“We are writing to confirm” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday November 21, 2017
10:53pm
5 minutes
From an email

We are writing to confirm that you will be joining us for the safari in the Sahara from September 19th-29th, 2021! We want to commend you on your extreme foresight in booking your vacation four years in advance. While we know that many of our clients are busy, and book a year or even 18 months in advance, we have never had someone schedule a safari for four years away. We want to reward you with a special full moon feast.

“Trying to comprehend” by Sasha at Casa Violeta

Tuesday October 10, 2017
3:47pm
5 minutes
from emmadawn.com

Snaking through the jungle, the buggy bumps so hard that my head hits the ceiling. “Are you okay?” Jose, the driver asks. I nod, but I’m dizzy. I think back to when you climbed into my hospital bed and held me as I wept and wept. “Are you okay?” You said, with one hand on my belly. I wept and wept.

I can hear the ocean when the buggy lurches to a stop. I take a deep breath. “Seniorita?” I smile at Jose. “You are here!”

“I am.”

“Enjoy your stay.”

“Yes.”

“If your passport is damaged” by Julia on the living room floor in H’s Air bnb


Monday August 28, 2017
9:39pm
5 minutes
from the passport booklet

my passport is good until 2023 or something like that. I opted into the ten year thing. I have a good photo so I’m lucky. I should probably travel more to get some better use out of it. Lately I’ve been taking my drivers license with me for domestic flights. that makes me nervous but also makes me feel cool. I am lying on the floor right now. I am not flying anywhere. They say if your passport gets damaged then you should inform whoever it is that issues them. I want to know how passports are getting damaged. Are people stabbing them? Are the bad guys painting them with nail polish? This is a very serious question with zero
serious answers. I keep mine in a yellow Koodo bag. Safe enough.

“drove up to the prison” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday August 30, 2017
11:39pm
5 minutes
This American Life episode 282

can’t stop a freight train
on its way
it knows where it’s going
it goes
and goes
it doesn’t think to break to take
in the scenery
it doesn’t put off gettting to
its destination because there is
something easier to do
nothing is better than arriving
when all you’ve done is travel

can’t stop a freight train
on its way
it carries the load it was meant to
doesn’t complain about the weather
the speed of the tracks
doesn’t beg for something to make it
more fun
doesn’t whine about needing snacks
it definitely doesn’t light the Palo Santo
over and over again until it believes
it doesn’t call its mother on the
phone to ask for directions
it knows where it’s going
it goes

“tremendous whooshing noise” by Sasha at Opus


Wednesday August 9, 2017
12:02pm
5 minutes
The Enormous Crocodile
Roald Dahl


My sister and I make bracelets out of embroidery thread and sell them to friends of our parents. We charge a dime or a quarter. Sometimes they overpay, a dollar or two and we gasp with the excitement of a financial transaction.

I put most things on my credit card now. I get air miles, so it feels like I’m getting more than just the thing I’m purchasing. Maybe a trip home to kiss my sister’s daughter. Maybe Hawaii in the rainy months.

“while the couple works out their troubles without distraction” by Sasha on her couch


Monday June 12, 2017
10:00pm
5 minutes
Committed
Elizabeth Gilbert


Without distraction we take to the winding roads
of the west way up near the sky touching
clouds with our noses way up near the stars
touching ancient dust with our eyelashes

We swim in salt water plunging pools
and my skin gets burned by the sun but
it’s okay it’s okay
it’s okay

You read to me in a whisper
from your secret notebook
the holy grail
and an eagle flies overhead
shadows in the wideness of the wingspan

“As the vibrations release” by Sasha at her desk


Friday June 2, 2017
10:45am
5 minutes
Freeing the Natural Voice
Kristin Linklater


“What are you getting at?” Ben puts his hands in his pockets. That’s never a good sign.

“I just…” My mouth is pasty. My knees are weak. My heart is beating like I’m running, but I’m still.

“Spit it out, Caroline,” Ben says, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.

“I want to go by myself.”

He steps back, putting more space between us. Maybe he understands.

“We bought our plane tickets,” Ben says in a soft voice.

“I know, I know… You can go, too! But, I want to travel alone. I need to do this. I really need to do this.” I will tears not to come. Please please please.

“This is fucked.” Ben walks into the bedroom and slams the door.

“happy, noisy, Elephant” by Sasha on the 41 bus


Wednesday May 31, 2017
4:43pm
5 minutes
Snip Snap Pop-Up Fun
tiger tales


“One day, when you’re a bit more grown up, I’m going to take you to the Land of the Elephants. We’ll ride on their backs, and teach them to sing our songs.”

