Back in the summer of 2012, I started work on a preposterous little story called The Sparkle Chronicles, which was, to be out front about it, a straight-up Thwarted Romance between one of the Mane Six of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and an actual human not entirely unlike me. To my amazement, there was demand for a continuation of the story; I left the original ending somewhat ambiguous, and some people read that as the setup for a sequel. I duly provided a sequel, and then another one, and, with apologies to Douglas Adams, we're now in the fourth part of the trilogy, in which the two ponies — a lot has happened, wouldn't you say? — have just gotten married, in the first Royal Wedding since the bride's big brother married one of the lesser princesses.

Inevitably, there would be a reception, and almost inevitably, you'd have heard this song:

While the groom is, by his own description, a "mere earth pony," it's a largely egalitarian relationship, and it seemed to me that he ought to get a song to sing, especially since he sang a couple of songs in the third story, Somepony New. (Specifically, a couple of standards: "I Only Have Eyes For You" and "There! I've Said It Again.") He argues that he's a lousy singer, but they don't see him that way because they don't know the songs and therefore have no idea how far off key he is.

So I started scratching around for something he could sing at the reception, and for some reason, this silliness crept into my head:

Our Twilight Sparkle is just twenty-three,
Just wed a pony who's older than she,
And if you're thinking this isn't so bad,
You must consider, he's old as her dad.

And I laughed because it was, well, silly.

But then, I don't think this weird little off-kilter semi-blues by Joe Walsh would have occurred to me if life had been bad: the original's blithe recital of rock-star factoids is hard to appreciate if you're wallowing in the Slough of Despond, as I have done several times in my first fifty-nine years. (For the record: Desert Brush, the groom in question, is sixty-one; Joe Walsh turns sixty-six later this month.) I seem to be doing a lot less of that sort of wallowing these days, despite a fair amount of physical deterioration, which I attribute largely to the reduction of anxiety that comes from giving up hope.

Which, as an explanation, is more facile than factual. Much of it, I suspect, is actually due to coming to grips with the idea that things could be a hell of a lot worse, and yet for some reason they're not. Surely some of it stems from a successful emotional shunt: the more time I spend on this fantasy romance, the less time I spend grumbling about not having a real one. (In practice, my dating behavior, to the extent I actually have dating behavior, more closely resembles that of Broken Spoke, a fiftyish pony in my standalone story The way she used to be, who is forced to come to grips with the idea that he's never quite gotten over a foalhood crush.) And maybe there's a slice for the reception my writing has been getting all these years, which, I continue to argue, is far better than I could possibly deserve; even this brief foray into fiction has drawn actual fans. I run a work-in-progress blog elsewhere; earlier this week I got what amounted to an actual fan letter, from someone who'd gone to the trouble of reading my stories and may or may not be thus inspired to try some of his own. Believe me, I can squee with the best of the fangirls.

So maybe borrowing a bit of Joe Walsh attitude, laughing all the way, is precisely the way I need to go with this story. I'm still wavering: I'm barely a thousand words into the chapter about the reception. (Then again, I got the entire ceremony into barely a thousand words.) If there's a downside to it, other than potential copyright issues, it's that Twilight Sparkle, for all her magic and all her amazing adventures, will never get to ride in a Maserati at a hundred eighty-five miles per hour.

At least, I don't think she will. But this narrative has fooled me before.

The Vent

#843
  1 November 2013

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