She is giant and bossy and funny as hell.” By Julia on her couch

Saturday October 14, 2017

11:22pm

5 minutes

a text

Kitty tells me to say that that I’m the baby and she’s the mum. I say, I’m the baby and you’re the mum. Then she tells me to say I’m addicted to raisins! I say, do I know what addicted means already? And she tells me to just say it already. I say I’m the baby and you’re the and mum and I’m addicted to raisins. She tells me, okay now say you’re trapped in a lemon peel. And I say oh no I’m the baby and you’re the mum and I’m addicted to raisins and I’m trapped in a lemon peel. Then kitty bursts out laughing. She is laughing so hard she gives herself hiccups. She tries to give direction between giant gulps of air. I tell her to take a second and catch her breath and she tells me to hurry up and be funny. I tell her she’s being a bit bossy and she shrieks at the top of the lungs, THAT’S BECAUSE I’M THE MUM.

“two beautiful faces” by Sasha at the Airbnb in Montreal


Wednesday September 21, 2016
10:12am
5 minutes
Overheard on Av. Girouard

the NICU beeps and wails and whispers
the nurses scrubs have cats and flowers on them
the babies are so small
so new
how were they ready to be born?
the babies are so strong
so new
they were ready to be born
at least that’s what i
tell myself
washing a pear for my sister
filling her water bottle
rubbing her neck
at least that’s what i
tell myself
walking by the darkened rooms
code indigo taped on the door
mothers and fathers and families
like angel zombies
tired eyes and microwave dinners
sanitize the hands

“dies in slow motion” by Sasha on the couch


Tuesday July 5, 2016
11:11pm
5 minutes
In Search of Agamemnon
Bruce F. Fairley


It’s the hottest day of the year and the air conditioning is broken. We’ve rehearsed the scene what feels like a million times and Mario says, “Ah! Yes! The deaths… The deaths are… they aren’t working, mes amis. Let’s try them both in, in…” We wait, bracing ourselves, willing him to call the day, “in slow motion!” As he says it he does a demo, as if we don’t know what slow motion means. Eric and I look at eachother and try not to scream/cry/laugh. Mario wonders aloud why we’re stalling. “It’s forty degrees. I’m sweating my balls off,” I say. Eric blushes. Mario gets up. He has his water bottle in his hand. He looks pissed. He pours a bit of water into his palm and then throws it at me, right in the face. Pour, throw. Pour, throw. Nicola, the stage manager, almost says something but Eric silences her with a glare.

“The earth’s insomnia” by Julia at her “New York”


Wednesday March 16, 2016
9:04pm
5 minutes
Moonlight
Lorna Crozier


I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.

“that time of innocence” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 24, 2015
11:02pm
5 minutes
from a poem by bell hooks

it was that time of gold
the innocence of maple butter
slathered on cheeks kissed by the wind
a typhoid of hormones
your fingertips a garter snake in
the zucchini flowers

it was that time of innocence
too much lavender incense from
the dollar store
chipped nail polish tea leaves
empty fortune cookies celebrated
leaving more room for our dreams

“Hard to hand over the reins” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Friday November 27, 2015 at Our Town
3:15pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Sun
Friday, November 27, 2015


They play the kind of oldies music that I love here. I can’t help but tap my foot and sing along. It’s a crowded place. Not the best spot for open expression of who I am. If my father could see me he’d be so embarrassed at how little tact I have. He always hated when I’d check to see if I had food in my teeth in a knife while sitting at a restaurant. He thought it was classy. I thought it would be less classy if I spoke to someone with spinach hanging from my gums, but no, what I was doing was inappropriate. I couldn’t tell you how many times my dad has embarrassed me just by being narrow minded. I never told him that I didn’t want to be seen with him, even if he told a bad joke, or said that people with dreadlocks shouldn’t work at a housewares store. I even remember one time he came skating with my grade 4 class and fell on the ice in front of everyone. I was 9 and sure, it was a big deal then, but I did not act like I was even a little bit bothered because I bet he was way more embarrassed than I was. In fact now that I think about it I was really just worried that he might have hurt himself and there wouldn’t have been room for anything else…

“I love kittens!!” by Julia at Our Town Cafe


Sunday November 22, 2015 at Our Town
3:14pm
5 minutes
from a text

Dear Diary:

I love kittens!! Mom said if I finished reading my new book that she got me (it’s called: KITTENS) and ask Auntie Genie about the responsibilities around raising an animal friend as a pet, she MIGHT, maybe, will POSSIBLY consider letting me go to the shelter (where they keep the kittens from dying before they’re old enough to take care of themselves) and learn about some of my favourite ones. When I told her that I promised I would and would make sure I was very well informed about kittens and EVERYTHING they need before I asked her to get one, she said, Now, Izzie, this is not a YES or a NO it is a MAYBE, and it is ON CONDITION. I Know I know I know already. She is “non-committal”. Just like my father was. Or at least that’s what Auntie Genie tells me. She told me that FACT when I asked her once if he left because he was allergic to me. She said, Of course not, but that would have been a better reason.