“Will Michael come too?”

“Nope. Just you and I.”

“Who will feed Scooby?”

“Michael and Mommy.”

“Will we bring backpacks or suitcases?”

“Which would you prefer?”

“Backpacks. More mobile.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“Will we fly in two or three airplanes?”

“I think it takes two… but we’ll sort out the details closer to the time.”

“Do the elephants talk?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“Do we speak their language?”

“We’ve got plenty of time to learn.”

“Wherever you are” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday April 15, 2017
2:41pm
5 minutes
The Promise
Tracy Chapman


M. brings me an avocado smoothie after
I’m vomited and shit
for three days straight
Too bad the walls are thin
Too bad the sun takes as much as it gives
He brings me up to the roof and we
look out
the ocean cresting a possible future
Kisses me and I laugh because his gaze
is so penetrating
I think about AIDS when we fuck and
then feel ignorant and sick
I vomit as soon as we’re done
my breasts resting on the toilet seat
M. holds my hair
Naked and retching
prayers over the loudspeakers
perched on top of the mosque

“I felt stung” By Julia in her cabin


Sunday February 26, 2017
10:19pm
5 minutes
Dear Sugar Radio

I don’t have any memories of my mother’s father. He died when I was three, lived in Italy, and I only met him a couple times. The first time, they tell me, was when I was 3 months old. I had my ears peirced with gold studs (by my aunt Patricia, who was also travelling to Italy with us), I carried around a rainbow striped bunny that I would later name “Skittles”, and according to my mother, I was a very picky eater during the first couple months of my life. They tell me that he was a big man, feared by many. They tell me all the other grandkids ran away from him because they were intimidated by his size, or his mood, or his silence. They tell me that when he walked by my crib I begged for him to pick me up. They tell me that it was strange for a small thing to reach out to him. They tell me that he lived for taking me out into the fields to pick fresh figs. They tell me he smiled a lot when we were there.

Sixteen years later I went to Italy for the second time. I found his gravestone. I listened to the air between my life and his. I still can’t say I ever knew him. But I missed him then.

“Before Tampa” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Friday February 10, 2017
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Edge of the World
Connie May Fowler


Before Tampa there was Santa Cruz. Before Santa Cruz there was San Jose. Before San Jose there was Seattle and that’s where the story really starts. I was busking full time and would go warm up and use the bathroom at the bookstore on 10th Ave… It was a cold winter that year, and my finger tips would turn blue after two hours of playing. I saw Greg. He was a cashier. I didn’t have a thing for ponytails or anything. He was too short, he looked dumb in his running shoes. It’s not like I believed in love at first sight, not prior to that moment. Greg didn’t notice me, not for weeks. I realized that I was going to have to buy something. I picked up a copy of Crime and Punishment from the discount bin and brought it up to the cash.

“we drove past the honey sign” by Julia on the plane


Saturday January 7, 2016
11:28pm
5 minutes
Summer of My Amazing luck Miriam Toews

Mom packed two jars of honey in my suitcase and because of that I had to leave behind the conditioner and the peppercorns and the bamboo wipes and the Italian grappa with my name on the label from my brother. We packed the checked luggage the best we could but there were a lot of bottles and jars that we didn’t want to break and were already too heavy to wrap properly with other things like sweaters and socks. My carry on weighs more than I do and my mom and I both overpack things that don’t have a weight limit even if we won’t be able to lift the damn thing over our heads. The flight attendant asked if I needed help and I thought she was going to get angry at me for being so brazenly unlawful. She tried to lift it in the overhead compartment then asked me if I had rocks in there when she realized she couldn’t lift it either. All I managed to say was “Christmas” but she didn’t seem to care even a little about that.

“a supermoon in Taurus.” By Sasha in the bath


Sunday November 20, 2016
10:04pm
5 minutes
From chaninicholas.com

Thirteen in Peurto Vallarta walking
ahead my mother and sister keeping close

Men in Tommy Hilfiger T-shirts hiss and growl
first taste of the power and the burden

Fish tacos on the beach salty hair
Sunburn like a bad weather forecast

At the hotel a man who works there
teaches me how to say “How are you?” in Spanish

He blushes and looks at his Nike’s when I ask it
I take my hair out of a ponytail

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“White-sand beaches” By Julia at her dining table


Monday March 7, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

If you’re asking then I’m going, going with you, going wherever you go.
I don’t have any bags packed yet but I don’t mind getting whatever I need as we bleed.
Can I borrow your toothbrush? If you’re asking, can I share your knapsack?
I could sing you one of your favourites. You can pick the one. I know you like some feeling kinds, some country, some bluegrass, some sweet sweet soul.
I don’t care if you’re a white-sand beaches kind of thing, a hot air balloon, an air dive off of a mountain kind of heart. I am an open mess of so much yes and so little reservation.
I can curl up small on your back, or lead you hand in hand to a secret place where the pure strength river will never run dry.

