BY Joel

01/01 Direct Link
I'm happiest when I'm in the garden, crouching to plant a seed, hauling the watering can light back and heavy forth between the tap and plants. I feel so beautiful on those hot spring mornings, cool under my paddy hat (a Chinatown bargain) with David and Rudy nearby, all of us barefoot on the grass.

May our garden flourish this year. May the gray of the winter be made whiter by the pages of gardening textbooks. May studying be peaceful and rewarding.

I've made so many like-minded friends recently. We can accomplish more by working together.

Touch the earth.
01/02 Direct Link
After work today I went to the local bookshop and bought myself a new address book. I plan on using it to organize information about different herbs and vegetables - how to grow them, their medicinal uses, etc. Where do these ideas come from?

There was a small selection of address books in the store, but I chose the one with horses on the front. "The Weanlings" the image is called, by someone named Persis Clayton Weirs. Thanks, Persis. Don't thank me, son.

I also purchased a National Audubon Society desk calendar. Today's image is of the Eastern Bluebird: beautiful, mysterious.
01/03 Direct Link
As if to put me in my place, the brilliant white snow fell fast and fluffily all day long. The highways were closed and few ventured into the café.

I hate being idle at work, so I set to defrosting the freezer where we keep the ice and frozen yogurt pucks. Years of fallen cubes had fallen to the bottom, piling up over a foot high.

What a treat it was to scoop up bowlful after bowlful of the scratchy, snowburnt stuff and dump it into the sink, where a little water made me rich in cold, smooth, gleaming crystal.
01/04 Direct Link
The gang and I were to go tobogganing last night but they all cancelled last minute because they're dweebs.

I could have gone alone but I was just so crestfallen after David gave me the message.

I wasn't going to submit to disappointment tonight, though. I dug the sled out of the shed and walked to the hill in all of my winter woolies.

But it had been a warmer day today and what hadn't melted was sticky and not powdery at all.

But I followed deer tracks and drank from the river.

May all your stories have happy endings.
01/05 Direct Link
I live in a nuclear town, where if you don't make a killing working at the plant, you make do by serving those who do work at the plant. I'm one of the servers.

I receive a lot of criticism from others for living here, and often from myself as well.

But I consciously chose to live here, knowing that in coming I would gain so much that has nothing to do with radiation.

I imagine myself to be like a little nugget of uranium here, emitting a volatile energy that has the power to dispel so many empty dreams.
01/06 Direct Link
It's not like I'm going to blow up the plant or anything - I have neither the skill nor the will. And I'd probably only make it to the front gate anyway, where I'd see all the SWAT guards with their crew cuts and bristly, chiseled jaws and just melt.

No, it's more like I want to play the Fool for a while, create healthy, subversive spaces with my like-minded friends, channel the town's excesses to the needy. It may take decades. I might fail, or die in the process. No one knows.

01/07 Direct Link
Eric is my first real straight guy friend.

I was introduced to him two summers ago, when the yin yang patch on his hemp shoulder bag rang hope into my soul. I met him officially on a poetry night in November.

At 21, he is a talented guitarist, a yoga instructor, a gardener and he has studied under Thich Nhat Hanh at a monastery in France.

He gave me a meditation cushion for Christmas. And the other day he addressed me as "brother" in an email.

I am so glad to have befriended him here in this strange little place.
01/08 Direct Link
On page 165 of Douglas Coupland's book on Vancouver, City of Glass (2009 racist editon), there's a photograph of five people in business attire standing around the big gray body of a whale that had beached itself on English Bay.

On the preceding page Coupland writes, "Women were dressed in their office clothes... I bet you a million bucks none of them cared."

The only face turned to the camera is that of an elegant woman identified in the caption as Steph Song. She smiles in what I perceive as whalewonder. I bet you seven million yuan she cares deeply.
01/09 Direct Link
Today at work I rolled up my sleeves to wash my hands and I noticed that one of the beauty marks on my left wrist has evolved. It is now mottled, bigger, and lemon-shaped instead of round. I've already had to get one on my back removed.

My hearing is in decline, too, partial to total deafness being prevalent on my father's side.

So far I find the deterioration of my body more fascinating than frustrating.

I'm sorry, Ma'am. But I couldn't hear what you ordered with the tap running. You'll have to repeat yourself.

Patience is a virtue.
01/10 Direct Link
Blah, blah, blah, blah. I've grown tired of my own voice, or perhaps just tired in general. I feel that lately I've said all that I've had to say, written all that I've had to write, and now I'm entering a period of quiet listening and of absorbing the work of other writers. A period of rest. I must nourish the relationships I've neglected over these past few months of creative labour. My body must take precedence over my mind and spirit for a while. Running, yoga, healthy cooking. I would not be surprised if I don't finish this batch.
01/11 Direct Link
Or maybe it's just time to look outward for inspiration, to drown out my voice in fact and fiction. Self absorbed much? Shit.

Fact: Green Jays are the palm, yo. (Palms, not bombs, what what. Consider the roof raised, gangstas.)

Fiction: There once was a man with a great vocabulary who lost his own identity in his wordy analytic descriptions of others.

