“the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue,” by Julia at her desk

Saturday November 11, 2017
6:26pm
5 minutes
What The Living Do
Marie Howe

Even though I asked it very nicely to stop, the sky would not stop laughing.
Some days it is miserable only benneath the skin. The bones squeek.
We forget that there is more beyond this dome or we never forget and some days we act like we do. We have gotten good at acting.

Miriam and I have been sneaking behind the Hollands’ shed to practice kissing. I told Miriam that she had soft lips and a subtle but effective use of tongue. She told me that I could afford to go a little harder. I was worried if I kissed her any harder I might want to stay kissing her. I didn’t know I would like girls. I didn’t know I would like her. I liked the groaning noises she made. I liked how warm her skin felt, her breath on the side of my mouth like a warning.

“Did you try to reply to my email about confidence?” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 27, 2017
10:12am
5 minutes
from an e-blast

Krista: I know this seminar will suit you, Jeanie. I specifically designed it with you in mind and you’re not getting any younger so I–

Jean: No I’m not getting any younger. And believe it or not, that is not one of my concerns.

Krista: Oh sweetie, of course it is. It’s everyone’s concern.

Jean: I don’t know how staying young will serve me.

Krista: It’s a figure of speech, relax.

Jean: Well you used it, and you meant it, so. I’m not interested in discussing this with you.

Krista: Fine, but all I meant was that you could use some of what I teach and you’re only running out of time–

Jean: See! Again with the absolutism! I swear to Christ you do not listen.

Krista: Jeanie. Stop this blaming behaviour and own your life. You seem mighty hostile for someone who has nothing to prove.

Jean: You’re driving me upside the wall, okay? How am I supposed to respond.

Krista: Well you could come to my seminar. Respond with your actions not your attitude.

“I abandoned their plan” by Julia in her old room


Saturday July 22, 2017
6:32pm
5 minutes
The Chang Girls
Lan Samantha Chang


K and D start laughing uncontrollably. They don’t even try to hush their loud the way young girls seem to know better than adult ones. I keep my face focussed on the blue-lined paper, the margins, the blank space. I steal a glance at them from the corner of my eye and remind myself we aren’t friends anymore and I don’t need to care. They can be talking or laughing about whatever they want and I don’t have to buckle into myself. D snorts her signature sign of enjoyment and K wipes the tears pooling under her cheap mascara. I ignore them. I don’t need them. Suddenly K comes over to me and snatches my notebook right from under my pretending. I scramble for it. I miss.
K throws my book to D and D snorts again. K blows me a kiss.

“Paragraphs of information” by Julia on Nicole’s balcony


Thursday July 13, 2017
12:15am
5 minutes
from a syllabus

Of course I didn’t ask for the ring with the gold flower when she died. I had wanted it since I was small enough to fit in her arms. But I got something better. When I spritzed her perfume in the bathroom I thought I was getting away with curiosity. Turns out my curiosity was too big to ignore. It was the first time she held me. She brought me out of the bathroom with love while I was embarrassed at being caught. Then she gave me the bottle of perfume I had tried on. Just gave it to me. You like it? Here, it’s yours. I cherished that bottle. I kept it in my closet. I didn’t know anything about her-there wasn’t a book about her, not paragraphs of information written about this woman. But I knew the smell of her young skin. I knew the size of her generosity. I knew the way her quiet was her prison. And how she wished she could have given me more.

“receiving invitation” by Julia in her bed


Tuesday June 20, 2017
11:18pm
5 minutes
from an email

I’ve been bleeding for days and nobody knows why. 
Nobody knows why because nobody knows and I suppose it’s up to me.
I make the calls and the appointments, I pay the bills or I don’t.
This growing thing, this fleshy bump is getting me down.
Isn’t that ironic-If to you growing means up. It is ironic that to me growing means up.
My impulsive decisions are growing too. In.
When Sarah pierced my ears on the back of a potato I didn’t think they’d ever be anything but proof of my young nights.
There was blood then too, on the carpet.

“This is what you’ve been waiting for” by Julia at JJ Bean


Friday May 5, 2017 at JJ Bean
5:12pm
5 minutes
The Gate
Marie Howe


my family speaks poetry through me as I walk from my house to a place that isn’t
I am stopped on the sidewalk with the urge to take notes
They are dictating faster than I can write
The stories from our childhood, inspiration enough after the drought
I am greedy with rain and the secrets of our youth
the clues to finding solace in a memory built from our old garage,
the time we picked strawberries at the farm and made milkshakes,
the time we sang to Mariah Carey on the back porch and I made everyone
turn around to listen when it was my turn,
the time we got hats with the olympic rings on them at Mcdonalds,
the time we rode around on horses while they defecated,
the time I asked my older cousin if we could have a “talk” because I was feeling left out, the time they got the shots for whipping baby field mice against the brick

