“And she put her arms around me,” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, July 7, 2015
12:12am
5 minutes
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews


My mother hates to see me cry. She doesn’t hate to offer me money, or sneak a 50 in my coat pocket when she thinks I’m not looking, even though she knows those exact things will make me cry, but when I start with the tears, it breaks her abundant heart. She doesn’t want to make me feel bad. She just wants to love me. But I feel bad because I’m self-hating and dramatic, and I cause trouble where there doesn’t need to be. She wishes I could see me how she sees me and that only means so much since I’m her baby and she’d look at me and see Mother Theresa even if I burned an entire nursery school with the children still in it to the ground. I know this because when I told her I had deep, steadfast, secret thoughts about poisoning Auntie Ellis because she scolded me in public one time, she put her arms around me and she squeezed me with so much love that I started to cry. Then she wiped my face with her kisses and said, “I would want to do the same thing if I were you.”

“And she put her arms around me,” by Sasha on the 99 going East


Tuesday, July 7, 2015
6:10pm
5 minutes
A Complicated Kindness
Miriam Toews


Fiona put her arms around me and coo-ed in my ears, “Shush, baby girl… Shushhh…” I cried until I couldn’t cry and then I cried more.

The next morning I charade as okay and eat too much granola and then feel sick.
“Can’t go to work today,” I say, rubbing my belly.
She keeps her eyes on her grapefruit and says, “Go on. It’ll do you good.”
I go but regret it.
My boss tells me I “look like a bag of shit.” He’s right, but has some nerve saying it. Henrietta jumps to my rescue and says, “Allergies, eh? So bad right now.” She winks and it feels like a kiss on my temple.

When I get home, Fiona has left me pancakes on the counter with a note that says, “Breakfast for dinner!” And a smiley face.
And a heart.

“cake and frozen yogurt” by Julia on the Greyhound


Sunday, June 7, 2015
9:01pm
5 minutes
From a sign on Queen’s Quay

He worked in one of those giant lobbies, his shiny desk the only fixture in the entire space. From the outside his place of employment was like a fish bowl: glass windows all around, anyone looking in whenever they wanted to, the room itself encasing a slab of marble and a couple sparse plants. He had been trying to figure out just what exactly made him so damn anxious everyday about going to work; about sitting in his fish bowl. It wasn’t the fact that he was completely visible and couldn’t risk doing his alone behaviour. He did whatever he wanted without hesitation. It was something else. Perhaps the feeling of intense loneliness mixed with the artificial comfort of being the most important thing in a room.

“cake and frozen yogurt” by Sasha on her porch


Sunday, June 7, 2015
7:32pm
5 minutes
From a sign on Queen’s Quay

“I’m glad you’re here,” you said.
“I’m sorry for grabbing your arm that hard,” you said.
“Let’s go to the airport and buy tickets to wherever the next flight’s going,” you said.

Me, in my mother’s old lavender sundress, braless, six days of stubble laughing in my armpits. You, a denim shirt and black cut-offs, On The Road in your back pocket, the pages a promise of your wanderlust.

“Let’s have cake for dinner,” you said.
“Can you make me salad with exactly 15 green peas in it?” you said.
“I would impregnate you right now if we had the money and the bananas in the fruit basket,” you said.

“believe it or not” by Sasha at the kitchen table in Horseshoe Bay


Tuesday May 19, 2015
10:49pm
5 minutes
A Ripley’s bus ad

A machine beeps. It attaches to your arm. You’re sleeping, snoring softly. One hand rests on your belly. Up and down, up and down. May, the nurse on shift comes in and checks your vitals. I’m halfway through my book. Every few minutes someone new is wheeled in, or out. Some have their eyes half closed, in between this world and another one. Some crank their heads around, talking with the orderlies. Most look like baby squirrels – new, ruffled hair, vulnerable. You tell me to kiss you and I do. You taste like anesthetic and sleep.