“Inside our homes there is usually” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday February 28, 2016
11:46pm
5 minutes
From a magazine cutout

The smell of saffron and raisins, stewing zucchini
and red onion. You play with my hair like we’re sisters
and we are but we’re not. A writer from Paris who wants to
fuck you and might take me too if I offered tells us about
his book. “It’s a ghost story,” he says, rolling a cigarette.
“Aren’t all stories ghost stories?” I ask, mostly myself but
also you, and a little bit him. He looks surprised and asks
if we want to go to the underground liquor store to get wine.
You know ghosts, haunted by things I won’t about
until three years from now. I’m haunted by what I can’t even feel
let alone speak. Sister sister sister.
We follow the writer into the souks
like his ducklings. Every so often he looks
over his shoulder and smiles. He goes into a shop
we wait outside adjusting our scarves and our approachable expressions.

“Reimagine your world” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, October 22, 2015
11:31pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide

my mother mimes cutting her hair on the edge of the world
her fingers the scissors
red falling
maple tree leaves
dripping pancakes and tenderness
the smile eclipses something below the kidney
the liver?
never sure of geography
yemen
istanbul
tel aviv
a new sweater
the colour of her longing
down to my ankles
done with wishing i was taller
a bus to the recycling depot
where we go for snow cones
for prayer

“The animals leave the shores” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday May 27, 2015
2:34am
5 minutes
Kimminkus Tuft
Kim Minkus


The animals leave the shores
They pack their things and go
To where nobody knows
But they follow the pull
And when the night falls down
And blankets the day
Wraps it up in a starry shield
Protects it from going away
They sleep
With the little ones in the armpit of the elders’
They sleep
With the little ones curled up tight in the heart of the pack
They don’t hold back
From giving them everything that they need
They sleep
The animals they move along
Trying to chase the sun
Don’t expect anything from anyone
They know they’ll soon be done
Their travels
documented in the flesh of the earth
Their tracks
are paintings Mother Nature hangs up in her living room

“If you don’t come with me,” by Sasha on the deck in Horseshoe Bay


Saturday May 16, 2015
5:13pm
5 minutes
Behind Sad Eyes
Marc Shapiro


Take me back to Memphis where the sky is blue
Take me back to Nashville where the music is new
Take me back to Jerusalem
Take me back to New York
Take me back to Copenhagen
Take me back to County Cork
Take me back to Marrakech where the food’s so good
Take me back to Jasper if we pretty please could
Take me back to Helsinki
Take me back to Saskatoon
Take me back to Kingston
Take me back to Paris for a macaroon

“Summer road trip” By Julia at the Bloor/Gladstone Library branch


Thursday April 30, 2015
4:24pm
5 minutes
from a magazine article

Oh I’ve got that urge again to take off and just go somewhere that isn’t here. Been travellin’ every year now it seems and I do not want to stop that now. Got a good case of wanderlust, now that’s for sure. Been feelin’ that itch deep down for a while. Been keepin’ tabs on it, and it’s inchin’ its way on up to the surface again. I can’t tell you how anxious stayin’ put makes me feel. All these things I have to get done here because I keep puttin’ them off, seein’ the world, exploring myself. Some people might say that I’m runnin’ away but I can honestly say to you that for the first time, that’s not what this is. I think I’ve found what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to live outside this place and exist in a transient way sort of like a sailor or a thrill-seeker. But I also have plans to put my skills to use while I’m away. I’m not just spendin’ all my money on food or booze or whatever. It’s more calculated than that. It’s about makin’ that connection’ with other humans on a level that I can’t quite explain.

