• Member Since 18th Jan, 2017
  • offline last seen March 2nd

All Art Is Quite Useless

When I'm not writing stories, I'm writing essays. My keyboard sees fairly frequent use. University student, high functioning Rainbow Dash enthusiast, and satirical activist.


Sunburst has a new, unofficial title. He doesn't like it one bit.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 62 )

You know, despite this being a comedy, turned into something surprisingly deep with Cadance's and Sunburst's conversation and how low Sunburst actually thinks of himself. I applaud you for merging these two genres, comedy and drama masterfully.

Honestly, I wrestled with the Comedy and Sad tags, but I thought I'd rather focus on the uplifting elements of the story despite a few of the more sombre tones, and hope that readers will be able to as well!

Regardless, I'm glad it was enjoyable! That's a wonderful compliment, thank you very much!


I thought this was really well written. Your portrayal of Cadence seemed a bit off to me at first, but it made sense later.

Thank you, that's great of you to say! I'm glad Cadence's characterisation eased itself out, it was meant to be a little deliberately confusing at first, but not to the point that it might be jarring for the reader, which I hope wasn't the case!


By the way, a little bit of important wizard business has come up, I was wondering if you could help me take care of that? Basically, a group of ambitious unicorns at the Crystal College have managed to create a localised window to five seconds in the past. Every time they get close enough to close it, they get sucked back to a time in which they haven't closed it yet.

How is that visible from the outside?

They just get plopped back on their arses a few feet away from where they started with the memory of the attempt still intact, but any spectators wouldn't remember them ever having walked up to it. If they didn't end up rematerialising a few feet away, they'd probably be stuck in a perpetual loop. Basically, even though an outsider can't see that they've gone back in time, whoever goes through the portal remembers the experience. Really not that big of an issue unless it spreads somehow, that could be pretty nasty.

Thanks for the read! I'll get back to writing Order By Destruction soon.


That time portal reminds me to that lever that moves itself.
Loved the story, really.

I'm really glad to hear so! I'm afraid I'm not sure what you're referring to with the self moving lever though, feel free to elaborate!


This was an amazing read. It's a marvelous insight into how both sides of the reputation play out. A lot of times we think it would just make a falls ego, but instead we see Sunburst almost break under it. And that blunt revelation of Cadance and Twilight's current role compared to Celestia and Luna... It stung, it burned, and almost smacks of self-degradation, but she explains it so well. Not to mention how the story goes from something funny to something deep then back to humour. 10/10 man.

"Every time I heard a pony say my name today, it was only to remind me of all the things I always wished I could be. The things I could never be. When I got my cutie mark and went to Celestia's school, I envisioned great things for myself. In the end, I got nothing."

I appreciate that it took a while to get there, but it got there. The reason why Sunburst would be unhappy being called an "important wizard" is that, because he thinks it's not true, he has to face the fact rather constantly that he doesn't have what he wants: magical ability.

I'm not so sure if it could really be put to rest in one conversation, but I suspect a long-term grappling with low feelings of self-worth and a faulty ego won't fit in five thousand words. :twilightblush:

I didn't think it was very funny, though. :trixieshiftright: The focus didn't seem to be on humor.

Comments like this are part of the reason I enjoy writing. I'll admit, when I first started writing this, it was gonna be a straight up random comedy in which Sunburst embraced his new title and used it to curry favour everywhere, until 'x' happened and he realised leading everyone to believe he was powerful was a bad idea.

Then I started writing it, and it went in a completely different direction. I considered Sunburst's character, I found it hard to imagine him acting that way, and knew that I'd be forcing him into it. This story was written in the moment, it was barely premeditated to the point that three or so hours after starting, I had to come back out of it and completely change the short and long descriptions, as they were no longer accurate to what the story had became.

There is a good portion of harsh reality in this story, but I think that's very applicable to real life right now, with everything that's been happening in the world. You start to realise your own mortality, and the concept of the everyman being able to really accomplish something becomes very endearing.

Your comments make me real happy, mate. A lot of compliments there, and a good idea of what to try and incorporate into future stories, thank you!