“The pleasures and perils of a drug-altered mind” by Sasha at JJ Bean


Thursday May 4, 2017 at JJ Bean
2:16pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Sun
Thursda May 4, 2017


Karla wears pink heart-shaped sunglasses. Sublime is playing on a beat-up boombox plugged in on the porch. Adi’s backyard sprawls long and wide, pimpled with dandelions. I’m not quite scared, but I’m not quite excited. I wonder where he got the weed, and if I’ll become addicted. How glamorous. I wonder if I’ll cough or my eyes will turn red. I wonder if we’ll laugh more than usual. Bare legs scratched by the grass, he lights up the joint and we pass it. Karla always knows what she’s doing, or is a very good pretender. I am a bit more bumbly, a bit more rosy-cheeked, a bit more novice in general. I do cough. I don’t feel high. I wait and wonder what all the fuss was about. “Lots of people don’t feel it their first time,” Adi says, laying back and stretching out, skinny legs sticking out of his cut offs, arms long. The clouds move like water. Karla puts her sunglasses on me.

“I want you to sleep beside me” by Julia on L’s couch


Friday April 21, 2017
10:22pm
5 minutes
said by Q

I cannot tell you what it means to be needed so well that your bones warm.
I say I love you to
a child that does not belong
to me
I do not plan this
nor all the joy I find in how easy it is to say
my blood bathes
I know this feeling
the one that makes us believe we are real
maybe because I don’t want him to go a night not hearing it before he sleeps while his mother is out there taking care of herself
I want her to succeed.
I want her child to be lifted.
Maybe I do love her child.
Maybe I have seen him.
wearing his souls’s clothes
Maybe he has laughed at every one of my jokes
with the same enthusiam and delight
laughing so easy
Maybe I wanted to.
maybe he was holding the mirror

“Judging your early artistic efforts” by Julia at Trees on Granville


Thursday April 20, 2017
2:20pm at Trees Organic
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


The other day I found a note written on a teddybear notepad by my junior kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Beliveau. She signed her name with a heart in the ‘i’ and I remembered just how much I loved her-her and her soft nylons, and her “snot-free” desk (which I violated often and blamed on Justin Martens). The note was addressed to my parents telling them that I had a very nice first day of school: I painted a lot and loved story time (shocker), and sang a song for the class at Show And Tell (I remember this-I didnt bring something to show, like a doll or a toy I liked, so I made up a song and sang it for the class when it was my turn. Super shocker! Just kidding). I have always done this. Four year old me has always lnown this. Thirty year old me is grateful.

“How many nights” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 16, 2017
7:57pm
5 minutes
Breach
Blair Trewatha


We mourn each day past with a song-we both cradle our heads at the month changing places, on a mission.
How many nights as children did we spend enjoying instead of worrying we were running out of time?
How many days did we write the date and think just how much can happen in a year?
This time we’ll sing (misty-eyed)
about the seasons; about the natural curve of the calendar
April come she will
April come she will

“A cherished pastime” by Julia on the 99


Tuesday March 21, 2017
9:08pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Samar shows me the sweater she’s been knitting since last Tuesday after learning how last Monday and I’m embarrassed because I’m impressed because she’s seven and it’s stunning. Samar tells me that the sweater if for her sister because she doesn’t want her to think the world is cold. I ask her what she’s reading these days and she pulls out the biggest book I’ve ever seen. She tells me she’d rather save reading for another time though because now would be a good opportunity to teach me how to knit since I liked her sweater so much. I’m embarrassed again but this time for being behind on my own life. I didn’t know what knitting was when I was seven. I wasn’t relying on the smell of books to calm me down.
I causally mention to her that knitting is a good balance to reading because you get to wield a weapon. Samar laughs at this and for the first time today I feel smart.

“It was ass-backwards” By Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 1, 2017
8:42pm
5 minutes
overheard on the Queen Of Cowichan

Meredith and Abbey were two kids I babysat when I was twelve. Meredith was five and she wanted to play pretend every minute of every day. She’d always start her role plays with “I’m the princess and you’re the baby and say you say ‘oh look how beautiful your dress is!'” I hated playing this game. How about I say what I say, Meredith? Okay? You say what you say and I say what I say, capiche?
Abbey on the other hand spent her two year life humping herself into the corner of the coffee table or the carpet, or the high chair every time I looked away. She’d stop as soon as she caught me seeing her. But then again sometimes she didn’t care that I was even on the planet.

“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.

“your body is not his home.” By Julia in her cabin


Saturday February 25, 2017
9:03am
5 minutes
milk and honey
-rupi kaur


When I was 7 my mother babysat a boy named Benjamin who was my age, and his two younger brothers. Ben had white blond hair and white blond eyebrows and he swore like a sailor. He had a lot of excess saliva, always pooling at the base of his tongue so when he spoke he shot out spurts or sometimes entire globules of spit. I thought this made him cute. I thought his boyish hair was something to brag about. One day we were playing in my room and Benjamin asked if we could sit in my closet. I didn’t know what he wanted to do but I do know that going into the closet was slightly wrong. It felt bad. I wanted to be bad with Benjamin. We brought Barbies and then sat in there on the floor with the lights on just staring at each other. Ben suggested that we show each other our private parts and I thought, yeah, alright, I don’t see why not.

