Featured In2

More Stories9

  • E Waiting

    2,785 words · 5,069 views  ·  313  ·  10
  • T Hoofin' It

    3,856 words · 16,346 views  ·  1,376  ·  64 · sex
  • E Overthinking It

    Over-rationalizing can be a terrible thing.
    6,677 words · 2,467 views  ·  160  ·  4
  • E One Simple Choice

    Rainbow Dash must choose between pursuing the Wonderbolts, or staying in Ponyville with her friends.
    12,530 words · 2,108 views  ·  95  ·  2
  • E The Pursuit of Happiness

    Twilight reflects on how her friends have left, and wonders what true happiness is.
    9,165 words · 2,896 views  ·  127  ·  4
  • E As Time Goes On

    Twilight wonders how long time will allow her and her friends to stay together.
    5,548 words · 808 views  ·  31  ·  0
  • E Cross my Heart and Hope to Fly

    When life is good , sometimes it's easy to forget about what we have, and instead long for more.
    8,834 words · 455 views  ·  28  ·  1
  • E Behind a Sunny Face

    How does one deal with infinite, inevitable loss?
    12,355 words · 1,065 views  ·  41  ·  3

Blog Posts29

  • 9w, 6d
    The Winding Road: Thoughts on Writing and Self-Examination

    To all my followers who are surely flabbergasted that a notification has popped up in their box regarding the long-forgotten Tayman: you probably expect some questions to be answered. Why hasn't he made a peep since he blogged about Bronycon last year? Is he still alive? Is he still writing? Does he actually live in a remote North Dakotan cave and access the internet using a rusty crank generator?

    (To the last query, I say no, silly. Everyone knows that North Dakota is a fantasy conjured to convince people that good ole' small town America still exists).

    Truth be told, this post has been in the shop for a long time running. The primary reasons why it's only just going up directly tie into the reasons why I haven't published anything within the past two years.

    Self-loathing. Self-esteem issues. Low self-confidence. Brutal stress that put me in a chokehold whenever I so much as  considered writing (which isn't a healthy way of functioning, truth be told). None of these issues saw the light of day when I first started writing fanfic in the origins of 2012, when I was a starry-eyed author with dreams of grandeur and legacy, a young lad looking to make his mark on the world. During my initial foray, I had wild ideas, self-esteem bordering on arrogance, and a fervent drive to create.

    (This is going to be a lengthy tale of exposition, as a heads up. You've been warned. Hell, I should've hit the emergency alarm a few paragraphs up).

    Now that two years have passed since my last published story, Hoofin' It, it's obvious to those astute observers that there's been a fundamental shift in my worldviews - one bad enough to pull the plug on my creative endeavors for the past twenty four months. So, what happened?

    Long story short: A met a few precious friends and mentors in a time of great personal despair, launching a long, winding journey of introspection and self-development. While one of these gentlemen isn't on fimfiction, the other, my dear friend and sagely teacher Sunchaser, responded to my woes in my time of need and took me under his tutelage. Beyond being Buddhist monk levels of enlightened, a chill and well-adjusted dude, and a savant of pop culture and potpourri knowledge, he's one of the best, most under-appreciated writers here on fimfiction. You may have seen a couple of his stories pop up in the featured box, but if you've never heard of him or checked out his work, what are you waiting for?

    I met Sunchaser shortly after my Post-Hoofin' It sob story of a blog post, where we immediately sparked an intimate and intellectual relationship on Skype after I messaged him on fimfiction. After Hoofin' It, I realized there was something wrong with me. The overwhelming success of Hoofin' It, a story I, at the time, wrote of as a hackneyed, cheesy cash in of a comedy fic brought a crashing realization down on my head: I wasn't very good at all. I was a horrible author who had reached his zenith with a shitty pseudo-clopfic that wilts beneath the majestic resplendence of other writers who sat at a bar I would never even glimpse the shadow of. I'd worked my ass off for the past several months, and the tainted epiphany washed over me like a swarm of locusts devouring the damned and the worthless.

    (In hindsight, it was a really silly thing to think, but this was the mindset that devoured my thoughts. I was in no proper state to write. The passion had vanished. The flame had been snuffed out by the inevitable ego-conjured breeze. No matter how much I enjoyed writing, what was the point if I would never be one of the greats?)

