“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

“whose eyes are a thousand blind windows:” by Julia in Amanda’s kitchen

Tuesday August 7, 2018
11:52pm
5 minutes
Howl
Allen Ginsberg

We wait for each other to stop speaking
silence drifting between us in our car seats
Sometimes saying nothing is saying everything
How shame lives in my cheeks when I can’t
“say nothing”
“say nothing”

We spend three hours staring into each others’ eyes
separated by green tea and a key chain
and some blurry tears streaming without warning
We don’t call me what I am but later I feel it
The reckoning of too much information shared
Too much honesty not yet checked in the echo

We both say how lovely it is and how sad it was
and how soon we will do this again
nobody is crying now
The summer night too hot for tears to puddle

“all these obsessions we’ve believed” by Julia at her desk

Monday, February 26, 2018
10:24pm
5 minutes
Wake The Dead
Julia Pileggi

They told me they like the way they could see the room that we were in,
the kitchen, to be exact (and isn’t it always)
I told them it was a true story and some of them nodded along, grateful

I plan to one day have a kitchen of my own that my kids will want
to write about
When they think of me, maybe they’ll place me by the toaster oven or
the built in cutting board, raw from the busy family of serated edges
I have not yet held my mother in my own kitchen
I have never cooked dinner for my father
They have no idea what I know and what I know from them

The other day my mother was surprised when she heard that
I don’t skip breakfast
I was surprised that she would think I was the type that did
In her own way, she is complimenting me, thinking me independent,
autonomous and wise enough to know
In my own way, I am insulted, thinking she thinks I am too irresponsible
to make sure that I properly feed myself
Some of these are stories that I tell myself, maybe as a reminder
to write them down later in case I happen to forget

“stories superimposed” by Julia on D and A’s couch

Saturday January 6, 2018
9:53pm
5 minutes
Winter Watch
Jennifer Elise Foerster

A lot of weird conversations lately. A lot of jet lag and weird conversations. I heard the story I was telling myself and told it to myself anyway. I didn’t want to but I did. I had a weird conversation with somebody who wasn’t in the room. I had a weird conversation when I was the only somebody in the room.

I think from now on I’ll do my best to remember those good cards guiding me into my autonomy. All of them said I’d be able to choose everything on my own and that I’m already capable. I don’t know whose opinion I’m waiting for. I’ve never told a good friend not to trust their feelings. I don’t know why I’d ever tell myself that. And those cards had good images on them. So many trees that I’d be remiss in ignoring. Trees don’t wait for the other forest creatures to tell them they are mighty. They just are. They grow tall and strong whether someone tells them to or not. And that’s just one example. I even got a message saying I would
know how to reroute my own journey. Me. I don’t need to wait.

“Hitchhiking” by Julia on Jessica’s couch

Monday January 1, 2018

10:38pm

5 minutes

Trek: A Publication of Alumni UBC

Have you ever hitchhiked? Have you ever held out your best thumb and thought, I might die trying to get myself from this roadside to, I don’t know, say, Philadelphia? I’ve never done it. I would be the kind of person who makes the other person nervous because I’d be so awkward. I also think I’m afraid of being kidnaped by the wrong person. The kind of person who’s been driving back and forth on dirt roads looking for the most naive person to steal. I used to think I could ask anyone for a ride. But then again you don’t hear too many stories about the bad-lucked girl who invited herself into a murderer’s pick up truck. I mean, you hear those stories, but by then it’s too late.

“There were times when nothing played back.” By Sasha on her porch


Wednesday April 25, 2017
4:14pm
5 minutes
What It Is
Lynda Barry


When I was younger I laughed
at the synchronicity of seasons
how the robin shows her cheeky
face in the hours
before the magnolias the camellias
the cherry blossoms

“Make space for your stories”
my almost husband smiles into my ear
He is referencing the leaning tower
of books on my bedside table
in my knapsack
on the coffee table
the earbuds in my ears while
I steam kale
walk to the market
chase away nightmares

