(Note: We’re looking to re-feature three of our spotlighted authors, in order to offer them spotlights on stories more representative of their writing! Our “Correct the Record” contest runs through Sunday, April 23. Weigh in with your votes and nominations on our FIMFiction thread. For a “ballot” with a compiled list of nominations and voting links, check this spreadsheet.)
Today’s story brings home the consequences of war.
Feeling That Way
[2nd Person] [Drama] [Slice of Life] [Tragedy] • 1,020 words
You’re drenched in sweat and ennui. She’s fighting the enemy, and you’re fighting depression. Stuck forever in a nowhere town, you try to rise above inertia, but you only end up feeling useless. You’re always feeling that way.
FROM THE CURATORS: When stories tackle challenging topics and perspectives, it’s all the more impressive when they stick the landing. “While war fics are often a hard sell, this one works by recognizing that,” Present Perfect said in Feeling This Way’s nomination. “The threat is nebulous and frightening, and since the idea of war doesn’t fit into pony society, the recognition of that makes this feel like a distinctly pony piece.” And he wasn’t the only one impressed. “This is certainly a great story, capable of imparting powerful emotion in so few words, subtle in its details, and yet very direct in its approach,” Soge said. “It walks that fine line between melodrama and genuine emotion splendidly.”
But this story’s main claim to fame is more unusual: This is the RCL’s first feature with the Second Person tag. “The use of second person strikes a very tight balance,” Present Perfect said. “Third person would have been too distant for the emotions to hit home, while a first-person narrator likely would have been too familiar, spending time contemplating what certain emotions mean. Instead, we’re fitted into this pony’s life in no uncertain terms right at the start, and get to live out the story through his eyes.” AugieDog agreed: “For me, the 2nd person works in the sense of the character talking out loud to himself, and I found it quite effective given the dry and dusty sense of madness lurking around the edges.” And even the dissenters, like Horizon, were impressed with the power of the story. “I’m not as sold as PP on the benefit of the second person here, but that’s not the draw,” he said. “The big thing right is the effective and efficient storytelling that is packed into the story’s thousand words.”
That quality of writing was apparent both in the large and small. “I love how it manages to paint a history so rich in details without actually being explicit about any of them,” Soge said, while it was its thematic solidity which impressed Horizon: “All of the beauty is abstract and environmental to contrast with the personal doubt and pain, nicely reinforcing the main theme. The wham line at the end of the mine-tailings discussion is delivered basically perfectly, and adds a sense of layered tragedy.” The overall effect, as AugieDog said, was a hard-hitting short story: “This is very much about being frozen in place, but it still manages to present the reader with an entire world and a couple of characters who have to live in that world.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Super Trampoline discusses olines, happy horse noises, and strap-on horns.
Give us the standard biography.
AAAAAAAAAAAA HAPPY HORSE NOISES AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Ahem. Sorry about that. I didn’t think I was going going to be bestowed this honor for a while.
I am head of the SoCal Bronies Meetup group, which is the second largest such group in the world, and head of the SoCal Ponytones, a dysfunctional My Little Pony a Cappella choir. Catch us at all west coast conventions. Well, actually, we decided to just party at BABSCon. I mean we’ll still be there; we just won’t be doing 4-part harmonies. We’ll probably just shout familiar songs we all know loudly while very intoxicated. By the way, come to my 25th birthday party there! (Room 2021, Friday 4/14 and Saturday 4/15.)
Anyway, my first fandom was the roller coaster fandom. I grew up on Roller Coaster Tycoon (1-3) and Coaster Buzz forums, and when I was younger my dad and I would go on trips all over the country visiting amusement parks and riding roller coasters. I don’t see him anymore though because he started cheating on my mom about 5 years ago with his ten-years-younger secretary. He texts me occasionally. I just don’t feel comfortable seeing him now. But that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway when I got a girlfriend halfway through senior year of high school, I needed to make more time for her so I dropped roller coasters from my life. We broke up 2.5 years later in Spring 2012. I’m glad we had our relationship and we remain acquaintances, but I’m way too lazy/unfocused for her.