    I've always had a bad (well, crippling is more apt) habit of comparison. Not just comparing myself and my accomplishments to others, but comparing my ideas to the hypothetical ideal version of something. If I brainstormed a story idea, I would immediately compare it to a hazy, illusory version of the story. One that was lofty, epic, perfectly written, well-executed and an all-around smash hit, a legacy of the fandom that would endure even as the final canon episode was pressed into the memory of its viewers. Perfectionism is a dangerous thing, and more often than those who suffer from it hold it up as a point of pride, a badge of honor that exemplifies high standards and settling for nothing less than the best. In actuality, it's an insidious mask that veils the true culprit: a crippling fear of failure and the belief that if something isn't perfect, it's a horrible failure that doesn't deserve to be released into the world.

    Obviously, I had some problems. Problems that were 21 years in the making and were finally being excised like a throbbing tumor, to the horror of its bearer. I wasn't as good as I thought I was. I was scum. Other authors, other stories were smarter, cleverer, more eloquent, more poignant, stuffed with minute details, witty asides, and top-notch characterization that were miles ahead of anything I would ever produce. I would always be a shadow, obliterating by the radiant majesty of these titanic author kings.

    Needless to say, I wasn't exactly right in the head.

    My ideology during this time was an antiquated dead-end agent of self-sabotage. Until this point, I'd always believed that anything less than stellar wasn't worthy of the world's attention and should be buried as to not waste anyone's time. (Naturally, I never came out and expressed these views, because I recognized them for what they were: callous and assholish. I summarily believed that if people's best efforts didn't meet an incredibly high bar, they should just shut up and let the true stars shine. Our time on earth is limited, so why dabble with anything but the best?

    I'm sure everyone can guess that I didn't speak up much when I thought ill of something. Hyper-criticism was the name of the game, imposed upon myself and my surroundings for as long as I could remember. I was an intensely harsh critic, especially to myself, to the point of self-annihilation.

    (Left-field aside: Chrome doesn't flag "assholish" as misspelled. Google, you truly are in touch with the masses).

    The inner-critic is the demon on the shoulder that I've been wrangling with ever since the wheels fell off two years ago. I swore to myself that I would be better, that I would dispose of the issues that had been plaguing me for my entire life. My former personality was a caustic exoskeleton that needed shedding as soon as possible. Ironically, this only aggravated my proclivity towards self-criticism. During this fervent crusade of self-improvement, I spotted personal flaws everywhere I looked. Cold in Gardez wrote an awesome story? Look at that amazing tale you didn't write. Blueshift makes a witty aside in one of his humor fics? How come you're not that clever? Shortskirts is showing off his erudite vocabulary? Look at all those words you don't know. You're not good enough. Look at where you fall short. Look at all the gaps in your knowledge, the things you don't know, the pieces that are missing from you. You need to get better. You're worthless if you don't improve.

    I realize this reads as indulgently melancholy, but these were the thoughts flying through my head on a daily basis, exacerbated by my tendency to compare myself to others, holding myself to impossibly high standards. Whenever I tried to sit down for something as simple as brainstorming, I would immediately place enormous amounts of stress on myself to write the most absolute, pitch-perfect, astonishing, legendary, clever, fandom breaking story in all written history.

    I'm only exaggerating a little.

    Hindsight is 20/20, afterall. And now I recognize my behavior for what it was: needlessly imposing external measures of self-worth upon myself and ignoring all the arenas where I already excelled. Even tapping away at this blog post, I'm recognizing my style for what it is: simple and raw. A year ago, I would've chastised these traits as despicable because other stories were eloquent and verbose, sporting pitch-perfect vocabulary. Even with all the improvements I've made, there are still myriad words I don't know, including those I feel I should know. Like I'm a dolt for not knowing them. Hell, even I didn't know what a rotunda was until it was dropped in "Games Ponies Play." Does everyone else know that word? Is it common knowledge? How far behind the curve am I?

    I've been enduring a long-winding road of self-improvement. Sunny has been a Celestia-send (appropriate, given that Celestia is his best pony and he'll stick you with verbal daggers if you try and say otherwise), and I shudder to think where I would be without his constant presence and counsel. Time after time, he's set me straight in my silly, western-enforced worldviews of self-worth while constantly reminding me of my own uniqueness, even if I was too lost and sullen to believe him at the time.