“the wild nature teaches us” by Julia on her living room floor


Friday March 31, 2017
10:25pm
5 minutes
Women Who Run With the Wolves
Clarissa Pinkola Estes


when my insides echo
when the only thing that can fill me is silence
when the forest begs for a closer look
I may know no home like the moss-covered stumps
like the nurse logs championing life
or the quiet stream carrying the whisper of souls reconciled without debt
we are taught so little about where we come from
some stories are passed down but are not built for us
we are reminded that one size does not fit all
even if the tongue doing the telling is loud

“can definitely travel” by Julia on her couch


Thursday January 12, 2016
10:12pm
5 minutes
from an email

Joe says he wants to tour around the country with me when I take my poetry on the road and that is the biggest kindness I have ever been given. Someone wanting and believing me to succeed so bad that they will come along with me as I pursue my dreams. What will you do? I ask him, ever the middle child worried about fairness and equality and making sure everything is balanced as it should be. I’ll watch your shows, he says, and I’ll carry your merch. We talk about getting a camper van and taking off, getting out of here, seeing this country or elsewhere, and sleeping in our car before we live too much to want to. We talk about making memories the way people talk about making money. I think if we did it I’d have so many poems. I think if we did it we’d have so many stories.

“I can’t really imagine” from an old journal” by Julia on Amanda’s bed


Tuesday December 27, 2016
11:07pm
5 minutes
from an old journal

That time you told me about the cops and highway 7-you know when you told me about when you got arrested or written up or ticketed or yelled at or blah blah blah? I listened to maybe half of it. Maybe 3/4ths because sometimes randomly they’d be different enough but for the most part you didn’t really care that you had told all your stories but didn’t hear any of mine. That’s okay. I’m not mad. I’m just thinking you owe me one. Cause I can’t imagine a time where you invite me over to your house and I end up just talking the whole time about me and all the times someone’s given me a dirty look or told someone they didn’t like me or something completely random like that time my friend Natalie pieced my ears in the 11th grade and the right one never really healed properly or blah blah blah. I don’t think you would have enjoyed yourself. I think you would have liked the chance to even interject maybe with an anecdote or a moment offering me something to drink to distract me.

“you can experience racism” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday September 14, 2016
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

Did you know that if you can think it, it already exists somewhere on the internet? Because it’s a dark and twisted jungle and some people don’t know how to find their way home after getting lost in it. Anything you can think of at all. Sure, it would take a little digging. You’d have to be good at searching. But for every good thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to one like it somewhere online. And for every bad thought you’ve ever had, someone has beat you to 10. At least. The ratios do not lie. We’re more alike in this life than we’d ever like to admit. My bad thoughts, fleeing, your bad thoughts breeding and burying their eggs all over the web. It’s the only place where there always exists someone more hurt than you.

“I had to let her know” By Julia in her bed


Tuesday September 13, 2016
11:18pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Words unspoken turned into her next studio album
I wished she would have thanked me in the liner notes
Some of her best songs were un-fought wars about me
And some of her most beautiful lyrics
Were silent wishes tucked away and forgotten
I would have liked to explain myself
I would have liked to be understood before the divide instead of because of it
Too many resolutions gleaned from the backs of our sleeping heads facing opposite walls
And all the haunting melodies I will hum to myself forever
now that they are stuck inside my dreams

“How I came into being” By Julia on her couch


Monday September 12, 2016
9:46pm
5 minutes
poetryfoundation.org

How I was birthed twice in this life by my mother and twice by me. How I have started over. How I have changed destinies and opinions. How I have grown bigger in this year alone than I have in all my years prior combined. How I realized I could draw. How I realized I could sing. The moments of myself split me open like a decision, like a soybean.
I met myself one afternoon in July. I was outside my house and inside my body. I sipped on scotch. I wrote a letter to the me I was becoming. I wrote music for my tired self’s funeral.

“the jeans have not been washed yet” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 20, 2016 at Starbucks
7:16am
5 minutes
Grasshopper Jungle
Andrew Smith


I invited Elliot back to my apartment after drinks because he tied a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue and I wanted to see if he was a one trick pony or if his tongue could tie other things into knots…
When we got back to my place I told him to make himself comfortable while I poured us some scotch. But then I remembered he was wearing dark denim, and I had to rush out to see if he had plopped his Abercrombie & Fitch ass down on my new white couch. He had. I tried to act cool, but I could practically see his jeans forming a navy puddle underneath him. Was he sweating or something? Didn’t he know you have to wash new jeans before you wear them? Didn’t he think, oh I might ruin this sweet Norwegian couch?

