Right off the bat, the audio book updates! Send BronyKen a fancy cake, or a very nice drawing, or yourself in a box so you can give him a hug!
A little tidbit on chapter 13: it's going to be an another plus 10k chapter. I feel like I've slipped from a schedule though, so I must work hard to make up for the loss. My slip up was mostly caused by a personal crisis affecting me through the entire length of February. I'm feeling better now.
Anyhow, here's an essay that was made by a fan of FPV. Since it was written when chapter 10 was just being baked, it's a little dated. Nonetheless, I'm very glad this was written, and I don't mean just because my eyes were given permission to see it. Sharing is great, no? As can be ascertained, I truly recommend that you read the essay, and as cliched as this sounds, reading it made my heart swell with pride and appreciation. Thank you most effusively, Junior!
One morning while I was surfing the web, I stumbled across a link to a story called “First Pony View”. Apparently, the user who had linked to it said it was very “intense”. I was curious to see how any fanfic about the show My Little Pony could possibly be considered intense, so naturally I clicked it. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began reading the story. I knew from the title and short synopsis that it was going to be about someone experiencing life through the eyes of a pony, but that was all I knew. What I didn’t expect to see was actual effort put into it; the author used a lot of literary techniques that really made the story interesting and enjoyable to read. I was surprised to see that I read the whole story in one day. Usually I’m not much of a reader, yet I couldn’t stop reading this story. I was also surprised to find out that this story had a very relevant theme, something I think some “Bronies” might have gone through when they started to watch “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, the feeling that they are losing their masculinity and the fear of being seen as effeminate.
The author used an unbelievable amount of imagery as well as a good use of dramatic visualization; he described every little action the protagonist did. I found it very easy to imagine exactly what it would be like to be a pony, as stupid as that sounds. The amount of effort put into explaining how much difficulty he had simply turning on his light and opening the door was incredible:
Putting my teeth on the handle, I tilted my head until the latch clacked, then pulled my head back and the door opened. Alas, my celebration was short-lived as I had failed to take into account my proximity to the tall rectangle and was now an obstruction in its opening path. Swallowing my steel-flavored saliva, I looked over at my trailing end, watching it retreat before I remembered my forelegs. Trying to rouse my forelegs into action, one of my hind legs slipped, and my stability began to falter. I nearly panicked before regaining my balance.
I thought for sure it would make the story drag on, but instead it helped me get the sense that this was actually happening and really got me indulged in the story.
Another literary technique that the author used was foreshadowing. Throughout the first few chapters, the protagonist kept telling himself that he was just dreaming and ignored all the evidence that went against him. At first I wasn’t sure what to believe—maybe he was dreaming or maybe not—but every time he ignored an obvious clue showing that he was awake, it became more and more apparent that he wasn’t dreaming. But with that being said, it was still very emotional when the protagonist finally realized it for himself.
Now, with a title like “First Pony View”, I expected the story to be told in the first-person perspective, but what I didn’t expect to see was it being used to such an extent. Often, when I read stories that are written in the first-person perspective, I notice the author never successfully captures the way people think. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know when I think to myself, I don’t think in complete sentences; my thoughts are usually all over the place. But in this story, the author is very casual with how he writes the protagonist’s thought process, and since the protagonist rarely speaks out loud, it really gives the story a very interesting and tense feel. He acts like there isn’t a need to address his name, age, and sex. Seriously though, how many people do you think wake up every morning and mentally recite their personal information? But going back to how casually the author writes, I think the best example of this comes at the end of chapter four after the protagonist eats some pineapples. The pineapples have an unusual effect on him, and he becomes somewhat intoxicated; what follows is a nonsensical monologue. This part of the story was just fun to read; it was nice to see the protagonist finally enjoy himself.