“About 10 years ago” By Julia at Holy Oak Cafe


Thursday May 14, 2015 at Holy Oak Cafe
1:17pm
5 minutes
From a story by Mikal Cronin

About ten years ago I got arrested for shoplifting and it was the best day of my life. I had been taking things that didn’t belong to me for years, for a lifetime even. I would have killed at living on the streets if I had ever had to do that..I don’t know if saying that diminishes it or not, but my skills were unparalleled. I’m not just talking little kid stuff like embroidery floss, or key chains. It was that stuff plus the good hits. I’m talking fancy face creams, high end jewelry, many expensive bathing suits, and a couple electronics every now and again. I was a little thief and I was having the time of my life. I don’t know how I got away with so much of it. Nobody every caught me, I assumed I’d never have to “pay the price”. And then that day I got arrested and had to own up, for the very first time, to what I had been doing. To who I had been. And it made me realize that I am not invincible. That I am not the exception to the rule. Cause eventually everyone has to learn that somehow.

“You look terrible.” By Julia at Holy Oak Cafe


Monday March 23, 2015 at Holy Oak Cafe
5:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

Oh I can’t be seen with you. I can’t be seen with you. I told you not to wear that damn New Years shirt. I must have said it a thousand billion times. And now the only explanation for you wearing it tonight when it matters more than you’ll ever fully grasp, is that God is testing me. But do you know what the downside is? I don’t give a flying fuck if I fail God’s stupid little test because I don’t need his rewards. That’s right. I don’t need anything from someone who is going to dangle opportunities for success right in my face and then snatch them away with one touch of the world’s most hideous shirt. And he puts it on my boyfriend. To test and torture. I swear to you it would be better if you wore zero shirts to this fucking wedding than the God-awful, God-testing one you’re wearing right now. Please stand the fuck away from me. Just go over to the other side of the room where the haunting and painful pattern of your God-damn stupid fucking shirt can’t be seen or heard.

“You look terrible.” By Sasha at Higher Grounds


Monday March 23, 2015 at Higher Grounds
11:10am
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

I choose my sweaters carefully. I only have six of them and each has a very particular role. The forest green one, purchased for my Engagement Party that took place around four long picnic tables in a huge park, has now become worn and over-washed. I refuse to get rid of it, though, as I so love the memories associated and the high neckline, perfect over a collared shirt. Does one need to hand wash sweaters? The black v-neck, one of those crosses between a sweater and a shirt, is tight and sexy. When I wear it I feel like I am a real woman. Gold hoop earrings and boyfriend jeans are it’s perfect partners. It has a hole in the left armpit that I’ve stitched up several times. I’ve had it since my early twenties. I’ve gone a year without wearing it, but choosing to keep it in the Annual Spring Purge means that I know a time will return when I crave it’s clinginess and slightly washed-out colour.

“the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence” by Sasha at Kits Beach


Sunday March 22, 2015
10:10am
5 minutes
The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran


I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, do you report it to the police? Do you pawn it?! What if they trace it back to you? I don’ wanna go to jail for something I didn’t even do! Do you keep it as a trinket in your jewellery box for a year or two before you dare to wear it? I was quitting smoking at the time so I was a real moody SOB. I put it in my pocket and I continued on my way to the Salvation Army. I kept putting my hand in my pocket to make sure it was still there. My grandmother was into antiques and she taught me how to hold a diamond up to the light to see what it’s worth. She taught me how to lick the gold and see if it’s real. She could even name the carat – just from the tinny taste of it… A real talent. Yup… A real talent. I’d done all that, down in the park, in the ravine, so I knew it was worth a heck of a lot. It was worth Charity’s university fund and wedding fund and don’t-you-dare-get-preggers fund.

“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

“Flatten the dough into a disk” by Julia at her desk


Saturday February 7, 2015
1:18am
5 minutes
http://www.happyolks.com/

Mom calls me on Saturday, she’s flipping the fuck out. I’m like, Mom. Why can’t you ever call me to say hi or do you need money? She’s like, this is a family emergency, Deirdre, don’t fucking quit on us. And I’m like, don’t call me a quitter, I’m not even fucking doing anything. Turns out the family fucking emergency was that Rodney fell off the stage at his group home again during “choir time” and really needs us all to be there. When I ask her where “there” means, thinking she’s going to say the hospital because maybe he finally got a concussion or at least a broken leg or something, and she’s like, It’d be really nice to have your moral support without questioning my judgement for once, Deirdre. We’re just trying to go on with business as usual so your brother doesn’t feel like a burden. And I’m like, business as usual? You’re fucking interrupting my business as usual just so you can tell me to be there for him…in spirit!