“I don’t have anything else…” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday July 14, 2016
5 minutes
overheard at The Tenant

I wish you’d stop staring at my cousin at our family dinner. You think you’re doing a good job of hiding it, but you’re wrong. I know she doesn’t interest you or stimulate you mentally, but I also know that she is exactly the type you go for when you’re thinking outside my box. She’s objectively better looking than I am even though her features are offensively small. When I picture her and her tiny eyes and gummy smile, I think sometimes that she might just be a bear with bangs. Except really pretty.

“#BESTOFVAN” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday July 13, 2016 at Starbucks
6:55am
5 minutes
from a sign on a newspaper box

A couple of us decided we were going to sneak into the Kits pool and I was trying to work up my nerve. Casey and Alison had their trust funds to use if they got caught, but what did I have? Two pennies and a stick? A lighter filled with pocket lint? I told them I was having second thoughts and they both stood there on the sidewalk howling at the sky, trying to get me to cave. I can’t do this you guys, I said, I’m not lucky enough to pull this off. Alison rolled her eyes back in her skull. You think I have a golden horseshoe up my ass or something? I don’t know, I told her, I’m sure you could buy one if you needed to. Casey grabbed my shoulders and stared me straight in the eye. We don’t want to do this without you, she said, but we will if you’re not okay with it. But know this, you will be missing out. I felt like I was being bullied into a licking a frozen lamp post in the dead of winter.

“everything I possibly can” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday July 12, 2016 at Starbucks
6:28am
5 minutes
from a text

I sit on the edge of my nothingness like it’s a cloud and I’m in love with it. I am cotton candy insides and I’m melting away leaving a trail of rainbow guts and tie-dyed blood. There is nothing wrong with my nothingness and for the first time in all the time there ever has been, it is peaceful instead of not. Acceptance of nothingness is a road with bumps and potholes and with poor lighting sometimes but usually free of other travelers because it’s a long one and there is enough room for everybody. There is a space now between yesterday’s pain and tomorrow’s worry and it’s all here all now- all everything I’ve been avoiding- because feelings are attached to beliefs and those things get stuck pretty hard as a system that limits me if I let it. I dangle my feet off the edge of nothingness now like it’s a dream and I’m no longer trying to catch it. No flash photography here to capture it, just smiling into the places that can be so easily filled with words words words.

“Not anymore” by Sasha on the College streetcar


Monday April 25, 2016
4:11pm
5 minutes
From a podcast

“I’m not gonna take it anymore,” you say and the record skips, you and it (Otis Redding) cousins on your mother’s side.

Elizabeth was so ashamed of her obese mother that she would make her meet her at the train seven blocks from school.

“I’m leaving for real,” you say and I wonder how many calories are in Marshmallow Fluff and if calories even matter at this point.

Elizabeth got her period before the rest of us, nipples chafing men’s V necks. She got excused from gym because of cramps.

You only want to eat eggplant dip and stale pita chips and frozen shrimp. You only want to see reruns of “Mad About You.”

“he couldn’t explain or understand.” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 4, 2016
8:07pm
5 minutes
4000 Days
Warren Fellows


It was like yesterday, I remember it like yesterday.
Sunny was in the yard playing with her mason jar filled with tiny snails. She was calling them funny names like Gabrielle and Inmim. I watched her babysit them like they were her dolls. She liked to explain things to them in Spanish, in case they ever needed to be able to do the same. But then there is a flash in this memory, like two films stitched together to edit the problem in between. There was a problem in between. There’s a second vision as strong and detailed as the first before the flash. Thea and Perry are crying in my living room and everyone is screaming Sunny’s name. Thea is wearing the locket she gave to her and shaking her head back and forth so furiously it looks like it might spin off. Perry is holding her hand and clenching his jaw. He is smiling but he doesn’t seem to be able to stop.

