“I remembered a story” by Julia at her desk

Friday November 15, 2019
4:40pm
5 minutes
From a quote by Laurens van der Post

papa used to make up stories on the spot
after being begged
after we climbed him like baby baboons
after we heard one good one and knew
there had to be more where that came from

sometimes he’d do it with his eyes closed
and the telling would be the only thing
keeping him from sleeping
he’d say “I’m just resting my eyes”

mama never made up stories
but told the same ones over and over again
usually to teach us a lesson
but sometimes because she couldn’t hold
a memory any better than she could hold space
for Bastien’s learning disability

mama didn’t want any stupid kids and that’s
what she thought she got
she and Bastien were so much a like
you’d swear he had the same thing she did
although she’d never admit that she had
anything but a lack of patience

papa doesn’t remember the tales he used
to tell us, and that’s how you know he
was really in the moment and not somewhere
else wishing he wasn’t

mama doesn’t remember hating Bastien

“retirement and investment savings” by Julia on her couch

Saturday August 3, 2019
9:34pm
5 minutes
From a piece of mail

It’s true what they say, the banks are out to get us.
Mine charges me for being self-employed by making me pay a fee every time I exceed 12 transactions in a month. I could look into options that don’t include throwing money away but this stuff scares me because it makes me feel stupid and being stupid is one of my major fears.
I wouldn’t be able to admit that to just anyone. I am afraid of feeling small and helpless and useless and dumb and this perpetuates the cycle. I let the banks get me. I let them keep me small. I have no plans for investments or retirement because my brain doesn’t know how to think any further into the future than the next word after this. Maybe that’s fear too, keeping me believing that.

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

Saturday March 31, 2018

6:10pm

5 minutes

A quote from Stephen Hawking

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

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


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


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

“I don’t know how that works” by Julia at her desk


Thursday December 4, 2014 at Culprit Coffee
1:33am
5 minutes
Overheard at Culprit Coffee

I have realized too late in my life that I will never know enough. I’m too old to change who I am. I’m beyond the point of learning now. I woke up one day and I was dumb. I am only smart because I know I’m dumb. That is the way I get by. By knowing what I am and admitting it to myself when I have the opportunity. People don’t think I’m stupid because I figured out how to trick everybody. Even myself for a very long time. But now I cannot hide from this fact. I am good at very few things. I have very little knowledge of even the things I do well, let alone the things I don’t. I will never be able to explain facts of the world, geography, history. I will die knowing almost nothing, except for the knowing that I know almost nothing.

“Who wrote those poems?” by Sasha at Kafka’s


Friday October 17,2014
12:18pm at Kafka’s Coffee
5 minutes
Advanced Italian Grammar
Marcel Danesi


Who even wrote these stupid poems? These asshole poems in my notebook in my fucking handwriting? Who wrote this one about losing their sanity, and their youth, and their feeble attempts at fitness? WHO WROTE THESE IDIOT POEMS!? I’m gonna just go ahead and rip out these pages because this is BULLSHIT. I’ve been impersonated. Someone has pretty much pretended to be me, gone into my private notebook (where I write private things like, my grocery list, and notes for, like, school and occasional rants about a certain messy desk in my apartment that does not belong to me) and written shitty poems? What, is this a joke? Not funny. No one is laughing. Oh… You’re laughing? Well, you have a sick-ass sense of humour. Screw you. STOP LAUGHING. Who wrote these nasty poems?!

“a wise man” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 22, 2014
1:22am
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

A wise man once told me to never drink vodka without a mixer, a chaser, a plan to get home, and parental supervision.
That wise man did tell me that when I was living under his roof, and after the first time my parents needed to lecture me about safe drinking. He was very nice about it. Thankfully. He was joking around thinking I had gotten enough punishment from the sheer fact that I woke up in somebody else’s clothes with part of my left tooth chipped, a busted nose, and a hangover to rival some of my university days. He was right. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. But neither was being 15 and not knowing what being drunk felt like. When you’re 15, even though your parents think you won’t be a problem, you have a bunch of stupid ideas and you scoop them all up in one handful and you make stupid choices. Then you suffer the consequences. And you live the rest of your life remembering how disappointed your mother was when you walked into the kitchen after realizing you couldn’t remember 80% of Lindsey’s party, and then remembering that your father was just slightly okay with giving that life lesson in such a capacity.

“Check the condition of the O ring” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday January 5, 2014
11:08pm
5 minutes
Suzuki GS 500 Haynes Manual

CARLA: I don’t know what that means. I really don’t. I’ve looked it up, and I mean, it’s on the internet cause everything is, but I still don’t get it. Which then makes me feel stupid and sad. Because I know I’m neither of those things but then I’m made to feel like I’m both of them and there’s no getting out. It’s weird, it’s like, saying “I don’t know” and truly not knowing is completely unacceptable to people. Why do I have to pretend to know everything, and look it all up before I send my response? To keep you guessing, to keep you thinking that I’m intelligent. Some people are just not word people, you know? Some people are really good at reading HUMAN BEINGS and THEIR BEHAVIOUR and might be legally illiterate. Is that so bad? Those people get away with not knowing and nobody says ANYTHING to them. And nobody should. Nobody should say anything to the people are “supposed” to be smart and just don’t know all the things that ever existed either, but they do. Higher standards apply to those people. The same way when a skinny person puts on even just a tiny bit of weight, everybody notices and now they get called ‘fat’. Can we do a couple things this year? Like banish the words “stupid” and “fat” because they are relative and they’re just not helping anyone? I can’t be the only one who thinks this. I’m going to look it up on the internet.

“I spent decades awakening” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake


Sunday, September 15, 2013
10:04am
5 minutes
Her Account Of Herself
Amy Gerstler


It’s like you re-learned your name. Now, when you say it, you claim it like a plot of land. You put your flag down and mark the territory as yours and only yours. Remember when you called yourself “stupid”? Remember when you looked at yourself in the mirror and you sucked in and pushed out and puckered and picked? Remember the sound your father makes when he sneezes, rattling the paintings on the wall? I was glad, when you breached for air, that your face wasn’t blue. I was glad you had colour, high in your cheeks, the colour of fruit salad. You’d been underwater for quite some time, so I wasn’t sure what it was all going to look like. You were stronger, your shoulders screaming “SWIMMER!”

The last time I saw you, you were wearing your flippers and goggles, your navy blue bathing suit, but you said you’d misplaced the mouthpiece, the scuba diving paraphernalia that would allow you to breathe down there, with the coral and the tiger-fish.