As aforementioned, this story wasn't exactly planned. I mean, I had a rough structure in mind, and figured holding off on that particular revelation for a little while would work well. I hope it did! You've got it spot on there though, it's the exact reason it angers him so much.

I would say if you want long term grappling with feelings of low-self worth and a faulty ego, go check out my oldest/first story on this site, but I don't want to refer anyone to that mess before I've had a chance to extensively edit it. Needless to say, I've learnt a fair amount in six months. The time skip may have made you feel as if you were cheated out of the hardest period of Sunburst's recovery/coping process? Of course, I can understand that perspective but I considered that due to the high level of disparity in the tones this fic says, it shouldn't remain down in the deep and emotional trenches for too long, so I thought I'd chuck in something a little happier towards the end of the chapter.

I can't lie, you might be right. Humour was essentially a sideshow in this story, which wasn't what I had intended when I started writing it at all. I may reread the story and revise the tags soon.

Thank you both for your comments, I'm very grateful for your opinions!


The leave me alone box, the useless machine.

(I didn't knew how was it called, so I investigated a little)

PD: if you don't have much time, don't look the useless machines battle gifs, that thing is worse than nyan cat!

D'aww, that letter at the end. :heart:
This was a good read, poor lucky put upon Sunburst.


figured holding off on that particular revelation for a little while would work well

I suppose my phrasing was a little ambiguous, but yes, it did. I appreciate Cadence had to go through a layer of "well reasoned" arguments that were clearly motivated by bitterness in order to get to the center of it.

I enjoyed this quite a bit, and it's interesting to see you had a different concept at first.

I'll look into that soon! Thanks for sharing, matey!

I'm very glad you enjoyed it! He'll be okay, I think, just needs some time to adjust to it all.

I'm glad to see that you understand my methods, and I'm very happy to know that you enjoyed it! It usually ends up this way: What I plan to write somehow ends up being morphed out of context before I've even began typing, I'm very easily distracted, and as such what I want to put into a short story can change on a whim at times!

Thanks everyone!


Story Approver

Hey, don't I know you from somewhere? :derpytongue2:

Nice job on the feature, pal. :twilightsmile:

I don't know. I like the idea and how it started out. There was also a lack of any errors I could spit, which is nice. But the end...I don't see something that's been festering so long just getting resolved so quickly. At the very least I would expect Sunburst to refrain from using the titles the locals offer him.

I also can't see him walking off with another's pre-order. That's something no just being would do.:trixieshiftright:

*Alondro oozes in like a pool of black tar* Well well... a newcomer... *sharpens critical keyboard of evil... which is SO evil it can actually be sharpened!* :trixieshiftright:


Congratulations, AAIQU! Your second feature!

I remember when I had just gotten my first feature and it literally came from nowhere.

Anyways, I hope to see more of your work! You've earned it :twilightsmile:

You might recognise me from such glorious displays of badassery as-- *Ahem* Hey man, thanks very much! I've not blown up just as much as you yet, but here's hoping this does well!

I'd take this as a very valid criticism. Self doubt often lingers, and I'd say Sunburst's sudden elation wasn't from the fact he suddenly and miraculously considered himself cured, but rather that he had learnt that there were other perspectives that he could consider his troubles from, and that there was potentially hope of resolving these worries in future. One of the shortcomings of short stories is the difficulty to get the right balance in a succinct, compelling, and believable manner. If I've not managed that in your eyes, I apologise! As for his use of the phrase in his letter to Starlight, I'd like to think that he's been able to make a small amount of progress in these three months. Learning to poke fun at himself and have an in joke with an old friend --especially one that has had to deal with serious esteem issues herself-- is probably therapeutic in its own way.

As for taking the pre-order? Sunburst was pissed, man! Besides, I like to think that little exchange sets up the question of just how much of a hero Sunburst really is. Sorry if you came away from this one with mixed feelings, it's all a learning experience for me, and your comments help me to improve my storytelling in future, so thank you!

