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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)

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Update: "One seldom has the opportunity in life to learn..." · 12:14am Sep 15th, 2018

...possibly not the OC I should be quoting, and those who got that deep into the story will understand why. But the rest of it is 'just how loved they are,' and in that sense, it doesn't quite apply here: not across the board. But in a way, it has a strange relationship to what's been happening. The character in question is a midwife and when he went missing after a fire, a significant percentage of those he'd delivered over the course of a generation (those close by and old enough to travel) showed up to join in the search. In my case, my mother went missing, and... that set everything off.

There's a lot to both update and unpack here. As such, this is going to be a very long blog entry, and I may not get to things in the order people might be expecting. I'm also going to be prone to still more rambling because physically and emotionally, I am currently running on fumes.

It's been about two days since this all started. At the moment I write this sentence, it's been roughly thirty-six hours since I dropped the blog. Too much has happened, and too few answers have come from it.

(This took nearly four hours to write.)

I will try to give replies for some of the questions from the last blog on that entry, as direct responses there. (I'll also be digging through my PMs.) However, some of the things people have been wondering about may appear here.

Try to find a place to start...

I could argue for a warning shot. There was a day, just before she went on antibiotics for the dental infection, when she briefly treated a remote control as if it was her phone. That's what got us into the local ER: I panicked hard, and it led to the antibiotics being issued. But she was fine for a while after that, and so I thought that with the infection fading...

(I've told her doctors about all of this now.)

But maybe there was something else.

I have insomnia. Chronic, cyclical, possibly curable but I can't afford to find out. It doesn't matter much. I don't sleep, so I go for walks, and I plot out stories during those excursions. (Today, I realized for the first time that part of me may not want a cure: when else would I dream on my feet?) I am intimately familiar with what my area looks like in the small hours, and the strangeness which free-roams beneath hazy starlight. Some of it occasionally tries to scream at me, or worse.

But a few days ago, I was walking past an open-bay car wash. One of those places which are basically a series of half-enclosed driveways with attached plumbing systems. Twenty-four hour, and if you're wondering why someone needs to get stains off their car at three in the morning, then so are the police. I was going past it and from one of the brick shelves which generally hosts the best emergency protein scrubbers, I got a flash of reflected light off glass.

The car-empty bay had a wine bottle in it. A red wine, worth about $12-18 at a typical liquor store. (I looked it up later.) Completely full, cork seal intact. And I could come up with reasons why it was there. Forgotten was possible. Ditched is on the list: underage, here come the cops, quick, into the car wash, they'll never look there! But... I wander at night, because I can't sleep. And I find things in the sleeping world. Coins, mostly. But the more unusual pops up now and again, and -- here we have a wine bottle. Never opened. I'll have to check for little tricks, but... maybe I can cook with it.

So I took it home. It's still on what passes for my liquor table, because I seldom cook with alcohol. Haven't touched it since, not beyond inspecting the cork for needle marks. But...

I thought it was just an abandoned bottle.

Maybe it was the universe saying In a few days, you're really going to wish you drank.

(I don't. At all. Yesterday, people told me to get a beer. It was almost tempting...)

Subtle, Universe. Real subtle.

The power station looks like a playground.

It's my first time on this train. I've never had any need to be on this train line. The ride into the main distribution point -- a lot of times over the course of my life. (It's been a while since the last. I was catching up on any number of art changes in the building there, and took dark comfort in the fact that some of the stains near the staircase still hadn't been scrubbed clean.) But the line north from there -- no. There hasn't been a reason, and so the view is almost completely unfamiliar.

Almost. There's a highway which runs roughly parallel on the train line, and I did have cause to drive down that, a few years ago. So every so often, I catch sight of things I almost remember. Outlines spark images, try to connect themselves into the familiar. It's a subconscious search for anchor points, finding things I can use to hold myself to the real, because it's been some time and a few things feel like they're changing too much. Especially over the last few hours.

After I wrote the blog... I didn't sleep. I couldn't sleep. I knew that if I closed my eyes for even a moment, I might open them again well into the afternoon. And I couldn't afford to do that, with some of that cost being sheer time. I had to get to the hospital. I also had to reach the car, and that was where the cost became fiscal. AAA had taken it to a service center and because I'd called them, I knew which one. But service centers, when it comes to getting a car back, can double as impound yards.

If you've ever had a car taken that way, you may be familiar with the routine. $75 for each night it rests on their ground. $100. $150. Storage fee. 'We're looking for your keys' charge followed by 'Found 'em!' tax. Gouging can happen, all too easily. So I had to get there quickly, before things mounted. I also had to get in contact, find out what they needed me to bring in order to prove it was my car at all. Pint of blood, possibly. With the car, I started at worst-case and went down from there, in part because it was a way to not think about what was going on at the hospital.

I managed to get through to the service center at about 8:15 in the morning, and... the universe failed to pounce.

It took them a while to find the car in their lot, but they acknowledged it was there. I asked about storage fees, and they said -- as long as I was there that morning, there wouldn't be any. Not a penny.

Still two states away.

I told them that. I couldn't see getting there before roughly two p.m. And their response was to extend the deadline. As long as I was there by two, no storage fees.

...well, that's never happened before...

I still wound up spending money there. The car had been driven until it ran out of gas: I needed fuel just to get out of the lot, and I couldn't carry a canister on the train. So five dollars for enough to reach a station -- plus it had been on the verge of the oil change mileage number and I'd gotten a Low Oil light over the weekend. I would have hours of driving ahead of me after reaching it, and I couldn't risk a tow. As long as they had custody, I asked them to do the oil change. Most expensive oil change I've ever paid for, but... it was an emergency, and they'd already been unexpectedly kind. I didn't resent it.

One of my mother's friends dropped by, one of those I'd thought she might have visited when I'd started the search. She helped me put together the bag for the hospital: clothing, undergarments, some reading material, toothbrush and hairbrush and -- possibly the most important -- phone charger. I thanked her, she left and because I have to consume something, I had a Coke. Nothing else. There are people who are stress eaters, and then there's me. When the tension truly comes in, my appetite just -- shuts down. I had a bowl of soup for dinner. That was fourteen hours ago, and I'm not hungry. Twelve ounces of soda, which I didn't finish, and I took some mints for the road.

After that, my mechanic arrived. (We're friends. You spend that much time having your car worked on, a relationship develops.) Someone else I'd called, trying to find her. Turned out he'd spent part of the night touring local hospitals, including those I'd called already. Same thing I'd been doing, only with more mobility. So he was tired. But he wanted to give me a ride to the train station.

Plus money. He wanted to advance me some money.

(A relationship where your mechanic temporarily pays you...)

He'd figured out that there might be initial fiscal trouble in reaching her. He wanted to make sure I was covered for the first trip. (He wanted me to spend more than I did: taxi from the train station to the service yard.) We talked for a bit, he dropped me off, I got the first train ticket, and my phone rang.

I never saw a single physician after reaching the hospital. I talked to four of them on the way up. Questions about her medications. Previous symptoms. What's her pharmacy? Who's her primary? The phone rang, and I would answer. The phone rang more in the last two days than in the last four months. I seldom use my cell: it's a basic dumbphone, with my tablet taking over on anything which needs an advanced function. It can barely text. On a good day, it makes and receives phone calls. So that's what it did. Another hour, another department with another question. A lot of questions. She's going in for an MRI: here's the list of questions about potential interference issues, and she isn't providing the answers...

