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April 24, 2012

all right. the one thing that i rarely talk about – on here, or in person – is my personal life. i talk a lot about how i feel about writing and my frustrations and my fears about career and creative license and all the other stuff that makes me spin, but i don’t ever, ever blog about specifics in my “love life” (said in maria bamford voice) – for lack of a better term. know this: just because i don’t talk about it doesn’t mean that any relationships that i’ve been in, however brief or varying in the degrees of what people consider “serious”, didn’t mean the world to me at the time, and for some time after even. i would never consider myself still water all the time, but still waters do run deep, and just because i don’t become reactionary or fawn about someone doesn’t mean that i didn’t experience something lovely. i like to hold my cards very close to my chest. as well i should. in this age of all sorts of self disclosure, you can learn about someone’s relationship status changes in the span of seconds. people are cooing all over each others’ facebook walls, alongside statuses with pictures of food. (i don’t get it).

and it’s funny that i don’t talk about that, because i write a lot about emotional attachments i’ve experienced with the opposite gender. and i don’t mean vitriolic, hate-filled poems (okay okay there’s been one of those, but it’s not going to be stuck in the public eye). i mean that the men i’ve been involved with serve as powerful bases for male characters in my writing, whether it be poetry or stage play or, most of all, fiction. specific quirks that can’t even be thought up – because truth is stranger than fiction. people might assume that i’m all sorts of asexual when it comes to intuiting my way through relationships, but any time they read fiction of mine (or see a play) they’re experiencing a lot of what i’ve experienced. (meta? try having somebody you are seeing act as the male lead in a play you’ve written, with the character of the male lead being a conglomerate of men from your past. i think i had a stroke.)

and  don’t tend to date or have the romantic side of my brain lit up while i’m writing. i don’t even remember how i made it through the last period of my thesis. how could i have been fine-tuning my emotional intuition by seeing someone? i’m sure anything is possible, but it felt like… when i’m in the middle of a project as intense and exhausting as that, i didn’t want to be touched. by anyone. i didn’t want a hug from anyone at the end of the day, whether it was family or friend or other. i was completely absorbed in myself, and i had to be, because i was thrashin’ it. i was in a different world, like some alien abductee, or the time i saw a wooden horse explode at burning man… you know. i wouldn’t have been a very good girlfriend….



listen, the point of this blog is this:

to all of the artists (which is the demographic that i’m specifically speaking to in this post, but let’s get real, this can apply to anyone) who have beautiful tunnel vision, who don’t have sex when they’re working, who don’t date when they’re writing – to anyone who feels that in order to create something they have to focus on themselves, their computer screen, the infinite worlds they’re creating and working in – rock. the hell. on. i have recently stated that “maybe my baseline for the need for companionship – at this stage in my life – is lower than other peoples’.” that statement is often meant with an ill-disguised shock, especially when i go on to say that i’m truly enjoying what i’m writing about right now – a specific non-fiction project that is just struggling to find its way out. writing and focussing on writing, solely. i trust the gut, and the gut is chanting write write write write. am i immature for feeling that? or am i actually incredibly mature? spending time with myself is one of the most powerful and brave-making things i feel i can do, whether it’s eating cheese in a queer coffee shop in toronto or marching through a desert armed with a water bottle and a fanny pack. far be it from me to judge anybody based on their relationship status, but if now is the time to have lots of adventures and collect the fodder for writing that’s to come later, then that’s what i’m going to do. fun fact: i travelled to ireland to do research for my thesis, two summers ago. i guarantee that i wouldn’t have been able to do some of the informal interviews that i did if i had had a partner there with me. there is a certain informality to a young woman travelling on her own – i was no visible “threat”, and because of that, people trusted and spoke and i gleaned a lot of information and gossip, the truest kind of information there is.

i think that we go through fallow and reaping. i finish a project and suddenly my neck straightens up like a stem and i feel a bit like a flower that hasn’t seen sun in a while, and that’s when i know it’s time to start being a social being again. i take a huge breath and realise that it’s turning to spring and i’d like a kiss. i focus – hard – on one thing at a time. that’s the way my brain works. and i shouldn’t be shamed for that – ever. i used to feel guilty (guilty!!) about not dating – not dating more than one person at a time, not dating in what i thought was a sanctioned manner, not dating for “practice” (what the hell was that about?? why would i want to be hurtful to other people and go on “faux” dates?? such malarkey).

i recently had someone ask me if i had been a heartbreaker at age 17. i laughed in his face. no, i said. i wasn’t. and i didn’t feel bad about that, which is when i realised that i had turned the corner from feeling guilt over what others might consider a stunted romantic history. i’ve written a book. i’m the youngest person in my mfa program year. i’m a graduate. i’m doing all right.

do what you do, aye? and don’t take horse-puckey for it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2012 8:43 am

    “spending time with myself is one of the most powerful and brave-making things i feel i can do, whether it’s eating cheese in a queer coffee shop in toronto or marching through a desert armed with a water bottle and a fanny pack.” love.


  1. artistic partnership | everywhere leonine.

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