Non-Fiction

Wait Time

Photo of a dirt road with grass and trees on either side and a truck with lit-up headlights at the end. Blue filter over image. White text aligned left reads, "Our lives are so short, and yet we spend so much of our time waiting." Handle @sage_pantony in white in bottom right corner.

A big part of life is about waiting. A big part of life is about learning to be patient. You can’t always get what you want, and you certainly can’t always get what you want right away. If what you want is coming, you’ll have to learn how to wait for it.

We wait in line. We wait for the school year to end. We wait for our lease to be up. We wait for the right time to speak. We wait for the night to pass. We wait for the morning to come.

Our lives are so short, and yet we spend so much of our time waiting.

You have to get comfortable with the wait. You have to learn to be patient. Patience is a virtue, but not one of my virtues. And yet, I wait. I wait because I have to. The universe gives me no choice in the matter.

There’s a lot to be found by waiting, a lot to learn while waiting. There are lessons you can only gain from waiting.

There’s growth that happens while waiting, quiet growth. Not the kind you can measure against the wall, no, the mark won’t move, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. While waiting, you might feel like nothing is happening, but really, you are transforming. Like ingredients in a crock-pot, you’re a meal that’s slowly cooking.

There’s value in waiting, as annoying as it might be. These wait times are mandatory. You must go through them. You cannot rush off to the next thing. You must pause. You must wait your turn. You must learn the lessons only waiting can give you.

You will come out the other side of these waiting periods transformed. I guarantee it. How and in which ways? You’ll have to wait and see.

Non-Fiction

Moving on From Creative Projects

Close-up photo of two dead flowers lying facedown in the dirt, with some sticks, bark, and a few little green plants around them.

You are allowed to take breaks. You are allowed to pause. You are allowed to go on a hiatus from a creative project. You are allowed to abandon that project entirely. You are allowed to shift gears. You are allowed to leave things unfinished.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are or the project is a failure. Maybe it was never meant to be finished, or maybe it wasn’t meant to be done so quickly.

Maybe you were meant to learn something from this project. Maybe you can apply these lessons to the next one. Maybe you were meant to develop some skills. Maybe you were simply meant to have this experience.

Sometimes, the only thing you can do for a creative project that isn’t working is just let it go.

Even if you move on, you have not wasted your time. Art is never a waste. Allow yourself to move forward. Leave the guilt behind.


Thinking about all my abandoned manuscripts, the books I started writing before I figured out what kind of writer I wanted to be. I will never finish them, but they are still valuable. They helped me become the writer I am today.

Thinking about my old YouTube channel, which I poured passion, creative energy, and hundreds of hours of my time into. I decided to stop being a YouTuber, but I carry the lessons and skills that gave me into my work today. I wouldn’t take it back. I wouldn’t undo it.

Everything that came before has been a part of my creative path. A creative path is messy, leaving all kinds of debris on its shoulders and in its wake. That’s all right. That’s how it should be.

Non-Fiction

You Don’t Need to Have a Brand

Photo taken out of a car window that's covered in water droplets of a storefront with an open sign in the window and several framed pieces of art on the walls within. Pink-and-purple filter over image. White text aligned left reads, "You don’t have to have a brand as a creative person. You can just create. It’s fine." Handle @sage_pantony in white in bottom right corner.

You don’t have to have a brand as a creative person. You can just create. It’s fine.

Late-stage capitalism and social media are impacting our relationships to ourselves and our art. We are encouraged to commodify, label, and measure the success of our creativity.

If we don’t have a large audience for our work, we may feel like we’ve failed as artists. If we don’t make money from our art, we may feel like we’ve failed as artists. If we don’t have a defined brand or theme for our work, we may feel like we’ve failed as artists.

We haven’t.

Feel free to experiment, get weird, and try different things. Don’t feel like you have to stick to creating something you don’t like just because it’s a part of “your brand”. It’s probably healthiest to stop thinking of yourself as a brand.

Creativity likes flow, freedom, experimentation, messiness, and room to breathe. Creativity doesn’t like confinement, pressure, rigid expectations, commodification, and, um, capitalism. Don’t kill your creative process with branding. Don’t try to label and define something just as it’s trying to be born.