But at least I have most of the answers. And it's something to do. None of the trains have wifi. I brought a book and maybe it's my opportunity to finally catch up on Knaves Over Queens, but... the stories aren't as enthralling as I might wish. (It was, to be fair, a lot to ask of a story just then.) Some of them are more annoying than anything. Price of a well-established 'verse, even a published one: so much consists of references to other things which happened along the timeline and yes, long-time readers, I'm aware of the irony. When I wasn't talking to the hospital, I was mostly failing to read and looking out the window and... thinking. Thinking about the things which are meant to keep you from truly thinking.

The mind is self-distracting: it's a survival mechanism. Terry Pratchett knew that. Think about the deep stuff all the time and soon, there won't be anything left which wants to think at all.

I'd gotten to the distribution point, changed over to the next starting line. Purchased that ticket, boarded an unfamiliar train running along a path of hazy half-memories. Still no wifi, and also no posted list of station stops anywhere in the car: all you got was occasional loudspeaker notices of what you'd just pulled into, not necessarily in time to disembark. So I looked out the window a lot, and...

...the power station looks like a playground.

The coils could be monkey bar gyms, spectacular ones. Gentle curves lead into what would surely turn into the best slide ever. It's easy to see a day spent in just scampering among the metal, swinging here and laughing there. Dying there, because back when I could still watch Doug Walker, I saw him cover that public safety commercial about the kids who did treat it as a playground, complete with the smoke off burnt flesh. And I couldn't really see it then, how it would just seem so inviting...

It takes the train a good two minutes to pass the whole thing: it's that large, plus we're not moving that fast. And I see it for the first time, how something so deadly might radiate the promise of fun. I plan out swingsets and merry-go-rounds. I find places which would serve as sparking goalposts at both ends of a fatal run.

The things you think about, when you're trying not to think at all.

Towns are passing by. It feels like the entire state (and I'm in the right state now) has jointly agreed to use a concluding syllable of 'ford'. Sometimes I pass new construction. There's also a long building which doesn't look so much burnt out as bombed, and a barely-surviving sign suggests it was once some sort of condominium. There's just enough left to house rats, and not in comfort.

Little towns, full of not-so-little lives. Every person I pass is the main character in their own story. Plots whiz by.

...my stop. There's a taxi right outside the station, and I ignore it: I copied down directions to the service station, and it's only about a mile. I'll walk that. (Copied, not printed. Not having a printer is four issues: cost, lack of desk space for its footprint, seldom need to print, and the fact that merely thinking about getting one summons a malicious spirit into my car's drive train.) So I find this avenue, turn, and then...

...actually, there's no signs indicating the avenue. And MapQuest didn't tell me which direction to face when leaving the train station, nor did it know what side I would be arriving on.

I'm carrying a bag with thirty pounds or so of clothing, books, and hospital stay essentials. Also my Kindle's carrying case. And a thick hardcover. Plus an envelope which I copied all the directions onto. I'm juggling all of that, and poorly.

It takes ten minutes and backtracking a false start to locate the first street on the list, and another six before I follow that one block too far and lose the course entirely. On the plus side, it's a very nice marina, and I read the dedication plaque at the footbridge because someone should.

Stop in the first store, ask for directions (and apologize that it's only that). I get what turns out to be partially-correct ones: they would have sent me a few blocks too far if I hadn't been watching street signs all the way. (Yes, I probably should have taken the taxi.) But I reach the service station, and... I get a Look when I walk in. It's not a cruel Look, nowhere near what I sometimes fetch via simple presence. It's more towards a Look which is actively placing bets on whether I can reach the waiting area on my own or need to be carried there, and it is not figuring the odds to be in my favor.

I left my apartment at nine-fifteen. About an hour to reach the change point, twelve minutes to transfer over. Some waiting before that second train departed, then about a hundred and ten minutes in the second ride. Follow that up with walking...

Twenty-two and a half hours awake. I have not exactly been very focused on my appearance: I showered, I made sure I was clean and would register as human to those willing to treat me as such. The hours are starting to show.

It's roughly one-thirty. The car -- is not ready. I'd told them two, and I'm early. (Never made the trip before, was erring towards caution.) It's going into the oil change bay next. But they have a bull mastiff, who regards me with that slow patience you get from the breed, the one which says that the dog knows it can kill you, but that's frankly too much work and so it would really rather get a skritch instead. They also have wifi, so I can finally take out the tablet and...

...I choke back most of the sob. Not enough. Someone else waiting for his car, wearing a shirt whose symbol is more for patriotism than character, looks up.

"Sorry," I say. "Parent in hospital." He very quickly looks away.

And that was part of it. But...

...I'd just seen the Ko-Fi page.

(We'll talk about that below. It... kind of needs its own section.)

About an hour, waiting. I've never paid this much for an oil change before, but... again, no storage fee. I thank them, go outside...

The car is intact. I wasn't completely expecting that. She ran out of gas in what was described to me as the middle of the road. No one hit her. No one hit the vehicle. I thought... well, not scrapped, someone would have said something, but I guess I was at least looking for fresh dents. But nothing happened, and...

It has taken so many little miracles for my mother to get this far.

Think about it. (I had to then, when I couldn't put it off any longer.) Her mind was... disconnected. Think of a subsystem running all by itself, with the main operating code unable to supervise. And in that condition, she drove across two states. Without getting into an accident, without hurting herself or anyone else. Her body just following a program: drive -- and doing so with utter success. If I'd had more gas in the car's tank... how far would she have gone? And to not get hurt after the whole thing stalled out...

There are more questions, of course. She didn't think to gas up. She -- possibly wasn't thinking at all. But those were toll roads. (My best guess, made much later, was that she followed a single one all the way up -- and it still doesn't account for all of the lost time.) How did she pay? Could she have done that on autopilot as well?

...I have to reach the hospital.

The car starts. I find a station, start to gas up, and the hospital calls while I'm setting up the pump. Seven minutes of allergy questions. I tell them I'm close. Locate the on-ramp to the road I was paralleling for nearly two hours. The same train line actually runs to my destination city, and so I'll have the option to take it on future trips. I'm trying to figure out what my best course is there. (Eventually, I talk to multiple people on the hospital staff and learn the station is about a mile from the building. So I will have the chance to know this city very, very well.) Right now, it's a highway with surprisingly frequent rest stops, and even more surprising prices. I was expecting fuel to be at least thirty cents higher than the most recent town, and it is. For fast food to ring up at the price of a gourmet appetizer is America. Where else are you going to go? It's just too much work to temporarily use an exit!

...and here we are. I have never been to this city, and my only advantage is that in the States, when there's a hospital nearby, you get blue signs with white Hs to point the way. It still doesn't let me know the lanes, and I have to do a few fast switches to stay on course. The parking garage eventually looms ahead, and it turns out that I'm actually in a hospital complex. This is a teaching hospital, one of the best in the country -- but that means there's also an administrative building, and a classroom building, numerous little facilities collected in huge shells, and it means I spend ten minutes wandering past six-digit student loans before I reorient enough to find the right building: a thousand-bed structure ten stories high, which should not have been that hard to find within the complex. And yet it's practically invisible, like Canterlot before the gatehouse got pulled back. You don't see it until you have to, and the only thing more difficult than moving around outside it is finding your way within.

Eventually, I locate some level of help desk, and... she's still in the emergency room. She's been admitted, but they're waiting for a bed among the thousand to open up. Go back outside, walk around the building until I find that entrance.

They don't ask for my ID. Part of me doesn't understand that. I'm used to license checks and issued passes which must be displayed in the open at all times. But this is America and so in many ways, every state is its own little country. This one loves the syllable 'ford', features fast food mini-chains which I've never heard of, thinks the cost of living is something you charge for by the breath, and it doesn't ask for ID. They take my word for who I say I am, they give me a bed number, and the ward door isn't even keycard locked.