“awaken in the morning’s hush” by Julia at a Sichuan restaurant on West Broadway


Tuesday February 2, 2016
3:18pm
5 minutes
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye


Over the years that I’ve known her, Shawna has never arrived anywhere on time. I don’t think she’s particularly proud of this habit, but I’ve also never seen her try to fix it. She apologizes, sure, don’t get me wrong, but she is always, always late. I wonder what she does every morning before she meets me or gets to her appointments. We meet at 11:30 because she can’t get there any earlier. I seriously wonder what her schedule looks like, what she prioritizes, what she lets slip away. I’ve also never once been to Shawna’s house. It’s so mysterious but perhaps I am more curious because I want to see if any of my speculations are true: does she make the bed twice because she can’t help but jump on it after she makes it the first time? Does she stay up all night, victim of insomnia, and finally catch her sleep when the rest of the world is waking up? Is she hiding a small family of raccoons in her basement that she doesn’t want anyone to see?

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“Those were the worst nights” by Sasha in her kitchen


Tuesday June 2, 2015
8:32pm
5 minutes
overheard at Higher Grounds

“Those were the worst nights,” he says, “when she couldn’t sleep, when she’d sweat like an athlete, you know, that stinky sweat, like there’s toxins coming out?” I didn’t want to hear about her again but I swallowed it and looked at him like, “Nothing you say will phase me.” “I didn’t know what to do, I felt so helpless… It totally triggered my trauma around women being dependant on me, you know, like, my stuff with my mom…” I pulled the covers right up to my chin and thought about if there were chips in his cupboard, and then if Heather ever ate chips when she was sad. “What’s she up to now?” His eyes narrowed and he scratched somewhere under the covers.

“please remove” by Julia on her bed

Monday, April 13, 2015
2:12am
5 minutes
The Blue Bottle Bag

Please remove the idea you have of me in your head. I’m asking you this because I’m desperately trying to fix myself. I don’t know how else to do it but to make sure there’s a clean slate first. I’m aware that I’m asking a lot. Maybe too much. But I wouldn’t be asking at all if I didn’t think it was worth the effort. I’ve just always had this plan for myself. This vision of who I was supposed to be. And I’ve got to admit, I haven’t been so great at upholding that vision. Completing anything that I imagined for myself, that I had set out to do. In fact, I had gotten good, great even, at being the person who doesn’t do anything at all with the intentions for being the person I am supposed to be. So. Maybe it’s more for me than for you, but, in the end it’s for you. In the end it’s for everyone. I know that sounds self-indulgent. I guess cause I have indulged so little in the things that would actually make me better, and so much in the things that don’t matter from one day to the next. I’m trying to sell my cookies here. I’m trying to lay out all my ingredients and convince you that they’re good enough to make you want to try them, buy them, and recommend them to your friends. I’m not selling them for a lot of money either. Not yet, anyway.

“please remove” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, April 13, 2015
11:02am
5 minutes
The Blue Bottle Bag

please remove the cobwebs from around your ears and listen
this this this story
opening like a fist
closing like a flower at
night
catching venus and the moon
an ancient song
we know the tune even though we’ve only heard it whispered
in the womb
the kind of memory that lives in the flora of our guts

“Choosing what is important for her” by Julia on the 504 going west


Friday March 27, 2015
1:08am
5 minutes
Sasha’s notebook

When Andrea lifted her head from steering wheel she didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know that she had just crashed her cream coloured Toyota corolla into a city transit bus, inhibiting 50 people from getting to work on time, or to school, or to the first job interview the two or three people were able to secure since getting back on their feet. She felt her stomach doing summersaults, regretting in that instant her choice to consume only spicy salami cut up into thick round chunks for breakfast. She saw smoke all around her and thought it was only a dream; the rising and falling of a dragon’s breath, heating his layer and keeping himself warm in his cave.

How is one to know—with strangers?” By Sasha at Studio 1398


Saturday March 14, 2015
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Midwich Cuckoos
John Wyndham


Let’s take ourselves back in time to the time before
the time when we knew about consequence
and hemming of jeans and the blueberry kiss of

summer

How is one to know when a stranger is the icy breath on the window
of the car accident?

or

The Mother we’ve been waiting for since the day we arrived her
spewing needs and hunger
calling for

more

at the top of our lungs

I’ve wanted a revolution from day one but I don’t like starting things
preferring the sourdough to rise in the cupboard
unwatched by blue eyes

brown eyes

We wrapped purple and blue and green and grey around strands of hair we weren’t
afraid to lose

a summer of coconut oil and tuna sandwiches

Cherry popsicle lipstick

“And it’s taking me a second so I’m sorry” by Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library