Let yourself fuck around. Start new projects and abandon them. Spend your time creating what you want rather than what you think the world wants from you. Don’t get stuck making the same thing over and over just because other people like it.

Art is not always straightforward, presentable, and easily consumable. Not everything you create has to be made for consumption. Not everything you create has to resonate with an audience. Art can exist for its own sake. You can make it just because you want to.

If you’ve been feeling pressure to create specific things in certain ways, if you’ve been feeling blocked, try doing something completely different. Step outside of the confines of what you normally make. Experiment. Don’t worry about how it will be received, and know that it doesn’t have to be received at all. Don’t worry about the final product. Allow yourself to get lost in the process and see what happens.

Non-Fiction

Someone’s Probably Laughing at Your Art

Close-up photo of a flower peeking out between two wooden slats in a fence. Pink filter over image. White text in the centre reads, "Yes, someone's probably laughing at your art." Handle @sage_pantony in white in bottom right corner.

Yes, someone’s probably laughing at your art.

Depending on the size of your audience, there may be multiple people laughing at it. Unless you’re a comedian, this probably doesn’t feel great.

I recently saw another poet talk about how devastated they were to find out their partner and his friends laughed at their poetry. Obviously, that’s cruel and messed up, and it’s going to hurt.

I assume that there are people who laugh at my writing. While I wouldn’t tolerate this from a partner, I expect it from strangers online. I’m sure some people follow me or look at my stuff just to make fun of it. If that’s what you get out of my work, well, I’m glad it makes you feel something at least. Making people laugh isn’t the worst thing.

This is the risk of putting yourself out there, making yourself vulnerable, and showing the world your art. This is the risk of being sincere about what you love.

Some people will laugh at your art. Some people will make fun of you, especially if you’re on the internet.

If you’re a lurker who laughs at my work, I wish you all the best. And if you’re an artist who’s worried about being made fun of, know that this happens to everyone. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at what you do. It doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put yourself out there.

As artists, we deal with all kinds of rejection. People mocking your art is a kind of rejection you may have to face. While we can’t change other people’s behaviour, we can choose how we respond. What works for me is to anticipate and accept that some people will laugh at my work and take that in stride.

Non-Fiction

Create What You Want to Create

Close-up photo of a blooming flower. Grass, sidewalk, and road in the background. Red filter over image. White text in the centre reads, "Let yourself create what you want to create." Handle @sage_pantony in white in bottom right corner.

Let yourself create what you want to create.

Your art can be anything.

It does not have to be serious. It does not have to be “real”.

Creating silly art for the sake of it is a gift you can give to yourself.

Creating silly art for the sake of it is a gift you can give to the world.

You are not meant to take your art so seriously that it drains you of joy.

Your desire to create is a gift you were given to bring more joy into your life.

Embrace the ridiculous. Make silly art. Don’t worry about what “counts”.

Respect your desire to create by allowing yourself to create whatever the hell you want.


For years, I thought I had to be a fiction writer to be a “real” writer. I don’t know why. I suppose I didn’t understand that creative non-fiction is a legitimate art form. I thought that I couldn’t just write about my life, I had to write about something interesting, something people would actually want to read. I didn’t think that the kind of writing that comes naturally to me, creative non-fiction and poetry, “counted” as real writing.

So, I wrote short stories. I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as writing creative non-fiction and poetry. I also wasn’t particularly good at it, but I persisted. If I was going to be a writer, then I needed to be a real, legitimate writer.

Then one day, I sat down at the computer and typed up an essay about the challenges I was facing trying to access hormone replacement therapy. All of the logistical and emotional details poured out of me. Writing that essay felt effortless, cathartic, and therapeutic, but I told myself that it wasn’t “real” writing and I needed to get back to my fiction the next day.

I ended up submitting that essay to an anthology that wanted to publish it. Years later, I included it in my zine about transitioning. I’m unable to recall most of the fiction I wrote years ago, but the creative non-fiction and poetry have stuck with me. Non-fiction has felt more meaningful, and even though I tried to push it away, I couldn’t stop writing it.

I have since learned that this thing I do where I write about my life is called creative non-fiction, many writers do it, and it’s a perfectly legitimate art form. It is creative, expansive, cathartic, therapeutic, vulnerable, brave, painful, and also ART.