    (Honestly, my chance encounter with Sunchaser has convinced me that the universe is kind and will nudge us towards where we need to go. If I hadn't posted that mopey blog post, I never would have met him. Or would I have? There layins the chaotic beauty of the world. Things can only turn out the way they are).

    Now, two years later, I'm beginning to see how silly I was. Even though there's miles left on the track, littered with myriad words and topics I don't know that I see sprinkled in every story, that's no reason to write off writing. Just because my stories may not be perfect doesn't mean they're worthless. Finally, finally, this mindset is dawning on me, like a mother nuzzling her foal awake after a long and twisted nightmare. I still compare myself to others now and again, yes, but I recognize it for what it is: the ego's attempt to sabotage the self from knowing its true glory. I still have difficulties brainstorming and developing story ideas, but now I know how to stop imposing a notion of what the story should be like, and instead look for the potential lingering right in front of me. I won't write for the wrong reasons anymore. I won't write to prove to the world that I'm good enough. I'll write for simple reasons: because it's fun, and because it's a noble craft that breathes the summary essence of humanity into the world, touching us in ways that linger far beyond the closing words. Because there are wonderful characters with stories to tell and I'm cheating them by saying they're not good enough to be known.

    This blog post is not a promise, but a reassurance. I'm still alive, I've learned, I'm better, and I hope to go places.

    The road winds on amongst rickety bridges and towering summits, but looking back, I can already see how far along I've come.

    Thanks to everyone who's stuck around through my absence and been patient through my stagnance. I hope to be with you all shortly.

    (As a final signoff, I'd like to share a speech by David Foster Wallace that has helped dispel years of western social conditioning. It's the wisest, truest advice I've ever heard, and I believe the knowledge contained therein is essential towards living a well-adjusted, perceptive life. I've listened to it over a hundred times and I still find myself nodding sagely along every time).


    Take care, everyone!

    -Nicholas


    5 comments · 95 views
  • 113w, 5d
    Let Me Tell You What's Been Going On

    19 comments · 277 views
  • 117w, 10h
    Dear Celestia, Help Me. I Have Sold Out.

    3 comments · 162 views
  • ...
 41
 3,081

Octavia has been tuning her cello for way too long, and Lyra is getting sick of it.

First Published
4th Jul 2012
Last Modified
4th Jul 2012
#1 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

Before I read this, a classic phrase. A harpist is always doing one of two things: tuning their harp or playing out of tune. But I'll read anyway :ajsmug:

#2 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

That... was surprising. Never have more words been written more eloquently about something so mundane. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

My favorite line was "What if she never stops?  What if I’m forced to live with her tuning her cello... forever?"

Bravissimo.

#3 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

If you think "Buck" is a fun alternative, think about Applejack's job....

Other than that, I loved this story! ^^

#4 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

Twas good.

You called Golden Staff Golden Hooves on one line.

#5 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

Pfft... XD That... was AWESOME! It was so great! Then entire time I read the song ACTUALLY being played, I could just see Tavi going 'Great, now the stupid E string has gone sharp...' after Golden whatsisface left. XD

(Also, inb4 featured)

#6 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

That was enjoyable to read. And so continues the Lyra/Octavia fiasco.:twilightsmile:

#7 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

I haven't read a good story in WAAAY too long. Thanks fro breaking that streak :pinkiehappy:

#8 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

Loved this one. Background ponies are slowly growing on me because of writing like this.

#9 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

That was incredible! As a passionate musician, I can relate. Outstanding work. I LOVED it! :raritywink:

#10 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

I feel sorry for anyone who recognized the deceptive cadence in 'BBBFF', connected it with Princess Cadence, and had the reveal spoiled as a result.

#11 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

Slightly repetitive, prolly could have been condensed by 1k words or so without losing too much.  But overall, a great piece, and the ending caught me off guard.  I fully expected Octavia to get taken down a peg, pardon the music pun.

I've known those types.  They make your life hell. >.<

#12 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

You do know that it's actually physically impossible to tune an instrument perfectly, right?

I mean, not incredibly hard, but physically impossible?

#13 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

>>857529

I wasn't aware that I couldn't overlook this little detail for the sake of a fun story.

#14 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·
#16 · 120w, 2d ago · · ·

>>857979 ... I played winds, can't you tell? XD Hell if *I* know what strings a cello has! Our school didn't HAVE a strings section.