“Maybe we shouldn’t” by Julia on her couch


Saturday November 21, 2015
11:40pm
5 minutes
overheard at the Eastside Culture Crawl

Maybe we shouldn’t talk about the future, about how many kids you want, or how many pieces of artwork we don’t agree on. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell each other everything just in case we wake up one time in the middle of the night and realize there’s nothing left to learn. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t co-own anything unless that thing is a fruit and custard pull-away tart from the coffee shop on the corner where the barista is mean to you. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we shouldn’t wait for the other one to be honest about the things we’re afraid of first. Maybe there’s pain in the waiting. Maybe there’s disaster in the lie before it becomes the truth.
Maybe we shouldn’t tell our parents, when they ask what we did last night, that we didn’t leave our beds because we were too high to stand up. Maybe we shouldn’t.

“Her face was like a spring sun halo” by Julia at Shaktea


Friday November 20,2015 at Shaktea
1:06pm
5 minutes
White Heat
M.J. McGrath


I scooped up her tiny face into my hands and I brought her close to mine so I could feel her nose and inhale her intoxicating smell. She smelled of cinnamon and felt comforting to be around. I liked that she didn’t have a sweet smell because when I thought of her defending herself against the world, it put me at ease to think that she’d be a little bit tougher, connected to her roots, fiery, quick.
She was sleeping still and I thought about leaving in that moment so I could remember her like that: peaceful, calm, perfect. I couldn’t bare the idea of her crying at the realization of my absence. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than I already had.

“methodological, theoretical, practical” by Julia on her couch


Thursday November 19,2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
from the back of a theatre theory book

Belief isn’t strong enough on its own, she tells me, as the crumbs of her double baked almond croissant stick to the corners of her mouth.
You need to put beliefs into practice, Marnie. It’s all about practicality here.
I can’t stop staring at her lips. Encrusted in almond flakes, spewing some wisdom or advice that I can barely pay attention to.
Do you think you put your beliefs into practice, Marnie?
She notices where my eyes land on her face and instantly reaches up to swat the crumbs away. She looks embarrassed now. She keeps her gaze on me.
Have you been listening, Marnie?
Yes, I tell her quickly, before she tries to ask me if I’m sure.
Good. That’s good. Is there anything you’d like to add? I don’t want to be the only one offering ideas here. That’s not why I asked to meet with you, is it?

“store solar power” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 18,2015
10:07pm
5 minutes
from a tweet by the Globe and Mail

When we’re alone after a full day of kissing my family and eating tortelli you tell me there’s this new game you can’t wait to play when we get home. I don’t know why, but this bothers me. I can’t tell why I’m upset by this. You’re not hurting me by playing. Or are you? I haven’t figured out why my insides are twisting and my veins are pulsing. Am I looking for a reason to be mad at you? I try to delay my response because I’m worried it’ll come out naggy, or pissed off. I would much rather come to the conclusion of my feelings before involving you in an outburst. Is it because I wish I had something to look forward to when we go home? Is it because we have plans when we get home and you’re blowing me off? Do we have plans at all? I’m mad at how mad I am without quite knowing why. I rack my brain for instances to refresh my memory about why it is I can’t handle this decision. It seems like one you’ve made before. I remember that. Or something like it…

“holier-than-thou” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday November 17,2015
12:05am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

Went to church when I was younger I guess, so I have this really big soft spot for budding Christians. Not the full blown ones, I have no room for those. But the ones who are starting to feel community and straight-edged living are the ones I see myself in. So many of my beliefs were centered around permission and guilt and acceptance and guilt and lying and begging and praying and guilt. Like I was sand being shaken back and forth in an hourglass. Always trying not to be wrong. Always trying to right the wrong. Always being wrong. Always feeling bad for being wrong. But there in the community where we’d raise our hands to the Lord and sway them back and forth while our eyes were closed and our hearts exploded, we felt like pieces cut out of the same felt, glued onto bristol board to form a perfect circle; the poster kids for The Lost.