“Watch your belongings” by Sasha at the library


Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at Kitsilano Public Library
6:20pm
5 minutes
A sign in the Kitsilano Public Library

Val wrote an e-mail to her parents because she could sense that they were worrying, even though she was thousands of miles away. “Hi guys!” she wrote, between sips of a mango smoothie. The cafe was crowded with mostly men, and she wished she’d brought a shawl. “I’m alive!” she smiled, thinking of them smiling, her father bent over her mother’s shoulder, the iPad on the kitchen table in front of them. “It’s crazy here. Delhi isn’t what anyone says it’s going to be…” She finished her smoothie and glared at a man staring at her breasts. “It’s beautiful, loud, smelly, closed, open, strange, inviting…” Val left in the Winter and hadn’t said when she’d planned to be back. They wondered, but didn’t ask. “I’m going to travel to Kerala. I want to visit that ashram. We’ll see how long I last.” A man beside her started smacking another man, the one who’d been staring. She saw that her bag was gone, that it was caught between them, that they were pulling it. Val swore at both of them and called to the teenager behind the till for help. The staring man was smaller, but he was determined.

“there’s nothing to switch on” by Sasha on the 99 going East


Thursday January 22, 2015
5:19pm
5 minutes
enRoute magazine
January 2015


I’m glad that you’re living your life, Bets, but there are some of us that don’t have the privilege of touring around the the God damn world for two years! Some of us have to W-O-R-K! I know you’re pretty into being radical and telling us stories about when you stole, or ate three pizzas in one day or when you had a threesome in Venice… But, like… Do you think we actually care? I’m going to spin class and giving tired blow jobs to Ken and trying to forget about the fact that this is just the beginning of a VERY LONG WINTER. I’m really happy for you that your Instagram feed is more important than your dignity. Good for friggen you. I’m not jealous. I have no desire to abandon every single person I love for a two years of a selfish “me” party. Gag me! Gag me, Bets!

“The secret to a good table setting” by Sasha on her couch


Friday January 9, 2015 on Katerina’s bed at The Hilton Kensington Olympia
10:12pm
5 minutes
You And Your Wedding Magazine Jan 2015

The secret to a good table setting is act like you care. Even if you don’t, pretend that you do. Eff that – I don’t have any God damn secrets. I’m an empty bag of shoulda dones and mighta beens… But what I can tell you about is how to pack a good suitcase. Yup! The secret to packing a good suitcase! Roll, don’t fold. At least with items like jeans and sweaters. Always put shoes in a bag. Do you want dirt on the inside of your undies? Think about everything you’d like to bring and then cut that list in half. You must be relentless. You must be unwavering in your commitment to not bring too much. The want is there. Okay. Fine. Get over it. Don’t bring a hair dryer. Don’t bring three hardcover books. A photograph of your parents, laughing? Oh yes. A water bottle? Absolutely.

“Welcome to Amsterdam” by Sasha at Vancouver General Hospital


Thursday November 20, 2014
2:21pm
5 minutes
A sign at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Welcome to Amsterdam
And Lethbridge
And Honolulu
Welcome to your grandmother’s basement
And the siren songs
And the back of the Chevy pick-up
Welcome to NeverNeverLand
And the rainforest
And my kitchen table
Welcome to yesterday
and under your covers
And the black sand beach
Welcome to the bus
And the clover field
And the lavender farm
Welcome to Athens
And Venezuela
And Whitehorse

“you have to take your hat off to the French” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday November 6, 2014
6:57pm
5 minutes
Vedge by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

You have to take your hat off to the French. You really do. Those women manage to remain thin as a pussy-willow whilst eating all that butter and cheese! And those men? So fashionable. When I was in Paris for my year abroad in college, I was just struck by the beautiful nature of that entire people! You really have to hand it to them. And so stylish! Sipping their Cafe Au Lait and eating their Crepes! Good grief. If only we took a page out of their book, you know? Here we are, nasty Americans, drinking Coors Lite and eating Big Macs, while the French roll cigarettes and wear capris! I should’ve been born there. I’m really a black sheep here, I always have been. I should go back. Would you like to go?! We could go together! Let’s see if there’s a seat sale! There’s a seat sale! Okay. When are you free? January? Paris in January is probably absolutely breathtaking. I can’t imagine that they get very much snow… More of a dusting, a sprinkling…

“exit only” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday October 28, 2014
6:21pm
5 minutes
from the side of a tper bus

Megan and I are walking in the maze-like markets of Marrakech. “Hannah Montana!” “Blue eyes!” “Blue eyes Hannah Montana!” They shout. Men, shopkeepers. Eyes follow us like, glued. We are followed by three teenage boys, and a man in his sixties who, in broken English, invites us for mint tea, repeatedly. We wear loose-fitting clothing and are covered up to our necks. We speak quietly and try not to draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. We seek refuge in our hostel room, breathless, dizzy from getting lost. We buzz with all that is unknown here. We buzz in our bodies, the magnets, the prisons, the homes.