These days, I write what I want. When I noticed I was writing more about kink, I went, okay, that’s a scary subject to tackle publicly, but I’m going to make a zine about it. When I found myself writing more poetry than prose, I embraced that. When I started to enjoy adding text to my photographs, I indulged in that too. I create because I am driven to. I believe it makes more sense to create what I want rather than what I think I should. Both I and my art are better off for it.

Non-Fiction

Life is Absurd

Photo of the body of a stuffed long-neck dinosaur toy sitting on a ledge in front of a window. A fence with some vines on it can be seen behind the dinosaur outside of the window. Green filter over image. White text in the centre reads, "Life isn't that serious." Handle @sage_pantony in white in bottom right corner.

Life isn’t that serious.

Sure, it has its moments, but mainly, life is absurd.

I am at my healthiest when I can recognize the absurdity.

I am at my healthiest when I can laugh at my life.

It’s when I get too serious that I get stuck.

If there’s one quality I could never live without, it’s my sense of humour. I wouldn’t be here without this coping mechanism, and I wouldn’t be me.

Life is absurd. Think about it.

We’re living through late-stage capitalism and making memes.

We think of ourselves as these incredibly productive beings, yet we sleep for a third of our lives.

They sell chocolate pizzas at the store. I’m an adult who hasn’t swept their apartment for over three months. I broke off the end of my favourite knife on a frozen burrito.

None of us know what the hell we’re doing. We’re just stumbling around trying to put on a good show.

Life is a lot of things, including absurd. Embracing that absurdity has gotten me through its most difficult chapters, its darkest moments.

Also, I like absurdity. It keeps things interesting, keeps me on my toes, laughing, expecting the unexpected.

Life can be incredibly serious, yes, but even at its most serious, it’s not that serious. Life is absurd.

Poetry

Have a Problem? Write a Poem

Photo of the corner of a stack of newspapers taken at an angle. Light sepia-coloured filter over image.
Photo from http://mrg.bz/69cacb.

Have a problem? Write a poem. Don’t worry, here at Make You Write a Poem, we’ve got you covered. Covered in cut-up newspaper. Oh, you didn’t hear? The poems are already here, you just have to find them. Unfortunately, the problems are here as well. What, you think that’s not your problem? You’re the one covered in newspaper, pal. It’s your funeral. No, really, this is your funeral. Haven’t you looked in the casket? Ah, yes, they never like this part … Who am I talking to? Don’t worry about it. You should get to writing poems—bringing them out of the paperwork anyway. That body isn’t going to bury itself!

Uncategorized

Announcement

Close-up photo of a pile of chopped wood on the ground with green leafy plants and grass growing here and there through the cracks.

Hello everyone,

I wrote in this post that I would be making some changes to my online presence and some announcements down the road. Well, we’ve arrived at the announcement portion of the road!

Firstly, I am not abandoning this blog. I will still be here. I will still post sometimes, though likely not as frequently as before. If you’re looking to stay updated on what I’m doing and are interested in snippets of my writing, I’ll still be pretty active on social media. Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Okay, on to the announcement: I’m launching a Patreon page! This page exists as a way to support my writing. I’ve previously made most of my work available for free. I’ll still be doing this with snippets and shorter pieces. However, it’s not sustainable in the long-term for me to make the majority of my long-form writing available for free. Most of my time has been going into maintaining this blog, which I’ve enjoyed doing, but it’s time to transition to something else. I will be changing careers and moving to a new city in a couple of months, so it feels like the right time to change this up too.

On Patreon, all patrons will have access to the patron-only activity feed, which includes works in progress, exclusive pieces of writing, updates, details about my process, other bonus content, and access to digital copies of my zines and poetry chapbooks. There is one higher tier where patrons can also receive three printed zines of their choosing in the mail.

If you’re not able to support me on Patreon, no worries at all! I’ll still be sharing some of my writing here and on social media so please stick around for that. Thank you for supporting my work so far. My platform is small, but I love knowing there are people out there who enjoy my writing.

I’m excited about these next steps. I’m excited to launch this Patreon, move somewhere new, and change up my lifestyle. I’ll be sharing more details about these changes as they come. Like many of us, I’ve been stuck inside for well over a year and life has felt rather stagnant, so it’s exhilarating (and a little daunting) to have all of this change on the horizon. All I know for sure is that I plan to keep writing. The future feels bright for the first time in a while. There are no guarantees, but I’m full of hope.

