Actual plaudits

Kind words for The way she used to be, from FIMFiction member Martian:

An incredibly deep and beautiful story, criminally under-appreciated.

I had no idea it was that good. I may have to read it myself.

Signals ahead

I quote these mostly because of their timely juxtaposition — and because timely juxtapositions are sometimes at the very heart of our existence.

Jack Baruth writes today in The Truth About Cars:

The notion of the crossroads as a sacred place is older than Robert Johnson, older than the blues, older than the automobile or the Romans who laid the first large-scale transportation network. The crossroads contains possibilities, changes, choices. It is where the gods live and the demons dwell.

And Sprocket writes in today’s “Help! My Heart is Full of Pony!” at DHN:

Regardless of whether or not you believe in fate, we all stumble into crossroads in our lives every now and again, and every now and again, there are moments in history when we, as an entire species, hit similar moments of truth. That’s when opportunities come along to make a difference in a big big way. If you read up on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, you’ll find dozens of stories of everyday people who tipped the balance of a very delicate situation and almost caused a nuclear war, and dozens of other stories of everyday people who just barely tipped it back. We are all alive, here on this planet, enjoying My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic right now because of those who succeeded.

Now Baruth is talking about something concrete, or at least something set in concrete: the controllers for future “driverless” vehicles. Sprocket is talking about something abstract: the choices that face us, and the factors we must take into account. But both, ultimately, deal with the same problem: making decisions on the basis of the information we have, whether or not we have all of it.

I have several intersections to cross as my life begins to wind down. I hope to be carrying the proper tools to guide me, whether they’re somewhere on the ground or somewhere in the sky.

Recoming distraction

You might remember this from October:

I’m starting to home in on a concept. It’s primarily a CMC story, with a guest appearance by Sweetcream Scoops, who’s older than they are but who is perfectly capable of giving them questionable advice. And it’s (vaguely) based on a true nonpony story.

I said later that I’d shelved the idea. I’m thinking, though, of pulling it off the shelf and giving it another chance, though I still don’t have what I think of as a proper ending.

Behind the scenes

One thing I should have done when I set this place up was to do something about the infernal number of post/page revisions WordPress likes to accumulate. There was admittedly one occasion when I did have the need to retrieve something, which leaves about eight hundred or so when I didn’t. So I did a little housecleaning today, shrinking the database by a nice, comfortable 90 percent. It’s not like I’m in danger of exceeding my disk-space quota at the host or anything, but I’d like to pretend, at least, that I do things efficiently.

Another tale in the works

   Twist is looking at you

The working title for this one is The way she used to be, and it’s based on an image macro I once saw that had nothing to do with ponies, but which was sad enough to stick with me. During an unplanned trip to Ponyville, a young colt meets up with a filly named Twist; forty years later, he can’t seem to get her out of his mind — or his heart.

I have no idea how long this will run. The exposition to set up the tale ran about 2000 words all by itself. For now, this link will work. I have no idea how long it will take to complete it, but I’m far enough into it now that I’d feel utterly horrible about abandoning it.

Update, 16 November: First chapter is now on FimFiction.

The semi-official TwiBrush timeline

Not to say that I’m actually going to write any of this, but these are the assumptions I’m working with:

1002: Twilight Sparkle steps through a portal and meets a human.

1003: Said human arrives in Equestria and is ponified — because, he says, it’s an irreducible aspect of being a Very Special Somepony. He takes the name Desert Brush.

1004: Twilight and Brush are wed in the Main Hall at Canterlot Castle. Princess Celestia presides. Rarity catches the bouquet — and keeps it.

1009: Twilight applies to be an Assistant Mage. The Archmage is dubious. Celestia intercedes, and Twilight’s application is rejected outright.

1010: The couple adopt a seven-week-old earth-pony colt, and change his name from the uncomplimentary Jetsam to the less-presumptive Arcade Fire. Twilight says the name came to her in a dream; Brush advises her to cut down her tea consumption.

1012: In the expectation of getting another chance at the Mage office, Twilight gives up her position at Golden Oaks Library. The Royal Office of New Technologies is relocated to Canterlot, where Brush, now running the show, has a staff of two. It is pointed out that Brush, now sixty-nine, technically is over the mandatory retirement age; Luna overrules the bureaucracy, saying that they have no way of knowing how long he might live.

1013: Twilight is appointed an Assistant Mage, the previous Archmage having failed to object from his deathbed.

1015: After a pregnancy that defied the medical establishment’s proclamation that ponies not born ponies, like Brush, were necessarily unable to reproduce, Twilight gives birth to Skyborne Dream, a pegasus filly. Brush, as it happens, was hospitalized at the same time; during the sixteenth hour of contractions, Twilight yelled “YOU DID THIS TO ME!” and propelled the stallion into the nearest wall.

1015: Brush takes not-all-that-early retirement to care for the foals.

1019: Twilight argues that there should be term limits for the position of Archmage, to the annoyance of the current Archmage. Celestia agrees, but specifies that the new ten-year limit will not apply to the current holder of the office.

1020: Twilight is appointed to the office of Archmage, her predecessor having passed on.

1022: The Royal Office of New Technologies is re-relocated back to Ponyville, and Scootaloo becomes the new director.

1027: Brush is hospitalized briefly following an apparent cardiac incident. No anomalies were found.

1030: Twilight declines a second term as Archmage, citing constant infighting in the office, and accepts a teaching position in the Department of Magical Arts at the University of Canterlot.

1039: Twilight is made a full professor and is granted tenure.

1042: Desert Brush passes away, six days before his 99th birthday. Celestia and Luna proclaim a Day of Mourning. Said Twilight Sparkle at the ceremony: “It may be truly said that never before was there anypony like him.”

Coming distraction

I’m starting to home in on a concept. It’s primarily a CMC story, with a guest appearance by Sweetcream Scoops, who’s older than they are but who is perfectly capable of giving them questionable advice. And it’s (vaguely) based on a true nonpony story. It will take a while, of course, but this is what’s on the table.

Update: I am indefinitely shelving this idea, and by “indefinitely” I mean “until I can come up with an ending that doesn’t look obviously forced.”

And that’s something of a wrap

The three TwiBrush stories — fourteen chapters, 40,000 words — are done, and frankly I don’t see how there can be a fourth one. Presumably they get married, and eventually he dies (he’s a lot older, of course), but I don’t have any particular desire to get into either of those scenarios just now.

Which means that I have to look elsewhere for another story. I have a couple of ideas, but neither of them are anything more than passing fancies just yet.

Another nomenclatural query

Trying to explain my characterization of Twilight Sparkle in the three TwiBrush stories went awry the moment I realized that there’s no pony equivalent for “She’s not what you’d call a people person.”

Now Twi has actually used the term “people” canonically, but “people pony” just sounds funny.

(Similar befuddlement here.)

I’m not one to brag

Well, actually, maybe a little. My story-reads count at FIMFiction went over 1,000 this past weekend, which is somewhere around ten times what I figured I’d get in my wildest dreams when I started messing with this stuff three months ago.

Anyway, if I seem a bit less Eeyorish of late, this is why.