Friday February 27, 2015 at the Bloor/Gladstone Public Library
12:50pm
5 minutes
Lungs
Duncan MacMillan


I’m trying to fix it, that’s what I said I was doing.
Well why do I feel like you’re a balloon filled with unkept promises, floating out into the big big sky.
Because you read a lot of garbage and your head is filled with fairytales–
Or maybe because you can’t hold anything tight enough to keep.
That’s probably true.
Impermanence scares you.
No, that’s not it. I’m not a quick fix over a night of deep question-asking.
You don’t like thinking things end, and I see it in you, and you know it in you.
I’m sorry, this mumbo jumbo, this psycho analytical bullshit is making it really hard for me to think of anything else. It’s taking me a second to wrap my “clouded” head around.
Not everything has to end with a commitment. That’s very limiting. If you understood that the end goal is not important, you would find that much needed peace you’re always searching for.

“we thought we’d play a little trick” by Julia at the Perth/Dupont Library


Wednesday February 25, 2015 at the Perth/Dupont Library
1:51pm
5 minutes
Betty and Veronica Double Digest
The Archie Library 215


We had a ton of little games we used to play when we were kids: See how many fingers you could fit in your mouth, how far you could shove a twisted piece of facial tissue up your nose before sneezing, see who could sneeze the most in a row after that twisted piece of facial tissue was stuck up there, how many times you could belt out the national anthem while you did a number two. We’d come up with the weirdest shit and we would be so willing to complete every single thing. How many bubbles could you blow with your gum in the nude while you got wrapped up in a towel, how many bubbles could you blow with your gum before you got unwrapped from your towel? How many spoons of cinnamon could you keep in your mouth without spitting it everywhere. You’d think we didn’t have one single toy, one single book. Where we came up with these crazy ideas, I will never know.

“Truth is what works” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday February 17, 2015
10:35pm
5 minutes
Man Seeks God
Eric Weiner


Tell me a story where we start
“Once upon a time”
Where we end
by the apple tree
With a basket and a lantern

Tell me a story
and I will braid your hair
I’ll take one piece over another
I’ll stoke the fire

Tell me a story
where the truth works
Her mustard magic
Where we only mince garlic
Not words

“Truth is what works” by Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library


Tuesday February 17, 2015 at the Bloor/Gladstone Public Library
3:35pm
5 minutes
Man Seeks God
Eric Weiner


I’ve always thought so. I’ve ALWAYS said that haven’t I, Aims? I live for that shit. When someone just tells you like it is. How is it, one might ask? LIKE THIS. BAM. Like a roundhouse kick to the face! I have always appreciated roundhouse kick honesty. I value that shit over my entire LIFE, dude. So when I was sitting there at that stuffy, pretentious, God-forsaken shit hole of a restaurant on Bay, I was internally like, WHERE ARE ALL THE FUCKING STEAK KNIVES BECAUSE I AM ABOUT TO STAB THE ENTIRE WORLD. Externally I was sitting there quietly wishing I could just be honest. Then he goes, You know what? This place is not exactly what I was expecting. Kind of not my style. And I BREATHE again for the mother-fucking first time, Amy! I was like, I mean, externally I was like, YES. I KNOW, BRO! I’m so glad you said something cause I was thinking that I need to either set this place or myself on fire and I’m totally not prepared to ruin this outfit. And he laughed, dude. It was so fucking refreshing.

“made with real almonds” by Julia at Amanda’s kitchen counter


Thursday January 15, 2015
2:29pm
5 minutes
from the Earth’s Own Almond Milk carton

So my brother got sick once and turned into the kind of guy who reads labels and won’t put anything into his body without a reason. Like a good solid reason, like “fixing” “helping” “improving” “nourishing”.
All of these things are fine and I’m happy he does it cause he should do it. But I just got so bored about discussing this with you that I literally fell asleep for one minute there. I just went off to a distant land. And now I remember what we were talking about and I totally see why. The “point” is, sickness=health for some people and some people=boring life because of it. The “point” I was trying to make, was that you’ll be fine. You might even be better than you are now. But you have to start reading labels and being okay with not telling any more good stories.