“Flatten the dough into a disk” by Sasha in front of the fire


Saturday February 7, 2015
8:00pm
5 minutes
http://www.happyolks.com/

Lets lower the likes and lessen the filters
Let’s flatten the dough into a disk and throw it in the hottest oven
Let’s form a choir that only performs in Senior’s Homes
Let’s take that choir to the tiniest villages and ask if anyone wants to join
Let’s adopt a brother
Let’s drive a car up a mountain and get out and have a picnic that doesn’t involve nuts and does involve double cream brie
Let’s have a shot of tequila at the bar down the street in our pyjamas
Let’s make a movie for no one but ourselves and if anyone wants to watch it let’s let them
Let’s make a record and only release it on vinyl
Let’s screw the Internet
Let’s pickle peaches and pomegranate seeds and pumpernickel bread
Let’s wear shoes until they’ve stepped on every crack and every brick and every grain of sand
Let’s not leave the house when it rains and let’s make a pot of tea so big we could fit in it
Let’s wear the brightest lipstick and tell no one where we got it
Let’s have sex with the Internet and dominate it in the most gentle way
Let’s be wolves in the woods who howl at the moon whether it’s full or waxing or waning

“intimacy that typifies our culture” by Sasha in the Kiva


Thursday December 18
11:43pm
5 minutes
The Middle Passage
James Hollis


Bambi is saving up all his old cans for the apocalypse. Mami doesn’t believe in that shit so she rolls her big blue/purple eyes and says, “Bambi, why you got so much fear in there?” He doesn’t answer, he just peels off another label. He’s got a bunker in the garage, Bambi does. Mami never goes in there because she has bad circulation and gets cold hands and feet. She has no idea what he’s done in there. All those cans and buckets of water and rope and a whole lot of tuna fish and SPAM. Mami found a receipt once and she said, “Bambi, why you got all this canned meats?” And Bambi said, “I had a craving, Mami. Relax.” She didn’t like when he said that. She didn’t like it at all.

“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.

“we have the luxury of time” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee


Tuesday September 30, 2014 at Culprit Coffee
5:48pm
5 minutes
On Directing Film
David Mamet


“We have the luxury of time, Jenna…” He says, as he cracks another egg into the steaming pan. It sizzles. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” She responds, pouring orange juice into cups. She drinks hers quickly, and pours another glass. “I love your hair like that,” he says, putting two english muffins into the toaster. “Why don’t you wear it down more often?” She smiles. “It gets in the way.” They’ve only been in London for two weeks, but she feels at home. It’s taking him longer, but that’s okay. She opens the window. He flips the eggs and she goes behind him and puts her arms around his middle.

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


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

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

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


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

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

“I won’t leave it this late again” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday August 23, 2014
2:46pm
5 minutes
In The Long Run
The Staves


I won’t leave it this late again.
The moon’s howling and the wind is glowing red.
I won’t be coming back again.
Your grin was like butterscotch and sand.
I won’t leave it this late again.
I’m sorry for all the bad I’ve done.
The mountains are screaming banshees.
The ocean is rough.
When we said goodbye, you wouldn’t look at me.
I thought maybe it meant something.
I thought maybe it meant that you weren’t who you said you were.
I thought maybe when we said goodbye
You would hold my pointer finger and aim it right where you hurt.
The sand is cold and the bugs are loud.
It was dark.
It is dark.
Darkness is the ghost of knowing what we know and keeping quiet.
Darkness is light
Dressed up
Or down.
Darkness is the universal shroud of grief
of knowing there’s so much still to do.

“Do you have what it takes” by Sasha in her garden


Sunday June 22, 2014
5:39pm
5 minutes
from an email

My knees have splinters. I’ve been praying a lot. Do you pray? (Sigh). I used to have a problem with that word because I didn’t think I deserved it, I didn’t think I had what it takes. I was raised Catholic so… prayer was pretty connected to shame and… repentance. I was an alter boy, you know. That fucking hilarious. Father Nathan would stroke my head and his hand was hot. He had eyes like glaciers, like, like, a husky. He was a good guy. I remember telling him that I’d masturbated and he smiled and said, “better that then getting in fights like the other boys your age!” And he winked. He winked a lot. Makes you feel special, when someone winks at you, even if you know that they do it at other people too… Makes you feel like there’s a secret there, between you. Gives you a flutter in your belly.