She's asleep.

(She was sleeping more than usual, before this happened. I thought that was the dental infection, too.)

In a way, it feels as if that's best. When she's asleep, she's healing. Side benefit: she's also not offending anyone. As said yesterday, she's among the world's worst patients, to the point where I often feel as if I have to begin every visit to a hospital through approaching the entire staff and saying "I'm so sorry..." For what you are about to go through, I should give apologies in advance. She'll pick her favorites, she'll treat them fairly well -- but she can be very abrasive. I don't know what she's done so far, who she's managed to anger...

I still don't know how she got here. What happened. Anything.

A nurse brings me a chair. I am also offered food, mostly because I suspect I'm starting to radiate that aura of Death Warmed Over, which is also what the ER food looks like. Plus still no appetite, so I turn that down, although I do accept a ginger ale. Wait.

She wakes up about half an hour later. Half an hour during which no physicians appear. (I use the time to try and call back one of those who contacted me on the way in, and the phone simply rings for several minutes. I ask another nurse which doctors had seen her and am angrily told my mother isn't her patient, so I've now located one offended party.) She knows who I am. She knew my voice on the call last night, too. About fourteen hours ago, now. It's only been that long, and it's been so much longer.

We talk, and some of it is about the hard things. Alzheimer's as a possibility. The first signs of dementia. They've apparently been asking her orientation questions regularly: where are you, what year is it, who's the president. It's annoying her. (They ask her one series while I'm there. She gets everything except the year.) But there's no single test for Alzheimer's, and dementia... it'll take a while to prove. In any case, the hospital is still running tests. They've seen enough to admit her, but not to formally diagnose: the hematoma might be symptom instead of cause.

It's possible this was a one-time incident, and whatever happened is curable.

A lot of things are possible.

She remembers nothing of what happened yesterday. All of those hours are lost. She thinks that at some point, she was trying to reach her own hospital, subconsciously aware something was wrong. But that was so far away...

She is now aware of which state she wound up in, although it may have taken some time to convince her.

She is rather proud of her driving.

Her phone is drained. I plug it in, see all the unanswered calls I made.

Food is delivered. She complains about nearly all of it. Shortly after rejecting most of the meal, the bed she's been waiting for opens up, and she's wheeled up through this maze of a building, elevator after hallway and repeat because ERs are isolated and this place is huge. We have to wait another twenty minutes once we reach the right floor, because the room is still being cleaned. She complains about that, and I think about offering the first of the apologies.

There's a man here racing down the hall in a wheelchair, one with two-tone hair and a gown which doesn't cover his tattoos, or much of anything else. He cheers himself on as he does speed runs. He gets sent back to his room and yells into his phone. He is enjoying life in the way that only someone who's just been given a fully legal high can manage, and I really wish he'd stop.

Eventually, we get into the room. She wants to use the bathroom: she's wanted that for some time, but she wanted to wait until she was out of the ER. Which means this is when she gets to find out she's not allowed to use it by herself. She will be escorted in. She will be escorted out. She is, between yesterday and the broken foot, considered to be a huge fall risk. She is not happy about this nursemaiding, and so now we have a rage outbreak. I try to talk her down, explain it's what they need to do, but this means I am now telling her what to do on top of all the other people who are currently doing it, so guess how well this goes over.

(RL pause here: the hospital just called. It's basic questions about how she's been acting over the last few weeks. I got to feel horrible all over again.)

Next, they bring in toiletries. The soap is not to her standards. She claims it'll take the skin off her face and hands. Guess who didn't pack soap? And the poor nurse who had to deal with that... plus now we have more orientation questions...

Eventually, that ends. The TV is turned on. (It's free. This surprises me. Her main hospital is $5 a day for viewing time.) The news plays and about fifteen minutes into it, she falls asleep.

I stay. I have nowhere to go, and -- it's to my benefit, to stay. The longer I'm here, the more rush hour traffic will clear. I have some idea of which road I need to take back, and... I should stay. It's going on six-thirty. Seven, at least. I can do seven. The fact that it'll mark one day without food and four hours over that awake doesn't matter. I should stay, because I can stay.

The hospital has wifi. I see my Ko-Fi page again. My breath catches, and I have to try not to react loudly enough to wake her.

I have to stay. And then they kick me out.

It's nothing I've done. They have to take her to another MRI. It'll be at least an hour up there. And so they feel I should start back now. They also ask me to do something my mother and I had agreed on earlier: the emptying of the purse. They want me to take the entire thing, with all of its contents. She wants me to take debit card and cash, plus checkbook. I go with her desire, and...

...I had to briefly go into her purse a few days ago: she asked me to pick something up for her, with her own money. I am almost completely certain this is the same amount of cash that was there at the time. She hasn't spent anything since, and...

...well, now I know what happened with the tolls, don't I? She ran through the automated scan lanes. Without a scan tag. So multiple tickets incoming soon. I'm planning on pleading not guilty due to temporary insanity.

I promise to come back Sunday (unless they call me about something, and then it's right back up), and leave the room. It takes me nearly fifteen minutes just to find my way out of the building, plus some to locate the parking garage again. And then it's a major commuter road, one which runs through multiple states, and I stop at the first rest area and fork out too much money for a can of Monster. (Not even the 24oz. I wanted the resealable top...) It gets me through the wild lane switches designed by someone who didn't really want the systems to work together. It lets me stay alert through the delays and backups.

It gets me home. Lets me stay awake, as a thinking being, when I don't want to think at all.

I make one stop, pick up a microwaveable dinner. I still don't want to eat, but I know I need to before I sleep. I get in the door, check for messages, log into the site's Discord chat because I'm still capable of typing (if just barely), and among the first things I say is that I'm thinking about what I would have to do in order to give some of this back...

It was two punches, really, when I saw what was happening to my Ko-Fi account. One at the service station, one in the hospital.

It hit hard.

Hard enough to bring tears.

First, before we hit that part... Actual Expenses.

Yesterday, I estimated that it would take $60-70 per trip. This is how it actually breaks down.


Gas: approx. $30. (This is for clear traffic, with no time spent sitting in delays.)
Tolls: $29.85, roundtrip. (There are ways to possibly shave this, but they involve burning extra gas.)
Parking: $3 minimum, and I spent $12 last night. It's based on the time spent in the building.

Mass transit:

First train, roundtrip: $24.50.
Transfer between trains, roundtrip: $6.00. (This can be an optional expense if the weather is good: it's about a twenty-minute walk. I didn't try it yesterday because I was in a race to reach the car, plus carrying thirty pounds of hospital comfort.)
Second train, off-peak, roundtrip: $35.50.
Shuttle bus to hospital: free.

So I was pretty close: if I don't eat (or just try to bring food), it's in the $60-70 range for each trip.

Timewise, the train takes about 75% longer than the car -- under ideal conditions. And those? Don't exist for the car, because I am taking a Road With A Rep. I am also crossing That Bridge. Put it this way: if the actual name of a thing is what it's most often called, then this bridge has been officially and repeatedly christened as the "@!$!$ !(@#$%^ !$!%^! !!!!!!! BRIDGE!" (The traffic report usually shortens that to the Ninety-Minute Memorial Delay.)

So right now, the plan is to go up every three days. (This may change frequency in conjunction with medical status, but every three days is the minimum.) If I'm traveling alone, I'll take the train. (I can walk to the nearest station. My mechanic didn't want me to.) If one of her friends wants to visit her, it's more practical for two or more people to take the car.

