Thought Residency: Julie Tamiko Manning

Thought Residency: Julie Tamiko Manning

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number twelve.

We all know that we should eat well, exercise, limit alcohol, and not smoke- but when I do all of those things and still feel like going back to bed, I feel like I am somehow failing at life. So…Today I’m going to FLIP IT!

Who says I can’t change up what I expect from myself to succeed at life today?

Have I hugged someone? Check. Laughed? Check. Made someone else laugh? Check. Looked someone in the eye and smiled? Said thank you? Check, check. Written a haiku in my head for no reason except- how else can I express my joy at this world but in a head-haiku? Check.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number eleven.
I am sitting in a café working on the next draft of my script , Mizushobai. I am at a point where I am struggling with THE hardest question whose answer all roads will lead outwards from.
My deadline for this draft is tonight and I’m pretty sure that I won’t reach it, because all I can think about is “When is the most appropriate time to go and get that cinnamon bun I saw on the counter when I ordered my coffee?”

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number ten.

I have been thinking all day of something to think about for this Thought Residency but I have come up with nothing and I think it’s because I’m in a very medium place right now.

I am not sad but I’m not happy, I am not stressed but I’m not chill, I am not waiting but I’m not settled, I’m just here and I’m not even trying to not be here so my thoughts are… just…here?

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number nine.

This thought is on time. Or at least it was supposed to be on time.

A stranger once told me I needed to look into the underlying reasons of why lateness was an issue of mine: was it because I overestimated what I could achieve in a day? Was it because of my ego- thinking that my time was worth more than others’ time?

I’ve never done the work of looking into that, although I’ve always meant to.

All I know is that at this moment, I am working on a device that has only 9% battery life left, and that’s not all I’m running out of.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number eight.

You know when you’re walking down a busy city street and your hood is up because it’s snowing and you almost walk into the intersection without realizing it because you’re thinking so much about where you belong in this world and who you belong to?

I used to have this friend who would grab the back of my shirt when I would thoughtlessly wander into traffic.

I either need to get myself another one of those or I need to take my hood down and pay attention to where I’m going.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number seven.

In thought number two I talked about a comfortable silence. But I am also thinking about a different kind of silence. The silence of backing away. The silence of shutting down. The silence I experience when faced with racism, towards me, towards others, even now as an adult. The silence of our brothers when we are not present to defend ourselves and even when we are present and the only ones to defend ourselves is us. The silence of sitting down instead of standing up. You know, THAT silence.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number six.

So I have been thinking about inner demons-more like feeling them. And I am wondering how we hear those inner demons and choose to go forward, open the door and go outside.


I don’t have a solution to that, I’ve just been thinking about it.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number five.

I grew up in a small francophone town south of Montreal. I had been ridiculed when I was younger for not speaking French properly, so I made sure when I walked into a diner to order a “lait frappé”. The woman behind the counter said “Enh?” I said, “Un Lait frappé? She said, “Quoi?” “Un lait frappé.” And I pointed to the big menu on the entire wall behind her. She turned around and she said “Ah, tu veux un milkshake!

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought four.

Today I went to visit my Japanese grandparents’ grave. It’s in a tiny Anglican graveyard in a small francophone town in the Eastern Townships of Québec. They were not Anglican but there wasn’t much choice for their final resting place. The story of how they got there is the story of displacement of Japanese and Japanese Canadians after the Second World War. I think about how they are as isolated in death as they were in life. Their Japanese bones surrounded by white ghosts.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought three.

So I was in a show with a life-sized elephant puppet, called Jumbo. Jumbo had 2 puppeteers inside him and one manipulator/actor on his trunk. One of the most poignant scenes with the puppet was a non-verbal scene with a fourth actor. I always wondered what made that scene work so well. It occurs to me now that it was one of the only moments of pure complicity: everyone-on and offstage worked towards the one goal of giving Jumbo life. They were complicit. Without ego. Backstage, We would all watch like breathless children from the wings.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number two.

I’ve been thinking about silence.

Recently a friend told me that I gracefully repress emotion. And that that’s not healthy.

But sometimes silence is good. Sometimes there is so much love and beauty in Silence. Sometimes Silence is just the absence of words (which can be so exhausting and complicated) and not the absence of me.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought #1.

This summer I was working at the Blyth Festival Theatre in Huron County in Southern Ontario. I would wake up every morning and before I got out of bed and I would take 30 seconds to think of something that I was grateful for. This was something that a friend of mine had encouraged me to do, and we would report back to each other every night. We were responsible to each other. I did it for her, but it didn’t really do much for me as I was having such a great summer. Then I eventually stopped. But this November is proving to be a bit more difficult, so I think I might have to revisit that daily practice of



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About the Author

Julie Tamiko Manning is an award-winning Montreal actor and theatre creator. Selected acting credits include: Sin/ Zephon in Paradise Lost (Centaur Theatre), Marion in Team on the Hill (Blyth Festival Theatre), Annie in Jean Dit (Théâtre D'Aujourd'hui), Elena in Butcher (Centaur), Isabella Bird in Top Girls (Segal), Emilia in Othello (Scapegoat Carnivale/Segal), and Nancy in Oliver! (National Arts Centre). Mixie and the Halfbreeds, a play about mixed identity in multiple universes, is her first play, written with Adrienne Wong. It is on the list 49 Plays by Women of Colour. Her second play, The Tashme Project: The Living Archives, (created and performed with Matt Miwa) is a verbatim one-act about the Japanese Canadian experience around the WW2 internment camps, told through the childhood memories of their elders. It has recently completed a tour to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa and was published with Playwrights Canada Press this year. Julie is currently working on her third play, Mizushōbai: The Water Trade, (commissioned by Tableau D’Hôte Theatre) about Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto, a Japanese picture bride turned ‘underground’ business woman in 1930’s British Columbia. She is proud to be a mentor with Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program and Imago Theatre’s ARTISTA, a mentorship program for emerging female theatre artists.