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“people who called themselves atheists.” by Julia on her couch


Thursday December 22, 2016
8:25pm
5 minutes
Dust
Charles Pellegrino


I never thought I’d put myself in the very box that I couldn’t for the life of me understand when I was younger. It made sense to my 9 year old brain to put my 9 year old trust in God and scripture and behaving with good intentions. It made sense for me to wake up each day and know my place, this road I was traveling, the one I had chosen wisely. And then maybe it was the lava lamp that put me over the edge. The one Pastor So And So offered up as a prize to the youth who could rally up the most sinners and bring them to Friday night service. I didn’t sign up for a church built out of bribery and attended primarily by a bunch of self-righteous teens. I wanted to find friends who wanted to know the Lord, not who wanted to make religion into an elitist club that only the truly good could be a part of. How is that the point of religion? Aren’t we all good and therefore all bad? I didn’t like giving so much of my youth to an ideology that didn’t want everyone just as we were.

“their grass-stained skin” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday December 21, 2016
8:34pm
5 minutes
So Full Of Light
Marie Specht Fisher “


I would have given my right arm to spend my afternoons with Alison the way Casey got to; the way everyone seemed to get closer than I was ever able. She was the most beautiful funny person I had ever met and I was in love with her. Everything she said made everyone laugh. Everything she wore set the trend for the rest of us. Every song she liked was automatically my new repeat ballad that I would dedicate myself to on nights I stayed in laying on my bedroom floor by candle light. I watched them play at recess and make up fun dances or do cartwheels down the hill. I wanted to know where she got the rule book-where she found the secrets to the universe all while still being a kid like the rest of us.

“sky turned red then erased” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday November 17, 2016
11:23pm
5 minutes
Penknife
Ellie Sawatsky


Walls thin as butterfly wings I know that your ear is there
High on the sky turning red with the possibility
of midnight I know that your ear is there
pressed on the monarch tissue paper
Sigh lifts above the ceiling
lifts us up the only division between us is us
the only difference between us is this
The chrysalis shed
The womb bare
The holy
water falling over fingertips

College kids smoke joints outside the window
leave rolling papers on the sill
A queen bee makes a hive around the rebellion
the sex the nicotine the so in love
so in love
I am the queen bee and you are bringing me gifts

“We hopped on bikes with banana seats” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday August 23, 2016
7:04am
5 minutes
parent.co

It might have been 40 degrees out. It felt like we had already sweat off most of our top skin anyway. The trees were dense with moisture. Heavy like they were holding in all of the rain we hadn’t seen. Jessie and I ate kiwis while we waited for Reid and Lucia to hurry up. Lucia told us we’d hear the owl signal and know we should take off on our bikes to go meet them. Jessie didn’t want to move. She said her thighs were rubbing. We sat beside the shed while we finished eating, kiwi juice dripping down into our shirts. I didn’t want to ask Jessie to do much else. I was glad she finally came with us for once. Usually she’d have an excuse why she couldn’t come. She even used “blow-drying her hair” one time and missed out on one of the best nights of our lives. We spent that summer in the cemetery conjuring spirits and memories of loved ones we had never met.

“my drunken soul flies” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Tuesday July 26, 2016 at BATW
6:53am
5 minutes
from the write up on the painting “Ascend”

Heaven forbid I tell you how I actually feel. I say that under my breath because I’m too afraid to say anything about how I actually feel with full voice. What the eff. Where did that start? When I was a kid? As everything in this life does? I had to do what you did when we were young because I wanted to be you and the only way I knew how to be you was to do what you did or what you wanted. That made sense. I was looking for lightening. Wasn’t about to spend three to five years wishing I was you without trying to make it so. I still want to be you on most days. You were older than me then but now you’re a painting. I see you still: beautiful and still. You’re not going anywhere and I don’t have to run to catch up to you. I don’t have to hold my breath and count to three because you’re not running away from me. I am a mess. It makes sense that I would want to live your life and not mine. But I still can’t tell you how I actually feel. Because my soul is drunk on doubt and it flies high when it’s left to its own devices. You are still the moon, and I love you for that. The shiny thing in my sky that makes me want to open my eyes and see…

“Ready to rock?” by Julia at Poppy Salon


Friday May 27, 2016 at Poppy Salon
4:01pm
5 minutes
People Magazine
March 2016


Maggie tells me she doesn’t have time to pick me up from the dentist because she’s too busy cutting the sleeves off of her Van Halen t-shirt and to call someone else, like Mom, or Aunt Isabel. The thing is, Maggie already said she would pick me up and I’m supposed to be having a major mouth surgery that they specifically won’t perform on you if you can’t ensure that someone will be there to drive your drugged ass home. I call Maggie back and this time she answers with one of her character voices.
“Bonjour?”
“Maggie, don’t hang up, it’s me. I need you to put your fucking craft shears down and come get me after this appointment or they won’t let me do it. You can cut your shirt in the car. Or just be here for 3:30 and do it anytime else. Please.”
I can hear Maggie’s eyes rolling back in her head as she decides right then and there to either be a good person for once, or the dick that she usually is.

