Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Long-Delayed Admission

Let's not bury the lede: One Man's Pony Ramblings is closing its doors.

If you want or need to know more, I've got further information below the break.  But the big news is that I won't be resuming this blog.  It's been an amazing six and a half years; thank you all for making it such a fun and educational experience.

This has, frankly, been inevitable for weeks.  It's been a month since my last post, and I'd been sporadically updating for a couple of months before that.  But I've been trying to convince myself that things were going to turn around, and that when they did, I could pick up where I left off.

I've been debating how much of "things" to share; I mean, the knee-jerk reaction is to say that my business is my business, and all that.  But a surprising number of people have e-mailed or messaged me in the past month, to express concern or support, and frankly, that's been a comfort to me.  So the gist is this:

-For several months, I've been dealing with a chronic medical condition.  It's not life-threatening, but has resulted in frequent bouts of anemia.  I don't know if "bouts of anemia" is the right phrasing, but that's the English language for you.  Anyway, it (and the current treatments, which seem to be improving things) have made it hard for me to perform tasks that require a lot of focus, like, say, attentive reading and reviewing.

-There was a rather frustrating-and-exhausting-to-deal-with work issue before the New Year, too, though thankfully that's been addressed.  At least, until next school year, but frankly, I'm not thinking that far ahead right now.

-And in the last two weeks, a major health crisis for a family member has been unfolding, and it's very much uncertain what will happen day-to-day.

I hope I'm not being too vague, but I also don't feel comfortable being more specific in a basically-public place.  In any case, I've got lots of friends and family who I can count on, and a strong support network, so please don't take this as a cry for help; support and sympathy are appreciated, but I'm holding up.  I hope that's good enough to explain why the old "updates M-W-F" thing has gone the way of the dodo.

Anyway, I've resisted acknowledging this, but the fact is this: I'm not going to be able to get back to a regular posting and review schedule.  And while I briefly entertained the idea of scaling back or switching to an "update whenever" schedule, I know that that's not something I could keep up.  I need deadlines to be productive, and right now, I can't handle more deadlines than life is already throwing at me.  And I just can't see that changing soon.

To answer the blog-related questions: the OMPR catalogue isn't going anywhere, and I'm not deleting anything; the blog will keep existing, it just won't be updated further.  I'm not Leaving The Fandom Forever; you can still reach me at the same e-mail, or through my FiMFic account (I'm still up for casual reading; I don't know what I'd do if I literally couldn't read!).  Sometime in the future, but not necessarily soon, I'll probably put up a big honking retrospective with my thoughts about the OMPR "experience," and do a little tidying up around here (some of those links up top really need updating...).  If I ever do do any more reviewing, it will either be on FiMFic or I'll at least link to it from there, so that's the place to watch if you're hoping to hear more from me (which, to be clear, I am not promising).

And I'll probably hit on this more in that retrospective, whenever I get to it, but I want to take a moment to thank everyone who visits or visited this blog.  For the past six and a half years, you all have made fanfic analysis and commentary fun for me, and have helped me improve in countless ways.  I've made friends and gained insights that I never could have imagined.

(And, you know, the plushie was incredible too)

I may not be going away-away, but recognizing that I have to step back from this is still hard--that's why it's taken me so long, even as the lack of posts didn't pile up.  But I know that, as difficult as it is to give up something that's been a big part of your life for more than half a decade, this is the right choice for me now.  Thank you all again, from the bottom of my heart.


  1. oh :(

    Well, we'll still be here, too, for what it's worth. Thanks for six years of good reads.

  2. See you space cowboy
    ~Super Trampoline

  3. It was a good run! You got through all the 6-star EqD stories (at least all the ones that finished) and gave a whole lot of insight in our little corner of the internet regarding writing and reviewing.

    I'd say that deserves a firm pat on the back.

  4. It's been an honor and a pleasure brushing paths with you. Thanks for your insight, critique, and refreshing awesomeness. I wish you the best of health. You've always been a part of this fandom to be proud of.

  5. Oh my god you just got fucking slammed with life.

    I wish you the best of fortune in dealing with your personal issues, and perhaps we’ll cross paths on site.