“No phone or internet” by Sasha on the Queen car going West


Thursday May 22, 2014
5:21pm
5 minutes
a woodgreen.org streetcar stop ad

When Velma called she sounded out of breath.
“What is it?” I said.
“It’s Art…” Velma sobbed.
“Where is he?”
“At the hospital – ”
“Shit!”
“Watch your mouth, Rosie! Don’t you swear at me – ”
“Damn it!”
“He’s…”
I hung up the phone and drove down there as fast as I could. The roads were slick from the rain. I called out to God, “Kill me! Just kill me! Let me die in an accident! I can’t bear this!”
Maybe you’re wondering why Velma called me?
Maybe you’re wondering why she…?
Velma and Art have a… how should I say it… Open Relationship? He’s loved me longer than he’s loved her for Christ Sake! But his uptight parents didn’t think that I, Rosie Ruiz, was good enough for their golden boy. My nose was too big and my hips were too wide and my mouth was too dirty and…

“Looking at those thin winter trees” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday February 23, 2014
3:28pm
5 minutes
Cairo Blues
Leif Vollebekk


If I opened my kitchen cupboards, I’d feel exposed, I’d feel excited, I’d feel giggly and sweaty-palmed. You’d see smoked paprika and pink sea salt first, truffle salt second, alongside pumpkin seeds and peppercorns. The small, red sesame grinder rests nearby, no doubt a small pile of ground seeds under her bottom. Behind that is a can of chickpeas, a can of kidney beans, a small can of tomato paste. A jar of popcorn kernels, nearly forgotten because I’ve forbidden Sam from burning another one of my favourite pots. Powdered kale, made by my mother, a small jar of her famous corn relish, corn shucked by me, small husk dolls made by Sam. On the second shelf are the oils and vinegars, the wet things that bring balance and provide lubrication in the roasting pan – Palestinian olive oil, organic balsamic, Umeboshi, grapeseed oil. Some people pride themselves on their shoes, or their books or their antiques. The things I hold dear rest on our tongues and go down our throats to our thankful bellies. The places I go, away from the thin winter trees, are carried on spoonfuls of coconut butter and sprinkles of cardamon.

“weather permitting” by Sasha on her couch


Friday January 31, 2014
10:02pm
5 minutes
The Actor’s Survival Guide
Jon S. Robbins


When I tell you that I have a bladder infection I don’t want you to say, “Gross”. I want you to go to the market and buy cranberries and press juice using your palms. They’ll be dyed red for days but that’s just a sign of your devotion. When I come home after losing my bus pass I don’t want you to laugh. I want you to trudge with me, holding my hand, through the sludge, picking up every chocolate bar wrapper and soggy newspaper, wondering if it’s it. When I tell you that I’m having doubts, I want you to tell me the truth, that you are too, that it’s impossible not to, that we’re signing up for something big and serious. When I say, “Goodnight”, you say “Goodnight”, and in that moment, all is well, in that moment it’s you and me and our stormy future and I’m calm and I love you.

“Qualified For: Video Blogger” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday, June 25, 2013
12:58am
5 minutes
from a business card

Always liked my arms. Never had a problem with them. Never felt like they were disproportionate. Thought about getting liposuction once (Who doesn’t), and then realized that I just don’t care enough about that stuff. Never had a problem with my hands until a stupid boy named Brendan with bleach-blonde surfer hair told me they were too big for my body. I was 14 (fuck you Brendan). Thought my feet were okay. Not too big, not too small. Just right. one of my toes is ridiculously too tiny but do people care about toes these days? Thought if people were playing the game where they deconstruct themselves, then build the ideal human with all the best parts from them and their friends, at least two or three of my features would make the cut. Not my hair. Too scraggly in the wintertime. (Not my lips either.) Some friends would make it on for everything. They had better shaped eyes or noses or something. But if we were playing the game where we deconstruct all our skills and build the ideal human with those? I’d be up there for sure. Nobody can video blog like me. I even put it on my resume and business cards.