#17 · 119w, 3d ago · · ·

This story needs more love.:heart:

#18 · 118w, 5d ago · · ·

Bravo! Bravo! That was a very well written short story. Well done :twilightsmile:

#19 · 116w, 6d ago · · ·

Octavia kinda reminds me of myself. Good story.

#20 · 116w, 1d ago · · ·

Well this looks promising.

>>857979 If you want, I could be you're proofreader. I'm better at proof reading than actual writing.:pinkiehappy:

#21 · 113w, 4d ago · · ·

You my good sir, have writ an awesome fic.

#23 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

This makes me wish I had kept up with my cello.

#24 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

er well that was odd.

#26 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

:rainbowlaugh: funny and surprising! I'm glad it's on EQD like it deserves to be.

#27 · 111w, 4d ago · · ·

You win the award for best use of the Slice of Life tag in history!

#28 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

That was actually really inspiring. I play double bass and have always wondered how much fine tuning really made a difference.

#29 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

My favorite part of this story is Lyra's face in the cover picture.

Still really good.

#30 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

This kind of irks me, but don't you usually start tuning the cello from the C, then make your way up to A? Or do I just tune in an odd way?

>855993 The E string is a lie! Otherwise I've been playing the cello wrong for years.

#31 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1219052

In 8 years of playing in orchestras, the cellos tune the A first. Now, perhaps some cellists tune the C first individually, but I don't see why they would if orchestras tune the A first.

But, yes. Orchestra tuning goes A, D, G, C (for the cellos and violas) E (for the violins).

#32 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1220345 I tend to play individually, I've only been playing in orchestras for four years now. Also, I have a bad ear, and tune the lower strings to use as a comparisions to the higher strings, which I find harder to hear.

Edit: Come to think of it, the way I tune pisses of my girlfriend. We met in one of my first real outtings in an orchestra.

More edit: Wow, you just made me nostalgic for my old teacher.

#33 · 111w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1220345

Orchestra tuning goes A, D, G, C (for the cellos and violas) E (for the violins).

*cough* and basses *cough* Basses have an E string as well, but we only have one bassist in our orchestra, so it's understandable.

#34 · 111w, 2d ago · · ·

I see Lyra had trouble TUNING Octavia out.

#35 · 111w, 1d ago · · ·

lol I think after hearing someone tune 1 string for an hour anything will sound godlike

Good story I enjoyed reading a non lyra human crazy story :pinkiehappy:

#37 · 110w, 5d ago · · ·

My two favorite Background ponies as dorm partners. What's not to love?

...other than an annoyingly obsessive tuner :rainbowlaugh:

#38 · 107w, 6d ago · · ·

Thanks to you, now every time I tune my viola I think of this fanfiction. It's still good.

Hat
#39 · 102w, 4d ago · · ·

Good story and an upvote, but the message I got from this is that if you are good at what you do (in this case music) you don't have to worry about being pleasant around others.

“Some of the greatest musicians of our time are incredibly arrogant and abrasive, Miss Heartstrings. I met several of them myself,” Golden said with a wistful twinkle in his eye. “They were the most infuriating ponies I had ever encountered. Yet when they got on stage and channeled their fussiness into their playing, magic happened. These ponies that made me scream and stamp my hooves also made me weep like a filly. That was the only reason I tolerated their behavior.”

Channeling fussiness into playing can be saying something good about perfectionism, but when it clearly becomes a problem for others such as Lyra some consideration must be taken. Because Octavia's personality was accepted despite the frustration it was causing, Lyra either has to sit it out and let Octavia take over the room or find a different room.

It was a good story still :twilightsmile:

#40 · 102w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1566871

Yeah, looking back, perhaps this wasn't the most optimal ending to take. I wrote this story without a roadmap, and actually changed the ending on the fly (I originally had something different planned). I TRIED to tone down Octavia's fussiness towards the end of the story to show that she wasn't a complete bitch ALL the time, and that this was merely a moment of stress that unfortunately found Lyra in the crosshairs. Personally, I view Octavia as a fussy roommate, one that can be a bit annoying at times, but ultimately, nothing worth leaving over.

Still, I'm glad you enjoyed that story! It's a fun little one shot that I'm glad I decided to write.

#41 · 14w, 1h ago · · ·

Well this was an interesting read.  I thought I had it figured out: Octavia's the music snob who gakes things too seriously and Lyra's the sensible one.  But I certainly wasn't expecting Octavia to be in the right!  That was a pleasant surprise.

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