“Preach” by Julia on the 99


Thursday May 26, 2016
11:25pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

Mickey and I were laying in her bedroom listening to Eminem and painting our nails. Her mother had called us once to come down for breakfast but we weren’t hungry because we had just finished a pack of Oreos and a pack of cigarettes. Mickey’s mother always smelled of canned ham but she worshiped on Sundays and Mickey wasn’t supposed to miss it. Mickey told me it didn’t matter, let her keep calling until that woman strains her voice and has nothing left for Jesus. Mickey’s mom had 3 other kids to get ready before service so she didn’t call on us as much as I thought she would. Mickey was already putting on her plaid vest with the fur and opening her window so we could bust out the heavy Sunday green. Mickey glanced at me from over her shoulder, a cigarette stuck to the dry part of her lower lip. She said “you’re lucky your mother doesn’t bug you when you’re just trying to have a good time.” I laughed for a second. Then I told her, “you’re lucky your mother is alive!”

“How did you recognize him?” by Julia at her dining table


Thursay April 21, 2016
6:18pm
5 minutes
overheard in the car

I wrote a poem about your laugh when I was 17 and in love with you. I compared it to Santa. I didn’t know anything about you, or love, or poetry then. Maybe I still don’t. I felt proud reading it in front of my class and thinking of you secretly as I shared some of my truest, most ridiculous metaphors about you. I told them about your laugh, about how you were so inclusive and even laughed at people’s bad jokes to make them feel good. I remember thinking you were generous. And I think I was right because a few months later I found out that you were trading kisses with other girls and going out with whichever ones you thought you would be able to sleep with. Maybe I was the generous one for sharing you! I was crushed. I could pull you off of a busy street with my eyes closed if I could hear your laugh. These days I don’t hear it as much as I used to. We don’t live in the same place. We live worlds away.

“the best of” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, April 2, 2016
11:41pm
5 minutes
from a program insert

How do you know if a toddler is thirsty? They don’t know how to ask for things, they get distracted by spinning and highlighters and drumming on the refrigerator with paper towel rolls. How do you know if they need something? I am wondering because as an adult I never even know when I’m thirsty. I mean I know when I am and that I ignore it and that I have to have an app my phone remind me when it’s time to ingest a life fluid that I know I need to drink in order to be healthy. A toddler is waiting for the adult to give him water isn’t he? Isn’t the little one waiting until she sees her cup to know she could put it to her lips and feel better after she drinks? Do you have to ask every thirty seconds? I don’t want to be responsible for a child’s thirst. Do they just swallow their own saliva, manufactured every millisecond by the gallon? Is there some forum online for this? I don’t want to ask this question publicly if the world already has an answer. It’s not even my kid by the way. I guess that’s why I kind of need to know…

“Did you send the message?” by Julia on her couch


Friday, April 1, 2016
11:19pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

Connie has her overnight bag packed. She laughs every time she thinks of Alison calling it her “satchel”. Alison’s mom always teaches her to use the correct word for things, which is good because Connie can learn from that too. She thinks about her own mother falling asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while watching Wheel of Fortune every night after work. Once she solved a puzzle with only two letters revealed and Connie thought she was faking. She never hears words like “satchel” or “rotunda” or “enigmatic” so Connie didn’t think her mom was even fully watching her word shows. Connie goes into the living room to kiss her mother goodbye. She’s already asleep. Connie covers her in the red afghan and turns off the TV.

“to be euthanized” by Julia at Culprit Coffee


Friday February 19, 2016 at Culprit Coffee
4:37pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday February 18, 2016


Bitty and I found a little cat cat down by the lava house. Bitty’s the one who named it the lava house. I asked Rodney and he told me it was just a sewer. I like when Bitty calls things different because then we have a secret language and it feels like cookies and cream or picking out a splinter from your big toe after limping all day. Bitty picked up the cat cat first and told me she was going to take her home and I said, you mean “him” home and she said, this cat cat can be whoever she wants to be. And I said, yeah, well, I can see his thingy so maybe this one can’t. I didn’t want the cat cat until Bitty said she wanted her. Him. Ugh. But as soon as I couldn’t have him I needed him. More than I’ve ever needed anything. I needed to pretend like it could be her way, like it always is. But that was hard because it was staring to burn inside, like throwing up too much cookies and cream or getting a giant splinter lodged deep into your big toe.