“guiding his life direction.” By Sasha in the TA office at Mary Bollert Hall


Tuesday November 10, 2015
1:17pm
5 minutes
From a student’s short story

When You teach me to remember
my heart’s on fire the colour of sunset
the colour of ash

When You guide my hand towards the future
my eyes are a wash of birch
and sweetgrass

I don’t want to daydream my way to glory
I want to get there step by step
with You at my side
and the wind breaking trail

Over Cypress mountain the new day dawns
You braid bread and whistle
I grind coffee beans and light the stove

“make strong choices on the fly” by Julia at her desk


Sunday November 8, 2015
10:18pm
5 minutes
from nativeearth.ca/w28series/

Okay so I started taking this improv class-that’s what they say, it’s so cool, they don’t even finish the word. It’s every week on Tuesdays and the class is 3 hours long and it is the best thing in my entire life. It’s so funny. People really are hilarious in this class so I never feel like it’s a waste cause I’m always laughing and sometimes till I’m crying and that is the best feeling. Our instructor, Vijestica is a hobbit sized woman and she has a big laugh that starts, I am convinced, in her groin. She’s always snorting and shooting snot out of her nose because she loves to laugh and gets us really excited about our choices! In improv you learn how to YES AND which means nothing is wrong and everything is a good idea and you say yes to the first choice that comes and just keep building on that until you’re really rolling with it all and the jokes just flow and the laughs just follow. Vijestica says this is a safe place to leave the everyday at the door. I am so glad to leave my everyday at the door because working in a cubicle the size of an outhouse in my everyday is actually the thing that might kill me. It’s awful, there’s no silliness or fun, only deadlines and people telling me “nice maroon sweater, Alma,” or “Did you eat my peanut butter tuna sandwich, Alma?” Here, in improv class, we all just smile and tell each other how great and brave we all are.

“is your weapon” by Julia at her desk


Saturday November 7, 2015
11:45pm
5 minutes
from the back cover of Watchdogs

Is your weapon silence or is it force?
I’m asking cause I need to know.
I’m taking a survey.
Which one works better for you?
Are you using it at all?
Are you using your weapon for good or for evil?
You can decide what it is, at any point.
I’d recommend earlier than later.
But what do I know.
I’m just taking a survey.
Is your weapon strength or is it pain?
I’m asking cause I need to know.
I’m looking for the best answer.
Which one keeps the monsters at bay and which one keeps the good out?
It’s possible to keep the good out.
Some weapons only hurt ourselves.
Some weapons only become available after we need them.
You can decide when you’ll use it.
I’d recommend now or never.
But what do I know.

“for a variety of reasons” by Julia in a car


Friday November 6, 2015
11:45am
5 minutes
Overheard at Moii Cafe

Carmen is sitting on the kitchen sink, banging her feet against the cupboard to the rhythm that she’s humming in her head. Boom badoom, boom boom badoom.
Ely stares at her with a sideways smile and his head cocked to the side. He’s in love with her. She’s the most fascinating thing he’s ever seen in his life.
Carmen feels his gaze but acts like she can’t tell. She pretends to be in her own world. She likes the attention Ely gives her. She likes that he likes her and that she could be bad, or better, and he wouldn’t even notice. She likes that he doesn’t hold her to a particular standard. She likes that he isn’t like everybody else.
Ely wants to kiss her but hasn’t felt like she’s invited him yet. His body remains tense and leaning against the counter. He casts his eyes down when it gets to be too much.
“Are you afraid of me or something?”
Carmen’s legs still going, boom badoom, boom boom badoom.
“Me? No I’m. I’m not afraid of you or something. I’m. I’m not afraid.”
“Well why are you way over there, then?”

“for a variety of reasons” by Sasha at Moii Cafe


Friday November 6, 2015 at Moii Cafe
11:35am
5 minutes
Overheard at Moii Cafe

I’m angry at you for a variety of reasons. A WIDE variety. Wide like a mouth screaming. Wide like the clouds and the rain. Firstly, you ate my leftover curry and you know that the one thing I get truly invested in is lunch and I was sweaty and starving when I got home from my appointment at the optometrist and all I wanted, in life, was my leftover curry. I spent twelve dollars on it and it wasn’t even the best, but I’m practising portion control so specifically put aside half for today’s lunch. And then, and THEN, I see the take out container in the recycling bin. “He must’ve transferred it to a glass container. How sweet.” I thought. Nope. NOPE! You didn’t even leave a goddamn note, Trevor! You didn’t even leave a note saying, “Terribly sorry. Couldn’t resist your curry.”

“really only happy when working” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 3, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
chaninicholas.com

Monique chews her gum like she talks. Loud. She’s one of those people that doesn’t have a sense of appropriate noise levels. On the bus, with sleeping babies and little old ladies in plastic hair covers, she’s the one on her cell phone, all shrieks and exclamations. What am I supposed to do? Sit her down and give her some constructive feedback? Is that my role now?

When she asked if she could move in after Kenny decided to move to Alaska, I said, “Sure.” I followed up with an email. “Given that it’s a bachelor, maybe think about finding a place for the New Year?” She ignored it. I re-read it, over and over, resenting her stinky shampoo and her dirty coffee cups in the sink. “I never should’ve said, “maybe”… That’s where I went wrong!”