As long as it's nothing potentially malicious (Your entry speech sounded pretty ominous), feel free! I'm always happy to receive a little criticism.


Such an impressive one shot!!! Massive applause to you. :pinkiesad2: Looking forward to more of your work, Art. 😉

Well, you do usually hear about it before everyone else. Thanks though, beautiful. (My girlfriend of two years, if anyone was wondering! Probably a little bit of favouritism there.)


8304132 I'd rather walk away with mixed feelings than feeling like I'd just read a textbook. It had emotions and had an impact on my own, I just have to ask about the ending. Overall it was interesting a brought up several valid points from both parties.

Ruined my fun there spoil sport but impressive story nonetheless. Never fail to amaze me

Thanks very much, mate! Comments like this make writing all the more enjoyable, I hope to continue to produce enjoyable content for you! Honestly, I didn't expect this to do as well as it has, so I'm very glad! Two featured stories in the space of a few days feels a little crazy, but I'm nothing but happy about it!


I have some trouble buying Sunburst's "cut the shit" outburst, but otherwise fairly well done. One thing though:

her eyes lazily travelling down from Starlight's to a popular

Bit of a mistype here, I think.

I can understand that, I hope it didn't appear as too unbelievable! I mean, the guy was pretty stressed. Thank you though, I'm glad that you think I did a reasonable job, and thanks for pointing that out! Honestly, I made that mistake a bunch of times when I was typing this out, I thought I had caught every occurrence, but apparently not!

Will fix now, thank you very much mate.


An interesting story. Cadance has a really good explanation for why Spike in particular is treated like more of a hero than Twilight or Cadance in the CE.
Two thoughts occur to me:
Clearly the Great and Powerful Trixie is descended at least in part from Crystal Ponies.

The other one is from a romantic angle. Sunburst is apparently the most eligible bachelor in the Crystal Empire, the social equivalent of Fancy Pants. I wouldn't be surprised to see crystal pony mares throwing themselves at him. Either that would make a good romance story on its own, or if someone is writing a Starburst story, it certainly makes for an interesting sub-plot.

I like the idea, but then you get into political stuff, even if it is Equestrian politcal stuff that doesn't really work for me. There's a difference between getting a title and having someone think you're good at something

I wonder if he actually lost all his magic power sometime during his stint at CSGU, he hardly did any magic when he appeared again.

Congrats, AAIQU! Number #1 on the Featured Board! WOOOOHOOOOOOOO!


I'm glad you enjoyed it, mate! Also happy that the explanation I gave made a good deal of sense.

Couldn't agree more with your first thought, it's a high possibility.

This could be quite interesting to see in a future story. (no guarantee I'll be the one penning it, though!) I'd definitely read it, either way, even if it was a subplot to a larger story.

Thanks for the comment, mate, I'll get back to writing Close the Curtains soon, I realise it's been a little while now!

It's all connotation though, isn't it? Consider A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Uncle Monty's Incredibly Deadly Viper. Classic misnomer, the first I ever understood as a child. (Though that's mainly because Snicket has a habit of explaining things in great detail.)

So while I'd agree that there is in fact a difference, ponies (as well as people in the real world) don't perceive others in black and white. Back in The Times They are a Changeling, the guard assumes that Spike is bold, strong, and fit to command, all based upon his title and the misinformation it brings. If ponies have started referring to Sunburst in a certain way (not to mention spreading rumours about him), all sorts of things might be inferred from that, which leads to situations such as the one Sunburst finds himself in here.

I'm sorry if you're not a fan of political discussion in general, but I felt it relevant to the story. I hope it didn't turn you off the narrative too much.

Thanks for the comments!


Impostor Syndrome sucks...

I honestly enjoyed this story very much; much more than I did some of the other recent stories I've read. It is a refreshing piece of advice about approaching stations of renown and influence, and it reminds me a bit of what little I've read on Stoicism and its practitioners. Also ties up nicely about tiny frustrations I've been having over a small YouTube video I watched a few hours ago; this story's approach is much more satisfying in my opinion compared to that taken in that video.