“I’m in Bali! I was greeted by a rat.” By Sasha at Vancouver General Hospital


Tuesday October 7,2014
1:45pm
5 minutes
From a text from Bec

Dear Mom,

I’m in Bali! I was greeted by a rat. Normally that would really freak me out, but I was charmed by it! It was actually kinda cute! Monica and I are getting along okay… I might travel on my own for a bit, though. I’m good, don’t worry. I’m healthy. I haven’t been bitten by any snakes. Monica’s “seeing” this guy, Felix, he’s from Australia and he smells like that weird massage lady that used to come to the house… He’s a huge mooch, he tags along everywhere and he doesn’t pay for anything! I don’t get it because Monica made a huge deal when we left New Zealand that she was on a budget and no more eating out and we had to get jobs and… Felix is an ass. I’m sorry but he is. The most awful part is that we have to share a room. The three of us. I feel so gross. They make out until I put my earplugs in and I’m sighing so loud and, like, it doesn’t seem like she is getting the hint! Who knows what they do then. Sorry if this is TMI. I’m really losing it. I want to come home. I don’t know how I thought I could do this for a whole year. My backpack is falling apart. My feet have the nastiest, like, infected blisters… I need a haircut so bad.

“I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did.” By Sasha at Higher Grounds


Friday, September 5, 2014 at Higher Grounds
12:44pm
5 minutes
How To Make Love In America
Sarah Nicole Prickett


I don’t remember if he told me to look at the stars, but I did. They were singing a Ray Lamontagne song, but only for me. For him, they were quiet. We were both still lost, still younger than we wanted to believe, still looking elsewhere for what we really wanted. It’s hard to find stars in the city. I do, though. It’s more important to me than a good book on my bedside table, but I won’t easily admit that. My mother is good at naming constellations. She can spot Orion and Cassiopeia and gives directions as to where to look. The stars sing Joni Mitchell to her. Even though she doesn’t say so, I know it. When I’m with her, and the stars, I hear Big Yellow Taxi.

“Skunk in love” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday August 29, 2014
9:45pm
5 minutes
Nadeem’s version of Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love”

The hero’s journey:
She is born
Bright
She steps
Brave
She falls
Up again! Up again!
She steps
Afraid
She moves
Fearless
She meets
She grows
She forgets
Remember the address remember the phone number remember the birthday party remember the prom
She loves the smell of earth
And the colour red
She loves spaghetti squash
She makes macaroni and cheese from scratch
She gets a letter
An invitation
She takes it
She flies twelve thousand miles
She has her life in her pocket
In her palms
In her ribcage

“Detour 23” by Sasha on the porch at Knowlton Lake


Sunday Aug 3, 2014
3:11pm
5 minutes
from a Pembina Hwy sign

At Detour 23 I pull over and change Lenny’s diaper. He’s been wet since Detour 17 and screamed bloody murder for the last handful of miles. “What kinda mother are you?” Cody kept saying. “Go back there an’ do it! I’m driving!” Cody got a DUI last November. His favorite thing to do is drive. It’s made him a different kinda person… The kinda person you wouldn’t trust around a kitten or to make you breakfast. “He’s your kid!” Cody screamed. I will not get into this, I will not get into this, I will not get into this, I will not get into this… I close my eyes and imagine the Old Growth forests we’re driving towards. I imagine climbing into a tree, Lenny strapped to my bike, and living there for a very long time.

“Parking available at the rear” by Sasha at her desk


Monday, July 7, 2014
12:54am
5 minutes
from a window sign


He wears red sandals, made of leather, and his are trimmed and tidy. You wouldn’t know that he spends most of his time barefoot, in the gardens of the Raj. His robes are often muddy, caked with work, with earth, but not today. He wears loose-fitting linen pants and a long chemise. He smiles often, especially at you. You go to him. You say, “Uncle, I’m lost.” He takes your hands and he leads you to the roses. You spend hours there, fingering the petals and kissing the thorns.

“a direct violation” by Sasha on the Bathurst Bus


Wednesday April 30, 2014
12:24pm
5 minutes
the passenger safety manual on United Airways

It wouldn’t be a direct violation if I put this booger the underside of your armrest… It wouldn’t! Why are you looking at me like that? MOOOOOOM. I’m hungry. When are we going to get there? Remember when Grandma Jane was almost dead and she couldn’t stop moving around and I said, “You don’t seem like you’re dying, Gran!” And she laughed and then you looked at me like… THAT. Like, how you’re looking at me RIGHT NOW! Mom. Please can I push that button and get that flight attendant to bring me a V8? WHAT?! Why? It’s healthy! It’s basically like eating a salad! What is sodium, even? Like, they definitely don’t put salt in that juice!