Anyway, my college roommate for the one year I was at Santa Clara University before dropping out because I was failing 2/3rds of my classes for a variety of reasons revolving around my laziness and procrastination and chronic procrasturbation and not having my mom as a support structure anymore and yeah… anyway my college roommate was a furry (before I knew entirely what furries were and was afraid to ask him about it. I’m waaaaay more open about stuff now), and I noticed he would watch this show that had apparently just come out called, well, you know.
So fast-forward to Summer 2012 and I need something to do while I’m hanging out at my soon-to-be-ex-church which is right next to Irvine Community College where I was supposed to be taking summer classes but was ditching them because I wasn’t prepared and I have this thing I do where if I’m not prepared for a class I won’t show up but then I just get farther behind it’s really bad. Anyway I remembered this My Little Pony show my roommate had watched, and I decided I should check it out. This was shortly after I had finished watching every episode of the Power Puff Girls, which obviously shares a lot of links with MLP. He shot me some links, and I watched the first episode, then the second, then the third, then the fourth, etc. until after maybe a couple of weeks I had watched every episode out at the time, all of seasons one and two. What’s crazy is that almost 5 years later there are a few episodes I’ve never rewatched since that initial binge.
I found the SoCal Bronies site because someone on OkCupid suggested instead of trying to find activity partners on a dating website, I should check out Meetup.com. I did, and found lots of groups doing things I was interested in, including a My Little Pony group. Looking back, it looks like I officially joined the group in March of 2013, an active member who regularly went to the monthly Orange County Potlucks. I missed going to the 2013 EQLA though. I basically joined the herd at the height of the fandom and it’s been all downhill since then. :P
Around this time, I started reading MLP fanfiction (I had previously read a few PPG fanfics), finding it on EQD and keeping track of it with browser bookmarks and favorites. Some of the earliest stories I remember reading were Three Hundred and Fifty and Magic, and Mayhem, and… Murder? Oh my… and Anthropology and Best Night Ever and Echo the Diamond Dog (RIP Rust!) and Statistics and Clockwork and A Mark Of Appeal and Princess Twilight Sparkle’s 505th Birthday (The author and I even started a collab that got nowhere!) and Sun Princess and The Keepers of Discord and TotallyNotABrony’s Roadtrip (he and I and DustyPony collaborated on a shitty sequel for BABSCon one year wherein I discovered I procrastinate a lot. Awks.) and The Eternal Song Which I’m SUPER SAD looks pretty dead because it’s such a great concept and It’s Not A Cold Dark Place (Original Version) and Mother of Invention and a bunch of other stories that I went and favorited once I finally made an account here which you can mostly find on the last page of my favorites bookshelf.
Speaking of making an account here, I finally got around to it so I could enter the Equestria Daily batpony fanfic contest. I used to hang out on EQD ALLLLLL the time! Anyway I wrote a chapter in the form of an interview which Present Perfect didn’t like (I ain’t finding that interview; that pony review spreadsheet always freezes my internet. Read more about that in the next question. Read the story here.
Anyway I had stories to tell and early on I went with adventures but I always got a few chapters in and then never updated again so now I mostly stick to one-shots but I have tons of partially written stories :((((((( I used to read a lot more than I would write, now the opposite is true. :( I procrastinate on reading just like I procrastinate on writing. But one story I always kept up on was Austraeoh.
Hey, you. You should read Austraeoh. It’s amazing. We have a Wiki.
And someday I’ll finish my epic hard rock song about it; you can listen to work in progress midi and loopy demos here.
And it’s an amazing community and Short Skirts/Imploding Colon is amazing and someday I want to make it to Florida so I can meet him in person.
Anyway, I originally wanted to be a roller coaster designer but I have a hard time focusing on lots of memorization and math even though I find math interesting I find concepts interesting I’m more interested in the creative artistic design side of roller coasters but that wasn’t going to happen so then I became a music major but kept failing all my non-music classes then I wanted to get a political science or economics degree but the same thing happened so now I just Lyft in Los Angeles, do Brony Stuff in SoCal, live in Tustin, and make music with my band, the Mighty Big Ifs in Santa Ana. And also I’m a Socialist and I’d like to run for local office next year.
