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We pray that you enjoy today’s story as much as we did.

Part-time Goddess (and the Church of Post)
[Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 6,257 words

In this day and age, who has time to be a God? Prayers come in 24/7 and fancy dress is compulsory. Rainbow Dash certainly doesn’t have time. She’s got bills to pay and things to do. Besides, she isn’t qualified for Godhood, surely.

The ponies who say her control of the weather is divine disagree, unfortunately. They’ve given her a funny spear and a robe that doesn’t quite fit. They’ve got their own temple and they take church seriously.

And it turns out she’s not the only pony recently undergone apotheosis…

FROM THE CURATORS: While nothing about this religious romp was serious, it was seriously engaging.  “The more I think about it, the more it comes to me just how memorable the fic is,” Soge said.  “The concept itself is very appealing, with a really Pythonesque strand of humor to it.”  Present Perfect agreed, while praising the nuance with which it approached a potentially divisive topic: “This is just an enormously original piece that’s happily well executed.  It pokes fun at the concept of religion, something we’ve really never seen in the show, without being offensive.”

That approach both highlighted the story’s central comedy and its excellent character work.  “It’s a silliness borne of everypony treating Dash’s apotheosis like a perfectly un-extraordinary event, coupled with Dash’s pitch-perfect reactions to the whole shebang,” Chris said.  “She’s more or less the straight mare, and yet she still manages to steal most of the best lines in the fic.”  But Rainbow Dash was far from the only exemplary portrayal.  “It helps that all the characterizations are so memorable and accurate,” Soge said.  “Even characters with a single speaking line are portrayed true to canon, and the author has a knack for using them in comedic situations that work well with their personalities.”

And all throughout, the story kept up a crisp and consistent humor.  “‘Brandistock’ is an amazingly funny word,” Present Perfect said. “Just the fact that Dash trips over it, takes it to show Twilight, and then carries it around for the rest of the story really illustrates what makes the humor work in this piece.”  That merging of the sublime and the ridiculous sent this coasting toward a feature, as AugieDog said: “I’m a big fan of stories that employ this sort of straight-forward, matter-of-fact goofiness.  There’s none of this ‘vast cosmic power’ stuff: it’s mostly just about the costume Dash has to wear now.  The way that it’s portrayed just makes me grin every time I think about it.”

Read on for our author interview, in which HapHazred discusses peg displacement, disqualified Scotsmen, and perfect Pope ponies.


 

Give us the standard biography.

I was born on a dark and stormy night. Presumably screaming was involved. Then things got weird.

I’m born Scottish, although I daresay most other Scots will have disqualified me long ago. I’ve lived in France for over a decade and now I’m finishing up a degree in engineering. My hobbies involve drinking, writing, and martial arts. Depending on how much I’ve done of number one, I may be more or less good at two and three. Basically, though, I’m interested in a lot of stuff, and usually if I see something I think is cool, I’m going to want to take it apart and dissect it.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Originally I went by HazardPony, which was presumably to encourage myself to take risks. Trying writing was a pretty big departure for me at the time, as I had never written anything other than a lab report prior to writing pony-fiction, so I liked the idea of taking a few risks to learn how writing worked.

Later on, though, I decided there were some serious benefits to having a username that people are prone to misspelling. I switched to HapHazred (pronounced haphazard, which in my defence is a legit way of pronouncing that word, capitals aside) as I discovered that, after thorough testing, it was a username you couldn’t find after having searched for ‘hazard’ on the fimfiction user search function. This meant I didn’t have to be as cautious with disclosing my username in public, as even if I were to do so, the chances of gents finding me were slim (unless I helped them, of course).

Then again, these days I’m pretty cavalier about blokes finding my stuff, so maybe it was a waste of time. Username stuck, though, and now I’m rather attached to it.

Who’s your favorite pony?

Rainbow ‘Bestpony’ Dash. Because reasons! Lots of reasons, actually. Basically, I see an alarming amount of myself in her, so long as you switch out flying with engineering. And even then, I mean, I’m partial to a flying machine or two. Long story short she’s really cool and I would totally hang out with her. Probably. Maybe.