“The heat is bad, the water’s bad” by Sasha on the bed in Mississauga


Sunday April 27, 2014
10:54pm
5 minutes
Knocked Up
Henry Lawson


When we made up our minds it was for real, it was for sure. It didn’t matter that the heat was bad and the water smelled like swamp muck, we were home. When I met Terri she’d just shaved her head and was massaging sunscreen onto it. She laughed when she saw me watching her and said, “I never realized how white my damn scalp is!” We were instant friends, the kind of friend you bring to Thanksgiving with your family and it somehow satiates their constant questioning about a boyfriend. She was enough, she was everything. “Let’s move to Alaska,” Terri said one night, when we’d smoked half a joint and eaten mac n’ cheese from the pot, feeding eachother using a wooden spoon. “Okay,” I said, and she looked confused that I was suddenly impulsive, like she was. We both knew I wasn’t, really, but I was trying it on, like a fuchsia prom dress at Salvation Army. We hitchhiked partway and took a bus the rest. Terri’s uncle Berry lived in Anchorage and we crashed at his place until we found an apartment of our own.

“Entry at the front doors only” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday April 9, 2014
11:35pm
5 minutes
said by the streetcar conductor

In Essaouira, we met a Parisian man named Francois. I wish I could show you his picture. He looked French, he sounded French, everything about him felt French. He was a screenwriter, on a working vacation, trying to finish a script. He rolled his own cigarettes. We stayed in a small hotel, in a room with french doors on the second floor. Francois was on the ground floor, just around the corner from the dining room. He was desperately attracted to the friend I was travelling with, but he liked my spunky sense of humour. I could tell. In that French way, he quietly respected each of us, her, with her otherworldly beauty, and me, with my wide smile and my jokes. When he ran out of tobacco, he asked if we wanted to accompany him on a walk into the main square. We did. In the blur of steamed trolleys and donkeys and brightly coloured carpets, the three of us help hands like pre-schoolers, and laughed as women clucked and men gave Francois high-fives.

“lives right here in Halifax” by Julia on her couch


Friday February 21, 2014
2:12am
5 minutes
The Vinyl Cafe radio show

Oh that’s where my ex girlfriend was born! In Halifax. She used to brag about it like it was the best place on earth. Not saying that it was or that it is, but she was proud so that was the thing we went on. She kept telling me I had to go to Halifax, I had to see Halifax. I was planning to go just as much as she was but there was always something that got in the way. Big storms, delaying take off, or canceling flights all together, or someone in one of our families dying. It wasn’t meant to be I guess. My ex, she’d always say it, that it was a crying shame I never got to go. I told her that maybe someday I would. It doesn’t matter now, we haven’t been together for years.

“when I got back to Toronto” by Julia on the 506 going west


Saturday February 15, 2014
11:38pm
5 minutes
the NOW magazine cover story
Feb 13-19, 2014


Everything had changed. Everything had glossed over. It was like viewing myself through a snow globe, sort of fluttery and beautiful but because I was the spectator. If I had been anywhere close to being inside my own body I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt so free. But I had taken a trip to a different part of myself and I was enroute back to the original me, the youthful, good natured me, when it went to shit. There was a detour sign and so I had to take back roads. There was a situation with a dangerous hitch hiker. There was the misread map moment taking me to the worst parts of myself. As if a tour guide were leading me there to make sure I didn’t just get a romanticized view of the thing, I was forced to stay with the group and take photographs for the album I’d make later. When I finally made it back to the centre I was not me anymore. I couldn’t recognize myself. I couldn’t recognize my shoes.

“WIN $2000” by Julia on the 504 going east


Tuesday January 28, 2014
4:00pm
5 minutes
from a Loblaws receipt

And I would buy so many thermal things, seriously you don't even know. I would spend the $500 on a winter coat that I was denying myself before because it seemed just effing ridiculous if I couldn't even afford to pay my phone bill. I would get the warmest boots money can buy. They would be toasty and stylish. That is the dream. I would buy those hand warmer things and wear them daily and I wouldn't care about the environment because clearly the environment doesn't care about me. It would be a war on the elements and I would be a warrior for warmer temperatures, fighting only for my extremities and my facial features that can't be protected without looking like an extreme bank robber. And with the rest of the money I'd spend it on taxies so I would never have to wait in the cold for a stupid transit system to be 15 minutes later than it says it's going to be and I would be happy. And after saying all that I realize I could JUST LEAVE THIS CITY!! $2000 can get me that right??