That's Actual Expenses, times Current Frequency.

We don't have Known Duration to work with. I spoke to a doctor during the writing of this blog: the testing will continue through the weekend. (He feels they've ruled out seizure, and there were none of the physical signs which would normally be associated with a stroke.) So I have no idea how long she'll be up there. It's at least a few more days. It could still be weeks. I have no way to know about 'months', or -- I have to put these words down -- whether she could die there. I panic a little every time the phone rings, and it's been ringing more than it ever has. I may hit my minutes limit: something I've never had to worry about before.

But when it comes to expenses, there's a degree of math to work with.

As I write this, it's been about thirty-nine hours since I began composing the last blog.

The results over that duration...

Earlier today, I briefly spoke to the only person in my life who knows I'm on FIMFic. Providing the update on my mother. And there was also a joke. That maybe the donations were karmic pay-forward from Aragon. Because if you look at what happened with his going to BronyCon, I'm the one who first brought up the fundraiser idea. Majin set up the page, but I had the base concept.

The other, darker, half of the cosmic jest was that given everything he did there, the rest of it was the backlash...

(This has been your totally random Aragon joke. We now return you to your irregularly-scheduled blog.)

I have a reputation on FIMFic, don't I? I've made a few jokes about it over the years. Here's the most recent summary of that rep, from a tweet I made on August 10th.

"So as a writer, he did all this to Fluttershy and you're saying I'm worse than he is. How?"
"Well, he only carved her out into a mindless breeding bioweapon, destroying her mind and soul."
"...'only.' And I...?"

Right. I'm the worst thing to ever hit this site. I write the stories which are too close: nopony in the Mane Cast is really going to be turned into a serial killer within an actual episode, but readers are going to go through days where customer service backfires, obstinate bureaucrats won't listen, miscommunications inflict themselves in all directions and... pets die. Oh, and let us never forget: I murdered a piano. And then we have my main story...

I'm the one who can make you uncomfortable because the events resemble things which might happen to you. FIMFic's resident cynic: that label has been applied a few times, versus The Descendant as idealist. (I once told him that if we touched, something would probably explode.) And a comment from Komodo23 might have created the signature line for the readership of this 'verse.

Thank you so much.
But also screw you.

(I should really add that to the TVTropes Quotes page.)

The resident cynic. I don't know if that's completely true. Yes, I have my cynical side. I often head directly for the worst-case scenario, but that's partially because it so often happens. But I try not to let that rule me, not in every aspect of my life. And...

The newcomers here don't know this: my Patreon account started because of a traffic ticket. I didn't run a red, and the argument would have cost more than the huge fine. I couldn't find the money to pay it, not in time, and -- people had been saying (some as jokes) that I should have gone on Patreon prior to that. (I'd been on FIMFic for over three years.) I'd made jokes about pledge levels, and that was about it. But when I was in a more personal level of trouble, when desperation rolled the dice... people were there for me.

It shocked me. It still does. And... when it comes to fanfic writing, I'm among the lucky ones. In a recent blog post, I said that I knew this couldn't last forever: after all, fandoms fade. I know my pony writing likely has a shelf life. But right now... people pledge to me, because they want me to write.

I'm not published. I don't think I ever will be. But someone quoted what I think is a Stephen King line to me, shortly after the Patreon started: that as far as Mr. King is concerned, if you're paying a bill with your work, you're some kind of professional. So my electric bill thinks I'm a real writer.

The first time I collected pledges... I cried. Because people cared. Because they cared about not just me, but my work. But I also had guilt. What right did I have to ask in the first place? Who said this should be a money-earning semi-occupation? What if my pledgers need that money...? And I still have those feelings: joy, a little sorrow, and guilt. Every time I collect. Whenever I look at the page for too long, and think about what it means.

And the Ko-Fi page? That came about because Patreon very temporarily changed the rules, passing on fees to the pledgers instead of the creators. It only lasted a couple of days, and it nearly tore that platform apart -- but during that time, people were looking for alternatives. Ko-Fi was suggested, and the page stayed up after Patreon reverted.

Yesterday, I asked for help again. There were two major peeks at Ko-Fi after that, hours apart. And I had to fight the urge to cry again. I gasped. I sobbed at least once. Because people helped, and...

I have to say this before we go any further: I am thankful for all of you. Those who sent money, whether it was three dollars or more, because it all helps. Those who provided advice and reassurance at the right time. Those who could only send their hopes and prayers. All of you.

But the money... it feels like it's too much.

I haven't reviewed the full list. (I could, through PayPal. I'm currently afraid to do so.) I know there are multiple three-digit pledges. I think one person may have skirted the edge of four.

I got a PM yesterday, the only one I responded to from the hospital, because it couldn't wait. It was from a pre-teen. Wanted to send me all their savings. And I almost screamed my NO! before I said I wasn't yelling at them, just that this was about what people could spare and if it's all your money, by definition, you can't spare it...

(I've had fear since this started, for so many reasons. That added a layer.)

I'm not rich. I'm not comfortable. I've joked that I could go on from there. I don't see this kind of money, not all in one place. And... it makes me feel so many things. Grateful. Thankful. Blessed. (I think that's the first time I've ever used the last term without irony.) But it also makes me feel afraid. Because... what did I do to deserve this? There are people worse off than I am, so many people, and...

I feel like I didn't earn the support. And part of that is guilt. Second-guessing. I've been second-guessing whether I should have put the blog up when I did, or put it up at all.

(I was about to go for a walk. It was three in the morning. I had to keep moving, stay awake. So maybe a walk, and maybe I'd find fifty cents along the way, help towards the train tickets -- and then I turned around, went home, started writing...)

I don't know how long my mother will be in the hospital. It could be weeks. It could be months, and... I'm trying not to think about that. But what if she's out next Wednesday? Yes, that's great, she's better (I hope she's better, not that she's just been released with something chronic, or somehow gotten herself tossed), but what did I actually need, versus what people so generously offered? Do I try to put what's left towards any hospital bills, if she can't get into the charity care program? Sure, that makes sense. But if she does...

Could everyone who donated really spare that money? I know I'm -- this hurts to say -- generally below the poverty line. I know other people aren't. But what if someone made an impulse donation? Dear sweet pony gawds, that one person came close to four digits...

What if there's money left over? Well, gee, I'm the one who wrote Luna's Lottery Lunacy. I just have to return the appropriate percentages across the donor board!

...what if she's in there so long that I...

...can't think that way yet, not for long...

What if it's just -- too much?

I have some idea of what happened yesterday. Multiple signal boosts, right? Twitter was mentioned. The news spread all over the site: Estee is in trouble.

I've made a lot of jokes about my FIMFic "career." (You can count the quotation marks as one of them.) About how I have a little Hatedom out there, and I earned it the hard way: word by word. About the whole cynicism bit. And piano murder. You murder one piano...!

But I've been here for over five years. I'm hardly the most followed person on the site, and I'm nowhere near the most loved. My writing style can, and does, irritate some people. My 'verse concepts enraged a few. I've blocked people, and I'm sure there are those who've blocked me. But at the same time... people follow me. People pledge.

People... care.

Some of those who donated are my followers. Others... I don't think you've ever met me before. (Um... hi... Would you like to see my story catalog...?) People who just knew someone was in trouble, and... acted in a way they saw as fit.

The call went out: Estee is in trouble. And look at what happened. Look at what this community did.

I could think about the ones who probably laughed when they saw the news. Or I could look at the Ko-Fi page. The PayPal feed. All of the names.

