I Must Write

Photo taken through a store window of an old toilet surrounded by a bunch of stuff, such as a mini toilet, pipes and parts, a faucet, a pair of glasses, a pipe wrench, a rotary telephone, and more. There is a wooden box at the back of the toilet with the top half of a toy Santa sticking out of it. Apartment buildings are reflected on the top right part of the window in blue light.

I moisturize, prepare my tea.
I turn on my music, put my phone on a box of salt.
I send my cryptic messages about the moon and rust.
I change into clean clothes, remember I have laundry to do.
I allow a song to play through in its entirety.
I open my notebook, realize my lips are chapped.
I get up and go to the bathroom.
I check my phone again even though I know better.
I pause over my desk, lost for a moment.
The blank page is daunting,
But I cannot avoid it any longer.
I am faced with what I have to do.
With every distraction but my mind removed,
I must write.

Published by Sage Pantony

Sage Pantony is a writer, poet, and zinester. They write about gender, sexuality, mental health, trauma, creativity, and the best ways to cook eggs. They are the author of several zines, including a trilogy about transitioning as a non-binary person. Sage’s work has appeared in publications such as Coven Poetry, Idle Ink, and The Varsity. They currently reside in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal with their pet dinosaur, Peter.

4 thoughts on “I Must Write

  1. This is why I just upgraded my iPad to the 12.9” model, because it gives me more room to compose my journal and blog enteries, and it feels like a proper laptop replacement. After years of netbooks, tablets, and large phones, it’s great having that larger form factor again to write, compose, create more easily again. I was thinking just upgrading from the iPad Air to the smaller 11” Pro model, but now that I have a stable paycheck again, why not just go ham and all in? I could have gotten a MacBook, but it doesn’t have the touchscreen, and I use my Pencil to actually handwrite my journal enteries; maybe for others it’s not the same as jotting in ink on paper, but for me it’s more about the motion, not the material. I also don’t like device redundancy, and now that the iPad has mouse support, for me my iPad is my computer. This is why I say I am in the iOS ecosystem, not just the Apple one, because all my devices and their peripherals are linked to my iPhone or my iPad. I got no Mac, don’t want a Mac; it’s UX is just too dissimilar still to that of iOS, that it turns me off. (/ends fanboying) But that’s just me, I know everyone has their own ecosystem preferences, and I know there’s plenty of 14-15” laptops cheaper than my new iPad setup, and writing programs that are exclusive to Windows only that many writers are more familiar with than any iPad app. But the iPad 12.9” with Apple Pencil I think is still far cheaper than any Wacom with a screen to draw on, for the artists reading this!

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    1. Oh, cool! So you handwrite on an iPad? I’ve never tried that before. Might be something I’d like. I tend to write my poems by hand the old-fashioned way and type them up after. I write prose on my laptop. There was a period when I would write everything by hand, but having to type it all up after was way too time-consuming! I like the idea of being able to write by hand but having a device automatically assist with the transcribing.

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      1. Getting an iPad with one of the Pencils can be pricey, even the base iPad (USD$329) and first-gen Pencil (USD$79) can be pricey; many people don’t like the plastic-on-glass feel, so get matte screen covers to recreate more of a paper-feel (I have heard avoiding PaperMate, which is often a sponsor of Apple-using YouTube channels), but there are other styluses that also can replicate at least the writing function of the Pencil (just not many of the drawing aspects, which I think for you as a writer may not be a priority).

        I journal several times per week by hand on my iPad, setting by default their thinnest line grid in the first-party Notes app—though there are PLENTY of third-party, paid, ad-free apps that focus on journaling, note-taking, writing by hand instead of typing. If you get the Pencil as well, there is a feature called “Scribble” that transcribes your handwriting into type along the way.

        If you already got a Mac or Macbook, you can also use a feature called “Side Car”, which both allows your iPad to be set as an additional screen, but also allow for touchscreen/Pencil input. I don’t have a Mac—I just upgraded to the 12.9” iPad Pro so I could use it as a laptop, not just a mere netbook—so I can’t vouch for how or how well this works, but there’s plenty of videos on Youtube from writers who can illustrate various ways they use this.

        If you get an iPad with the Pencil, I also recommend getting a few extra tips (USD$5 for a 4-pack) as well, especially if you get a matte screen protector to better mimic the feel of traditional writing. The matte finish wears down the tips over time, so it’s a good idea to have extras. There are also third-party tips to mimic different types of pens on Amazon and other sites, if that helps.

        I am a big supporter and advocate for the iPad as a fully-functioning alternative to the traditional Wintel laptop. Sure, there are still limits comparatively, but it’s so much more versatile to use. And, yes, it supports mouse input as well. Get a stand and bluetooth keyboard to keep costs down. I just sprung for all the first-party stuff made by Apple because I’m a just a big ole fanboy. 😆

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