I was helping a couple of married friends set the table the other day, and the husband of the pair was setting out the utensils incorrectly. I told him what side the forks, spoons, and knives were supposed to go on, and he shrugged and said he'd probably have forgotten by next time.
I replied, "There's an easy trick to it. You seek, 'fork' has four letters, just like 'left,' so it goes on the left. 'Knife' and 'spoon' both have five letters, just like 'right,' so they go on the right. Now then, 'knife' has an 'i,' like 'inside,' so it goes nearest to the plate, while 'spoon' has an 'o' like 'outside,' so it goes on the outside."
At that point, his wife (who had been listening with some amusement) chimed in that all you actually have to remember was that the utensils go in reverse alphabetical order. Apparently, I've been remembering my table settings the hard way all this time.
No real point to that story; just thought it was funny. Click down below for a totally unrelated (but hopefully worth reading) bit about commenting on fanfics.
Let me start with a confession: I've been getting bad about commenting on stories, lately.
That may seem like an odd thing to say, considering that the majority of this blog is commenting on stories, but I'm not talking about reviews (short- or long-form). I'm talking about leaving post-reading feedback on an author's story, whether in a comment or a private message or e-mail. It's something that I've been doing far too little of lately.
When I first came into the fandom, I was often hesitant to leave comments, especially negative ones, because of past experience with other fandoms. But thankfully, I've found that ponyfiction as a whole is more receptive to constructive criticism than I feared. Sure, there's the occasional outlier, but it would be small exaggeration at most to say that 99% of the authors whose stories I've left feedback on have either taken it positively, or at the least not made a big stink about how I don't know what I'm talking about or don't respect their vision or whatever.
In fairness to the inhabitants of those previous fandoms, I should point out that tact is something I've at least begun to learn in the intervening years; time and practice have made me far better at avoiding insults and sweeping generalizations than I used to be. Still, my point stands: the authors in this fandom, by and large, are very receptive to honest comments. And in any case, commenting on a story is just a nice thing to do; whether it's to explain to an author what you didn't like, praise him for what you did, or both, that's a valuable service.
So with that in mind, I'm going to re-dedicate myself to making an effort to say something to the author about stories that I read. Not for the 6-star stuff (I'm pretty sure every author who's written a 6-star fanfic has been pointed at me by now, anyway), but when something goes up on EqD or FimFic or is linked to me that I decide to check out, I'm going to leave a comment after reading. Even if it's just one sentence, "I thought this was very funny, thanks for making me laugh" is still better than nothing. It's easy to forget, or to simply decide not to bother (especially since I'm often reading stories a week or three after they're "published," after the initial flurry of commenting has ended), but I'm going to try to do it more often.
So, to my PSA: remember to comment on people's stories! If you're at all like me, then perhaps you too need an occasional reminder. For my part, I've got a couple of messages to write.