Wow. That pretty quickly became unwieldy.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
There’s a mobile real-world strategy game for iPhone and Windows Phone I used to play called “QONQR” (on which I was the top ranked player for about half an hour some time three or four years ago; I’m still a forum moderator as well in theory, for I still get spam report emails from time to time), and I needed a cool user name for that. Well, late 70s prog piano pop rock band Supertramp is one of my favorites (Favorite song: “Take the Long Way Home”. Everything about it is perfect, especially the chord structures at the end and the way it slowly dies. The intro to “Bloody Well Right” is pretty swell as well), so I appended an “-oline” to that and BAM! Cool user name. Then, about half a year later when Equestria Daily ran its batpony writing contest, I decided my OC would be a Bat Pony, and hey, I had a cool name that would work perfectly for my OC! And thus I became Super Trampoline. My story wasn’t very good, and it didn’t get officially published until like a year and a half later because the mods kept failing the newspaper section for “being in script format”, but you can read it here.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Pinkie Pie and Twilight. I’m basically an exact cross between them, except with none of their work ethic. But my element is Generosity.
What’s your favorite episode?
“Magical Mystery Cure” is actually really good, considering how much they had to squeeze in. Imagine how good it would have been as a two-parter or even just like an extended episode. I love music and this had pretty good music.
What do you get from the show?
It’s simple fun and it’s enjoyable. But I have a saying: You come for the show, you stay for the friends. There’s a lot of newer episodes I haven’t even gotten around to watching yet, and I know the fandom is slowly dying and whatnot, but I’ve made so many amazing friends, many of whom I’ll have for the rest of my life. While not the show itself, MLP fanfiction got me back into fiction. I don’t think I’ve read a normal book fiction or nonfiction all the way through since that one year at university. But I’ve read millions of words of pony!
What do you want from life?
I’m a utilitarian. I want to reduce suffering in this world. I used to be a conservative because my parents were, but as I reexamined my views in college I moved from conservative to liberal to leftist. So much suffering is caused by conservatives, and I want to do my part fighting them, to the death if need be. Although I’m still completely terrified of death. Part of why I have problems getting things done and adulting is because I care more about others than myself. In fact, if I bore an Element of Harmony, it would be Generosity.
As far as personal goals, I want to continue to lose weight like I have been for the last half year, after a year of stagnation and 4 years of weight gain. This is connected with another goal. I want to get a girlfriend, and ideally get married and possibly have kids someday. I don’t want to be the 40-year-old-virgin; I turn 25 on April 19th, 2017. The last time I was in a relationship I was still of the mindset of not having sex before marriage. I’m not sure how I feel about that in retrospect. I don’t know. It’s a complex issue I probably shouldn’t delve into here.
I want to finish at least a few story ideas of mine that I think are really cool. I want to record more SoCal Ponytones stuff. I want to get a solid band together and finish writing and recording more songs. I’m great at starting them; rubbish at finishing them. (Sound familiar?) This includes a good half-dozen pony songs I’d like to finish before the fandom completely collapses.
I want to run for public office and win local elections, ideally eventually working my way up to California Governor. I know that’s probably not going to happen, but who knows.
As a utilitarian, there are a lot of conservative politicians I feel would better serve their constituents and country with bullets in their head. Had Hillary Clinton been assassinated, Bernie Sanders would have become president.
Oh and Richard Spencer and his fascist friends can all go die too.
This was my profile picture for a while:
I want to get in shape and learn how to fight so I can challenge Trump supporters to fights and then win. I’m a total wuss who hates pain and discomfort so this might be hard.
I want to learn how to be a sniper so I can uh… defend myself from fascists.
I want to actually finish one of my serious clopfics.
I want to come to terms with the fact that one day I will die, and as an agnostic, I don’t really have a clue what that means, and that absolutely terrifies me.
Why do you write?
Honestly, it’s a bit of an ego trip. I like the attention. I actually don’t really enjoy the act of writing. I enjoy the results though. That’s why so many of my stories are shitfics: they’re easy and quick, like your mom.