Some of you know me and somehow, even knowing me, you still care about what happens to me. (Or in this case, my parent.) Others... just knew someone was in trouble, and acted.

I feel blessed.

But I don't feel worthy.

I -- don't know what I did to earn this. I don't know what to do if the donations turn out to be far more than what was truly needed. (I only adjusted the name of what was originally a joke tip goal on Ko-Fi: that I was going for an iPad. Through tips, and cue the dark laughter. But I thought that number was fairly close to 'X trips per month, roughly two months,' and so I didn't touch it.) I have guilt, so much guilt, and I'm thankful and grateful and second-guessing myself in all directions and I don't feel like I deserve for so many to have helped me.

(I also worried about copycats. People signing onto the site, claiming disaster, then running off with the collected total. Of course, if they're following me exactly for their model, they also have to be here for over five years and write more than a million words. At a guess, a professional con artist would say it's just too much effort.)

I haven't transferred a single penny of the collected money to my bank account yet. And part of that is because of those above beliefs. Also because as long as it hasn't been moved, it might be easier to send back...

I was, and am, so thankful for every donation, regardless of amount. But I worried about those who were giving, and I thought about whether I should just shut the page down, and...

...maybe I have too many emotions to make sense of them all right now. And even for writers, there's a point where words can't convey it all.

I'm grateful. I'm amazed. I'm scared, and I feel guilty, and that...

...I'm kind of a mess right now.

I have a lot of reasons for that.

None of those reasons should be all of you.

Thank you. They're weak words, and... they're all I have. (They're going to be repeated.) Thank you. Just know that I'm always going to worry, and none of that is your fault. I'm me. And if she gets out early... if it's just too much... we all need to have a talk.

Last night, I came home to find a FedEx envelope in front of my door.

It's not hospital-related, although it took me a few seconds to realize what it probably represented. Those of you who've been here for a while know that I enter the occasional contest. (Always free-to-enter, mostly through or sponsored by Coca-Cola.) And sometimes I win. This was most likely my most recent random draw victory: four tickets to the cheap seats for my local baseball team. About two weeks away. I'd already spoken to a friend and so have someone to go with: getting all four occupied may be impossible because this year, my team is horrible. I checked StubHub on the seats: resale starts around four dollars, and I think some of those may be 'I pay you.' I had mental images of standing outside the stadium, hawking free tickets and getting no takers...

I opened it this morning. Just the tickets, as expected. Arriving well before the game, and all the seats were adjacent. (For Coke, this is an unexpected show of competence.) A longshot win, because that was a daily free online entry sweepstakes where I'd put in one entry. Maybe it just wasn't publicized enough.

Four tickets for a night out.

And I don't know if I can go.

I don't know if I'll ever go out again.

Because -- what if my mother's condition is permanent? What if every time I leave the apartment, what if every time I fall asleep is a chance for her to fugue out and just wander off somewhere? What if my new sleeping position is Head Against Door? I can't get a babysitter for an adult, and...

This is me. It's how I think. I go right for the worst-case scenario, and sometimes I stay there. But that's not always a bad thing, especially for a writer. You have to understand what the worst could be before you try writing it. When it comes to your own life... know what the worst might turn into, and you can start to plan for it.

But how do you plan for what might be some level of adult dementia? What if that's what happened? What if it can happen over and over and...

I have gratitude.

I am so afraid.
I'm afraid of what might happen to her.
I'm afraid that someday, it'll happen to me.

I am leaving both the Patreon and Ko-Fi pages up: for ongoing and new writing pledges, for future tips and donations. Maybe it's too much. Maybe if this goes on and on, it's... we'll talk about that if it happens. But I can't let emotional turmoil shut me (or the pages) down. I may try to write tomorrow, if I can take a walk long enough to settle my head by Just Enough. And if the hospital doesn't call. Fortunately, that main story was already in a pretty dark place.

I know, from some of the comments on the last blog post, that I'm not alone in having gone through this. And so I may need to talk about it, here and there. Speak with those who've been there and can provide advice.

One of the background themes for my 'verse is herd mentality. And so often, that turns into 'an individual is a person, a group is a mob.' Find the intellect of a mob through dividing the lowest IQ by the number of people in it.

But when the herd unites behind you...

(I don't deserve this.)

I called, and... you came.

(I'm crying again.)

One seldom has the opportunity in life to find out just how much people can care...

(Sobbing now.)

Makes it a little harder to be a cynic, y'know?

Thank you.

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R5h #1 · Sep 15th, 2018 · · ·

Estee if you even try to return my pledge I will drive to your home and shove it down your throat

Site Blogger

I don't want my money back.

If you don't end up needing it for whatever reason, put it in a Car Fund or a BronyCon Fund or a Sweet Jesus Christ Let Me Have The Barest Hint Of Financial Stability Fund.

The signal boosts and PMs and comments and Discord messages should all act as proof that the money was earned. And I really have no choice but to say, given where we are and why we're here:

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

Makes it a little harder to be a cynic, y'know?

Mission accomplished then.


I was gonna make a rambling statement along the lines of you having brought me a whole lot of joy, entertainment, and reasons to think about things that more than makes up for that donation, and that you could indubitably use the money more than I could, but I think R5h has put it far more poetically here.

If it turns out you don't need that money for the emergency, then you use it to do whatever you can to make your life that little bit more comfortable and happy, because you've been through literally more shit than I can imagine and if this is all we can do to help balance that, then this is what we'll do.


Mission accomplished then.



Estee, accept all good things in grace, with the understanding that love has no limits, and no requirements.

Save it for a rainy day.
This fandom, this site, are the best I've ever been a part of.
Over the last couple months I now understand why.

I can only speak for myself, but several things went through my mind my mind when I read your initial post and then when I read this one. The first thing involved how much could I spare, was there anything I could do, and that what happened was a horrible thing to happen to anyone. We all had parents at one point, and it made me think of how much I worry about my own.
I think all people, no matter who they are, have worth; and you definitely ARE deserving of receiving concern. I've never met you, but I've read some of your works and PM'd you on occasion. All in all, this community is a group of friends or at least a group of potential friends. And I'm sure AJ would say helping where and when we can is the neighborly thing to do.

My Dear Estee,

I am gratified beyond words to hear that things have worked out as well as they have in this difficult time. Reputation or no, you and your numerous works hold a special place in many hearts, my own included.

Never say that you don't deserve this. The most precious gifts are those given without expectation of reward, out of the kindness of the heart. Rejoice, therefore, and be glad for the mercies that have been bestowed upon you in the midst of your troubles. Let our generosity be a light to you in this dark time, though all other lights go out.

Your Humble Servant,

Author Interviewer

You shut up. >:V

You shut up and you put that money towards whatever care your mother needs, whatever expenses you accrue in visiting her at the hospital, and fucking literally anything else you need, you stupid fuck.

I am considering whether I want to leave that swear in there, if it's taking whatever imagined relationship we have just a little bit too far. I'm still considering it. Flipping back and forth. Probably will for the rest of this comment.

What strikes me hardest about this post is your reaction to the hospital. Not that I've had to do anything quite that panicked myself. I'm pretty sure my last hospital visit was paid for via parental insurance.

Point is, wherever you live? Geographically, economically, emotionally, maybe even spiritually for all I know: it is not a good place. You expect the worst because that's just about all you're gonna get from what's immediately around you. And when you can't travel too far, the immediate is all you get. But there are better places out there. And sure, ain't none of 'em perfect, but it is conceivable for you to be somewhere where you don't have to constantly look out for every little thing to stab you in the back at a moment's notice.