“Transcendence demands sacrifice” by Julia in the Vancouver Writer’s Fest Volunteer Lounge


Sunday, October 25, 2015 at the Writer’s Fest Volunteer Lounge
10:21am
5 minutes
from a write up about Rich Shapero

The valet parked my car this morning and made me wish I had walked. Maybe that will be the last time.Lately I’ve been uncomfortable with paying someone to do something that I can do myself. I was brought up differently. My father lived for the royalty of things. Every special occasion was catered exquisitely. The tables were always covered in silks and golds and exotic fruit and cheese. My father was a simple man, but he loved abundance. I learned from him that if it’s between time or money, to choose time. He used to tell me that my time was worth a thousandfold the amount I would have to pay for it. I never really saw what he meant because we often payed someone else, and as a result were not only abundant in lavishness, but in dispensable time. I never had to want more time. I didn’t know how to appreciate it when I was young, even though he was trying to show me. When he died I noticed myself living like him more and more. I’d pay for private massages, for dinners to be delivered, for my laundry to be folded.

“ideal cooking oil” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Mama sticks her finger into the jar and pulls out white silk that turns her skin glossy.
Doesn’t that smell like heaven? She hums, lifting her hand to my nose.
I nod my head. I want to eat the melting silk off of mama’s warm forefinger. She smiles at me, glad that I like what she likes. She dabs both of my cheeks with it and rubs it in. Feels nice, doesn’t it? I nod again, this time voraciously.
I want mama to let me bathe in this stuff. I want mama to let me alone with it so I can put it everywhere.
This is what you use for baking and cooking, she tells me, grabbing a spoon out of the drawer. She hands it to me. But it’s good for anything you can think of. She winks. I smile. I feel lucky to be let in to this place. She has given me her secret to the universe.

“amazing work” by Julia on her couch


Friday, October 23, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

I had been trying to catch his attention for, if I’m counting, the last twelve years. Huh. Wow. That’s more than I thought I’d admit. Was hopeful. I mean, who wasn’t at that age. But I guess it’s not fair to take it personally. He wasn’t not loving me, he was just, not forgetting her. I don’t know if I would do it any differently than that myself. I’ve never lost a child so I don’t get to pretend to understand. But weeks bleed into months and then years, and it all just feels like the same nightmare, playing over and over or just continuing without resolve every 16 hours. This time it was a scholarship that I was awarded because of my application letter about him. I wanted to show him. He wanted to drink.

“Reimagine your world” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, October 22, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide

There’s a little place you go to, that no one knows about. You hang your worries on the line separating this place and yours. You twist them all together to create a veil and then you pass through it once it’s in order. You see the water falls and you run to them. You strip off your doubts and you dive off the cliff. You hit the water with a gentle ease and you head down as deep as you can go. You see what you need to see then slowly make your way back up. You can taste the sunlight beaming right through you and you reach the surface with a joy you have learned how to forget. You inhale. You shake off your pain and you rise up. Higher than the water. Higher than the skies.

“you can’t resist” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, October 21, 2015
12:34am
5 minutes
Pinterest

I can’t resist, a list, a timely grouping of newly learned learnings. Here they are, laid bare, and left flat to dry. The wind might pick one up and knock it around, some of them might cling strong to the earth and grow. Who knows? Whatever whatever:

1-You can’t wait for the best thought to come before you think out loud. It’ll never happen. You’ll only confuse yourself if you let them all stay locked in tight.
2-Drying racks are a thing of the organized
3-James Franco has branded himself almost flawlessly.
4-Just because you’re lying doesn’t mean you’re not telling the truth.
5-James Franco’s younger brother does not want to be James Franco.
6-Talking about writing is fear’s way of making sure the truth doesn’t get out.
7-If you write down your ideas exactly when you have them, you’ll train yourself to trust your gut that it’s something worth putting down on paper. You have to build a relationship with yourself before you attack the page: it’s nice to have an ally if going into battle.

“what he learned about fire” by Julia at her desk


Monday, October 19, 2015
10:01pm
5 minutes
from dramaturgical notes

The rads in our new place don’t work. Red has been trying to get them to function for the last two weeks. Every 5 minutes he checks to see if heat is coming, adjusting the only two knobs on the thing when it doesn’t. “Can you feel anything now?” He’d shout at me, a painful hope stinging the air. “Still nothing.” I’d say back as I wrap a blanket around my feet and another one around my shoulders. “Stupid fucking thing.” I’d hear Red mumble. “stupid stupid fucking thing.” The only way we find some warmth is when we’re using the stove. It’s hard to get it started but I’ve never looked so forward to roasted potatoes in my life. We dragged the little kitchen bench over to the sink so we can sit next to the stove and stop tensing our muscles for once. We can’t leave the thing on all day cause we can’t afford it. We find solace there, holding our hands out to the stove door like two little kids warming their frozen limbs by the fireplace after a long day of riding on a float in the Santa Claus Parade.