“Re posting it” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, January 17, 2016
9:55pm
5 minutes
from a text

There are a lot of young girls hanging out at the corner store with their ripped jeans and their big black eyeliner.
My mom thinks those are the girls I’ll want to hang out with so she gives me run around warnings like, “Beth, don’t take any shortcuts home from school.” Or, “Make sure you don’t walk with your face buried in your phone in case someone wants to steal it out of your hands and you don’t have the time to stop them.”
I guess she has a point or something. Better to pay attention.
I can tell she’s saying anything she can that doesn’t sound controlling or narrow minded about other people. She doesn’t want me to know that she knows what girls like that are like and only has her gut instincts as a barometer. There’s no proof, no real reason other than she’s deathly afraid of me getting hurt, or falling into the wrong crowd and changing all my core beliefs.
I can’t begin to talk to her about what’s going on in my life.
So I tell her, “I will not take shortcuts home from school.”

“The owner kindly said it was not working out” by Julia in Amanda’s bed


Friday, January 8, 2016
12:06am
5 minutes
A Facebook status

I usually don’t, but sometimes when the light is right I feel like I should apologize for all the prosciutto I used to steal from the very first restaurant I worked at. I know there are worse things to steal and I like to tell myself that I had my reasons but even justifying it makes me sort of wish I had chosen a different way to rebel. I mainly remember sneaking the expensive and coveted cured meat for the following reasons:
1. I was trying to punish my boss for making me work every brunch by myself
2. I was trying to punish my boss for never having enough cash to pay me in full
3. I was trying to punish my boss for hating women
4. I was trying to punish my boss for only offering to feed me at midnight

“for the guy or girl you’re kind of into” By Julia at Bean Around The World


Thursday December 10, 2015 at BATW
6:45pm
5 minutes
Vancouver Metro
Thursday, December 10, 2015


It’s Christmas Eve and Iris is going over to Reid’s house to give him the cookies she baked from scratch, burnt once, remade, and packaged in her mother’s favourite tin, tied with a red bow.
Reid is shaving his stray mustache hairs that have only disappointed him this entire year. He doesn’t want to look like a Berenstain Bear. He doesn’t want Iris to think he’s trying to be something he’s not.
Reid is thinking about the gift he bought for Iris but is second-guessing whether she will like it or not. He didn’t do any research but his older sister said that all girls like stuffed animals so it was a safe bet. Reid is 99% sure that Iris is not like all girls…
Iris doesn’t want to show up early or late, so she walks around the block three times before knocking on Reid’s door.

“participate in all activities” by Julia at Platform Vancouver


Wednesday November 25, 2015 at Platform Vancouver
2:50pm
5 minutes
from http://www.playwrights.ca

We hear laboured breath, thumping, pausing, groaning, then more thumping, some light twinkling, then a thud.
Mom’s got the Christmas box out and she’s ready to go.
We hear a lot of rustling, then a small shriek, a giggle, and the crash of a thousand holiday CDs hitting the floor.
She’s going to turn this house into a merry one if it kills her. And it might. All that stuff is heavy and mom has always had a terrible back.
My brother looks at me.
“Should we go and help her?”
I don’t respond.
I don’t want to.
“You can go if you want,” I tell him.
“Well why don’t you want to help, too?”
“Because I hate Christmas,” I tell him.
“You hate everything.” He says back, resuming his video game.
Suddenly we hear Rosie O’Donnell’s Christmas album blaring.
“If we help maybe we won’t have to listen to this garbage that Mom likes.” My brother tries again.

“that time of innocence” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 24, 2015
11:22pm
5 minutes
from a poem by bell hooks

It was a very knobby knees sort of pick your nose behind a book kind of pants too baggy in all the wrong places kind of time. Garrett was in love with me and asked me to be his girlfriend at least three times a day.They were very long days sort of strategic routes taken home from school to avoid certain people kind of too shy to say why kind of time. When I told him no the first time I think I was even cruel about it. I didn’t know yet that just because a boy was of no interest to me it didn’t mean he didn’t just use up all his courage trying to be. It was a very young kids playing in the cornfield sort of kiss behind the church before getting called into supper kind of late nights laying on the floor with candles lit listening to Bon Jovi kind of time.