“Original Spring Source” by Sasha on her couch


Saturday January 25, 2014
4:21pm
5 minutes
Mountain Valley Sparkling Water bottle

In Paris they don’t use the butt side of a knife to stir their tea. They use tiny spoons with Royal Crests on the bottom. When you buy your bread they don’t ask “Whole wheat or white?” There aren’t stupid options like that. Women wear high heels and linen suits and they know how to drink wine. In moderation. No one gets dyed teeth or anything. The Eiffel Tower reminds all of the people to say “Pamplemousse”. In Paris, you would never forget to tell someone that you love them when they’re leaving for the weekend. You wouldn’t only never forget, you’d leave a truffle on their pillow so that when they got home they knew how glad everyone was and how missed they’d been. In Paris, the Queen is just a train ride away.

“we chase our dreams deep under water” by Sasha at her desk


Sunday December 22, 2013
9:12pm
5 minutes
Hold Me For Now
Skinny Bitches


My backpack is heavier than when I started, and not because I’ve picked anything up. Hiking the Kalalau trail came to me in a dream. I had just left my lover, lost my job and cut my hair. You’ve had those times, I know you have. We all have and will, still. During that time I dreamt of tigers and jungles and skies with rockets. I dreamt of slicing pig snouts and skiing across sand. And then, I dreamt of the Kalalau trail. I didn’t even know it existed. I had to look it up. I don’t do my “looking up” like most people of my generation. I take the Encyclopedia from the bottom of my bookshelf and sift through the transparent pages. There it is. An eleven mile trail on the Napali Coast of the smallest Hawaiian island, Kauai. I booked my flight and here I am, three months later, my backpack heavier than when I started. It isn’t actually heavier, but it feels so, my ankles blistered and my body covered in scrapes and sweat.

“once” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday December 11, 2013
7:56pm
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once, when I was standing on the edge of a volcano I was struck by my own significant insignificance. Then, two months later I looked at a man that I thought I loved and realized that what I really felt was pity. That was the same year that I saw Picasso. That was the same year I tried rambutan.

Lying on the black sand beach and feeling the water ebb over my toe-tips, I knew that I was on the right track. I’d gotten myself into the middle of the ocean, after all. I’d sprinted through the Vancouver airport after a snowstorm had threatened to kibosh my plan. Nothing could. It was impossible. I sat beside a man who was ready in shorts and a sunhat.

“they like to travel the world” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Monday, November 4, 2013
11:02pm
5 minutes
Kinfolk, Volume Nine

Once they were called “raindrops”
Nell and Jemima
Sliding down window panes
Smiles spread like mustard on a crusty bun
Once they found a man in a bar in Istanbul
Learned the names of his children
Took him back to their hostel
And took turns kissing his scars
Once they snacked on fresh almonds in Jerusalem
Counting their money on their bellies on the beach
Once
Nell and Jemima
Promised never to marry
They were betrothed to the map in the back pocket of their jean shorts
They were faithful only to the train tracks and the stamps on their passports
Once they found a kitten on the street in Venice
A calico
Nell hid him in her raincoat and they carried him all the way to Nice
They found him a home there
With a woman who sang to her statue of the Virgin Mary

“Make a list” by Sasha on the subway east


Tuesday October 22, 2013
9:14am
5 minutes
Writing Down the Bones
Natalie Goldberg


1. Learn to drive.
2. Read (or re-read) the “Classics”.
3. Quit Facebook.
4. Two words. Core. Strength.
5. Write an old fashioned letter.
6. Publish.
7. Teach.
8. Learn an array of poetry by heart.
9. Have a dinner party.
10. Travel frequently.
11. Learn the New York subway system.
12. Document the recipes in my head.
13. Join a choir.

“I want to go in the automobile” by Julia on her bed


Monday June 10, 2013
1:31am
5 minutes
Far To Go
Alison Pick


I want to take a trip, road trip, sky trip, what have you, and go someplace that isn’t here, isn’t anywhere near here. I want to go in the automobile and I want to be the one who is driving. I want to pick my favourite music and blast it till the speakers blow. Let everyone else on the road know that this girl doesn’t take anything too seriously. That this one isn’t too precious with anything.
In the sky I’m less in charge, in control. I would pick the road over the sky any day.
Road trip. Let’s get in the car. Let’s scan the radio for a song you and I both can’t live without. We don’t have to keep it on that station if we don’t like all of them.