  6. And Chris’ OMPR shall ne'er be read,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remember√®d—
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he who has been reviewed therein,
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    From such shall ponify his condition;
    And writers yet to be a-published,
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not there,
    And hold their awards cheap whiles any speaks
    That were well-rambled ‘pon in Chris’ blog.

  7. On a more informative note, this anemia thing sounds like what Archonix was going through a year or two ago.

    On a personal note, it's been a pleasure to read your thoughts each week, to help each other out with the occasional story, and to promote that wonderful intersection of good writing and cute horses. I'm honored that I've been able to call you a friend.

  8. It's the end of an era. Thank you very much for the 6+ years of insightful commentary, entertaining banter, and great fic recommendations. You certainly influenced me to think more critically about literature in general, and ponyfic in special, and for that I'm grateful.

    I always find this type of reassurance empty, but here goes nothing: I sincerely hope you can surpass in time your personal issues, that doing so doesn't cost you too much, and that you can bounce back as a better person than you are now. And if you ever feel like returning to ponyfic (or writing in general), I will certainly be interested in seeing what you come up with.

  9. I'm deeply sorry for all you're going through, and wish you the strength to handle all the challenges you're facing now. Thank you so much for an incredible blog run, and generally being a fixture of the community.

  10. I know I'm not the most eloquent with this sort of thing, but even if my words are clumsy, I hope you know that I mean them.

    As silly as it to say, this little slice of the internet has felt like home to me for a pretty long time.

    I've been reading your blog since I was seventeen (gosh!), which means that your horse-words have been a staple of mine for my entire adult life. I've graduated, found a job, lost it, and then found another and another all to the tune of One Man's Pony Ramblings.

    I sincerely wish I had left more comments, because I COULD have. Your entries had wit, brain, and soul. I'd read your blogs in the morning and think about them all day. They were special, and I really should have expressed how important they were to me.

    You might not remember, but I actually emailed you for some advice, all the way back in 2014 when I was writing my first piece of fanfiction ever. Frankly, I was a nervous mess, and the fact that you gave me a thoughtful and helpful response meant the world to me. Because of you, writing is a part of my life, and I'm so grateful for that.

    Thank you so much for this blog. It has been nothing but a joy for me during the past six years. It has been a definite and undeniable bullet point in the "Good Things" column of my life.

    I know we've never met, and I know we've never even exchanged very many words online (because it turns out I'm more than a bit of a Fluttershy even on the web). But please know that there is another person out there in the world who wishes NOTHING but the BEST for you.

    From the bottom of my heart, I hope there will always be a measure of peace with you throughout whatever events or changes life has in store. I know that these clumsy fingers typing on clumsy keys shaping clumsy pixels can't do a thing to actually help, but please know that I wish that they could.

    And just in case I haven't made it clear enough, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for OMPR! You've made the world a better place, at least for me.

  11. You are a wonderful human being, Mister Chris. Bless you and yours; may the hard times ease sooner rather than later.

  12. It's been great, Chris. Ever since I entered the fandom proper, checking this blog three times a week was part of my routine, and I'm sure a lot of people can say the same. This blog has always been a cornerstone of the fanfic community, and I sure hope you're as proud of it as you deserve to.

    Take care, man. Good luck with everything that's going on IRL, and thank you for these last six years.

  13. This blog led me to some truly wonderful stories that I will remember for the rest of my life. It changed the way I look at fanfiction, and showed me just how great of a storytelling medium it could be. For all of this, I thank you and wish you well on all your future endeavors.

    Godspeed, you magnificent bastard, godspeed.

  14. Even though I don't know you half as well as many of the people posting here, I hope it will still count for something if I wish you all the very best. I'm sorry real life has thrown so many difficult things at you. Every time I've spoken to you, you've been good to me. And, of course, thank you so much for the years of publishing one of the fandom's finest blogs all these years. This has been a wonderful achievement.

    1. Scratch "one of". This has been the best fandom blog I know of.

  15. It's been a long old ride. OMPR has pretty consistently been there throughout most of my time with the fandom, and it's going to feel strange without it. I'd dare say I learned a lot from reading this blog, and from all your help and advice that you provided personally for my own writing. I may have never gone to your school, but you're one of the best teachers I ever had, and I'm going to miss your lessons.