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“senior’s line dancing” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday November 4, 2015
9:13pm
5 minutes
theseniorshub.org

Nonna doesn’t stop talking until you ask her to talk about herself.
In fact, that is how you get Nonna to stop talking.
It was an accident that I found that fact to be true, but it’s true none the less.
I asked her once to tell me about when she was younger.
“Tell me about the dancing! Tell me about you and Nonno dancing or kissing or both.”
“Oh, we were young, yes, a long time ago. We did some dancing.”
She tells me this, in Italian, as she lays the tomatoes out to be sun-dried.
“No, Nonna, I mean tell me about your dancing. What kind of music did you like? What kind of necklaces did you wear?”
But she doesn’t want to tell me, or remind herself, and instead she trails off in a way that makes her sound like she doesn’t quite believe the sound of her own voice.
“Okay Nonna, tell me about the tomatoes.”
“Oh, these tomatoes? I picked these tomatoes. All by myself. This morning. I hurt my joints because I picked them so long.”

“I wanna see it up close” by Sasha at Moii Cafe


Friday October 17, 2015 at Moii Cafe
12:35pm
5 minutes
from a text

A birch tree sheds her bark
The supermoon is forgotten as soon as it fades
It’s still super somewhere

I refuse to commend your drug trips or your laundry lists
I refuse to celebrate your exploitations of bodies and sisters and dollars and oil
I refuse to vote for a man wearing a mask who has a cheese-ball for a brain
mostly cheddar a little bit cream cheese nothing sharp
no asiago

A snake slithers over the bare feet of a boy whose eyes are glued to his father’s iPhone
Shame he missed that
Shame that tomorrow that species will be extinct
A monarch lands on my arm and I cry for my unborns
Who might not have that magic

The Conservatives (Cheese-ball) cut one billion dollars in childcare funding within three hours of being elected
That’s shorter than Titanic
There are over one thousand murdered and missing Indigenous women across Canada
and no matter how deep Cheese-ball digs his fingers into his ears
He can’t pretend he doesn’t hear the singing
I wanna see the madness up close
I wanna microscope that Cheese-ball
See the ventricles of the greed
Hear the beat of the bacon heart

A grizzly bear waves to a crow
Long lost lovers

“the usual agreements” by Julia at Coco et Olive


Monday September 28, 2015 at Coco et Olive
3:56pm
5 minutes
Environmental Theatre
Richard Schechner


I have told myself (AT LEAST ONCE IN MY LIFE)the FOLLOWING:
1. I have a head of curls on me that can RIVAL FUCKING SHIRLEY TEMPLE. (It’s a glorious MANE and I’ve said this to myself three times in the last week)
2. You win some, you lose lots! (This used to pertain to softball. I used to think it would be a good yearbook quote. Now it’s just true for everything so why stop TRYING?)
3. I am the best looking person of my exact physical features that I know. (this is like saying, there is only one you, so you’re the best you! This one comes into play after smoking ALL THE WEED and holding my own face as I tremble at my own fragility)
4. I am smarter than I think I am (when I believe I’ve left my phone at home and only my phone has the power to save me on days where I feel like laying on the pavement outside my house until it FUCKING POURS)
5. You are growing. It hurts cause your heart is expanding in your chest and sometimes the room you’re in is too small for you. (This one more and more lately. When I write letters to myself. And I cry honest tears.)

“Don’t judge” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday September 22, 2015
9:58pm
5 minutes
from a calendar

Halle and I walk hand in hand down to the end of the driveway. Kristina is on her bike and she looks stupid in her pink helmet. Not because she’s wearing a helmet. But because her helmet has tassels like her bike handles do and it just looks like a the kind of bike a circus monkey would ride. Too many ribbons and too many balloons. Or so it seems. Kristina tries to stop her bike but she hasn’t learned that yet. She’s really struggling. She wants to come talk to Halle and me. Kristina finally gets off her bike and lets it rest on the ground. She also hasn’t learned to use her kick stand yet. Her face is round and rosy and the snot bubble she’s blowing never seems to pop.
“Hi Nathan, Hi Halle. What are you doing today? Want to talk about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?”
Halle squeezes my hand. She’s 4 and she already knows that this girl is a quack job.

“A boy in my algebra class nicknamed me “terrorist”” by Julia at English Bay Beach


Saturday September 12, 2015
8:01pm
5 minutes
https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/life-as-a-hairy-muslim-girl-after-911

I think Luke heard it from his dad or something. Luke is always coming into class with his big words and his big hate and it sounds like stuff his dad says. My dad says that Luke’s dad is a vessel of pure sadness. I don’t get how he thinks he’s sad, cause Luke’s dad is always yelling and screaming and swearing and stuff and that seems like he’s pretty angry to me. Sad is when you cry and when your nose leaks and your stomach gets that empty feeling. How do you get that sad empty feeling when you’re always filling your stomach with cans of beer?
Luke is always saying things to me or to Ruby about our skin and about our voices. He laughs and his face goes all red when he holds my arms behind my back and calls me a “terrorist.”

“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.