Or is that a fact?

Fact: The French word for "bad journalist" is folliculaire.

Fiction: Once upon a time there was a queen bitch named Sharon, couldn't stop swearin', mascar-in', speakas in her house they be blarin'...
01/12 Direct Link
She went into the antique bookshop with her $25 certificate, not knowing what she would home with her. It had been a while since she'd read a book cover to cover. She browsed the New Arrivals, then asked the man at the desk where she might find the poetry section. He led her to the appropriate shelf where she spent forty minutes lingering there. Dorothy Livesay convinced her. Wislawa Szymborska seduced her. With ten dollars left to be spent, the three ladies traversed the pleasant quietness of the shop (a wonderful gift), until they found the shelf marked Eastern Religions.
01/13 Direct Link
Lying on the purple foam rolled out on the hardwood, she is instructed to bring her arms down to a T. She does, less gracefully than she would have liked, and her wedding ring announces a loud chirk in her left ear.

Instantly her thoughts move away from her breathing, toward her husband, who she imagines to be sitting at home playing video games or masturbating. How dare he call her fat.

She is hit with sudden rage and resolve. She decides she will sweat until that ring slides right off her finger. Yes, she will breathe right past him.
01/14 Direct Link
Her legs become so dry in the wintertime. Her shins peel and itch and when she scratches at them in that deliciously satisfying way before her nightly bath, the little flakes of dead skin fall to the floor in a flurry, like fine parmigiano grated over a linoleum lasagna.

After a week of this she decides that she will drink even more water throughout the day, that she will buy herself a nice lotion tomorrow at the drug store.

She slides into the water, stinging, imagining squeezing so many plastic bottles ever so gently beneath her nostrils. Lilac, honeydew, almond...
01/15 Direct Link
There's an extra charge for sending a cylindrical package. I don't really see why. Maybe it has something to do with the clerk having to wrap the tape around something instead of the easy, breezy finger slide and measure. Maybe they roll around in the trucks and they have to be set upright in a secured barrel. I dunno. But there goes a pack of gum, a scratch n' win...

"What's in there?" asks an inquisitive kid in line to buy stamps with his mother.

"It's my large intestine, bud. Hahaha. Just kidding. It's hope and meaning and foam peanuts."
01/16 Direct Link
noises heard on the winter night soundwalk:

snow melting into a sewer drain
boot crunch in the snow
nothing shhhhh car shhhhh nothing
a large man's wheezing
dung, dung, dung, dung -
finger along the guardrail
giggles of several participants
puhft! - a snowball hitting a polyester jacket
clapping under a bridge clapping under a bridge
hon... hon... of sleepy geese (k for the day)
plastic bag rustle
wind in the ears
wind in the grass
waves on the shore
boardwalk pow wow stomping
swingset creak
fencelink jangle
power box nnnnnn
an exchange of recipes
diner radio
keychain jingle
a lock turned
01/17 Direct Link
I have four days off in a row this week. Usually it's only three but January is a slow month in a summer tourist town with lake effect snow. Hours must be cut. I don't mind. I'm sure I'll find something to do on my reduced budget. I can do whatever I please. Maybe I'll make popcorn or perogies or furoshiki. Perhaps all three of those things. Maybe I'll apply for a grant for the bistro so it can become more sustainable, or help Maxine and Eric build their business. If I write it, it is more likely to happen.
01/18 Direct Link
lullaby for sleepless adults
(to be sung by the angel on the ceiling)

la laa
la laa
la la la la la la la laa
hooo hmmm

silly boy
silly girl
let go of this day's thinking
hooo hmmm

precious girl
precious boy
even the stars have stopped their blinking
hooo hmmm

and may your dreams bring you delight
each and every night
maybe you'll sail a cloud in heaven
avoid caffeine after seven
hooo hmmm

let it fall away like sand
everything you've planned
it will be there in the morning
hooo hmmm

sleepy boy
sleepy girl
hooo hmmm
01/19 Direct Link
"It's true, it's true," said the exquisite Altagracia Camacho, a long drag of cigarette smoke sashaying between her beautiful, glossy, yellow lips. "Art can be like a drug."

She stood and slowly walked over to the vanity mirror for a final check. Green, turquoise, red, white, black, and then more turquoise feathers from headdress to impressive eight foot train - thousands of meticulously sewn feathers shimmered in the glow of the bare bulbs.

