“I overheard” by Julia on her couch

Sunday March 1, 2020
9:03pm
5 minutes
My Book Life
Sparrow

I overheard a young woman last night discussing her desire to go off the grid and learn how to survive off of corn-bread and tree sap.
I think she is onto something. She’s not the only person who mentions running for the hills. Although someone else I overheard said that everyone is going to rush to the mountains in a crisis. Tsunamis, earthquakes, he says we should be on solid ground, but that’s not what everyone will think about first.
I, myself, will not be rushing toward any one group of people, I don’t care which direction they’re headed. Sure, things are going to get hard in a state of emergency, you know, when disaster strikes, and you’re not necessarily going to want to be alone–but there are a lot of stupid people in groups and I don’t think that’s the time to follow the crowd. I don’t want someone panicked and stressed, and making bad choices out of fear take away from what my instincts are telling me to do.
I think it might be time to get an escape bag packed and near the door just in case. My friend Annah says she’s got a granola bar and a pair of socks in hers. A bit lame, she says, but she’s doing something at least. I’m with her. I don’t want to be cold or hungry either.

“But where is your life jacket” by Julia on the 9

Wednesday January 8, 2020
9:00pm
5 minutes
September 17
Amanda West Lewis 

Bev and I stopped watching the flight attendants do the safety demonstration on airplanes. I guess they lost our interest! Bev joked to me the last time we flew that she wished they wouldn’t have to interrupt our show to show us something we’ve seen before! Look at our frequent flier miles! You’ve seen the way some airlines really put a lot of thought into it, right? That’s the kind we’d be interested in. But what are the chances that something bad will even happen? You know how many times I’ve flown, and the worst thing that I encountered was a screaming baby? That’s the worst! Nothing to even worry about. Why put that negativity into our heads?

“gracefully tragic” by Julia on her couch


Saturday December 17, 2016
4:44pm
5 minutes
from the BOOKS section of NOW magazine

I hadn’t thought about them since New Years…as if I had released them with the magic of a fresh start. I don’t remember whose idea it was to each write a list of all our personal tragedies this year and then accept them somehow before lighting them up and letting them burn. To be fair (and maybe a little post-reflective) we were using the term loosely. Nothing was too small but everything seemed so big to not include it. I remember losing myself this year being on the list. It was traumatic because it kept happening. It kept happening in smaller places than a Walmart super store or a Costco. But when I found the list again and reread what I was calling my tragedies, I realized I had luckily lumped some truly graceful ones in there as well.

“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.

“Can I get you anything?” by Julia at her desk


Monday, June 8, 2015
3:12pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Culprit Coffee Co.

Then suddenly I was at his funeral and his mother had asked me to say a few words. I didn’t want to say any words at all, maybe for the first time in my entire life, even. I was angry at her for even suggesting it, as if she knew I couldn’t say no even though I feared that saying anything at all would break me into a million pieces, beyond repair and reassembly.
So I started to write out a dedication to my fiancé and realized it would take years to truly honour him properly. The way I was headed, I was lucky if I could get past writing his name without weeping uncontrollably, no matter where I was or how much I had just cried over him. I didn’t want to seem weak, but what if I couldn’t read anything when it was time? What if the only thing that came out was a pained shriek or a wimper?

“when her man got bagged” by Julia on her parents’ deck in Baden


Sunday, May 19, 2013
1:59pm
5 minutes
DECODED
Jay-Z


A hundred things were floating in her head, I guess you could say, about the crash, or the garden. She was lost in her own list-making at the time when she heard. Avery told her he was coming home for dinner and Alice made a point about being late because things never start on time there anyway. Lydia was in shambles and making lists about which pieces she was going to glue back together inside her brain first. When Avery didn’t show up at all, and Alice came an hour late to prove something or other, Lydia started to do the shaking thing that happened to her left hand when she felt God talking to her. She was listening, setting the vibrations, getting ready for the bad news to come. She knew about it before it even happened, it’s safe to say. Alice arrived and didn’t even know something was the matter. She was wrapped up in making everyone around her notice her and her new blonde hair do. Avery never misses dinner, Alice finally noticed. But Lydia had already started with the list making. She went outside to pick a few sprigs of rosemary, Alice trailing behind talking about some new scissors she wanted, when she saw it. There in the garden, with boulders holding down his hands and feet.