This is one of those places. We are here to help. I guess what I'm getting at is "Fimfiction is not a place, it is a people" but that seems a tad flippant for the current situation. I'll go ahead and reference it anyway, maybe it will make you smile.

You stupid fuck. :V You deserve it.

As my Dad told me.

The sins of the cash are not the sins of the donater.

You dont take the bribe son, you take the cash and you spend it, because those who want you to will thank you for it, and those that dont want you to, will curse you for being better than they.

Keep fighting. Even if you lay there and do nothing, youre still fighting.

The Black Dog is an evil bastard. Dont let it take you down when freinds are there to drag it off you.

While I sincerely hope you'll have the opportunity to make the offer, I'll refuse any attempt you make to refund my contribution.

And yes, about a dozen signal boosts went up yesterday, and that's just the ones I saw. We're behind you all the way. There's no shame in that. The strange and amazing thing about this sort of renown that you're not the one who decides whether or not you deserve it. You may not agree with the crowd's judgement, but it turned out in your favor regardless.

For now, please focus on your own recovery as best you can given the hospital calls. Food, rest, decompression, whatever you need. Worrying is inevitable at this stage, but worrying yourself sick is strictly optional.

I really hope this doesn't come across as twee or out of touch or domineering or... Look, I just want to be as supportive as I can from the other end of the Internet and try to ensure that you don't kill yourself through neglect, stress, or both right now. Believe it or not, we're here for you.

You're more than welcome, Ester. Try to get some sleep, too!
Remember, dear Ester, that you are a part of the herd. The herd always takes care of each other.

Be safe and be well. And don't worry. You are not alone.

The power of friendship will save the world one day.

I told them that. I couldn't see getting there before roughly two p.m. And their response was to extend the deadline. As long as I was there by two, no storage fees.

...well, that's never happened before...

Part of me doesn't understand that. I'm used to license checks and issued passes which must be displayed in the open at all times.

(It's free. This surprises me. Her main hospital is $5 a day for viewing time.)

Maybe you just need to move...

Anyways, I've always believed that if the problem is sincere then everyone deserves this kinda help. Though based on the above, maybe Campbellsville's just this Maybury-esque town of niceness. I know we had one murder a few years ago...

Seriously, do live in a post-apocalyptic future? Or Chicago? It's Chicago, isn't it.


Well, not down the throat, that's a little counter-productive...

Man, I don't even have enough money to pay you for how much your writing has made my life better over the years I've been following you. That sounds super cheesy but it's true for me.

It's made me want to learn about stories and try to write something even just in the city of the ballpark you're in.

It's made me curious to pay more attention to the world around me, just to see if I could find any of that magic you always put into your stories that make them instantly familiar in those small, little ways.

Your stories have let me escape from shitty things going on in my life so many times. This is the least I can do in return. And that's not like, ass kissing, or hero worship shit. It's just true.

So if you do try to send my measly sum back to me, I will politely decline the offer and insist that you keep it. :twilightsmile:

OK, so, my response here is mostly not going to be about the current events, more your reaction and how you generally present yourself.

First off, I've said it before and I'm saying it again now: You are worth it.

Bit of a side tangent: I'm a diagnosed and (somewhat) treated manic-depressive person with bi-polar disorder. I bring this up because I personally know that you can't just change the way you think and act with acts of will alone. You need outside assistance of some form, and it can be hard to ask for that.

You come across as someone that has very low self-worth, dangerously low in my opinion. I understand that money is an issue so it is unlikely you'd be able to talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist about it but I very highly recommenced talking to someone. I'm sure we have a few professionals in either of the aforementioned professions in the fandom, it might be worth seeking some out to see what inexpensive help can be had.
Some self-deprecating jokes are good for a person, it doesn't do to have a big ego. But not having any ego at all is just as bad.

It can be hard to ask for help, especially when you don't think you're worth helping. You are worth helping, but you have to decide you want to be helped first. Maybe you need to force yourself to want it, I know I did (and still have too sometimes).
I can't really speak for others but if you ever just want to chat with someone who somewhat understands this sort of thing my PMs are right there.

I hope your mother gets better, and I hope she can pull that stick out of her rear and learn to listen to directions from medical professionals who's job is to make her healthy again. (Again, you have to want to be helped first. Some people just don't understand that sometimes a person telling you to do something really does know better than you about the things they are talking about and you should listen to what they say when they tell you to do or not do something.)

I am intimately aware of why some people become self-deprecating. It took me a long time to drag myself out of that mindset, and I’m not all the way there yet. I know how mean and spiteful the internal monologue can get. So I am going to ask you to do one thing. When it comes time to transfer the money and make it your own, say to yourself “I am loved.”

Behind each username is a person. You know that all too well. I think I’ve seen you write exactly that before. You have had a positive effect on all those people. That’s why we donated. We care about you.

I hope you will remember to add that positive into your own self narrative.


Point is, wherever you live? Geographically, economically, emotionally, maybe even spiritually for all I know: it is not a good place. You expect the worst because that's just about all you're gonna get from what's immediately around you.

That's what I'm saying! Is Gotham City real somewhere? How can anywhere be that bad?

I would suggest looking at your Medicare options, and also to remember that with the AHA, we all have health insurance. As someone who is familiar with the hospital setting, I can say that if you can’t get charity care, you will NEED every cent you can get, even for an ER visit and a short hospital stay. Though that might be my perspective as someone from Southern California. Basic living expenses here would be your extravagant overspending where you live.

Estee - there is enough pain and darkness in this world of ours. We all find ourselves on the verge of being swallowed by it sometimes.

People give because they can, because they care, *some* because they have a gear slipped and can't make themselves take care of themselves before anybody else.

People give because they know the world can seem mighty dark, but if they each light a candle die the best they can, everyone can see their way through.

You think you don't deserve it? Well, guess what - you have no right to tell other people they don't get to spend money on you.

Sure, some people may scam. They've been doing that for years already though. Some people may have given too much, and they can contact you themselves.

You ask what to do if it's too much.

It won't be. Take it from somebody who went through something similar this year.

Sure, it may be more than you need to travel. But you know Blackwell that you're lowballing your costs there.

Plus, to be blunt, you're going to need a cushion. You're going to need a little sanity money from time to time. You're always going to have *something* you've been neglecting because you haven't has the time and money.

Well, put some of this towards fixing that. Towards a reliable vehicle, bills, rent, whatever.

Towards the suit that's Had To Wait.

And a bit towards yourself. Because maybe, just maybe, you don't deserve it.

But that's not really your call to make. You just decide how to use it to make things around you a little better. That's really all you need to do.

I just read through both blogs, sent a donation your way, and...

What 4937776 said.

Moreover, your being deserving or not, having earned this or not, never crossed my mind. You needed help, and a bunch of us had the means to help. We all go through horrible stuff sometimes, some of us more than others, and the worst way to do that is alone. You’re not alone, judging not just from the donations but from other people around you that have helped in one way or another.

Makes it a little harder to be a cynic, y'know?

There you are, then. The whole thing is a conspiracy from the hatedom to sabotage your writing career once and for all.

But yes, other people rarely cooperate with our own inner narratives. It can be very jarring, and you're already heavily jarred. You don't have to make the leap straight to seeing what other people see in you, though. Just try to move toward trusting us--that we can judge rationally, that we can make sound decisions based on that judgement.

I understand how hard it is to believe you are worthy of help. I also understand how hard it can be to ask for help in the first place.

But I join with the others who are saying 'don't you dare not accept it'.