“to listen to when feeling nostalgic” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 25, 2014
10:12pm
5 minutes
from a YouTube comment

I used to listen to my Walkman under my covers, pretending to be asleep. It was my only real radio phase. There was a doctor that would come on and council people about a whole slew of weird stuff. It electrified me. I couldn’t believe that people would come on the radio and say the kind of things that they said. I couldn’t believe that there was a place where you could listen to people’s voices, in all their beautiful vulnerability, and imagine their faces, the sound emerging from them – driving down an interstate, or leaning against a pillow, or looking out the window at the snow.

“UNION” by Julia in her bed at a hostel in Levanto


Saturday September 20, 2014
12:57am
5 minutes
from a flyer for a yoga studio

They tell me not to join it they tell me not to avoid it they tell me not to come inside they tell me not to be alive
I waited till the sun went down and broke a flower’s petal. I had it in my back pocket when I was little and now I’m big. It’s been in there a long time. It’s been in there a long long time.
They tell me not to fight the fight they tell me things they cannot hide they tell me not to join it they tell me not to avoid it
I waited till the rain poured in and stole a flower’s centre. I had it in my front pocket when I was in the middle and now I’m on the side. It’s been in there a long time. It’s been in there a long long time.

“The flavours are so simple but they’re so good” by Julia on her bed at oZu


Friday September 19, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
from Jess’ phone conversation

Sometimes it’s tricky, you know, because you’re staring at an entire counter covered in makeup. You’re following? It’s a metaphor but it doesn’t have to be so keep that in mind. And you’re looking at it, right, this whole table top lined with lipsticks and mascaras and eyeshadows, and you’re thinking, but how am I supposed to choose which colour I use? You ask that to yourself because you’re going out for a special night or something and it’s totally acceptable
if you dress up more than usual and get creative. So you’re with me? You can’t help yourself but you don’t want to help yourself. You just want to indulge. You don’t even choose a couple colours to narrow down. You instead, now stay close, put them all on. You layer the greens and the purples and you mix the turquoise with the gold. Your face is a blank canvas and you’re in love all of a sudden with how you look in excess. You know? You+you=worried that you’ll never have that chance again.

“Stufo (agg) fed up (with)sick (of) ” by Julia at Il fiume in Monetelone


Wednesday September 17, 2014
4:11pm
5 minutes
Availiardi Dizionario Italiano-Inglese

After my nap I wake t the three cats in heat moaning to be let inside. I begged Mira not to feed them the very first time they showed up at our door and she refused to listen, claiming I was an insensitive product of my own eternal cynicism. I told her I had heard that cynicism would change the quality of our lives and she shook her head while pouring milk from the height of her hip into two tiny yogurt containers on the landing. Now these cats, thought I could have predicted it, are outs and we have to love them or it might, heaven forbid, breed more insensitive cynicism. I don’t love these cats. I don’t love most cats. I tried to give them a piece of my heart but in their eyes I see a great manipulation and a hunger that can’t be trusted. I think they see that in me too, even though I reluctantly feed them now and sometimes throw bits of yarn their way when I feel like attempting my good deed for the day. Mira never seems to be here anymore–always working late nights at the factory. I’m left here with these little gypsy cats more than I’d like.

“For the Canadian Girl!” by Julia at Parco Delle Energie in Rome


Sunday September 14, 2014
5:26pm
5 minutes
From a note from a new friend

When the light in the room was enough to make out who was who but not distinguish any defined features, we traded partners after the daze of wine had begun to take shape, and the after effects of the powder we dropped into our glasses started to tingle our skin. I had wanted him from the beginning but I never let on because it felt unfair to her. She had no idea that he had wanted me too, so I pretended not to notice that our looks across the pool the night before had lasted longer than they maybe should have. Tonight when it was her idea, in love with the drug and the moonlight giving her courage, none of us said no for fear of complicating an easy reward. We moved slowly, finally to each other’s lover and sat slowly down beside the new arms and legs, the new heartbeat, the new pulse. She wanted mine and I wanted hers. I always always wanted hers.