I would soon find out why this story was said to be “intense”, and I couldn’t believe just how intense it got. After the end of chapter four, the story lost its cheerful demeanor and took on a much more tragic tone. The protagonist finds himself trapped on the side of a cliff with nowhere to go. The moment he falls on his stomach and for the first time feels actual pain, my heart literally sank; it was at that moment when I finally got a clear answer: he wasn’t dreaming, this was all actually happening to him. In that one instant, everything changed. It was no longer a cute and interesting experience; it was now his unwakeable nightmare. He panicked, and I would too; it’s like the feeling you get when you were a kid and got stuck in a tight spot. Your mind starts racing, and you start thinking, “What if I’m stuck here forever? I don’t want to die like this!” You feel helpless on your own, and nothing you do to free yourself seems to work. This is exactly what our protagonist is going through. He just wants to forget about his current state, yet everything he sees, everything he feels, and everything he thinks immediately reminds him of his pony prison:
I didn't want to be scared . . . I didn't want this . . .
Every nerve told it over and over and over now.
Small form . . . The hooves . . . The moving ears . . . Hair everywhere . . . Pony . . .
Tearful . . . fearful breaths . . . through my larynx . . . Female's larynx . . . Filly . . .
Nothing I could do . . . Only try to ignore it . . . Ignore it . . .
Ignore being a filly . . . A crying filly . . .
So difficult . . . Impossible . . . Too many things had changed, couldn't ignore any of them . . .
He just wants out of his new body. He is so desperate to escape but doesn’t know what to do. He tries everything possible to wake himself up; he even tears through his flesh in a last desperate act. After all his failed attempts, he simply gives up; he cannot handle the thought of having to live the rest of his life through the eyes of a filly. He just lies down in the middle of the road, waiting for the approaching car to end his pain; he doesn’t even consider moving:
Finally, I'd get my peace. A little bump, and then the suffering would be over. The lights were the keys to my prison cell, keys to my eternal peace, the light at the end of my dark tunnel.
It would be over.
The pain. The sorrow. The fear. The joys. The hopes. My life. All over.
My aspiration since I was a kid. Gone, too.
It was directly ahead now. We would meet soon.
I wasn't scared anymore.
I was in disbelief that the author brought up the idea of suicide in a fanfic about My Little Pony, but I really respect his decision, and it just makes the story that much better.
But to step away from the story for a second, I think there is an overall message about something that I think a lot of male My Little Pony fans or “Bronies” deal with: the feeling that they are losing their masculinity. They worry about how their peers will see them and what sort of assumptions will be made just because they like a show that was intended for little girls; I know I did.
At the beginning of the story, the protagonist is saddened to find out he had been transformed into a female pony. He keeps having these unexplained impulses to act girly, but his masculine side strongly protests it. He keeps telling himself, “I’m not a girl, I’m a man.” This is similar to probably what a lot of bronies first told themselves after they started watching “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, albeit not as direct. They were embarrassed that they actually liked the show; they wanted to keep it secret from their friends. They too kept telling themselves, “This show is for girls, not men. I am not a girl, I’m a man.”
Later on in the story, the protagonist decides that instead of dreading on the fact that he is now a girl, he will try to embrace it. I’m sure that after a while, a lot of bronies came to the conclusion, “Screw what others might think, I don’t care.” But in a later chapter, the protagonist succumbs to hating the fact that he is a female once again. He is both angered and saddened every time someone addresses him by his now feminine appearance; this is an obvious metaphor for simple name calling. He hates being seen as a female when to him he is still mentally masculine.
To a brony, just because they watch a show that is intended for little girls doesn’t change who they are as men now, but what does change is the way they are viewed by their peers. They will have their sexual orientation questioned, they will be called pedophiles, and they will be looked at differently by their friends. It doesn’t seem fair to judge people like this just because they like to watch a children’s cartoon. But at the end of the day, you can’t let what other people think ruin the way you feel about something. You’ve got to do things that make yourself happy and not be ashamed of how people will see you. That’s what I learned from this fan fiction.