“it brings out the deliciousness” by Julia at her desk


Sunday, October 18, 2015
10:09pm
5 minutes
The Ayurvedic Cookbook
Amadea Morningstar & Urmila Desai


Mia is close to tears. She is cooking mac and cheese while PJ dances around the living room. His pants are down below his bottom. He looks ridiculous.

“Ooh girl, shake it, shake it, let me take you to the PROM, you so perfect I want you to meet my MOM. BAM. Now tell me that’s not a good rhyme! BAM!”
“It’s nice PJ. It’s a nice rhyme.”
“You’re fucking joking, right? That shit was so tight, don’t act like you’re not impressed right now! ‘Nice’. Seriously!”
“Sorry, PJ, I forgot that there were more important things for me to be thinking about at this very moment. It was fucking awesome. Okay?”
“You’re mad, then? Like what the fuck did I do?”
“See it’s just that you keep thinking it’s about you and it’s not about you but I don’t know how to send that signal any clearer. You’re a rapping genius. You should have your own show.”
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Mia packs up her bag. She takes off PJ’s sweater and throws it at him. She leaves the mac and cheese on the stove, element on high.

“it brings out the deliciousness” by Sasha on her couch


Sun, October 18, 2015
4:29pm
5 minutes
The Ayurvedic Cookbook
Amadea Morningstar & Urmila Desai


Jay gets back from the woods and he’s different. He went to tree plant for a summer and stayed for four years. You got an email from him that simply said, “i’m staying”. No capitalization or punctuation. Just those two words. He gets back from the woods and the colour of his eyes has changed. We meet on Main St. for a beer and he takes me in like he never has before. He takes me in like a mirage, or the fall colours. I ask if he was lonely and he says he wasn’t. I ask if he’s weirded out by the concrete and the new buses. He says he isn’t. He asks if we’re still friends and I say, yeah, but it’s a bit of a lie because since he’s been gone we’ve only hung out a couple of times. His new eyes glaze over when I say this. He looks at his hands. They look like the hands of a father, the hands of someone who knows things about maple syrup and skinning rabbits.

“It’s a bold idea” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, October 14, 2015
12:36am
5 minutes
The Volcano

It’s a bold idea to profess yourself
PRODIGY
hero
OWMAN
WOMAN
A weird relationship with your Dad or your Mum
It’s all of us
MMkay
They wanted what we want and want what we have and we want what they had when they were less grey and white
Her Papa combs his moustache to Simon and Garfunkel
Shredded Wheat grows soggy on the table in the
blue bowl
She’s not sure about this thing
about this political thing
OWMAN
WOMAN

“the king is me” by Sasha in the car on the way home


Monday October 5, 2015
11:26pm
5 minutes
from a slam poem

Kel frames it like, “Have I got a story for you!” Like, there’s actually something I’m gonna get out of it. What a jerk! I love that guy but he’s a jerk, right? He jumps around from thing to thing, like some kinda rabbit, and expects to be the best every time. Pretty wild. Pretty wild. I’m like, “Shoot, Kel…” I forget what we were eating, maybe Thai? No! No, Chinese. Kel ordered in. Moo Shoo this and that. Right? So, he tells me he’s going to become, wait for it… Wait… He’s going to go to Pastry School. KEL. The guy who just worked on the rigs. I almost choked on my Egg Roll. “What?” “Yup,” he says, like it ain’t no thang. “I met this group of chicks and they are all bakers. It’s an untapped market, man, you should really join me.” I laugh. I laugh my ass off. And then he shows me his, like, enrolment letter or whatever and it’s true. He’s doing it.

“willing to launch an attack” by Julia at her desk


Sunday September 27, 2015
10:58pm
5 minutes
Dead Metaphor
George F. Walker


I tell her that I don’t approve of him and now she’s pissed because she knows I’m right but doesn’t want to admit it. It’s not my fault the signs are glaringly obvious that he’s not right for her, that she’s only staying with him because she’s blinded by her “feelings” which, I believe are madly out of touch with reality. She’s asked me once before and I said, I don’t know, Lara, I’m not inside your relationship, you are. You should know how you feel. She got mad then too because I was looking too objectively at her problems. So fine, I think, I won’t say anything at all, but then she asks me one day when I’ve had no time to prepare myself to stay out of it, and I tell her, I say, honestly, Lara, I think you’re better than him and that he’s sucking you dry in every possible way and if you’re serious about your own happiness then you really should take a look at the cause of all the feelings you have that aren’t that.