“most honour you” by Julia at Parco Del Colle Oppio


Wednesday September 10, 2014
4:08pm
5 minutes
King Lear
William Shakespeare


A man I can see from the corner of my eye has gone from one side’s fountain to the other side’s fountain back and forth for over an hour now. Sometimes he has his shirt off, sometimes he has it on. He carries a plastic bag with him so I’m assuming from that alone that he stays here most of his time. The first moment I saw him, he was drinking the water and wetting his hands. The second time he was dunking his whole head in it and pouring water down the back of his pants. The third time he washes under his arms. He must have been just trying to keep cool, but he seemed more obsessed with the baptism of something deeper–the purifying of what’s under the skin.

“Revisions 101″by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday August 22, 2014
7:13pm
5 minutes
from a Westjet seat pamphlet

One day I’m gonna take ya down to the mine where Poppa worked. He’d be down there fourteen hours a day, six days a week, every week but Christmas the whole year round. Complete darkness but those headlamps, ya know. An’ he’d come home and he’d play wit each of us, ya know. Cindy would ask for wrestling an’ I’d sit on his lap for the newspaper read, and Pete would drag ’em outside for football. Never heard ’em complain. Not once. Not one time. An’ he’d do the washing up after supper so that Mama could rest her legs and listen to the CBC. Never heard ’em complain. Not a peep a’ that. He was glad that he had us an’ he knew what he was workin’ for…

“Hear all year” by Sasha at the International Plaza Hotel


Saturday July 12, 2014
6:25pm
5 minutes
from a banner at Winnipeg Folk Fest

I love the three blonde hairs on each of my big toes,
Marking the place where the under meets the world.
I love the strength of my calves,
Pedalling me from West to East,
Leading me to you,
and to God,
and to the lavender.
I love the width of my hips,
perfect for leaning,
perfect for holding,
perfect for stretching and carrying.
I love the round of my belly,
full of abundance,
full of arugula salad
and the legacy of the women that have come before.
I love the small hands,
able to stretch across piano keys,
across keyboard keys,
able to hold a pen like none other,
able to alchemize stories into gold.

“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’.

“go viral” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday February 8, 2014
11:21am
5 minutes
http://www.nationalpost.com

If I told you that I was a nun before I was a baker, would you believe me? I was a nun before I was a baker. I took the vows and everything. I prayed to the Heavenly Father and I wept over my love of God. Then, I met Alistair and it all went… hooey. He was a med student, paying a visit to Sister Elizabeth that had a terrible fever. We met in the hallway and he told me a joke that I can’t seem to remember. What I do remember, though, was his blue eyes, bluer than I’d ever seen them before, bluer than Lake Simcoe. We went on a walk the next day, and the Mother Superior clucked as though I was breaking some sort of rule. I wasn’t! Yet. Sister Elizabeth got better and Alistair said that he couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing me anymore. I couldn’t quite bear it either. To be honest, I’d decided on the convent when it seemed like the quietest and most viable option for someone with my education and… family. I was trying to turn my life around.

“lead us not” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday December 25, 2013
11:18pm
5 minutes
from a Christmas carol

The stove burned a fire like a vision of what will come
The heart roared like the boom of the beat of a drum
We sipped wine from a cup that was passed down deep
We talked until our bodies were ready for sleep
Then we tucked into bed like wolves in a den
Until morning when we’ll do it all again
We’ll rise, bathe, be in quiet, drink what’s pure
We’ll plan and we’ll hope but we won’t be sure
We’ll scream and we’ll laugh, we’ll give love bold
Just like the story we’ve always been told

“You’ll always be older than me” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Monday December 16, 2013
9:55pm at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
From a birthday card

Oh darling one, I waited patiently by your bed for you to wake up and take me with you. Wherever you were going would be fine with me. I only wanted to be with you. You pushed me aside and you cast me out when I was too young to protect myself from that. I wanted to be you and you wanted to be anything but. I watched as you made life choices and hurt yourself. I watched as you learned and grew and became a woman of such grace and strength and dignity. I wanted to be like you then too. I never stopped. And I don’t blame you for trying to push me aside. You wanted me to be independent and I grew dependent on you far too early. I knew what opinions I should have but still waited to hear yours first before admitting mine. I asked you for help on the little things, the big things, and the things I didn’t even realize I already knew. You were patient but you weren’t kind. You didn’t see me for my worth until much later on. You didn’t want me to be anything but small and that’s not your fault. I forgive you for the times I felt like I was not enough for you to be happy. I know now that that’s not what you ever wanted me to believe.