Thank you, author, for writing this. I've done what I can to make sure this story reaches more people, little as that effort may be. Here's hoping to see more from you!

8304132 Ominous Alondro is ominous. He pops up in front of you wearing a sheet with two eye holes cut into it.

Not like this:


More like...


Except with a keyboard instead of a knife. (He's lost his mind from binging on Nostalgia Critic videos for 3 weeks straight. Well... lost it even more.) :pinkiecrazy:

It's a good question, really. We rarely ever see him performing magic!

That it is, and I'm pretty damn impressed! Thanks for letting me know when it hit, and for the enthusiasm! Glad to know I'm not the only one excited by it!

That it does. I've read into the condition somewhat before, and I'd say that it describes Sunburst's plight pretty accurately.

This is absolutely lovely to read! I'm very happy to have entertained you, and that you thought it was worthwhile enough to try and share it about! Any effort you've made is more than I could have asked for, so thank you! Stoicism is a very interesting concept, one I should definitely spend more time looking into in future. One of my lecturers had a fair amount to say about it last year. As for the video in question, feel free to link it to me if you'd like!

Well, as I've said, feel free to give me your opinions! As for your mind, god help the person that finds it, eh?

And finally, a massive thank you to all of you for leaving your comments. It's nice to know that people have something to say, whether it's an opinion on the work or a discussion on the themes presented in this story, or something I could do a little better with next time, it's all great to hear!


This is the video I was talking about. https://youtu.be/tSJHh8Kzh-g the video creator talks about not being able to make friends as freely as she'd like because she is now very successful and she fears that fame contaminates any interaction she has with new acquaintances. She talks about actively hiding her YouTube activity in order to have "real" relationships. And that frustrated me to no end.


How do they solve it? Sequel?

... Hmm... In some stories, Trixie's a really good magical theoretician... Like in the Triptych Continuum, Adjacency, and a few others...

How well known is Trixie for Cadence to talk about her? Well, I guess she knows that Sunburst knows about Trixie through Starlight?

I came upon this story wanting to know why it's become so popular... Now, I want more of it xD

Loving it!!! Keep up the great work!

"The ponies of the Crystal Empire could always use a hero." Cadence commented, her voice still soft and calming, though its effects were currently being stretched thin.


but i completely identify with sunburst. it sucks getting noticed when you had a comfortable anon life.

As much as I appreciate the unyielding idealism of the show, it’s nice to see Sunburst struggling with circumstances that could easily be presented as unequivocally satisfactory, and I think you handled that aspect of his life quite well. I also quite appreciated the ways Cadance convinced him to stop comparing himself to other people-that-aren’t-Star-Swirl. It’s quite a subdued way for Sunburst to overcome his struggles - and I would second what other commenters have already said about needing more than just a conversation - but that’s very much within the general spirit of the show. Never read much of Sunburst before, but I quite like what you’ve done with him.

I’m not sure how I felt about the letter at the end. There are things I like about it - for example, while I might not have caught it the first time around, the fact that he’s asking Starlight for help seems to imply that he’s more comfortable with the knowledge that he can’t do the practical things and needs help - but as a whole it’s just so jarring to leap into that after the conversation with Cadance ended on a note showing that he’d already started to accept his title. In that regard, I feel that while the letter does add something, it does it in such an abrupt way that it didn’t leave much of an impact and I’m honestly not sure its presence is necessary.

I was liking it up until then, though. Solid story, flowed really well with just a little stumble at the end. Thanks for sharing it :twilightsmile:

Lastly, a grammar remark, because I saw this happening in a couple places throughout. For example:

"Y-yes, I was wondering if you could help me find a particular title?" he sweated nervously

This should read: “ ‘Y-yes, I was wondering if you could help me find a particular title?’ He sweated nervously.” (Although I might also assert that his stammering would already imply nervousness in conjunction with the sweating and hence that clarifying he’s sweating nervously doesn’t add anything)

When you have an dialogue tag (Said, asseverated, declared, etc.) it’s sort of part of the same sentence as the dialogue and thus is not capitalized. However, because “sweated” is an action, not a dialogue tag, “He sweated nervously” is a separate sentence and the first letter needs to be capitalized.