“putting on sweat pants and sunglasses” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 26, 2015
10:40pm
5 minutes
a tweet

Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids”. That’s what she calls them, her “fluids” when they’re clearly as simple as chamomile tea or apple cider vinegar and honey. Harley is always sick and I stopped believing it was true about a year ago. She shows up to our meetings with sweat pants and sunglasses on, drinking her “fluids” and she doesn’t talk above a whisper.
“Why didn’t you just stay at home in bed if you’re not feeling well?”
“I don’t want to let you guys down.”
“Well you’re hurting us more than helping us. You could spread the germs.”
“I think the contagious part is over, I think I’ve tackled that part on my own already.”
“Okay, so should we get started? Harley, let’s see your notes for the–”
Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids” and gives excuses for not completing her work. I don’t know why we keep her in the group. Maybe because we see that she needs us more than we need her. Maybe because she’s my baby sister and I have to make sure she doesn’t fall off the face of the planet.

“Pumpkin season may be upon us” by Julia at Comox Park


Friday September 25, 2015
6:48pm
5 minutes
An Instagram post

This girl. She’s a friend for life. Both mine and hers. You want to know why I love her? Cause when I mention waiting in a long line just for a coffee, she scrunches her nose and she says “Eww.” Or when I say “you know it’s fall when you can buy ‘essence of pumpkin spice’ at the grocery store.” And she says “Eww. No.” Or when I say “I can’t stand those people who hashtag their own kids’ names.” And she dry heaves, scrunches her nose even tighter and says “OH MY GOD EWW.”

“Pumpkin season may be upon us” by Sasha on her couch


Friday September 25, 2015
11:31pm
5 minutes
An Instagram post

Every morning I walk out to the mailbox at the end of the driveway. In Fall, I take my mug of coffee with me. In winter I pull my hood tight around my ears. I open the mailbox, the one that Sam’s father gave us when we were fist engaged, with the red flag and the small door with a latch.

Today I pull out a few bills, something from the government for Sam, and a postcard. I haven’t received one of those in a long time. A postcard. With palm trees and Miami Beach written across the top in pink cursive. I turn it over, starting my walk back to the house. It’s a handwriting I don’t recognize.

“your mother’s sewing machine” by Sasha outside Koerner’s Library


Thursday September 10, 2015
3:12pm
5 minutes
from Sasha’s transcriptions

two million
three hundred and
ninety six
rays of light
converge
where my mother’s hand
rests
she’s sat on a stool
that we found by the side of
the road
wood worn for sitting bones
her foot
pumping the pedal
a handful of crickets
my fall dress

“Doll factory.” By Sasha at Vancouver General Hospital


Monday, August 24, 2015
12:11pm
5 minutes
a receipt

Sunday morning quiet while Nanny sleeps
Baking cookies with rainbow sprinkles and peanut butter bits
Bit a oatmeal
Oatmeal is a health food, yeah?
Molly’s got that look on her face, all
“Heyyyyy there!”
Steals a handful of sprinkles and before you know it she’s all green lips and yellow tongue and she’s all sugar sugar high
Molly’s keeled over and says
“I need to go to the hospital! My appendix is bursting!”
It isn’t true but whatever
Put her in her snowsuit and walk to the bus stop and then she’s fine
And then she’s a-okay
And then she wants to go back home and finish those cookies
Nanny woke up and is already into the brandy
“What are you girls up to?”
Slurred words like slug juice

“her request seems to have been ignored.” By Julia on her patio


Sunday, August 16, 2015
11:01am
5 minutes
The New Yorker

Okay so we’re both wearing the same shirt which is not the first time and Dalton comments on Janie’s shirt and not mine which makes me want to compete with her even more, as if I don’t have a butt-loaf of insecurities I am already baking. Maybe because when Dalton walks into the shop, I start talking to him about all the various colours and flavours our cotton candy machine is capable of producing and Janie just sits quietly roping a strand of hair around her index finger with big shy eyes that don’t offend Dalton like my excessive and sometimes obnoxiously loud commentary does.

“agreed-upon sex date” by Julia on her patio


Friday, August 14, 2015
2:11pm
5 minutes
From http://thehairpin.com/2015/08/today-is-the-12th-anniversary-of-the-big-blackout/

Me and Matthew are intimate with each other on average 6 times a week. Before you grab your shit to egg my house or something, you should know that I don’t just mean sex. Phew. Collective exhale. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we fuck like rabbits and we do that a lot too (Woah, easy…) but plain intimacy is harder for us so we have to schedule that in. Now I’m not saying this is how it should be. But we’ve figured out a way to stop taking sex personally and to stop measuring our value as a couple (or our self worth) by the act. We still struggle with making time for us to stare into each other’s eyes for an extended period of time, or sit in silence without other stimuli creeping in. It’s taking a long time. So we pencil it in and we work on it.

