Why Is It So Hard to Keep Making Art When I’m Falling in Love?

Photo of a leafless tree in a park taken at dusk, with glowing yellow streetlights, other trees, and a pale blue sky behind it.

Why is it so hard to keep making art when I’m falling in love?

I release a zine called How to Keep Making Art at a time when I’ve fallen in love and am struggling to make art. I strain to finish the zine and postpone its release date by over a month as I scrape it together. I am exhausted by this process and awash with irony.

The line disconnects. I fall out of love and back in again. The period of reprieve is quite short, but that’s what I wanted, isn’t it? To be in love again?

Instead of writing, I take the metro to my new lover’s house. I stay over later than I intend to, always.

I am distracted and unfocused. I am never getting enough sleep. I am falling in love with another human being. I am flooded with happiness, and I am also very anxious. My therapist and I talk about how excitement and anxiety are the same feeling wearing different lenses.

I always lose my mind a little when I fall in love. I have to tell my lover that I am not usually this unstable, I promise. It’s just that this is new and intense, and I am terrified.

Reactions to this disclosure tend to vary. I can tell you, however, that this person knows how to hold me.

I run home late at night before turning into a pumpkin when I stop to check on how my tree has fared in the recent ice storm. I need her to be okay. She’s lost some branches, but she’s stood the test of time. She’s all right. I lean my head against her trunk and write a poem. It’s the first poem I’ve written in weeks. I tap it out on my phone, kiss her, and then make my way to bed. I turn into a pumpkin.

I am tired all of the time but never stop long enough to let the fatigue catch up. I am not writing, and that makes me sad. I am allowing myself to be swept up, taken in, and absorbed. I don’t know how to love any other way. I’ve tried.

This is neither good nor bad. I am riding the waves of a new intensity, is all. I will come back down to earth. Trust me, I always do.

I wanted to sleep in later but kept thinking about the rice they gave me and how much I wanted to sweeten and have it for breakfast. Sweet rice is the next best thing to cereal, and it’s all gone now.

I can’t keep moving at this pace. I need to slow down before I have to stop. That’s the key, you know—slow before you are forced to stop.

I am a writer who is barely writing. Everything else takes precedence. I am not protecting my time like I used to, but neither am I wrapping myself in a cocoon and hiding away from the world. I am running through the city streets in the afternoon and late into the evening. I am visiting my love. I am bringing us pie. We are wrapping each other up.

I believe I can have both love and writing, that these two essentials can co-exist. They just have to make room for each other.

I just have to slow down long enough to check on my tree and type out a poem—to make note of what is happening. Because what is happening is scary, brilliant, and beautiful. It will not consume me whole because it never has before, and I will come out the other side and find the words again.

We joke about how you won’t die alone if you die on your stairs while wearing my shoes all wrong. I thought I would die at thirty. I can’t say I’m ready, but I am grateful. Grateful for all the love and poems I’ve given myself to over the years.

I run home late at night before turning into a pumpkin, and the city around me is radiant with life, and I am radiant with life, and so, of course, out comes a poem.

I spend yet another day at the computer
While the world outside freezes over
A lovely Montréal ice storm in April
Is it ’98 all over again? The internet asks
Icicles form on my bicycle
Tree branches pierce windshields
And sheets fall off skyscrapers
Evening comes, and I want cereal
My lover says, don’t go out, no
Not unless you really have to
So I stay in and look out the window
At our newly frozen April

It isn’t until I go out the next day
And see the extent of the devastation
All the trees that split and fell
My neighbourhood parka battleground
That I know I must make time to see you
For you were there in ’98, and before
And you’ll be here forevermore
And I will love you
In no time at all

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.

3 thoughts on “Why Is It So Hard to Keep Making Art When I’m Falling in Love?

  1. I love love love this post! It feels so fresh or something. I especially love the transition from “I am radiant with life…” and then the poem. It brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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