The Final Word · 11:34am
In the early September of 2011, I was lost and drifting. Two years previously, I had just finished a long running series of online graphic novels, my Tryslmaistan Trilogy, with the final saga, 'To Save Her'. I needed a new direction.
I came across an article - perhaps it was in Wired, perhaps it was on some other website - roughly entitled 'The New Sincerity'. The piece was a wild-eyed, excited bit of puffery that suggested the arising of a massive online movement, away from cynicism and incivility and cruelty. It suggested that young people had grown weary of constantly abusing each other on the internet, and were turning toward a golden age of kindness and honesty. A primary example given was the Brony phenomena. My Little Pony had returned as a new show, one that had captured even the hardest hearts on the net, and turned them to the principle that friendship was magic... and worthwhile. That kindness and tolerance and charity were values worth living for, and by.
I had endured a lot of negative attention for daring to do my comics. In this article, in my exhausted, beaten state, I saw a glimmer of hope. I decided to check out this new iteration of My Little Pony. I vaguely remembered liking the show when it first came out, back in the eighties.
I devoured the available episodes of the very first season of Friendship Is Magic, and then waited breathlessly for each new episode doled out. The very first season captured me. It was, and remains, the best of the series, and it gave me something to adore. It showed me a glimpse of heaven - pony heaven - and I was enraptured. I found Fimfiction very soon after, and on it, the Conversion Bureau genre, just as it was beginning. I enjoyed, that first year, the very best creative time of my entire lifespan.
I have worked for Activision and Electronic Arts, Broderbund and Epyx. I have met famous game designers and had my name on many products. Not one moment of any of that was even a tenth as happy, or as fun, as that first year writing Conversion Bureau stories with my peers, friends all - or so I imagined at the time - excited and sharing and riffing off of each other. Nothing in all of my 57 years was as wonderful as that short time.
It was all a lie, of course - bullies came and destroyed everything good. I was an idiot to imagine otherwise. But - that said, I did get one truly perfect year out of my delusion. And I gained four more years of work I deeply value after that golden time. I had the finest creative year of my life, and then the death threats and attacks on my family came. There was no 'New Sincerity', just a brief island in the endless sea of despicable wretchedness that is humanity when it is anonymous on the internet.
The show - Friendship Is Magic - never truly lived up to that first year, though there have been numerous isolated episodes worthy of the original dream that was presented.
Those reading me now must see MLP:FIM as a very different thing than what I knew when I started writing. To you, who came later, the show is nothing like what it seemed back then I assure you. Now, Equestria has been written increasingly as a very... human... world, one with cruelty and harshness and deviousness and all the failings of Man within it. But in that first, unfinished year of episodes, this was not the case. Then, before the beginning of Season Two, Equestria was nothing less than the Elysian Fields. It was a place of kindness and joy, where all problems were solved with friendship, and where no pony was ever truly mean, or cruel, or cross with any other. All of that came later.
I don't think you, who have seen all the many seasons of Pony, can imagine the impact of such a thing. To you, Pony is a very mixed bag - the show little different than any other animated fare. Just a cartoon, one among many. But for many of us, back then, at the beginning, before the seasons to follow, Equestria was heaven, it was a land alien to Earth, a place of wonder where goodness always was the rule. Even if monsters crept and slithered in the Everfree, or Discord threatened the cosmos, ponies, themselves, were kindness and friendship poured into perfect flesh. Celestia and Luna were benevolent goddesses, and there was nothing that was not better there.
I offer something: a video. It is the most important of all pony videos to me, personally. I found this in my first year writing, and at the time it brought me to tears. It still can. I find it encapsulates, shows, demonstrates, exactly where I am coming from in all of my stories, in every single word and paragraph of my writing here. This video, which I have recently found again, combines images from the show with the music of Blackgryph0n, and manages to perfectly represent where my heart was, back in 2011, beginning my million-word march through pony fiction.
Watch it, and try to see if you can capture the feeling of an Ideal Place, a perfect world beyond the insanity and cruelty of our own - a pony paradise powerful enough to inspire and uplift the very soul. I am done with pony now, and this is my last blog. But I take with me the joys that I have had writing fiction here, and also the dear, marvelous delusions that gave me more joy than anything the real world has ever offered. I am grateful for having had even a glimpse of Something Better, even if it was a passing mirage.
Sometimes a fleeting madness can better an entire lifetime. Take, take me to Equestria.
- Petal Chatoyance, 2017
- Welcome to Equestria by Rulsis, YouTube, 2011