It's a shame. I really would have wished that Cadence had helped out Bursty by giving him a title to put on business cards.
Sunburst the:
Important Wizard, now it's official!
Magic Hero! Let all know he is more than just a wizard!
Jedi! Because it's another word for wizard. Let the ponies wonder what the hell that means.
Reincarnated Starswirl! Make it worse than before, and thus, making him wish he was just an important wizard.
Or something along those lines. Oh well.

I'll give it a watch! I can understand your frustrations and I'm very glad I was able to help, thank you for sharing!

I believe I've seen her portrayed that was once or twice but no specific stories came to mind, I may have to check out one of the ones you mentioned.

As for a sequel, I won't make any promises there. I have entertained the idea of either writing a sequel or a small continuation of this story, but I'd want to be sure that I was adding something substantial to it, rather than just pandering to the story's success and giving readers that were previously impressed weaker content just because I know it'll get attention. In other words, I'll only write a sequel if I feel like I can really add something worthwhile to this, and pull it off. If it were to revolve around the time portal, I'd probably want to get a little help with plotting that out, scientific/magical theory is fun to write, but I'd want to make sure it was all tip top.

As for Cadence, she could know about Trixie either way, but I was going more for the latter. I don't think she's that famous just yet.

Trust me, I'm still scratching my head about that one! Like I said above, a sequel could be on the cards, or some other type of extension, but I'm not making any promises. Thanks though!

Thank you for the support, I'll try my best to!

Why Aunt May? That is definitely one of the prevalent elements of the story, though, I'm glad you found it relatable!

A lot of great feedback here, thank you very much! Also, I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it (for the most part)! Of course such a thing could be perceived in that way, but I prefer to tackle things from a more grey and ambiguous perspective wherever I can.

I'm not sure if I completely share your views on the letter, but I can understand what you're saying regardless, and I respect that opinion! As for not having read much Sunburst, about sixty stories contain his character tag, he's definitely underappreciated.

Also, thanks for the grammar tip! I like my work to be quality, so I'll look into that and make some touch ups soon if necessary! Of course, I often don't give my stories a second glance before publishing (I know, I'm terrible) so I'll occasionally miss such things, so it's great to have a reader point them out to help me make this the best it can be! And, of course, taking these opinions into account helps me to improve as a writer.

You're very welcome for sharing it! Thanks for sharing your feedback in return, it helps a lot.

I had that sort of 'cumulative elevation of self worth eventually equals distress' thing going on in my head when I started writing this, but just found myself going in a completely different direction! No clue how, but I'm quite pleased with the result.

Sorry if you were going into this looking for something more along those lines, but I hope you were pleased regardless!

And again, a huge thanks to all of you for commenting!


8305157 it's not really political talk in general, it's just the political talk in what seemed like a personal, introspective type story seemed off to me

Author Interviewer

The latter half of the story is really talky, but I do like where it ends up.

"How long is a strand of hay?"

I don't know if this is based off a real-world saying, but even if it is, it's pretty awesome.

This made me think of some old Dark Souls Lore videos about Astoria, and how the Legend and the Man are so different. This is an interesting look into a stallion who's growing into a legend in is own right. Similar to how a baby dragon can be a hero, when the circumstances are right.


its like you poniefied this entire scene. and i loved it. at least enough to get me to follow you.

Then again, if the journey (and spending all day pretending to be me) tires you out too much, you can always spend the night again? I'll get the guest room made up again, and I can show you around the empire a little the next day? I know your studies have been pretty intense up till now, but here's hoping.

I really do miss you. Things have been great here lately, but it'd be nice to spend some time with my closest friend again. ...

I think that's just about everything. Let me know if you're free to help, and if you've got plans of staying in the Crystal Empire afterwards, and I'll get everything set up. Thanks again, and I'll look forward to seeing you soon!

My take-away from this story is that Starlight and Sunburst need to connect, and I don't mean emotionally. :raritywink:

Login or register to comment