What’s your favorite episode?

That would be Sonic Rainboom, although I confess this is for mostly nostalgic reasons. When I said that I see a lot of myself in Rainbow, it was kinda in this episode. Fear of failure and coping with pressure to perform is sort of a thing I empathise with a lot, and very much was dealing with at the time I watched the episode back in 2014. She’s been my favourite pony since, so even if ‘better’ eps come along, I still gotta stick with my old fave.

What do you get from the show?

I got some prizes from a writing contest once! Other than that I get a group of over seven thousand users to look at every evening. At least until they get rid of me.

What do you want from life?

The shorter answer would be what don’t I want from life. Although if I were to pick three, it’d be a job important enough to satisfy my ego, enough money to live comfortably, and at least one poor sod to share it with.

Why do you write?

Lots of reasons, although the one that interests me the most is exploring the similarities between engineering and designing method and writing. I’m fascinated that as I’ve learned more about engineering science, I’ve been able to piece together more and more of writing. For something as arty as it is, I’ve found structuring stories and figuring out how to make stories work with an audience is alarmingly similar to things like ergonomics (which, frankly, is not a field that otherwise interests me), information communication, and other engineering fields.

On a less academic note, it’s because it’s a fun, easy hobby to enjoy at the university cafe.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

There are very few problems that cannot be solved with a cool head, lots of thinking, and even more effort. If you don’t believe me, just watch Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

For real, though, the major thing that held me back from being better at writing was panicking if a story didn’t do well, or feeling stressed about writing good stuff. First step is to chill out and examine problems closely. Once the issue is identified, brainstorm to find a solution. Once the solution is found, make sure it happens. And any plan that doesn’t account for a change of plan is a bad plan.

What inspired “Part-time Goddess (and the Church of Post)”?

Religion, mostly, although I think a lot of readers also noticed a healthy dose of Sir Terry Pratchett (whom I read a lot of when I was really little). Religion is so much fun to make fun of. So much comedy is about knocking powerful figures or institutions down a peg, and literal gods are pretty much as powerful and influential as you can get, historically speaking.

Did it surprise you how well the ponies took to this sort of British, straight-facedly absurd humor?

To be fair, Equestria is a bizarre world that lends itself well to absurd scenarios. I imagine the ponies will be quite accustomed to it by now. Or rather, they bloody well should be. Besides, I can’t help but think that Rarity sometimes has her more British-y moments, and Fancy Pants’ voice actor was (I believe? Don’t quote me on this) asked to emulate John Cleese, of all people.

Do you foresee apotheosis for any of our other characters?

Well, you could argue Twilight is already there (I, however, would not, for reasons). That said, I have been playing around with some ideas.

I considered making Twilight a Goddess of Scientific Reason, which would be something of a contradiction. I foresaw a couple of jokes in that area.

Whilst not an apotheosis, I did also consider making Applejack a Pope of the Church of Dash. She’d take care of the religious ceremonies when Dash was off on tour with the ‘Bolts (which would cause Applejack no end of grief, naturally). And she even already has a silly hat! She’s perfect Pope material.

Do you prefer planning your stories out ahead of time or letting them grow while typing them up?

I always do some planning (unless I’m specifically challenging myself to work without a plan). The beginning, end, and theme (or conflict, or whatever idea I want to talk about) are all in my head when I begin. Depending on what I’m doing, I’ll then plan my story in more or less detail. Part-Time Goddess was relatively un-planned, outside of the basics, partly due to how short it was and partly due to the fact that a lot of it was dialogue, which I very much prefer to write unscripted.

That said, the less planning I do, usually the more edits I have to perform. Then again, I find I abandon more planned projects than I do unplanned ones (although that might also be a length thing).

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If I said yes and nothing else, would that be immensely irritating?

You can read Part-time Goddess (and the Church of Post) at FIMFiction.net. Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

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