“it has a song” by Julia on her couch


Sunday December 15, 2013
11:47pm
5 minutes
A quote by Maya Angelou

A lot of the time it has to do with slowing down your thoughts and really truly seeing each letter inside your mind before it forms a full word. It’s the same for sentences and then paragraphs and then stories. It’s a magical thing when you just trust that they will in fact form and they will in fact make sense and they will inevitably communicate something. Something communicated is a lovely thing. Not always does it translate perfectly from our brains to our mouths but not always does it have to. It’s especially difficult when you let a little air into your brain and start to give space in between words so you don’t know what the next thing you’ll think is until you’ve thought it. It’s hard to know if you already had the entire thing preplanned or if you were able to truly listen to each letter forming each word forming each thought. The joy is in not fully knowing but being willing to find out. It’s a risk on a small scale. It’s a risk because it isn’t a guaranteed success. That’s what living is. A risk. Each day is a new word, a new thought, a new story, a new memory.

“the highest levels” by Julia on the 511 going south


Saturday June 8, 2013
5:18pm
5 minutes
Car and Truck June 1, 2013 volume 2, issue 21

Shoo fly don’t bother me. Shoo fly don’t bother me. Shoo fly don’t bother me. Cause I belong to somebody. Did you ever know that those were the words? I didn’t. I didn’t know someone thought a fly would give two sweet shits if you belonged to someone or not because those assholes are just looking for someone to poop on. But it’s a sweet song, sort of makes you love the city again when you think flies are things we concern our minds with. My dad used to sing that song but I’m pretty sure he didn’t know the words. He would make up whatever, sing whatever words he felt like that day. It was cute really, and none of us ever had the nerve to correct him. Either that or we just didn’t want to because his versions of songs were always better. That’s why I didn’t know the real lyrics to shoo fly. Unless the man in the line up at the GAP also didn’t know the words and was singing his kid a song he made up too.

“no matter what she wears.” By Julia at Sambuca Grill


Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
3:47pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Anne Roiphe

My grandfather was a compulsive liar. He used to tell stories to anyone who’d listen. Anyone who wouldn’t–he’d lie even more. I used to wonder how my grandmother put up with him, how she trusted him, how she knew when he was being sincere. She seemed so happy all of the time. She wasn’t one of those closet sad people. No trace of pills, of depression, of long cords tucked under her bed. Nothing like that. She was genuinely content. Then I figured it out. She knew that everything my grandfather said to others wasn’t true; but he would never lie to her. They must have made an arrangement when they were young and in love. She was tough, I forget that sometimes. She was the one who made the decisions. She was the one that put him in his place. He loved my grandmother more than life itself.
I know this because he’d tell us when we were kids, “your grandmother is the laziest woman I’ve ever met.”
She baked for us every Sunday whether we saw her or not.

“One way I teach” by Julia at Saving Gigi


Friday, October 12, 2012 at Saving Gigi
4:50pm
5 minutes
Daring Greatly
Brené Brown


Dancing is a way of life. That was what my grade 12 English teacher said, and god knows she never danced a day in her life. She was a giant woman. Four hundred pounds, and sadly, counting. She had a gap in between her front teeth and she was incredibly beautiful. She had a way of making people feel great and bad at the same time. I still can’t figure out what the intention of combining those two feelings would be, but she was a master at it. She knew she was overweight. I mean, how could she not. She was as big as the entire classroom when she was sitting down. I dare say she taught us mostly from the chair at her desk in the front. Which is fine. Not one person in the class made fun of her. Not one. And maybe that was because we knew it wouldn’t hurt her. She was brave. She was strong. And she wasn’t stupid. We didn’t have to prove anything in her class. The only thing she wanted was for us to come outside of our comfort zone, and be bold. She preached about dancing, and singing, and blindly painting words of truth on the walls of our bedrooms. I wanted to be bold. I wanted to be bigger than she was. Bigger than a spirit that filled not only a classroom, but our minds.