Because the thing is, this is the kind of help everyone deserves. Sometimes, maybe often, they don't get it. And sometimes we can't or aren't able to help people when we want to. Sometimes who gets help is a bit random. And heck, sometimes we get cheated into giving. But no-one is going to say you don't deserve to be able to help your family, or have a bit of stability. You absolutely deserve that, regardless of the circumstances. Not up for debate.

What I'm getting at here is that we live in the world we make, and that should be a world where we help each other out. So shut up and take it okay? :fluttershysad:

You called, we answered. I'm crying as I write this, because I was so worried about you, and to finally find out that you got the donations because people cared...it's all so very overwhelming.

Please, please, please take the money and know that you are both blessed and loved.


Hi! I don't think we've ever actually interacted before, but we have a lot of the same friends, so I was keeping an eye on your posts in case there was any non-money thing I could do to help.

I know you're a bit panicking right now, but this stuck out to me:

And I don't know if I can go.

I don't know if I'll ever go out again.

Because -- what if my mother's condition is permanent? What if every time I leave the apartment, what if every time I fall asleep is a chance for her to fugue out and just wander off somewhere? What if my new sleeping position is Head Against Door? I can't get a babysitter for an adult...

You absolutely can. It's called respite care, and (while I hope with all my heart it doesn't come to it) you should be able to find local services for it. A social worker at your local hospital might be a place to start, or your local Easter Seals should have information on local providers. I don't know how old your mother is, and if she's on social security already, but if she was permanently disabled she would qualify for social security disability and medicaid, which would help cover those costs. (If she's already on medicare they might cover some of those costs at well.)

I've been playing the caregiver game for a while now, first for my elderly grandmother and now for my daughter with special needs. It's haaaaard. It's a second job that you don't get paid for and can't mess up. But there's help out there, it just can be hard to find sometimes. The health care system really does know that you need it (even if they sometimes kind of suck in how they can offer it to you.)

I... could ramble on about this for a while, it was actually my own mother's area of study for most of her career as a developmental psychologist, but you have enough to read. Just PM me if you want to know more. (Or vent. I'm always open to a session of "Ugh, doctors. And the therapists. And the forms, oh god, the forms.")

Oh, and nice to meet you. Sorry it wasn't under better circumstances.

Because... what did I do to deserve this?


Be you.

Bring so much entertainment and thoughtfulness and sheer feelings to a thousand people with a writing set and a world and character interpretation that's unique and splendid and amazing.

Just remember that you do deserve it.

You don't have to get a swelled head or anything, but don't ever think you don't deserve kindness. Kindness and generosity don't generally care if you deserve it.

Thank you, everyone who rallied and supported!

Well, have you thought of maybe putting any extra money towards a replacement fictional piano, since there seems to be so much bother about that? :)
(Though I of course was rather more upset about when you tied up that one unicorn, which I notice you didn't even mention here, hmph.)

More seriously, though, while if someone actually contacts you saying that they actually really needed that money, you should work with them, if the donator doesn't? Even without all the underserved negative attention the universe seems to heap on you, I think you shouldn't worry about whether you deserve this or not. If something crops up you really need it for, you need it; if nothing does, you can save it to help with later problems, or celebrate your good fortune, or something. We want you to be happy. And hopefully, if enough of us tell you enough times, you'll have an easier time internalizing it. :)

Estee, there is no question that you deserve the support being offered. Everyone in such hard straights deserves to have a community step up and help them out. Not everyone will be so lucky, and that is a failure we all share. I gave because you have enchanted me with your writing for years and because I hope that should I ever need it, there will be someone for me.

I certainly do not want the money back. Take care of your mom, and take care of yourself.

Being the huge Star Trek nerd that I am, I'm going to quote David Marcus when he tried to soothe his father, Jim Kirk, after his best friend, Spock, gave his life to save the Enterprise. Kirk also doubted the value of his words at that point.

But good words. That's where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them.

The world can be so ugly, so cruel, so unforgiving. Sometimes a good story is all that's standing between someone and a bottle, a needle or... something else. I don't know if your stories had this kind of impact on anyone, but it's clear to me a lot of people are fond of your words.

You do have value, and you are worthy of others' respect, love and, occasionally, money. Be gracious, give thanks and be a little more kind to your fellow man.

First of all, I'm glad that things are getting somewhat better. Second of all, I understand, to an extent, what it means to doubt your worth. The feeling that you're somehow cheating by having things this good when others are far better than you and yet are worse off. That sooner or later someone will "catch you" and you will lose it all, in a way that is much more painful than simply never having it. Heck, occasionally I bring my own religious beliefs into it, saying that we are all sinners and that technically, none of us deserve anything but death.

To these thoughts, I have two things to say. First, that worry that you are getting more than you deserve just shows that you are a compassionate person. It shows that you understand that others suffer and through them you suffer yourself. So perhaps, if you ever are convinced both intellectually and emotionally that you have been given too much, don't give it back. Instead, give it forward to someone else you know is in need. A coworker who's been injured. The local library. Or just start a fund for your mom, because let's face it, she's an excellent example of someone else in need. Yeah, the donors might have used the money for food or something, but they just as easily could have used it for alcohol or gambling. Use that compassion we all know you possess to find a way to use that money that will do the most good (although you should make sure you are at least getting enough to eat, sleep, and stay healthy first, you can't make wise decisions if you are not).

Coming back to the religion thing I mentioned earlier, I was once told something that helps. God made us to have good lives. Our messed up world and our messed up souls keeps us from having them, but we all still have that spark of love that was worth dying for. Just remember, you have that spark too. Work on finding it, do what you can to make it stronger, and trust it to help you make the right decision, whether that's giving to someone else or simply spending on food that's better for you than fast food.

One last thing, when the show does end, I for one would enjoy your take on the new Ducktales if you want to keep writing fan fiction.

I haven't transferred a single penny of the collected money to my bank account yet. And part of that is because of those above beliefs. Also because as long as it hasn't been moved, it might be easier to send back...

Don't. Just...don't.

No returns, you'll need it eventually. :twilightsmile:

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers,” Blanche DuBois.
Why change a winning formula?

Glad you made it down safely and managed to care for your mom. Glad she's okay for the most part. I sure hope something like that doesn't happen again though, that was some very scary shit to think about. But she's safe at least.


I've always wanted to go to at least ONE Bronycon. Always saying I'd go the next year, I'd try to go the year after that, and so on. Now it's pretty much late into the fandom and next year is the final one.

Time sure went by quick and each time some stupid event came up and kept me from being able to afford to go to any of them. At least people took videos of the panels, just sucks I didn't get to go down and hang with any of my pals and meet some of the other regulars here.

Well, I've no doubt you'll make it to the last one so best of luck.


I miss that Luna Jury Duty stuff. Whelp, 2 out of 5 of those fics, 1 on read later I bumped up to the top to read along with the other two, ain't all bad. xD

Liked the way you managed to sprinkle your stories across the whole post where it related most. lol

I'm probably too much of an empathic and a realist, but I never understood how you've managed to make so many enemies in the land of pony fiction. Then again, given some people's attempts at getting me banned behind the scenes across the fandom and even some people telling someone to try and get my April Foals story down over a vector that was labeled "free to use" no less (They managed to get it taken down off Derpibooru lol), at least before they edited it and PM me on DA why I was somehow the exception...

So, okay, given the way some people take their ponies *extremely* serious, I can now see how you may~ have rubbed people the wrong way. I guess THAT'S ONE MYSTERY SOLVED! lol

Have a good night.