As you’ve probably figured out, I have neither the attention nor dedication to shit out words, so writing’s always a struggle for me. I have so many half finished projects, which you’ll see later. I have the exact same problem with music. It’s why I’m not a horse famous musician. Yet.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I guess for me, the hardest part is to just start writing. Once I start writing, I’ll write for a while until I burnout or get bored or procrasturbate, etc. So my advice would be: do whatever the fuck it takes to just get words out onto the screen because once you’ve started doing that, you’re past the procrastination phase.
What inspired “Feeling That Way?”
Writing stories based on songs and songs based on stories is nothing new in the Brony Fandom. Rainbow Factory and The Pegasus Device are classic examples. I’ve done it myself with: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/202903/behind-blue-eyes (The Who)
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/318697/the-times-they-are-a-changeling (Bob Dylan, written long before the episode fo the same name)
And after this story, https://www.fimfiction.net/story/360421/necessary-evil (Unknown Mortal Orchestra). I also have a few partially finished or unwritten stories based on song titles.
Shoutout to Closer-to-the-Sun https://www.fimfiction.net/user/Closer-To-The-Sun for kind of inspiring me: ALL of his stories have song titles! Also, he does a good job running stuff at Pacific PonyCon. <3
Anyway, I often feel a malaise of procrastination. Off my ADHD medication, I until recently was hungry and tired and lazy and hyper although recent anti-anxiety medication and personal care and therapy have helped. On my ADHD medication I can focus a lot more and get things done, but I often hyperfocus on the wrong things and also masturbate way too much. So I kind of took that sense of restless ennui and put it in a pony story. As Cold in Gardez said in … I believe maybe a Pony Fiction Archive interview? Lemme check … Okay, never mind, it was a guest spot on “One Man’s Pony Ramblings”:
So yeah I especially in the last two years have, when I’m not shitposting, written a lot of very human slices of life. For example, Whatever Happened to Melody Maker?
Was about artistic burnout.
Also, the town in this story is basically Nightvale if Nightvale was boring.
Why did you decide to use 2nd person narration?
“Stories about ponies are… oh I already said that. Ummmmmm hmm. I know that I came up with the idea and the picture Loooooong before writing the actual story. Like maybe a year and a half? Let’s check. On fimfiction it’s story number 332642. The closest number to that I have on an unpublished story is https://www.fimfiction.net/story/332987/we-choose-love which is apparently from early June. So I sat on “Feeling That Way” about five months after making the story on fimfiction. Often stories of mine either get written the day or week I come up with them or languish for years.
Oh, this was a question about second pony narration? Well I guess I wanted this to be very personal despite the detached manner of writing. Actually, my first big hit, which let me feel like I was a big kid at the adult’s table at the first BABSCon Author hangout, was White Space . It also had 2nd pony perspective, sort of. I’m still amazing and thankful Meeester let me get away with that formatting. So yeah, I use 2nd pony perspect here and there. I think I also used it on my Story where Silver Spoon is calling out Diamond Tiara, although there it’s more just third person addressing first person. Though I did call it: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/196111/second-pony-point-of-view
Do you plan out stories before you begin, or do you let them develop as you’re writing them?
Short stories, especially if they’re random or stream of conscious (Feeling That Way is an example of the latter) I kind of just let wander. Longer stories I plan out, but you don’t see any of those because I never get near finishing. In both cases, I basically like to start with seed sentences I know for sure I want to include and then work outward from those, eventually connecting sections and filling in gaps. Of course it’s those pesky gaps that are the hard parts. The most organized stories of mine are probably the first one I ever published https://www.fimfiction.net/story/132180/theres-a-changeling-on-my-couch-and-other-tails-from-the-far-north, which I’ll probably never finish but has a map and appendices for goodness sake, and https://www.fimfiction.net/story/270686/the-long-lost-576th-element, which I’ll talk more about later but hope will be my magnum opus.
Most of the 90 stories you currently have published on FimFiction are a good deal sillier than this one. What draws you to the [Random] sector of the storytelling universe?
The problem is it’s nearly impossible to get myself to focus on serious writing. And on finishing said serious writing. I have way too many stories in various stages of completion.
When I write these, I basically have to get myself to not care about quality because when I start caring about quality I start writing too much and getting bored/burnt-out before finishing a story, or I just shut down and don’t end up writing anything.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Go check out “Feeling That Way”’s sequel, “Anytime”!
