybe cause this is a perfect place for me to get jumped and attacked and murdered so no one will ever hear me sing the fucking National Anthem at a home game ever fucking again.”
She’s scared because it’s dark and she’s mad because she’s scared. She didn’t want to be here in the first place, fought tooth and nail to avoid it.
“My Bonnie lies over the ocean..”
She clutches her house keys in her right hand, ready to stab the first thing that crosses her path. She hopes all the leaf-crunching she’s hearing is just a raccoon or a skunk. She prays it’s just the wind.
“My Bonnie lies over the sea…”
She hears a quick snap right behind her and stops in her tracks. Her heart is in her throat.
“My Bonnie lies over the o–“

“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.

“saving me right now” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday June 10, 2014
4:17pm
5 minutes
a text message

There’s an entire bag of Oreos in my bedroom that I’m saving for later cause they’ll be saving me from this shithole of a town I’m being kept in. I’m serious, my mother, she got this new boyfriend and he lives in bum-fuck-nowhere and this nowhere town is really getting to me. I’ve been here for three days-no internet. I can’t even keep updated with my own life cause this guy thinks that the internet is a gateway drug for procrastination and failure. I’m thinking, yeah, I’m so sure the second I check an e-mail I commit myself to a life time of serving fries at McDonalds. Please. You know, it’s all a control thing. He lays down some rules and my mother, she just goes along with all of them because she needs structure and she sees that he’s willing to give it to her, so she just lets him treat me the way he wants. He doesn’t know about the Oreos, by the way, cause if he did he’d confiscate them too and tell me they were a gateway drug for obesity and heart attacks.

“Health and Beauty Aids” by Julia at the Sheraton in Philadelphia


Monday April 21, 2014
12:07am
5 minutes
A sign in Parkdale

Haven’t considered Oshawa? Wow! You’re gonna be in for a treat! One of those places you really oughtta see before you die, eh Margie?
Oh exactly, you just have to visit. Great for your health and one of a kind landscape! And the people! Don’t get me started on them!
You guys, stop it. I’m not going to die! And even if I were I don’t think I’d put Oshawa on my top destination list.
You’re being a bit rude, Liam! It’s a beautiful place. Your mother and I wouldn’t talk about a city like that without anything to back it up, huh Marge?
Oh honey, your father’s right. He’s always right. But if I can be candid, he did have to convince me too!
I wasn’t always aboard the Oshawa train, but now I’m on it and it’s full steam ahead!
Choo chooo!
Oh Peter, I love it when you do that! Chugga chugga chugga chugga.
Chugga chugga Choo choo!
Okay, okay, stop.
What, honey, is it too much? We just get a real kick out of it.
I know.
And I don’t think it would kill you to visit us every now and again, that’s all.

“Health & Beauty Aids” by Sasha on the Queen streetcar


Monday April 21, 2014
11:46pm
5 minutes
A sign in Parkdale

You ever seen one of those cadavers all dressed up like they be ready for prom or something? So, like, that’s what she looked like. All made up, all plastic. She didn’t look like herself, nope. Mostly around the mouth. Above the lower quarter of her face, she looked like herself but not above it… Above it she looked like a different… woman. It’s strange to call her a… woman because I think of “woman” as, older than twenty and she was… twenty. God damn, it’s sad, isn’t it? God damn. She was a real “Belle”, you know. She lived up to her name. You know what I mean? She was a pretty thing, right. She was a natural beauty though… None of that schlop that them other gals like to put on their face. Belle and her Old Man came to town when she was about eight… or nine… And she came to pick up her Old Man’s order every Friday. They’d do up a big Sunday Roast, you know? Every week. Her Old Man would… Aw, man, I feel so bad for him, you know? Can’t imagine he’ll stay here when every damn thing reminds him of her? Can’t imagine. She invited me to come to one of those dinners and I did… I went… Lived in the tiniest little cottage. The smallest little spot you ever did see, right? Almost bumped by head walking through the door… Like the place was built for midgets or something.

“can be eaten off of paper plates” by Sasha at the CSI Annex Coffee Pub


Wednesday March 19, 2014
11:47am
5 minutes
Kinfolk Issue Eleven

He orders a pizza and I’m like, “Cool. Ok. Casual…” And then it arrives and there’s pineapple and I’m like, “Who even eats Hawaiian anymore? Who even does that?” And it’s weird that he doesn’t have a couch… or a coffee table… or… Any furniture but a blow up mattress that’s, like, leaking air, so it perpetually sounds like someone is farting. But then! Then, he gets paper plates from a drawer and I’m like, “What?!” What the eff, you know? So, I pick off the pineapple and he’s like, “Sorry, I shoulda asked…” And I’m like, “No worries! It’s cool!” And then, after dinner, he starts, like, bunny-humping me, cuz’ we’re sitting on the farting bed, right, like there’s no other place to friggen sit! And I’m like, “Slow down,” and he’s like, “Yeah? You like it slow?” And I’m like, “Yeah?” And he’s like, jack-hammering me with his bony hips and he’s all, “You like that? You like that?” And I’m like, “Not really!?”

“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.

“Original Spring Source” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday January 25, 2014
4:21pm
5 minutes
Mountain Valley Sparkling Water bottle

In Paris they don’t use the butt side of a knife to stir their tea. They use tiny spoons with Royal Crests on the bottom. When you buy your bread they don’t ask “Whole wheat or white?” There aren’t stupid options like that. Women wear high heels and linen suits and they know how to drink wine. In moderation. No one gets dyed teeth or anything. The Eiffel Tower reminds all of the people to say “Pamplemousse”. In Paris, you would never forget to tell someone that you love them when they’re leaving for the weekend. You wouldn’t only never forget, you’d leave a truffle on their pillow so that when they got home they knew how glad everyone was and how missed they’d been. In Paris, the Queen is just a train ride away.

“butter chicken roti” by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday, August 15, 2013
12:06am
5 minutes
from restaurant sign

she told me to meet her at the restaurant around the corner from Bobby’s grocery. She said, wear a suit and tie, I’m going to tell you something good, and if you love me you’ll pre-order the chicken marsala and ask for extra sauce.
I told her I would rather get some meat on a stick from one of those local trucks that look more like wagons than motor vehicles. she laughed as if I were kidding and told me, don’t be late, or I’ll know who you are and once I know there’s no changing my mind.
So I went to the restaurant around the corner from Bobby’s grocery and I waited for 6 minutes before I ordered the chicken marsala for her (even though they said it wasn’t their specialty and highly recommended I ordered something less like..well..chicken marsala).