I've also volunteered my background in emergency medicine/business-of-healthcare to Estee in a PM. I also have a degree of familiarity with AAA that is hard to describe in public without incurring civil lawsuits.

Inasmuch as the blog post and past stories have described "herd mentality", there's probably value in providing overlapping expertise and letting other people know what's been offered.

I can spare the money, and I made sure of it before I sent it to you.

And hey, I still have a lot of money saved from when I worked for LITERALLY UNAMBIGUOUS EVIL, so consider that a way of easing my own guilt.

(And I'm working at a different job now, so my income is still positive

Considering all the people that have threatened you to find you and jam the money down your throat if you give it back, or less violently, set it on fire and send you a picture (logistically easier) I would suggest you keep it. The exact details of what to do if something remains after everything is cleared is the kind of problem that can happily stay somewhere in the future until it becomes imminent. Don't worry about it.

You deserve every fraction of a cent that comes your way. The world is out to get us, and the only thing we have is each other to flip it off and keep going. And so we help each other, being it by writing stories, offering a sympathetic ear, or giving up money we can spare. Accept the help, and good luck with the things we can't help you with.

First off: good luck and good vibes to you and your mom. Let's hope things work out for you, without too much hassle or trouble.

Second: Thank you for writing this. You are one of the best writers on this site, and that's saying a lot; this blog post was better written and more engrossing than some published-for-money books by alleged professional authors that I've read. That thing you said, about your stories being a bit too real, sounds very accurate... and for me, at least, that's one of the draws of your writing. Ponyfic is for innumerable things, and fluffy feel-good fun, drama and romance, wild and radical (or awesome, as it may be) adventure are all valid and important things. But sometimes, especially when I'm having a bad day, or just feeling frustrated, it's a delight to read a very well-crafted story about small magical Technicolor equines struggling with bureaucracy, or stubborn neighbors, or whatever. Because you take those frustrations and struggles and pains of real life, and give them just enough distance for us to face them, and for a moment, deal with them through fiction.

Thirdly: Estee, you so do deserve this. By which I mean the outpouring of support and sympathy and, yes, money. (Not the stuff you and your mother are going through right now, but universe is an unfair place.) Fight the guilt and feeling like you don't deserve anything good. Take the money, and use it to see your mom, and if there's anything left over, put it into making your life a little better, a little easier, a little more secure.

This thread and that post might be the most beautiful thing I've witnessed on FimFic.

Take it in Estee, I know it feels awkward, accepting true gifts always is.

This is our gift to you.

I ask another nurse which doctors had seen her and am angrily told my mother isn't her patient

Huh, this just doesn't change anywhere. Due to my job, I often have to call the local hospital asking about the patients and it's never their patient (unless it's paediatrics, they're more helpful).
Also, my grandma has Alzheimer and let me tell you: don't reject money or other help. You're gonna need it. Don't think you don't deserve help because of the piano :twilightsmile: (or because I started writing after reading Five Hundred Little Murders. That's not your fault :twilightsheepish:)

If you want to talk or have questions, I can help too.

What is money anyway? 'tis a hunk of paper with a dead man's face printed on it. It's only value is in what it can buy. In this case it has bought your mothers wellbeing. This accomplished, the remainder will buy your wellbeing.

That is what I have bought, and that is what I intend to get. So enough of this silly talk about whether or not you deserve it, I have made my purchase. If I did not want it, I would not have bought it.

It's extremely difficult to accept money when you've been hard-wired to learn how valuable it is. Lotta people -- especially those who can give it away freely for a good cause -- sometimes struggle to understand that.

All this to say, I completely get what you mean with the money, Estee. I'm glad that everything that could go well went well, lack of food and sleep aside. The car is not a mess and in fact it's quite usable; your mother, while difficult, seems to be herself still. The small lapsus are scary but within these boundaries, she's doing well.

I'm extremely sorry to hear how hard this is getting to you, the fear of not being able to sleep or go out or live anymore. It gets hard sometimes, shit like this -- but it also tends to get better with time. I know it sounds impossible, but it does. Solutions appear when you least expect it, situations may not solve themselves but surely get easier apparently at random, and people are willing to help.

Look, ultimately this goes like this: nobody, NOBODY donates an ammount of money they're not willing to spend. When you have disposable income, by definition you use it on non essential (for yourself) stuff. You hear Estee is in trouble, you take a look at your budget, and you go, hey. I can donate 50 bucks with ease, I've got enough to spare.

It's weird to think people do that. I spent my childhood and teenage years square down the poverty line, living off charity, the red cross, and debts we couldn't possibly pay off. Being given money for free, even if you need it, is almost offensive because every penny counts.

But for the people who donated, that money is entirely affordable. It's spare change. You gotta tell yourself that: you can't rely on this every month, but one time, they can spare it. Absolutely. It's like buying some gum on the way home -- a "surprise" expense in the sense that you weren't planning it when you got up that morning, but still squarely within what you expect yourself to spend every day.

That's why nobody will accept it if you return it: it's not essential money for the people who donated it. Really. It might be essential for you, but they're doing fine.

Take it as a breather, and count it off as one less problem in the future. Don't let it become a problem by itself. Send it to your bank account all at once, like tearing off a bandage; doing otherwise is a disservice to the donors.

They're okay. Focus on your mother. If the money can help her, and there's no future downside to it, take it. Weird as it sounds, that's literally all there is to it.

While I'm more prone to offer help in a physical sense, rather than financial (I rarely donate to anything, especially online). I'd much rather provide some means to sort things like a car drive, a helping hand, providing for something to take tasks away from someone and the like, than I am to actually give someone money. With money it's hard to know that my intention with that donation is indeed what it's used for.

I couldn't assist physically in this instance. So I donated. I donated what I found to be an acceptable amount both on my side in that I won't really miss it, and on the receiving end, in so far that it wouldn't be excessive to accept it.

I have my reasons for deciding to go ahead with a donation (which as I stated I rarely do) that I won't go into, but rest assured I can do without the donation I made and hope you can make good use of it. Spend it on the immidiate resolvement of this. Spend it on something long-term that might help Mom or yourself. Spend it on bills that have been hovering over you like a sword of Damocles. Heck, spend it on a vacation somewhere to relax and get yourself back on track again.

But do NOT spend time (or money) trying to return it to me. I can do without it. Keep it. Be happy. Make mom happy.

So put your guilt and self-loathing in a box, light that box on fire, dance around it, rejoice a bit, and keep us posted on things.

Oh, while I'm here, praying for you too!

Use every penny folk chipped in. Like others on this thread vastly more eloquent than me have said, everything that was sent was given from their disposable income to the best use they could see for it. Use it all without any guilt for yourself and your mother. And best of luck going forwards.

(Due credit to 4937851 for some part of the signal-boosting - I heard about it first from a post they made.)

Honestly, my $6 isn't much compared to whoever is going on that near four digits but...

I'm going to be volunteering at a Hospice soon. I'm going to be willfully spending my time with the near dead and the dying. I am frequently poor and I try to spend my money wisely. Giving it to you, one of my favorite authors (in or out of print.... I would pre-order a non-pony book of yours if you wrote one) in your time of need is not nearly as much as I wish I could give.

You have brought me happiness with many of your stories (which says something about me I think), so know that you deserve this help.

Nobody deserves anything. We’re all in this together.

Who’s to say that it’s too much? Use what you need, make sure to remember that self-care is a necessity, and if there are leftovers then you can pay it forward.

(Also, there may be something about locks to keep adults from opening doors, even front doors. I’d be shocked if this weren’t a thing, dementia being what it is.)

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