Drifting Down the Lazy River

This story is a sequel to The One Who Got Away

A frustrated young orphan colt with a talent for painting is determined to run away from his dead-end rural village for the distant cultural haven of Baltimare. All he needs to do is slip aboard a raft and drift down the river Fen until he reaches his destination. It’s a simple plan, and would have worked just fine except for one thing.




20. Inspiration, Author's Notes, and General Stuff

What a long and wonderful trip this has been, drifting along through the last year while working in bits and pieces on something that would compare well with the original story.

I think I did it.

Inspiration for the story goes to Mark Twain, otherwise known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, and of course the story The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (pdf link) In particular, I would like to thank Andy Thomas Studios for their permission to use the painting ‘Huckleberry Finn’ in this story. As it is commercial art, all rights remain with the artist, I just have permission to show it to you here on a limited basis. The original painting is $29,000, but you can get 8x16 signed prints starting at $35 here (which I’m going to, as soon as I can talk my wife into it).


(Ain’t it pretty?)

And of course a second thanks for Pen Mightier and Manifest Harmony for their great (and only slightly late by a day or two) cover art of Turpentine and Ripple on the raft.

Moving right along, interesting things happen in the margins while writing. Odd conversations you never see in the finished product (unless Georg adds them, which I am here)

(On Pearl and Ripple’s ‘aunts’ in the river)
Tek: Ok this line of talk just makes me wonder if Ripple has any other siblings or cousins either living or deceased from the conflict they are refugees of. Their names being oh I don't know Tsunami, WaveFront and Big Kahuna.
Hmm that last one meeting Big Mac could be amusing. Maybe they can form a Big Club.

Me: Gabby: So, you're Big Kahuna. Pearl says you're her brother, right?
Gaberdine tried to smile while waiting for a response, but the only thing he could think of was how much the huge seapony looked like he had some blue whale in his family tree somewhere, or perhaps a megalodon shark who had eaten a blue whale.

(after the scene where Turpentine throws the coffeepot out into the river)
Tek: Wilson!
TheMaskedFerret: Noooooooo!!!!
Me: Sigh.

(Or on occasion, my editors leave little bits of knowledge for me)

Tek: Maybe he starts to think the island is a Aspidochelone
Georg: Even I don't know what that is. I'm trying to keep the reading grade level down.
TheMaskedFerret: Giant sea creature, often a turtle the size of an island.
Georg: Maybe I should slip in a baby Aspidochelone.
Turp: It's a turtle.
Ripple: It's a baby Aspidochelone.
Turp: Is that some kind of turtle? (eyes the turtle) And how can it be a baby? It's about twice the size of any turtle I've seen before. How big do they get.
Ripple: Greece? Of course that's centuries from now. He's just barely big enough to have some dirt on his shell. It'll take a least a hundred years before he's big enough to get even a small town on his shell. So do you have a pet?
Turpentine: Not really. I had a cricket back a few years ago, but it got away.
Ripple: I'll share, if you want. He's not much of a bother. He eats water lettuce and pond weeds, mostly.

(Since I’m mostly a discovery writer, there are times when my plans don’t work or I find something better while I type. Example in point: I had not *planned* on Pearl going to Canterlot. I had planned on having the confrontation when they returned to the riverboat, but while I was writing, it made a much better theatre to have her overcome her fears and show up, using the dragonfire parchment and Celestia’s authority as background plot point ‘movers.’ Here’s what the original plan showed)

I have this mental pic if Ripple ever gets to Canterlot.

Gabby: Ripple convinced my father to let her play with his train set. They spent the whole afternoon in there, messing around with the locomotives and adjusting the scenery.
Pearl: Is that.. bad?
G: Wel... No. Although she got busy with a screwdriver when my father's back was turned... (produces small box that rattles) Once Ripple gets the locomotive put back together, we need to bring it back to him.
Pearl: (long pause) All the way to Canterlot?
G: Yes. (pause, eyes slowly track to Pearl) Not that you have to--
Pearl: Yes. If you'll go with me. And Turpentine.

rest of the day, Gabby is a little foggy, drifts

(Back in the section where Ripple first saw Turpentine)
Tek: yup he never saw her, it’s not like he has a painting to prove him a liar on that, I wonder if you'll make him smart enough to hide it
Me: Well, he is still a little in shock. First female unicorn he sees it will be like
"I didn't see her."
"Your daughter."
TheMaskedFerret: Snerk!