    Regardless of whether you'll review anymore or not, I'm happy that you'll still be around, and I wish you good health and happiness in your life ahead.

  16. Sorry to hear that life is hitting you harder. This blog is the entire reason I'm in the pony fanfic community, so it certainly has had a pretty big impact on my life. I don't even remember how I first ran across it originally. Followed it because of a guest post I think? Basically, the writing advice I got from here, in reviews and guest posts, was better than anyplace else.

    I'm glad life isn't pressuring you away from pony completely. Hope your health gets better even if you never resume the blog. Glad that you made a clean break rather than just letting it linger and fade into inactive oblivion. Your #2 spot on the Big Master Review List will remain in honor of your reviewing seniority and efforts.

    - Griffin (Singularity Dream)

  17. Thanks for all that you did. This was absolutely my favorite pony blog. It was informative and entertaining. It's rare to find something with such consistent quality. I didn't always agree, but I did always learn something from reading the reviews.

    I hope that whatever is ailing you and your family passes quickly. I would love to see a return of this blog one day, but even if it never returns, it was a shining example of what can be accomplished with love and passion for a product.

    And thanks for the personal help along the way on a few of my stories. It was greatly appreciated.

  18. Thanks for writing. I'll see you around.

  19. Gratitude for running the blog all these years, and my hopes that all the things in your life blow over soon. You've been regular reading for me ever since I entered the fandom, and you've consistently been one of the best reviewers out there.

    Best of wishes, best of luck, and dinnae be a stranger.

  20. Thank you so much Chris for creating and maintaining this blog for so long! I don't think I've ever commented on one of your posts but rest assured I've read most of them. This blog has been a staple for me in terms of MLP content and has revealed to me so many stories that I otherwise would never have seen. I'm not a writer myself but am in college so it's kind of mandatory and I feel that reading this blog has helped me to do better in that and to get more out of the stories that I read in my personal time; both fanfics and original works.

    I truly hope that everything ends up working out for you. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I hope whatever is ailing you eventually passes and, even if you never come back to the blog, are able to continue pursuing your passions elsewhere with the same love and dedication that you've demonstrated in this blog!

    Thank you for your work and contributions to the MLP fanfic community over the last 6.5 years! From all the comments above your work has been profound and impacted everyone from casual readers tuning in and developing writers who've no doubt been able to improve thanks to your feedback and critiques! I've been reading your blog for 5.5 years and it's been one of the most informative, thoughtful, and entertaining that I've ever had the pleasure to read! I wish you the best!

  21. Life hits hard.

    Hit back just as hard.

    Things get worse, then they get better. I'll be sitting here waiting for the wave to peak again. You get better. We'll wait.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Long comment accidentally deleted. In summary:
    *Chris met and exceeded his goal described in "How Roger Ebert Accidentally Created One Man's Pony Ramblings" of being a reviewer that informs readers whether or not they'll enjoy something regardless of whether or not they recommend it.

    *Many of Chris's posts (mostly categorized under "ramblings") have had a tangible, nonnegligible impact on my writing or how I live my life.

    I've read this blog from almost the beginning (either December 2011 or January 2012), and I'm sad to see it go. Hope everything goes well—or at least as well as possible—for you, Chris. Thanks for providing the only venue I've published creative writing on (I usually stick to nonfiction).


  24. Even though we have never spoke and I haven't even popped my head in to really say hi very much lately, I'm still going to miss you. I enjoyed your analysis much more than I tended to enjoy the works themselves.

    Something something penises.


  25. I'm not gonna lie, this hurt to hear. Kind of like when Thirty Minute Ponies closed up shop. But worse, because I've been coming here far longer.

    Let me just say thanks. For all the great new stories you pointed me to. For making OMPR such an interesting read in its own right. For the care you took in your analysis. Even when I didn't always agree when them—especially when I didn't agree with them—I always respected your even-handedness.

    I hope life stops kicking you in the teeth soon. I hope one day you can return to pouring your energy into something you love as much as you did OMPR. And I hope before season nine ends you finally get your Carrot Top episode.