Sage

Non-Fiction

Queer4Queer

Photo of Sage, a white non-binary person with short red hair, smiling slightly and wearing a blue baseball cap, jean jacket, and necklace with a quartz crystal. There is a bi pride flag hanging on the wall behind them.

I am Queer4Queer.

I’m a queer person. I identify as queer. If you want to get technical about it, I’m bisexual. I am attracted to people of all genders.

At this point in my life, I am prioritizing sexual and romantic connections with women and non-binary people.

Though I am attracted to them, I have complicated feelings about dating men. There have been periods in my life where I’ve stopped dating men entirely in order to explore my queerness, prioritize relationships with non-men, and not feel like such a “bad” queer for consorting with them (though I recognize this last one comes from internalized biphobia).

I often go back and forth on whether or not I should keep dating men. Do I actually want to? Am I really attracted to them? I’m pretty sure that I am, but something as simple as going on a dating app causes me to question my sexuality. As I swipe through prospective male matches, I wonder, am I even attracted to men? I frequently look at their photos with disinterest, jokingly thinking to myself, all of these men are just so . . . men. I don’t think that’s what I mean though. I think what I mean is: all of these men are just so straight.

I think that might be the issue. Most of the time, I’m not attracted to your typical cishet dude. I don’t often find myself drawn to straight women either. I’m a queer person. I resonate with queerness. I’m attracted to queer energy.

What I’ve been coming to realize over the past few years is that I have no interest in pursuing sexual or romantic connections with people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. I’m attracted to people of all genders, yes, but the majority of the people I find myself attracted to are some flavour of queer—whether they be lesbians, enbies, bi dudes, etcetera. I’m Queer4Queer. That’s it. That’s my sexual orientation.

It’s not that I’m not attracted to men at all, it’s that the vast majority of cishet guys just don’t do it for me.

I also just want to be with other queer people, other people who carry queer energy and experiences. In general, I’ve had a better time dating queer folks than I have dating straight cis guys. I won’t list all of the reasons why in this piece, but suffice it to say that queer dating has felt more comfortable, intimate, and safe for me.

Is this it then? Has the ever-questioning bisexual finally figured out their sexuality? Probably not, but I feel like I’m closer to understanding it now than I’ve ever been.


Note: I’m using “queer” in this piece as an umbrella term for members of the LGBTQ2S+ community. I recognize that not everyone vibes with or uses this word, and that’s totally fine. I wouldn’t refer to a specific member of the community as queer unless they identified that way. However, I believe in all of the reclamation work that’s gone into it and see it as an acceptable umbrella. It’s also a useful shorthand to use when referring to the community rather than awkwardly writing out LGBTQ2S+ each time.

Poetry

Happy Birthday, Dad

Photo of a sky, lake, silhouetted trees, and a boathouse. The sky takes up most of the photo and is full of dark, tumultuous-looking clouds. The trees, water, and boathouse are shrouded in shadow.

Content note: this piece deals with addiction, abuse, and intergenerational trauma.


I wish my father a happy birthday.
He tells me he’s drinking again,
And that he hardly heard from anyone.
I can only ever write poems about him.

Write back, he always says.
His emails come quickly, contain hardly anything.
Write back, he always says.
Write back.

I have to come up with more to say, more that I can share.
There are so few safe topics to choose from.
He wants to see me. I don’t know if I can let him.
Just a few years ago, seeing him on the street would send me reeling—
Running, hiding, heart pounding, panic swelling.
I don’t know if he ever saw me run away.

I don’t know how to write that fear into a poem,
And perhaps this is where I fail as a poet.

I never thought I would speak to him again,
Never expected to write to him.
Five years of estrangement passed,
And then I did.
Something within me shifted.
Words like abuser, monster, Jekyll, and Hyde
Moved over to the side—
Making room for
Illness, sickness, and intergenerational trauma.
It took five years for my fear to begin melting,
For my anger to start eroding,
Revealing layers and layers of fresh-cut
Pain,
Confusion,
Compassion.

Write back, he always says.
Get your brother to write to me,
And write back.
Write back.
Write back.

What more can I say, Dad?