A search for love, in all its glory,
Is central to our featured story.
[Romance] [Random] • 1,530 words
In a fantastical universe the bastard love-child of Edgar Allen Poe and T.S. Eliot got hooked on ponies.
The resulting poem, pulled through the void, is presented for your reading pleasure.
A (loosely) iambic tetrametric narrative of Twilight Sparkle struggling to understand, accept, and ultimately express, her love for Rainbow Dash.
FROM THE CURATORS: “When I start recommending poetry, you should stand up and take notice,” said Present Perfect, the RCL’s resident curmudgeon, as he brought this story to our attention. “This borrows heavily from the J. Alfred Prufrock school of poetry and excels for having done so. … It all comes down to ‘I hate poetry and I like this.'”
We did take notice — and it broadened our collective horizons, as Bradel affirmed. “This is probably the first pony poetry I’ve read,” he said. “It’s a lot better than I’d generally expect. The structure lends itself well to the stream of consciousness style, with meter and rhyme scheme shifting in a very natural way throughout the piece.” Chris agreed: “The pitter-pat flow came through clearly, and the mix of academic language and more conversational tone gave the poem a nice lilt, in addition to making it feel very Twilight.”
That mixture was used to good effect, drawing thoughts of yearning and lust out of a normally analytical character. The occasional suggestive turn of phrase was a distraction for some of us, but Bradel “found it very endearing. While it’s certainly not out of the ordinary for TwiDash fiction, it provides a few welcome twists in the flow of the poem.”
Overall, Racing Thoughts (which was originally posted as a single complete work, though unrelated poems have since been added to the story) was enjoyable for poetry fans and non-fans alike. As Present Perfect summarized it: “This guy can poetry. He can poetry good.”
Read on for our author interview, in which ambion discusses noble hobos, signs in the stars, and majestic and subtle ironies.
Give us the standard biography.
Twenty-three-year-old Canadian/Irish with what’s been called the noble hobo/vaguely jesus/mountain dweller look. It’s the goatee-esque bit that does it, I think. I train full-time in radio production with a local radio station and have quite a bit of experience in animal rescue. On my downtime I variously read, write, review, watch, game and brood. I’m pretty fond of tea’s many incarnations.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
My adolescence had a whole mix of various online and gaming names that I was never satisfied with. Finally I decided that I was not going to find the one I connected with and so decided to make it myself instead. I got hugely indulgent and somewhat clever in putting together the multiple puns and plays on spelling that go together to create ‘ambion’. For instance if you separate it into amb and ion, you can then spell lamb and lion, which make up my starsigns – year of the ram, born under Leo. There’s cute stuff like that, for my own tickly smugness. I’ve always thought of it as am-bee-en to pronounce, incidentally.
Who’s your favorite pony?
It’s pretty hard to not cop-out and say all six. At that though, I’d have to say Pinkie Pie. She often gives me the impression that she’s got the most awareness of the world. But sometimes not. But she’s certainly, absolutely dedicated to the cause of making people happy, and that’s a pretty noble ideal – both to have as a goal to aim for and to enact, moment by moment.
What’s your favorite episode?
A lot of the Fluttershy episodes, actually. “May the Best Pet Win”, “Bats!” and “Filli Vanilli” especially. Pinkie Pie might be my favourite pony, but Fluttershy makes the best episodes. That they’re all musical episodes too isn’t coincidental.
What do you get from the show?
A few odd looks and innocent questions when people find out, for starters. It’s nice to have one interest wholly outside the demographic for twenty-something males, for starters. A lot of storytelling has decided to go darker and edgier, a trend that started way back into the 90’s, so ponies make a welcome counterpoint to that. Then there’s this weird and wonderful community.
What do you want from life?
Satisfaction. Contentment. A wry appreciation for majestic and subtle ironies.
Why do you write?
When I was seven or eight years old I would complain about the poor narrative design and hellish status quo on Pokemon episodes. I think that was probably an early symptom. In person I talk fast, am often confusing, confused, by turns odd, manic, cryptic and full of bull. I write because in writing I feel I can communicate myself better.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Writing starts from the self. Find what you enjoy in the process and hold onto that. Like a treadmill for the mind, writing is still arduous, but with an inexplicable pleasure in it as well. Writing takes grit. But it pays dividends to those who keep with it. Somehow, by wringing your mind for creativity you end up with more than you started with.
What advice do you have specifically for poets?
Soak your thesaurus in kerosene and burn it. Beginners especially seem to think that the less like natural language their poetry is the more poetical it somehow will be. That’s simply not the case. Confident poetry doesn’t feel the need to prove that it’s poetry. It just is.
I’m not actually advocating book-burning, mind you. Just the sentiment.
Could you just talk a little about how you chose the metrics and rhyme scheme for Racing Thoughts?
I didn’t so much choose the iambic tetrametre scheme as I did comfortably settle into it. It’s traditionally the measure of lighter tones and romantic pieces, so it fit very naturally here. That said, I never rigidly held to the structures if the poem itself decided to wiggle about a little more playfully, which it frequently did.
How do you balance the emotional side of both poetry and romance with Twilight’s analytic, more detached outlook?
By writing. And rewriting. And rewriting some more. And getting heckled by pre-readers and editors. And guzzling tea. Racing Thoughts was black chai-fuelled, iirc. And then finding the inspiration. Work comes first, then inspiration. Tea helped.
The irony is that the poem didn’t just have to be balanced externally, internally it’s also fully about Twilight struggling to find that own balance in herself, about coming to acknowledgement, acceptance and consensus in her own mind. Once I latched onto that as a theme I wanted, it really set a precedent for me to structure everything around. So in a way and to indulge in some last-word pomposity: following Twilight’s efforts to reach that balance runs parallel to my own in writing a poem of this context. As she struggles, so do I.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Racing Thoughts is, without question, the best of any poems I’ve ever written anywhere. Read it. Comment. Spur me on to start another. Find the other poems you like on fimfic and spread the love. Spread it messily. Goodness knows the poets need it.
(Note: horizon recused himself from nomination and voting due to his prereading work on this story.)