And so, the runup to the holiday ends. As usual, I'll be taking the 25th off to be with my family, and I urge you all to do the same--whatever "your family" means to you, spend some time with those people who make your life a little better, and who are there for you when you're at your worst. They won't be around forever, and can be gone without warning; let them know you love them, in as many words. Letting the people you love hear that simple truth is never a mistake.
And now, one last seasonal fanfic before we adjurn for holiday. Merry Christmas, and I'll see you all on the 29th!
Wassail, Wassail!, by Skywriter
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Cheerilee is not the pony she pretends to be for her students. But perhaps that's okay; who we are and who we aspire to be needn't be impossible to reconcile.
A few thoughts: Like the best of Skywriter's works, this story combines a quiet despair with humorous presentation for a heartrending but smile-worthy effect, before putting a gratifyingly uplifting bow on the whole affair. Although I've never been quite in Cheerilee's position, I can relate well to the gist of it (you can't be the same person when you're teaching young children that you were in college, unless you were a really weird college kid), and perhaps that feeling of personal connection enhances my appreciation of this fic. Be that as it may, Cheerilee's discontent is palpable, and the mildly self-destructive way she handles her feelings rings very true. And that's all without getting into the Wassailing, and the way it introduces a bit of Earth Pony lore which gives just the right weighty accent to a tale of self-acceptance. This story was a pleasure to read.
Recommendation: If you enjoy melancholy humor, especially of the sort where the latter element doesn't diminish the former, you'll find it here. It's also a good choice for readers who appreciate a story which can hold to a human scope while capturing a sense of ineffable grandeur. Also for CheeriMac shippers, I guess, but the rest of you don't have to worry; that part's played lightly, and like everything else in this story, beautifully.