“it’s been my pleasure” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday, August 12, 2015
1:22pm
5 miutes
From an email

My pleasure your pain
My sorrow your gain
We meet in the middle
Dance on the line
Decide to move in
Then we both explode
Can’t get close to you
You’re a fiery mess
Can’t get close to me
I’m a ticking time bomb
My sorrow my sorrow
My pain my pain
Your sorrow your sorrow
Your pain your pain
Made of the stuff I can’t touch
Too hot
Too dangerous
Get me into trouble
Too wild
Too cancerous
Keep me far from loving

“her request seems to have been ignored.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday, August 16, 2015
12:16pm
5 minutes
The New Yorker

They’re moving again, just a few towns over, but it’s the third time this year and that’s not the only suspect thing… My psychic told me I need to let go of my skepticism, she said that it’s inhibiting tectonic shift (whatever the eff that means). I’m trying here, but then they up and decide to move again and I’m sent into a spiral of wondering. Bob and Bet are the only couple friends I got here, you see, so I can’t just, like, get over it! Lost my car after another DUI so how the heck am I even gonna visit them? Buses are unreliable and full of perverts. I refuse to take the bus.

“agreed-upon sex date” by Sasha in the car on the way to Black River Farm


Friday, August 14, 2015
11:24am
5 minutes
From http://thehairpin.com/2015/08/today-is-the-12th-anniversary-of-the-big-blackout/

There are times when we pretend that we’re something other than what we are. There are moments, fleeting ones, where I imagine that you’ll be there when I get home from work with spaghetti bolognese on the stove and a glass of red wine already poured into my favourite ceramic mug. There are nights when you lie in your king sized bed and imagine that I’m in the bathroom flossing my teeth. “Did you take out the recycling?” You imagine me saying. There are midnights when we think of each other at the exact same second.

A text message. What are you doing?

“it’s been my pleasure” by Sasha at the kitchen table at Bowmore


Wednesday, August 12, 2015
10:32pm
5 minutes
From an email

The merry-go-round sings like a banshee and I forget where I’m going
Round round round
Amos starts to kiss my neck but I say
No
Shoulda said that a long time ago
Forgot my words
“Use your words”
Funnel cake’s gone funny in my belly and the coke is making bubbles in my chest
“I ate too much”
“You’re fine”
Ride’s over and the man who is running it has real bad acne
“Thanks”
“It’s my pleasure”
Snakes up my spine
Snakes in my tennis shoes
Snakes in my ponytail

“supremely a task of communication” by Sasha at Joe Creek Artist Residency


Monday, July 27, 2015
10:24pm
5 minutes
Audition
Michael Shurtleff


He’s shirtless and we’re brushing our teeth. He sucks in his belly and hobbles around, scrunching up his face. I grab him by the shoulder and say, “Stop! Please stop!” He stands tall. “What’s the matter with you?”

I’m reading about the Holocaust and all I can think about is children being starved. When I see his ribs like that I think about him, miles away, unsure when and if we’ll see each other again. I think about him starving. Nothing gives me more pleasure than feeding him. I think about our future children, plump belly receding. I think about a great aunt’s child being starved, the weight of it a paperweight on my chest.

I can’t sleep. I toss the duvet off, then pull it on. I burrow into his armpit. I turn away.

“There’s something I need to explain to you.” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday, July 19, 2015
10:14pm
5 minutes
Sputnik Sweetheart
Haruki Murakami


Made it back just in time for tea. Mama made those blueberry muffins with the crumble top and we gobbled up more than we shoulda but whatchu gonna do! They are yummy! No one asked about the train trip but that’s okay… Not like I had anything great to say bout it anyway.

The next day was Church and Mama told me I should tie my hair back. “No one wants that hair flying around in their laps, Darlene!” Daniella and I wore matching pink sweaters and someone asked who was older and I hate it when that happens. Daniella loves it. She was grinnin’ ear to ear. Mama had a look sweep over her when she say Paster Earl. I hate it when that happens. I elbowed Danielle when she was singin’ too loud. Everyone was staring!

“wrote a long great piece” by Julia on her bed


Friday, July 17, 2015
2:47am
5 minutes
A tweet by Sheila Heti

Dear Edith,

Your last letter was hard to read and yet I find myself rereading it every day; sometimes twice. I didn’t know there were so many things you found unpleasing about me. After all this correspondence, I suppose two people can fight just as they would if they saw each other face to face as often. I am understanding of our closeness and though I’d like to believe our relationship is immune to the casualties of constant interaction, I see now that it is not special or unique at all. Part of me likes that it is not because it takes some of the pressures of perfection away. I know now that if you can hurt me, I can hurt you, and that doesn’t make us love each other any less. What I struggle with is the fear that you have felt this way for some time and my once beloved qualities have now added up to an amount that is undesirable to you. Please, Edith, if you would, respond in honesty: Have I been bothering you for long? Or have you just recently noticed my flaws? I wonder this for if it’s the latter then I have to ask: Is everything in the right place with you? Sometimes, my dear Edith, we see ourselves in others…