“Feed your creative juices” By Julia on her bed


Tuesday, August 4, 2015
1:05am
5 minutes
from a pencil case

Lana blotted the excess lipstick off with a square of toilet paper, remembering how her aunt Kathy showed her while she was living with her. Apparently Aunt Kathy was only supposed to stay for a couple weeks-a month tops- but things got complicated and before they all knew it, it had already been 4 years. Lana used to hear Aunt Kathy in the early morning when she would get up to shower and get herself ready for her receptionist job. When the water would stop, Lana would crawl out of bed and go sit beside the bathroom door, tapping on it quietly. Aunt Kathy would open the door, scoop her up and sit Lana down on the toilet seat while she did her makeup. Lana would have been two years old. She didn’t say a word, but she watched Aunt Kathy’s every move from the blush to the spacing out of her mascaraed eyelashes with the tip of a safety pin. On some days, Aunt Kathy would even put a little eye shadow on Lana, or let her taste a bit of her vanilla lip gloss.

“She expected me to be in jeans” By Julia in Brooklyn


Friday, July 31, 2015
2:17am
5 minutes
from Sasha’s transcriptions

As if to say I had already fucked everything up for everyone, she looked straight down her nose at me and slightly shook her head. Not a full shake. Just enough to really shame me and make me wish I hadn’t needed to even come. Stevie was on the other side of the lounge and she was sending over her best “Sorry, Delia” eyes. I think at one point she mimed tightening a noose around her neck out of solidarity but even she knew she had no idea what hell I was in. Stevie happened to meet one of the suitors who liked her care-free, dress-code breaking, entirely beautiful, but way too young looking face and had told the monitor that Stevie was free to remain as she was. I on the other hand didn’t get so lucky.

“submitting this entry” by Julia on her bed


Wednesday, July 22, 2015
2:04am
5 minutes
from the Standardized Patient website

I’m really upset because I shrunk my favourite yellow shorts in the dryer even though I was following the care instructions to a t. I read everything over, I made sure the temperatures we correct. And now when I wear them they don’t look like they did before. They look like the shorts you try to wear when you’re not sure of how to actually dress: you know they’re sort of right but they’re not working at all for your body type. They shouldn’t be this mangled now and I no longer have a bright pair of shorts to wear to Deanna’s birthday. She specifically requested bright bottoms and black tops and now I have to figure this out. I am always the one with the bright bottoms and black tops but tonight I’m gonna be the only idiot who doesn’t know how to do laundry! It’s so embarrassing. Deanna always look stylish and put together. I can’t show up to her themed birthday party with bottoms that don’t fit! They fit the colour criteria but the style is way off! So I am asking you, ambassadors for Forever 21, if you could do something about this ASAP. I read the instructions and followed them. Is this a manufacturers’ failure???

“His name is Luke.” by Julia on her couch


Saturday July 11, 2015
10:59pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Higher Grounds

After she named her first two boys Matthew and Mark, everyone thought she’d name her third one Luke. She didn’t name the first two with any religious references in mind, she simply wanted the names and that was that. She might have named the third one Luke but she never liked the name. It felt too small for a man once he grew up. That and it reminded her of the first boy she ever agreed to marry. Luke Walker had asked her to marry him in the first grade and she said yes because that’s what six year olds do. He was small and feminine and had a horrendously small nose. She only said yes because she thought Andrew Griffith was going to ask Sylvia Van Kasterin to marry him. Turns out Andrew liked her all along. She found out when he left school to join the army.

“The audience is your partner” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, June 28, 2015
8:44pm
5 minutes
Conversations with Anne
Anne Bogart


Hi! Oh there are so many of you! Such a good looking group, and I swear I’m not just saying that. I don’t tell everyone that. I don’t think it’s fair to give people false interpretations of themselves. If it’s not a good looking group, I just avoid the topic entirely. But you. You are a stunning piece of work, and you should know that you are because everyone should hear it if it’s true. I don’t like when people go crazy for babies even if they’re not cute. Some people say the mothers always think their kid is cute but what about the truly ugly infants? I’m not trying to be cruel, but my friends, I value authenticity; I value reality. How does a mother look at her ugly kid and still make claims that he or she is adorable. Okay okay I know what you’re thinking, “she’s an asshole, she must be dealing with some childhood trauma, or self-image issues.” I can assure you, and maybe I should be lying here, that I do just simply hate people who won’t see the truth.

“legs crossed and notebooks open.” by Julia on her patio


Fridayy May 29, 2015
9:43m
5 minutes
Intro to Happiness
J. Allyn Rosser


Brooke had that lisp she was self conscious about so she was avoiding esses this week. Her best friend Phoebe told Brooke that she would say all the hard ess words for her until she was comfortable doing them on her own. Brooke wanted to trade with Phoebes, make it nice and equal, so she offered her the small Doritos snack that her dad had snuck into her lunch that morning when Brooke’s mom was putting Leon into his new leg braces. She knew Phoebe didn’t get Doritos snacks in her lunches, just sandwiches that smelled of bananas. Phoebe liked to swing her lunch bag around and she was always bruising the nice yellow bananas her mom packed for her.