Call me at (714) 496-3119.
My facebook is mostly shitposting and politics with occasional music and ponies.
Like my band , the Mighty Big Ifs on Facebook or any other social media!
Like the SoCal Ponytones on Facebook even though we suck! Buy our one single on Bandcamp!
I really want to finish https://www.fimfiction.net/story/270686/the-long-lost-576th-element. It’s going to be my magnum opus. Please help me finish it. It’s set hundreds of years in the future. Princess Snickerdoodle, Princess of Dandelions, isn’t an alicorn; she just has a gym membership and a strap-on horn bestowed to her by a fairly bonkers Celestia. She lives on a mining asteroid with her schoolteacher batpony colt friend Ersatz Lee and bakes cookies but is kind of having a quarter-life crisis. Oh and her mentor is Princess Lunchtime Luster, the best OC ever created. Cool elevator pitch right? Now if only I could write the damn thing.
Go read Austraeoh.
I’m going to look through my list of unpublished stories and highlight a few, let me know if you want to ride my ass about finishing them. Although Obsolescence deleted a bunch about 3 years ago because he deleted some alts of mine that were storing story ideas. Most of them were shit though.
Starting with oldest. Also I’ll also showcase just weird or dumb ideas. Nothing mature though unless stated otherwise.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/120585/love-hurts my oldest unpublished story; was meant to be a collaboration with Autumn Leaf.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/129822/fluttershy-says-some-no-no-words an early case of starting sections but not finishing anything
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/130017/do-you-hear-the-ponies-sing How cool would a retelling of Les Mis but in the Crystal Empire during Sombra’s reign be? It’d be fucking epic. But as you’ve noticed I suck at getting anywhere near that sort of word output.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/144129/sweetie-beltway part of an early ‘verse I made that you can still see in the sidebar on my personal page, with a bunch of image links that don’t work anymore.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/146750/queen-whitemane-and-the-jetplanes-of-harmony My first idea for an Austraeoh shitfic. Probably will get to writing it pretty soon, as it’s lovely simple concept.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/147998/to-the-loon-to-the-raccoon-to-the-weather-balloon-to-the-bassoon-to-the-cocoon-to-the-cartoon this concept would later be used for the Daring Do and Rainbow Rocks stories I did.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/148089/go-west-young-mare Look at that snazy cover art I put together in Paint!!! But this would have been like a 40k word epic just for a dumb punchline.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/148490/the-real-slim-pickens A pony rapper WOW HOW CLEVER AND ORIGINAL
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/150570/celebration my first and shockingly mediocre clopfic’s teen-rated second cousin. An attempt to write four interlocking stories
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/151907/the-assassination-of-rarity-belle-by-the-coward-august-flower Part of my “SuperVerse” that shriveled and died up.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/153281/galatea Oooo I remember working on this running off an electrical outlet behind my old church back when I was living in my car. I still think this could be an amazing story it just is a story that would need at least 20k words.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/155796/taco-tuesday-sexual-therapist another one of my slashfic spinoffs, I rather like the idea; I just never got around to writing it.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/156154/austraeohaiku I seem to work on this about once or twice a year. We’ll see if I finish this first or if Imploding Colon finishes the entire series first…
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/160454/vinyl-scratch-and-octavia-melody-dont-get-to-eat-their-flan I kind of gave up on this when I realized that Equestrian society not being homophobic completely killed this plot.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/157170/auld-lang-syne an early example of me trying to connect with ennui.
https://www.fimfiction.net/story/169068/snails-rescues-snips-from-the-underworld okay maybe instead of making this an epic, I could just make it stupid
Okay real talk it’s 6:27am and I’m almost packed for BABSCon but haven’t slept yet because the person I was supposed to pickup at the airport last night, their flight was four and a half hours late and it took then 2.5 hours to get through customs but they tipped me fifty bucks so now I have a cool benjamin in my pocket for babscon spending money.
Fuck it I’ll put the rest in the comments section. I want to at least get 4 hours of sleep. Thank you again and see you at BABS and on the Web. And also, thanks to Star Destroyer. You were always there for me when I needed you most.