“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

“10% off” By Julia on her couch


Monday, June 29, 2015
3:31pm
5 minutes
From http://www.hollyhock.ca

Attention bargain hunters! Yes you! You with the University of Minnesota tote bag and you with the amethyst wrecking ball size pendant! Get thee to our one of a kind, one time only save big or save yourself event! Starting now until the very last shelf is bare, you too can find true happiness with true (and useful) deals! Price matching? We don’t need to! We ARE the match! We are the price! Take advantage of our super store-wide mark downs today! We only have today and then it’ll all be over! We’ll disappear into the nothingness and you’ll never know we were even here!

“10% off” By Sasha at Le Marche St. George


Monday, June 29, 2015 at Le Marche St. George
10:14am
5 minutes
From http://www.hollyhock.ca

You hide your face in your dirty hands. I want to lick your tears like a puppy, but I don’t, only because we’re in public, not because I wouldn’t do something like that. I would. I do. Sometimes when my Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor asks to see my tongue I worry about the stains of coffee or a banana. I suck back the spit and I hope he doesn’t lean in too close to analyze. I stick it out and he looks, but from his roll-y chair a bit of a ways away. “You’re stressed,” he says, like a Knighting. “Who isn’t?” I think. “Not really…” I say, doing the stress comparison. I was more stressed last time I was there. I am less stressed now, for sure. I spend many more hours lying on the beach now. Less hours sitting (“is the new smoking”) at my table or in a coffee shop, maybe eating a few too many paleo, almond butter cookies.

You hide your face in your dirty hands. We spent the morning building sand castles.

“The audience is your partner” by Sasha at David Lam Park


Sunday, June 28, 2015
7:44pm
5 minutes
Conversations with Anne
Anne Bogart


When Isaac gets on stage he glimmers
He doesn’t wear glitter
He glimmers
Just himself
His music his harmonies his skin radiates light
When Isaac moves his feet back and forth
it’s just right
A mass of moving pink and purple and denim
can’t help moving too
Moving just like he is
A kaleidoscope mirror
“ISAAC!” They shout
“I love you guys!” He responds
It’s that simple
It’s that present
It’s that easy

“Sentenced to two years for new offences” by Julia at Ka Chi


Friday, June 19, 2015 at Ka Chi
3:33pm
5 minutes
CP24

I don’t want to talk about jail cause that’s a part of my life that I don’t want to talk about. So, how’s Astrid?
You think I can talk about Astrid right now?
I think it’d be nice if you did. I’ve missed her. I’ve thought about her a lot. I don’t know, what else do we even have in common anymore?
Not much.
No.
She’s fine.
Yeah?
Yeah. Alive, happy. She’s fine.
Well what’s she been learning in school lately? What’s her favourite colour now?
Look, Lee, I don’t feel right discussing her with you. She’s none of your business, if I have to say it.
I know that. I know that. I don’t deserve to know about her. I’m just asking you to, I don’t know, show some compassion, here. Break the rules for a good cause or something.
Compassion? If there’s one thing I don’t have for you, Lee, it’s compassion.

“before you begin” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Thursday, June 18, 2015
6:17pm
5 minutes
livestrong.com

I am at a loss for words. Which doesn’t usually happen to me. I’m the kind of person who always knows what to say. I’m also one of those people who says “I’m the kind of person”. And I don’t say it ironically. I say it because I think it makes me sound refined and special and unique. So because I’m the kind of person who usually has the right words ready to access at the blow of an arm hair, I’m now finding myself the kind of person who is “at a loss for words”. I suppose before I continue I should begin with a little backstory. See, I’m the kind of person who likes to always provide a bit of a backstory so everyone can get on the same page, and really begin to champion the whole tale. I believe in reeling the kinds of people who appreciate “drama” and “entertainment” and who let me take centre stage of any conversation so I may grace the masses with my gift of words.

“Let me just say he did some pretty terrible things” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Friday, June 12, 2015
5:01pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Valens

Graham was finally allowed to see his daughter in two years and he wasn’t going to sabotage himself this time. No chance in hell was he willing to risk anything getting in the way of that sweet angel face. Gina didn’t want to bring her. She said a prison is not the place she wanted Olivia to associate him with. She said this isn’t good for the baby. Graham wanted to believe that she was still too young to be affected by this or anything that he was guilty of doing. But Olivia wasn’t a baby anymore. She was three now. She had nightmares and daydreams and memories. And graham had missed the part where she didn’t have those. Where she hadn’t grown up without a daddy yet.