There’s a very simple reason to read today’s story: it’s an intimate and moving portrayal of a troubled relationship.
Just Give Me a Reason
[Romance] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 3,653 words
[NOTE: This story contains sexual themes.]
She waited for Rarity’s face to bloom into softness, the way it always did when Rainbow made some big romantic gesture like this. Rarity’s face stayed impassive. But she smiled. It was a smile that was reserved and slightly tired—barely genuine. The warmth in it was quiet, self-contained.
And that’s when Rainbow’s entire world came crashing down.
She did not need her any longer.
FROM THE CURATORS: “Call me a sucker for tragic romance,” Present Perfect said as his vote spurred this story to its feature, but this story was richly rewarding to more than just genre fans. “Even though this one had my guts twisting almost from the get-go, I loved it,” Chris said. “It uses the relationship that’s falling apart as an opportunity to explore its characters, and to really get inside Rainbow’s head in particular, all while offering authentic and rewarding hope.” He wasn’t the only curator commenting on authenticity. “As someone going through an amicable divorce, I can confirm that this is heart-rendingly authentic to the way that two people treat each other when they care for each other but are no longer quite in love,” Horizon said.
Those two people — or, rather, ponies — were central to what made this story exemplary. “The author sells me on the romantic relationship right from the start,” AugieDog said. “Of course, ‘romantic’ is probably the wrong word, but the portrait of the two characters in the dust and ashes stage of things is just marvelously well done.” Present Perfect also agreed on the excellent character portrayals. “What really makes this work is you can’t tell this story with two other characters,” he said. “More to the point, this is very obviously a Rainbow Dash who’s been Rarity’s marefriend for three years. She can read Rarity like a book; she understands nuances of decor! She can, in a perfectly matter-of-fact manner, talk about her feelings. It’s one of the most believable ‘the ship already happened’ stories I’ve ever read.”
That sense of realism drew us all in, and the end result was a story that was gripping and powerful from start to finish. “This hooked me early, and my engagement extended straight through until the very end of the story,” Chris said. “The very end of the story provided perhaps the most honest and believable reason for Rainbow Dash and Rarity to be in a long-term relationship I’ve ever seen, and managed to somehow be completely cynical and emotionally reaffirming at the same time. No mean feat, that.”
Read on for our author interview, in which SleepIsforTheWeak discusses invincible bouncing, sweet torments, and the benefits of professional jealousy.
Give us the standard biography.
Ugh. I’d rather not, but very well.
I was born and raised in Russia, adopted when I was 10. I’ve been writing fanfiction and original stories since I was about 12 and have wanted to be an author professionally since I read Harry Potter when I was 13. I’m 22, now, and in the military, which is a secure job that pays alright but leaves little time for writing. But I manage, and I’m relatively happy.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I have insomnia. Also, I am a big fan of Friendship is Witchcraft — who isn’t? — and in the episode “Cherry Bomb,” Pinkie utters the line “wake up Applejack, sleep is for the weak”, and well, there you go.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Pinkie Pie. I’ve always been attracted to happy, near-spastic individuals, brooding loner that I am. I grew up surrounded with a lot of people that marched to the same tune that Pinkie does. Being around those kinds of people simply makes me feel invincible because those people don’t judge you, and they’re a joy to watch as they bounce and dance through life, cracking jokes the entire time.
What’s your favorite episode?
Any Pinkie-centered episode. Like I said, I love watching her do her thing.
What do you get from the show?
An awesome community at which to throw my fanfics.
What do you want from life?
To be a published author. To find a pretty girl who can stand my company enough to want to spend my life with me. Three kids.
Why do you write?
Because it is the sweetest of torments, because it is the one thing I cannot rive myself from. Because I get ideas every time I take a shower or listen to music or go for a walk. Seriously, I can’t even shower without wanting to write. It’s kind of annoying, but it feeds the soul.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Read, read, read and write, write, write. And don’t get discouraged. Never get discouraged. Writing is a lonely, fickle, scary business and it’s easy to throw the pen down and give up. Also, get jealous of other writers; study them and their success. Ask yourself ‘how can I be more like that?’ Don’t copy them, of course, but be open to change your writing style if you find something about a certain writer that just makes you linger on them.
What is the value of a grand gesture, such as the one Rainbow Dash attempts at the start of the story?
It’s sort of a last-ditch effort, I guess. In the story Rainbow is grasping at straws. She thinks ‘Aha! Resort! Rarity likes those!’ Maybe distance from Ponyville and their monotonous lifestyle there will kick things back up. Plus, desperation. Desperation makes us do grand things.
What considerations went into the way you adapted the characters’ canon characterization to fit the premise that they’d been romantically linked for several years, e.g. Rainbow Dash’s easy familiarity with the nuances of decor?
I mean, couples drag each other into their respective interest all the time, yeah? Long before I myself ever had an interest in video games, I had a relationship with a gamer and he introduced me to the world of gaming. He also introduced me to MLP, and this story was based on him and I. I suppose I should probably thank him for that.
So, as far as the story goes, it was easy to provide tidbits of details about decor and the mood of the restaurant and blame it on “well, obviously, as Rarity’s marefriend, Rainbow recognized this.”
Do you consider Rainbow Dash and/or Rarity’s behavior to be cynical in this story, or “just” realistic? More broadly, what do you think is the difference between the two?
I myself am a cynic. It’s hard for me to be anything but one, and it transitions into my writing. This is the reason that, as much as I adore Pinkie Pie, I’ll never be able to write her.
I think that in the story the characters are as close to realistic as I could get them — maybe I missed a little bit, but I didn’t see any glaring holes in characterization. The only cynical thing about them is the situation that I drop them into.
A constant theme in this story is fear — fear of rejection, fear of the truth, fear of failure — and of exposing and confronting those fears. What message do you want readers to come away with as regards this theme?
We all fear things like rejection and failure, and we shouldn’t be afraid to let them show, even though, naturally, we are. Our fears don’t care. It is by facing rejection and failure and the truth that we grow and get over our fears.
There was some disagreement among the curators about what should be read into the story’s conclusion; some of us thought it was, in PresentPerfect’s words, “tragic,” while others felt it offered hope for a genuine, if not traditionally romantic, relationship. What’s your take on the state of Rarity and Rainbow Dash’s relationship going forward?
Glad you asked. I’m actually, like, 90% done with a sequel which more or less explains how they go about ‘going forward’.
Writing this, I never wanted to send the message of hope. I simply wanted to show that breaking up doesn’t have to be a dramatic, messy, angry affair. Sometimes love, romantic love, just flits away.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nope. Thanks for the interview.