• Member Since 26th Jun, 2012
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Syke Jr


Apathy is death.

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Oct
20th
2019

The Mason Jar - Author's Notes · 11:04pm Oct 20th, 2019

I came up with the idea for The Mason Jar in the early hours of the morning, as usual, because that's when contests happen when you're on the opposite side of the Atlantic to everyone else.

The contest was to begin in just a few minutes. Most other people already had their stories at least a little bit planned out in their head; we'd had the prompt for a while. I didn't think I was going to compete. But when I came up with the idea, I went for it.

And I like what I came up with. It is, to me, by far the most complete narrative I've come up with in these contests.

The response, though, has made me think a little bit. Because some very intelligent people, whose opinion I respect, told me exactly the opposite: to them, it felt unfinished, or missing something.

Shouldn't Wanda have found that worthy end she was striving for, in the end?

Shouldn't Flash have been laid to rest properly?

I guess what I was trying to get across was this:

To quote The Office, life isn't about endings, is it? It's a series of moments. The story of an ending, to me, will never be one worth telling all on its own. It's just another moment, another bend in the road. There's always another horizon. That's what life is, even when it's over.

You don't die in a vacuum.

Autumn Flash really was in that jar. It wasn't just dust. To Wanda, letting go would be to admit that dust really is all that's left of her friend. But that isn't true. Not yet. Not when she still cares for him enough to quest for such a silly ideal for so long.

The story of Wandering Star learning to let go probably is one worth telling. But it's not the story I was trying to tell here. What you see in this story is Wanda's discovery that she's not ready, and that's okay. Not only has she taken her best friend on a tour of the world, in his honour, but in doing so she's seen and learned new things about the world and about herself.

Twilight Sparkle tells her it's okay to not be ready to let go, and it's not an empty platitude. If Flash could look down from Pony Heaven or whatever, would he be happier to see his ashes scattered at a wonderful, eminently worthy place and time a month after his death? Or is it far more worthy a fate to be carried across the world, for years, by a friend who cares enough to do it?

To me, this really is the whole story. Maybe it doesn't feel like an ending because I didn't want it to. I don't really believe that stories need to end, to be over. And before you dismiss that as sentimental, pseudo-poetic garbage, think of someone who used to be a friend, who's now just a stranger. When did that friendship "end"? When did that story come to a close? But it's over, now. In your heart, you know it. Maybe you wish them happy birthday on facebook now and again. Maybe one day there'll be another story to tell. But today, the book is closed.

I wanted the reader to want what Wanda wants. But I also wanted them to realise that Autumn Flash's end, worthy or not, happened when he died, not when this crazy little unicorn started carrying him around in a jar. The story stops right where I wanted it to: Wanda learns that she isn't ready to let go. Moving past it is another story entirely, and we don't need to stick around to see how she ends up doing it. It'll probably take some time, and not be very interesting, and we have places to be.

The other reading, the one where the story isn't finished, the one where something is missing, that's obviously a totally valid one. I just didn't expect it.

But who knows. Maybe someday I'll figure out what to do with the ashes I have downstairs. And I'll have some insight on whether this maybe needs a continuation.

Thanks for reading.
-Syke

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Comments ( 6 )

Sometimes, we need to write something that doesn't exactly feel complete, but that's how life can be. We don't finish what we wanted or able to let go of something taken from us.

Ah. I knew there was something missing. I should have noted the possibility that I could have been the one missing something. :facehoof:

Not even professional publishers seem to get the idea that the story ends where and why it does for a reason even though the lives go on around and beyond it. Not everything gets wrapped up with its bow all in the same moment just because the main story has ended. It is a part of emulating life.

From a real life moment: Didn't realise why I hadn't felt right burying the ashes of one of our dogs from years ago until her remaining son passed earlier this year. Now they are together. Much like his brother is with his uncle.

I like the author's notes almost as much as I like the story itself. Your expression of how you see life and death, beginnings and endings, is poetic.

Stay awesome, friend.

What you see in this story is Wanda's discovery that she's not ready, and that's okay.

And Twilight actually says that at the end of the story. I noticed it--it surprised me when I read it, and so I should have thought about it carefully after I finished the story. But I overwrote it with my more-conventional interpretation--just out of habit and familiarity, I guess. I don't know if I can take the same view as the story does, but it's a view worth considering. That makes the story more interesting to me. Thanks for replying.

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