“Letter Writing” by Sasha in her bed

Thursday November 26, 2015
5 minutes
From the specials board at Our Town Cafe

Dear Kitty,
When they came to take James away, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I know that might sound strange, or surprising, but it’s just the plain old truth. I know what you went through with him and I’m writing to say that, well, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I never looked you in the eye and said, “I believe you.” I’m sorry I didn’t intervene last Thanksgiving. And, finally, I’m sorry that I let him back into my home and under my roof. See, Kitty, if you ever decide to have children and if you’re ever blessed by a son, I think you’ll understand why I did what I did. He’d never turned on me and when he did I felt sick. Not because of me. Because of you. All those visits to the lake and the fights through the paper-thin walls. All the times I could’ve said or done something. If Arthur were still alive, he’ve kicked James all the way back to Sunday. I guess that’s not the point. Or maybe it is. I don’t know. Father Henry says that forgiveness is the most powerful tonic. I’m not there yet. I won’t be visiting James any time soon. I’m so sorry for all of your pain and suffering. If you ever need anything, you know who to call.

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

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

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

“Feed Your Family” by Julia at the Davenport branch of the TPL

Tuesday March 17, 2015 at the Davenport Branch of the tpl
5 minutes

Then she slapped the cucumber right out of my hand and all I could do was just stand there with my mouth on the floor. I’m worried about her. This kind of thing hasn’t happened in 6 years now and we all thought she was in a good place. Then out of nowhere we’re right back where we started and nobody knows how to handle it. I don’t want to judge her or act as if she’s some kind of monster, she’s not. But I find myself anxious and confused a lot lately. I don’t know how to help her. It’s not like I can just give her a stern talking to and she’ll change her behavior. This has been a reality for our family for as long as I can remember but when she’s good, she’s really good, and sometimes we simply forget how she used to be.

“give oneself up to” by Julia at the Sheraton in St. John’s

Friday March 28, 2014
5 minutes
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary

It started with a 2 hour phone call with my mother on the other side of the country. She was happy to hear my voice and all the things I was doing. Told me once, maybe twice, maybe three whole times that she was proud of me and that she was on my team. I know it’s cause she doesn’t want me to think for a second that I can’t or that I shouldn’t be myself. She wasn’t told those things by her mother. She didn’t get to have her skills endorsed by someone who counts, and by someone who matters…the way she does for me.
I told her I got her strength.
I told her I got her heart.
I told her I got her love for people.
I told her I got her good.
She said she hoped that was true.
And I told her I got her modesty too.
It was one of those phone calls that make you cry more than once, more than twice, more than three whole times in one conversation. And that’s because she moves me with her words so I can move others with mine. And so she can say that I got my love for story-telling from her.
Just like I got her lips.
Just like I got her nose.

“once” by Julia on the 506 going west

Wednesday December 11, 2013
5 minutes
from a poster for Once The Musical

Once she lied
He forgave her
Kisses on top of her head
And everything
She said she was sorry
And she meant it
Nothing made her feel worse
He said shh shh and held her close
Her eyes glassy
Her mouth dry
It’s not over it’s not over
He soothed her
Holding her heart in a velvet pouch
So she wouldn’t try to hurt it even more
She eventually forgave herself
He never stopped loving her
She would slip sometimes
Bringing up the past because it was eating at her
Shh shh he’d say to her
This is not then, it’s now
She would test him
Without even knowing it
Making him feel bad for things
That he couldn’t understand
And he loved her anyway
He came home after bitter fights
He wrote her love notes
Hiding them in her coat pockets
And on the bathroom mirror
So she’d know
And so she’d believe
That when he said he would always want her
He meant it

“pleasures of science.” by Julia at her kitchen table

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
5 minutes
The Norton Anthology of English literature

And here’s where I pick a relatively HUGE-ASS bone with people who refer to their parents as their “best friends”. For the record, I am not saying that one cannot get a long with their parents, or want to spend time with them, or tell hem personal things, or feel loved or love or whatever, blabbity blah blah. But best friends? BEST FRIENDS? This is not okay. Your parents HAVE TO LOVE YOU. They signed up for it when they decided to raise you even after you shat all over their NEW COUCH/KITCHEN TABLE/BED/BATHTUB/CAR/SINK/FAVOURITE SKIRT/PERFECT PANTS. They were like, this shitting machine is still somewhat cute and needs a lot of guidance to stop SHITTING EVERYWHERE, oh look, I’m the only one who spends this much time with it, I might be a good fit to lend some teaching, also, have you seen those cheeks? UNREAL! They were not like, I CHOOSE YOU IN SPITE Of YOUR FLAWS, they were like, I GUESS I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THIS CRYING THING YOU’RE DOING MEANS, GODDAMMIT.
So. I rest. Parents can be your “best parents”, but they cannot be your “best friends”. SEEK HELP. K, thanks.

“sorrow for the lost” By Julia on her couch

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
5 minutes
The Raven
Edgar Allan poe

if you thought you couldn’t find your way, you might have convinced yourself to never look, to never learn to read a compass.
you instead know two things about yourself: one, the only time you ever cry is when you have been made to feel embarrassed, and two, the first thing that pops into your head always makes you laugh. you don’t necessarily feel like you’re capable of being anything but those two things, and even when you can sense the self-deprecation in your own inadequacy, you somehow can’t quite get over that it’s absolutely true. now someone told you once that you were fine just the way you were and if people didn’t see that then it was their problem. but one of them had someone tell them that they were fine just the way they were, and then shitty just becomes relative. good becomes relative. and you are lower than your potential because you believed it when you heard it, and you didn’t know how to change it.

“my dog’s shitting all over your stuff” by Julia on the Greyhound

Thursday, August 8, 2013
5 minutes
The Flying Troutmans
Miriam Toews

My dog is an asshole. I never thought I’d hear myself say that but I swear to god it’s true. I mean sure he’s young and he doesn’t know how to not be an asshole quite yet, but there are certain things he should just know. Like going to the bathroom in the designated area, which is outside, and not just all over everything as if he owns the place. He also should know that the neighbour’s dog, Emmy-Lou, is very off limits even though she seems like she may be interested because of how she looks at him when she thinks no one is watching. He should also be aware that when I want to cuddle that’s what he’s supposed to do. To love me unconditionally even though he’s tired from a long day, or not in the mood because his favourite show, Emmy-Lou, is on outside and he can’t keep his stupid eyes from popping out of his stupid head. I’m not saying Emmy-Lou is not a nice looking dog, but she could try hiding her tush every now and again.

“Well, we’ve since learned” by Julia on her couch

Thursday, May 30, 2013
5 minutes
rebar: modern food cookbook
Audrey Alsterberg and Wanda Urbanowicz

His name was Blake and hers was Cookie. Cookie had a slightly lazy left eye, but she made up for it with a whole ton of sass and altruistic generosity. Blake enjoyed a good laugh, a good bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and a good handshake. When the two of them smoked, they shared the same cigarette so it would go by faster and they could spend the rest of the time on lunch, or on break, making out wildly like horny teenagers at a homecoming football game. Blake seemed to love everything about Cookie and she loved everything about Blake. Even his inability to leave pre-arranged floral table decorations alone without re-setting the entire thing. Even his need to ask every person within a two chair radius if they were “enjoying the weather” when it was minus one billion outside as if it were a funny joke. Cookie taught Blake how to be civil in front of other people, especially her family, and Blake taught Cookie that leaving the empty mustard container in the refrigerator was a bad idea.