  26. I know I haven't been following this blog for the past several months — sorry! — but I just wanted to say thank you for being such an important part of my life for over five years. OMPR was one of the first online spaces where I felt comfortable talking to others and not just lurking. I looked forward to reading each post and began to see you and the other regulars as friends. I never would've met Present Perfect, Bad Horse or any of the friends I've met through them if it weren't for you. You really got me into fanfiction for awhile there, and while I haven't been reading much of anything lately, I'll always cherish those days

    I've really missed this place. I miss Pascoite and I giving you shit about some minor errors — especially those consistent ones that were just so you — as well as the lively discussions. I've missed reading so many wonderful stories and discovering such great authors. Hell, probably my worst reading experience ever was because of your recommendation, but I still kept coming back and I'm even somewhat grateful because it taught me something about myself and instilled in me a greater sense of empathy. I miss how lacuna matata haunted me for an entire year!

    I don't know why I haven't been able to come here lately, but I just wanted you to know that it wasn't because I ever stopped loving this place. You'll never know what a hugely positive impact you had on my life (I'm only just now beginning to realize it). Thank you

    Is it silly that I'm actually crying over a pony blog?

  27. It's a shame to hear that. I will be praying for things to get better. God bless. Remember you aren't alone and there are people that care about you.

  28. I've been reading OMPR for 5 years on a weekly basis and have learned so much about story, about people and about myself through it.

    You've taught me literature analysis and helped me grow up into someone who understands this crazy world a little more than they otherwise would have. Thank you.

    I'm sad to see this labor of love stop, but if necessity calls for it, I'm glad you are making the right choice. Having the strength to follow through on your priorities and give us graceful closure is very admirable.

    Chris, you've helped so many people. Nobody could have expected this to last forever. I hope you feel as proud as we are thankful.

    - psychomotorboat

  29. nooooooooooooooooooo...

    I guess this was bound to happen. Not now, maybe, but there was always going to be a Last Update of OMPR.

    I still remember my first time on here. I was googling “best mlp fanfics” out of some combination of idle curiosity and a desire to distract myself, and somewhere between the screaming fanboys of Fallout Equestria and Past Sins I stumbled across this blog.

    I had never had any noteworthy interest in fanfiction. I only had a passing interest in published fiction. All the same, I wound up finding a lot to love through your reviews. And I learned more from you about what made a story – and what made a story good – than I have from anywhere else. So thank you, for showing me a world I had never appreciated before.

    And for everything that happened on the way. From reading the well-praised Off the Edge of the Map at your recommendation and loving it, to reading the even-more-praised Apotheosis and hating it. (I just couldn't get past Celestia's actions.) To watching you get so worked up about Brotherly Bond with growing amusement, and also... I don't know... pride? There's just something I admire about people strongly believing that personal tragedies deserve at least an effort to understand. And also to that one time I read An Absolutely, 100% Definitive Comparison of Authorial Quality aloud to a few friends, and we had a riot over some of the stories you managed to randomly pull.

    But that time I first found the blog, I was near-ish the lowest point in my life so far. A lot has changed since then, if not as fast as I would like, and as life gets more busy I've been less and less diligent at keeping up with everything you post. But it's been something I can come back to, when I need a break, or a pick-me-up. I'm sad to see it go.

    But yea. Real life. Medical stuff. Perfectly understandable, and I sincerely hope things get better for you.

    Also, shout out to the other readers, for making this one of the most respectful comment sections on the internet.

    Fare well, everyone.

  30. Super belated (as is my style), but I wanted to join in on the good wishes and thank you for the years of fond memories. It was awesome working with you on the RCL, of course, but beyond that, First Sentences In Fanfiction (and its ridiculous acronym) was always a joy to read, and your story analyses were always insightful. And I was far too thrilled when you finally reviewed a story of mine without extracting weird moral undercurrents.

    I hope that both you and your family's health crises pass uneventfully. Whether or not that resolution leads you back toward pony fiction, it's been an honor and a pleasure having you here along the way.

  31. Do you think you if you recover from your chronic condition you may resume this?