"But you don't need to be afraid of my art, honey. I make sure it all comes from a good place." The resplendent quetzal patted her left breast.
01/20 Direct Link
Would you be willing to be fiercely you? To celebrate all of the beauty inside yourself by bringing it outside at every opportunity - in your posture, in your hygiene, in your diet, in your exercise, in your creations, in your interactions with other living beings? Would you be willing to stop blaming others for everything you lack so perfectly? To consider all of your negative attributes as work in progress? To use your masterful control to prevent the negative thoughts and feelings that arise from escaping and creating unnecessary pain? To live and let live? To share, and to give?
01/21 Direct Link
I'm terrible at finance. I'm twenty-five grand in the red for my undergrad degree. When I started going to university, I figured I'd do well enough in my first year to apply for scholarships for the remaining three, but it didn't turn out that way. The application deadlines fell in the middle of the semester and the paperwork seemed so overwhelming on top of all of my work and schoolwork. Last year I made a mistake on my taxes and now I have to return $500 to the feds. I'm have to borrow the money from David. So humbling.
01/22 Direct Link
the boy stretches his arm across the icy bank of the trickling stream and opens his hand allowing the night wind to carry sweepings from last night's haircut up and up and then down into the running water

the ageless naiad rises up and up from her liquid crystal abode letting her wild wet waves fall over her breasts in icicles and she blows him a snowstorm kiss

he is blinded to all but the pure whiteness of her magical lips and fingertips the flurry flying out sideways like printer paper, like envelopes, like the glistening backs of postage stamps
01/23 Direct Link
One time I bought this Tina Turner Greatest Hits cd from a thrift store and discovered a track on it called "In Your Wildest Dreams" - a super sexy duet she did with Barry White.

It starts out all breathy and she's like, "Oh, Baby..." and he goes, "Oh, Baby..." and then she whispers "When the sun goes down..." and then he purrs "And the moon... comes up..."

It's really quite an erotic song. But it leaves something to the imagination, too, which I can appreciate.

Right now I'm imagining your enormous ladykilling python, Mr. Tubman. Congrats. A trophy in itself.
01/24 Direct Link
I make a point of being present and polite when I'm going through checkout. Having been a grocery store cashier at several different points in my life, I know that a few thoughtful words from a customer are appreciated after spending hours hunched over a counter.

The worst is when they don't even look you in the eye, when their first thoughtless words to you are "I need bags."

How much happier our lives would be if we all nurtured a loving, empathic spirit. What kinds of ripples are we creating in the universe? Can you imagine your profound effect?
01/25 Direct Link
I like that idea. A symposium of sorts. What will the subjects be? Perhaps once a week so not to quash our creative liberty. Since it was your idea, Michael, why don't you choose the first subject and those of us who want to participate can submit our genius interpretations the following day? If only there was a simpler way to communicate with each other... Didn't there used to be a forum? Maybe we could start using the 100 Words Facebook group to toss around ideas and to collaborate. There is a lot of talent here, and power in numbers.
01/26 Direct Link
A few weeks ago I ordered two books from a fellow hundred worder because I figure we ought to encourage and support each other as much as possible. Pretending like we're separate and don't influence each other on a daily basis is... And I genuinely wanted to read her work, to hold her creations in my hands and let inspiration seep in through the skin instead of the eyes for a change.

May we inspire one another everyday.

Could you look me in the eye and tell me you want it all to end? Peace, love, and temperance, my friend.
01/27 Direct Link
So I'm a filthy hypocrite. My life's falling apart in several different ways and I'm probably insane. So everything I profess should be taken with a grain of salt, alright?

And yeah, my last name is Louttit. I don't know what I did in a previous life to wind up with that one, but it must have been horrible. I'm guessing I was a woman and one day I'd just had it with men so I went on a castration frenzy.

Yep, Brad Stupidboob. That's my name. And here's my face. Get over it or you're next for a cleaving.
01/28 Direct Link
Took the dog for a walk last night and it was so lovely and clear out with the moon hanging like the a mother's eye, loving and three quarter lidded, took him home just before he began to shiver only to go out again alone, down to the great Lake Huron with its January edge, waves stopped in time in strange crater-like formations, leaving tracks in the sandfrost, the pebblefrost, the stonefrost, and up onto to the pier, singing moonsongs to Diana about Saskatchewan and they were awesome but their tunes are gone now, locked somewhere in a wave.
01/29 Direct Link
Whiz, bang, it's already the 29th. I'm looking back at what I've written here this month and while I'm not particularly proud of some of it, some of it is truly beautiful - even yesterday's with its awkward, humbling, flow-busting double article. I must remember that these are manuscripts. How fortunate are we to be able to read each other's digital manuscripts, hot off the finger press! And how fortunate are we to have the willpower and inspiration to make it this far, when so many others lost faith and/or interest much earlier in the month. Bless us all.
01/30 Direct Link
The doorbell rings and you answer in your faded Linkin Park t-shirt. I'm grinning.

"You should've knocked," you say. "I just got her to go to bed."

"Fuck her. C'mon. I have a surprise."

When you're dressed I pull you through the empty streets on a bright orange plastic sled and we have to stop several times because we're both laughing so hard.

Later, I order us two iced teas at this blues club and we sit and make fun of all the baby boomers moving their failing bodies so gracelessly but it seems to make them so happy...
01/31 Direct Link
Today I'm the saddest gay in the world because David and I don't have cable, let alone the fancy cable that would allow us to watch Season 4 of RuPaul's Drag Race which premiered last night. He assured me that we would be able to download the episodes illegally over the Internet, but so far no files exist.

To use the going drag lingo, I guess I'll just have to be fierce and sickening by myself here in Springfield. Maybe I can get all glammed up inside a HAZMAT suit and when the hood comes off - KABOOM! - radiating eleganza.