“In the 1950’s the word” by Julia at Dark Horse


Wednesday May 13, 2015 at Dark Horse
5:16pm
5 minutes
The R-Word
Heather Kirn Lanier


In the 1950’s the word was imagined. Created. Conjured up. It was used for a brief time to describe the feeling of having everything but still feeling so helplessly and problematically empty. It was a truthful word adopted by a lot of artists. They began to write songs about it, make plays about it, dream about it, live by it. The issue that arose was the word was being over-used and becoming too loved. Yes, the strain it had, the effect of identifying too closely with one word, caused artists and young people to connect so strongly to it that they stopped trying to end the initial suffering of it. They began to accept it as it was, without the need to change it in any way.

How is one to know—with strangers?” By Sasha at Studio 1398


Saturday March 14, 2015
3:41pm
5 minutes
The Midwich Cuckoos
John Wyndham


Let’s take ourselves back in time to the time before
the time when we knew about consequence
and hemming of jeans and the blueberry kiss of

summer

How is one to know when a stranger is the icy breath on the window
of the car accident?

or

The Mother we’ve been waiting for since the day we arrived her
spewing needs and hunger
calling for

more

at the top of our lungs

I’ve wanted a revolution from day one but I don’t like starting things
preferring the sourdough to rise in the cupboard
unwatched by blue eyes

brown eyes

We wrapped purple and blue and green and grey around strands of hair we weren’t
afraid to lose

a summer of coconut oil and tuna sandwiches

Cherry popsicle lipstick

“I wish he would ask me out. But he won’t.” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 10, 2015
4:33pm
5 minutes
Julia’s Diary
September 1997


how have i spent so much time inventing scenarios about this?
i’m sitting by the tree, knees up, cause that’s the cool pose, wearing the plaid vest with the hood and the white t-shirt, hair in a ponytail. what am i missing? lunch recess or afternoon? god, i’m so stupid. it’s not up to me. it’s all his decision. he can decide the time and the moment and the location. i’ll be by the tree because that’s like staying behind in class when everyone else leaves. he’ll know being alone will give him the opportunity. he’ll feel confident. nobody wants to be heard getting rejected. but i would never reject him since i’ve loved him for two years! i’ve been waiting all this time and on the last day of school last year i wrote him a note asking if he like-liked me, yes, no, or maybe.? he said “yes. a bit.” so i know he wants to ask. he likes me a bit! that’s way more than not at all! and so that’s why i want it to be perfect.

“Can you see anything?” by Julia on Amanda’s couch


Saturday February 28, 2015
3:05am
5 minutes
overheard at Amanda’s house

I begged Birdie to let me have a look but she told me I was being impatient and to show some courtesy. When I asked her what courtesy meant she shushed me so fast it sounded like a bullet was zooming right past my face. It was my idea in the first place to “borrow” uncle Ray’s ladder and creep up the side of the fence. Birdie didn’t trust me with being the first set of eyes on Old Annabel Winkler because she was convinced I wouldn’t be able to
control my laughter and I’d give away our hiding spot in seconds. Then she got up there and all she was saying was “ooh” “woah” “oh my gosh” and “no way!”

“Smoking seriously harms you” by Julia on the Coren’s country couch


Wednesday December 24, 2014
10:49pm
5 minutes
A pack of Marlboro

I never smoked a day in my life until I met Andie from Soho. Andie from Soho made it seem so cool to light one up, smoke a bit, throw it on the ground, not care that half of it was left untouched, then go ahead and light another one up in the same breath. So I started bumming off her, just a few puffs every few nights and always after drinking. Then she started giving me full ones and I’d smoke them like Andie did just more of the cigarette because I couldn’t wrap my head around why you’d ever want to waste something that costs so much. Then one day I bought a pack, all on my own, and I remember feeling like, yeah. This might be the end for me.

“32 million tonnes” by Julia on the tube


Saturday December 20, 2014
11:18am
5 minutes
from a pamphlet about the pipeline ”

-That’s what Lucinda said to me. I don’t know if it’s true, but apparently, men are attracted to shorter women.
-she’s a liar Sydney, she always lies. Probably said that to you just to make you feel bad
-you’re saying you don’t believe her?
-that girl is made up of 32 million tones of fake, that’s what I’m saying.
-but what if she’s right? About men? And they’ll never be attracted to me?
-it’s rubbish. It doesn’t make any sense so if you want to believe nonsense that’s up to you.
-what are you doing for Christmas then?
-wake up at mum’s, home breakfast, then spend the day with her, then dinner and sleep over at yours
-is daisy coming?
-who is daisy?
-the girl with the glitter hair
-oh right, her real name is Holly. I call her Holly anyway.
-do you want a bindi?
-yeah
-I have to remember if I brought one for you or not. I think I did. Yeah, here, I knew I did.