(On the hissing of the waves against the shore of Turpentine’s Island)
Tek: I thought waves lapped not hissed?
Me: These are very snaky waves.
TheMaskedFerret: I had a sudden mental image of all these little water snakes crawling out onto the bank for mating rituals. XD
Me: Small Town Charm with snakes. Brr.

(On the use of the phrase ‘mountain unicorn’ for the Canterlot nobility.)
Tek: may want to use Noble or Canterlot. This mountain bit had me thinking of Gabby as part mountain goat for a minute, after all I believe that Canterlot nobles say ‘bah’ often enough :)
Me: I like that mental picture. I’ll have to see if I can introduce some goat-like climbing into it later as Turp thinks they do. And yodeling, of course.

(On Gaberdine hiring Turpentine)
Tek: what he's not going to ask or Gabby going to state the benefits package?
Me: What, and look a gift horse in the mouth? (sorry! No, not really.)

(On a discussion about Ripple and any future siblings)
Tek: a case of to many cooks spoil the broth I assume, though Ripple not understanding a reference to them trying to put a bun in her mother’s oven could be cute. 
Ripple: that doesn't make sense Mom doesn't even have an oven
Me: (I gotta stash that one away for later)
Tek: Ripple: Gabby's the one with the oven, so the bun should go in there :) hmm would a seahorse (where the male incubates the eggs) be to much with this joke?
TheMaskedFerret: Not at all

(On the pegasus sisters and their names, particularly Lemon Drops)
Tek: yup that what I want in a pony's name who is hauling cargo. Drop :)
Me: Who who's your cousin? Horrendous Crash.
Tek: What's her Aunt? Terminal trajectory?
Me: If Rainbow Dash ever has a foal, she's naming it Escape Velocity.
Tek: That or Rainboom or Awesome, since it’s something she produced :-)
Me: And these are the triplets, Awesomesauce, Rainboom, and Are You Kidding!!
Tek: naw the third would be Prankasaurus Rex

(On the discussion of their landing spot in Canterlot)
Tek: shouldn't proximity to the school where their appointment is be a bigger priority than the castle or is the school in the castle, I never did get that aspect of Canterlot geography straight
Me: Yeah, I was jumping the gun.
Tek: Umm when or why did the school become a museum?
Me: (I have to use this) Well, it does house this one ancient old fossil…

(On where Turpentine is touring the castle art gallery)
Tek: reminds me of an old Rupert bear episode which features the "dove of dawn", of course it could be worse they could have referred to her as the worlds largest rooster crowing to bring up the sun :)
Me (in my head): Chicken Boo, Chicken Boo, you don’t do like the other chickens do...
Twilight: She’s a chicken, I tell you! A chicken!

(On the painting of Celestia and Luna in the dandelions)
Tek: one would think being in a field with a bunch of foals and Turp about to paint her would have alarm bells ringing for Celestia
Me: Heheh
Tek: I was thinking of 'that' painting and not just hijinks
Me: "Ok, now who wants to be painted nursing?"

(On Celestia's little arson every century or two)
Tek: sudden vision of Celestia stabilizing a wobbly table with a Rembrandt under a leg just because
Me: Luna: Celly!
Celestia: What? There's a couple dozen of them still in the gallery.
Luna: No, I mean you could have used one of the Renour's. The closet is full of them.
Celestia: (sigh) I guess I better go find the matches.

(On the Royal Sisters and their plot tinkering)
Tek: Sudden vision of the sisters playing croquet or pool with ponies as the balls.
Me: (Celestia aiming her pool cue) Baron in the side pocket, and artist over at the end.

(On naming a young pony Long Division)
TheMaskedFerret: Ah, yes, that evil beast.
Tek: I suddenly have a vision of that pony's job or special talent not being math but the old saw a pony in half trick :)

(On the seaponies helping repaint the riverboat)
Tek: making me think of helpful elves like those that help that cobbler in those old tales.
Me: Why are all these shoes flipper-shaped?

(When Turpentine put the infant Dawn in the store window)
Tek: how much is that pony in the window :)
Themaskedferret: The one with the fluttery wings n_n

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