As I mentioned last week, real-life stuff is eating up more time these days than usual, which means that it's becoming hard for me to keep up a thrice-weekly posting schedule. Luckily, the siren call of unpaid non-commercial essay writing is strong indeed, and I've managed to convince several of the better-known names in ponyfiction to contribute guest spots to take some of the pressure off. First up by virtue of being the first to submit anything is Arcainum, author of the soon-to-be-reviewed-by-yours-truly Harpflank and Sweets, among other things. Check out what he as to say concerning the roots of creative instinct, authors who deserve your attention, and a little bit about anime robots as well.
On that note, let's talk about super robots.
You may be wondering what towering steel behemoths piloted by fiery young men and women saving the world from evil and pastel ponies enjoying adventures and happy times in their pleasant but surprisingly surrounded-by-terrible-dangers village have in common. Well, to me, the answer is "everything," for both have made a noticeable difference to the way in which I view the world.
The key is optimism. GaoGaiGar, a personal favourite of mine, consistently espouses the philosophy that there is nothing a person cannot achieve if they have determination, that never-ending drive to succeed in the face of impossible odds. Though they face infinite enemies powered by the very stars themselves, they refuse to give in, and their faith in themselves and in The Right Thing is rewarded in victory. Also three spaceships transform into the handle of a giant hammer made of light that they use to destroy the Sun, which is brilliant, but that's not important.
What is important is that the belief in myself and in people's fundamental ability to Get Things Done that GaoGaiGar and similar instilled within me (I am but an impressionable youth of 23 and thus too easily swayed, alas) has only been reinforced by Friendship Is Magic. As a dabbler in many, many, many walks of life (my list of hobbies has, on occasion, been used to beat whales to death), I have partaken in many communities, but the Friendship Is Magic fandom consistently amazes me with its ability to take their situation - a surprise demographic in love with a show that all social convention says they should despise for fear of being, gasp, abnormal - and, through the application of nothing more than willpower, a friendly "so what?" attitude and a frankly worrying quantity of artistic content, have carved a niche for themselves in a world less hostile to them every day.
Though I am very much against making any Thing into a Big Thing that does not need to be a Big Thing (a crime of which many FiM fans are, we must admit, depressingly guilty), I will confess that I am thoroughly inspired by what has been achieved by the community as a whole in but two short years. I myself had done nothing more than a miscellaneous scribbled paragraph per day for seven yearsbefore watching FiM, and, well, here I am, asked to write a guest post for a respected blog. For those seven years I had constantly been flirting with creativity, never committing, until FiM somehow gave me that final "what the hell" push into actually making something of my desire. It's a story I've heard a hyperbolic number of times amongst my friends in the FiM fandom.
And that is what ponies and robots have in common. From tales of machines battling gods I gained the will to never stop trying, to keep that spark of creation alive until the day I die because a spark, no matter how dim, is but a flame waiting to be rekindled. And Friendship Is Magic, through whatever wizardry that blasted show employs, gave me something to be passionate about again, gave me a group of people who are always making to take my cue from.
I often hear it said that the FiM community inspires people to create. But I believe it inspires people to follow through. So if you've been keeping that spark alive, unable or unwilling to give it just one more serious try, go crazy. Fan your heart out. Turn that speck of light into a metaphorically-dubious incandescent hammer the size of a small planetary body. Write a story, draw a picture, pen a tune, start a blog. Whether you create with pastel ponies, with shouty robots, with jellied eels, with whatever you find when you rummage in your soul…create.
And never, ever stop.
Now that I've proved to Blueshift I can totally write a post about robots and ponies and make it semi-coherent, and in a desperate attempt to make this post actually about ponyfiction specifically, I shall leave some recommendations for you to do with as you wish. And by "do with as you wish" I mean "investigate and then return here to comment upon, forever fearful of my searing gaze upon your back," by which I mean "you know, if you want.," by which I mean "but it would be really nice if you did."
Um, yes. Anyway.
Firstly, Norse Pony. A consummate villain and indelible cad, he is everything that is wrong wi…I'm sorry, wrong post. Norse is a fine person and a good writer, and nothing more really need be said. He is also, I would not so subtly add, a mod at the wonderful blog Thirty Minute Ponies(and its saucy sister Sexty Minute Ponies [Head's up: that's definitely a NSFW collection. Don't say you weren't warned. -Chris]), which I cannot urge you enough to investigate. TMP's prompt-a-day structure is emblematic of the "always keep going" philosophy that I so laud - no matter how busy one is, or how deep in the murk of inspirationless ennui, there's always half an hour spare. I implore you to give it a shot - I'm almost certain you'll enjoy yourself.
Secondly, Professor Piggy. Piggy is one of the nicest people I have ever had the fortune to meet (I do not believe I have ever heard him say a negative word in what time I have spent talking to him), and also a dab hand at placing words into an order pleasing to the mind. Do yourself a service and check out his work. He is also a mod at TMP (the double-recommend was, I assure you, unplanned!) and a regular contributor, and has produced some simply excellent flashfiction in that capacity.
Thirdly, Fedora Mask, whose instinct for comedy strikes the funny bone with such pinpoint precision that he instills as much envy in me as admiration. I am slightly cheating here because he has not actually produced very much in the way of pony but is currently halfway through several projects which, should the repeated contact between my boot and his buttocks have anything to say about it, should be finished at some point. Give him a Watch, and I promise you will not be disappointed when he is done. He is also involved in a number of frankly hilarious Abridged series under the name Duo Himura which, if you are a fan of the animus, I would urge you to try.
And lastly…No, that's it. I'm at 1,182 words and I think I've said all I can say without collapsing into a blubbering heap. I'd just like to end by thanking Chris for inviting to me write this post (I will say without shame that I, as I believe the current vernacular runs, "squee'd"), and you yourselves for taking in my blather with (oh please oh please oh please) no complaint..
It's been a pleasure.
So, that's our first guest post. Expect to see more in the next few weeks as my posting schedule allows (or rather, doesn't allow). Thanks again to Arcainum for the contribution!