“my wrath did end” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, April 24, 2013
1:01am
5 minutes
A Poison Tree
William Blake


When you wrote me the e-mail telling me that you’d found a hostel to work at, that you’d arrived, that you had a bed, and a roof, and a place to charge your camera battery, I couldn’t help but look up, to whoever is up there keeping the clouds round, and say a quiet, “thank you.” I hadn’t expected you to do that. To land safely. To find a place where you could live and work and settle. When I had your tea leaves read I felt like I was doing a very naughty thing. I gave the man, the reader, with tattoos of sanskrit words up and down his arms, all of the details I could think of – how you were born in a leap year; how it had taken a long time for your adult teeth to push out your baby ones; how you find your deepest solace in a deep dish pizza and a crime novel. The man, the reader, looked at me like I was the one who was crazy. I was only concerned, and filled with unbelievable love. “His future stinks of hardship…” The reader said, blue eyes darting towards the door, as if you might burst in at any moment. He wouldn’t ever have told you that to your face. He could tell me, a woman once removed from her man, a man who was her man and now is just a man, on his own. You decided to go to Johannesburg because you spun a globe at an antique shop and that’s where your finger happened to land.

“valid for all countries” by Julia at Second Cup


Friday March 1, 2013 at Second Cup
5:59pm
5 minutes
A Canadian Passport

I want to fly around the world and then decide who I’m supposed to be. My mother did this and she came out alright with lots of beads and insight. She knows things that I wouldn’t want to know. She holds her head high and talks about stone carving. I could care less about casting or stone carving. I don’t care about the battle between them. I don’t mind if it’s slow moving, I want to be in control. I don’t even need to touch down on foreign land, just flying around in my mind’s eye is enough. I’ll get a passport valid for travel in all countries. That would be the best thing. Then nothing would stop me from getting to the gold. At the end of the rainbow or something like that. It’s a dream world I’m flying around. I can go anywhere in this hot air balloon my brain has reserved. My mother can be worldly. And I’ll just have a broadened imagination.
Generations after me will then be able to choose which path they take. Neither is right and neither is wrong.
Make their own path too, go ahead. The only wrong answer is doing nothing.

“Offer their two cents” by Sasha on the subway going West


Monday February 4, 2013
11:05pm
5 minutes
http://www.therecord.com

It wasn’t that she hated the smell of brussel sprouts roasting, it was that she hadn’t heard if Lizzie had arrived safe and sound and was therefore terribly grumpy. “For God’s sake! What’s wrong with you?” asked Timothy. He’d been her lover for sixteen years and her boyfriend for three. “Those fucking brussel sprouts smell like feet!” She checked her e-mail and her cell phone and the e-mail on her cell phone. Timothy went upstairs and started knitting. His therapist had recommended it might be good for his anxiety. She heard his needles clanging together. This calmed yet infuriated her. “My best friend might be dead!” She screamed. “She hasn’t even landed in Budapest yet, honey…” said Tim, already soothed by the scarf he was making. “Oh…” She said, more to herself than to him. “I suppose you’re right!” She called. She didn’t like that Lizzie had decided to go without her. She hated that Lizzie had put all of her things, all of her beautiful things, in storage and bought a one-way ticket. Maybe she needed a mid-life crisis. Maybe she needed a Reiki master.

“supplement” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, December 26, 2012
12:06am
5 minutes
the Emergen-C packet

My grandfather says the following. It treated me well. Trust it.
“Supplement your post-secondary education with travelling the globe, especially to the tiny spots that are mostly untrodden and left alone, the ones that are small dots on the map in unbolded script. Go to a restaurant there that is not on a main road and ask the waiter to order you his favourite dish, as well as a glass of their best wine. Try their coffee or their fish or their pesto or their lamb shank – whatever the specialty. Talk to your waiter. Ask him about his family. More often than not, this will result in an invitation to his home. If so, buy a gift for his wife and a toy for his children. Here is where the magic will take place. They will want to practise their English and you will want to try more of that delicious local specialty! Stay late, after the children are asleep. Share that cigar. Take the long way back to your hotel and stop to look up at the stars, or listen to the ocean, or smell the laundress hard at work pressing tomorrow’s shirts and slacks. The next morning go for a long walk, around the winding streets, up the mountainside, down to the water. Find me a postcard in a shop. Even though I’ll be long dead, mail to me, I know it will find it’s way to wherever it is that I am.”