twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It was a short Friendship Council. For the most part we discussed Flareblitzfury's lesson: "I've found that my friendships usually form the best from at least one common interest, then finding out more things, then as time goes on, more trust and a bond begins to form!". Applejack seems to think that friendships start with a friendly how'd you do and a hoofshake, but she admits that after that, it follows that you have to find a common interest. Our common interest was defeating Nightmare Moon. With the feuding families that the Tree sent me and Fluttershy to reconcile, the common interest was honoring the promise their sires had made to the critters. The trust and bonding came with it being clear that they could best honor that promise if they worked together. Just like we worked together to defeat Nightmare Moon.

Notation made in Friendship Reference Manual, chapter: Starting Friendships.

Then we had supper!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Still no letters. I thought I'd get at least a few by now. I've noticed that mail moves very fast in this giant library of yours, maybe even at dragon's breath speed. I've also noticed that it never takes me any time to reach and open this journal of mine, once I've cast the graphical display grid spell. Thus, the delay is not due to letters moving slowly through the postal system. It may be that friendship is as hard to quantify in Earth as it is in Equestria. There's also the fact it was a letter to the editor. I barely glance at that page when I read the Ponyville Express.

No letters is still an interesting result. Writing a letter is an investment in time and remembering something you've learned about friendship takes both time and effort. I probably shouldn't be worried about getting swamped by letters!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
My letter to the editor of the Equestria Daily got published! I must have passed muster. Now to see if I get any Friendship Letters.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
My open letter was denied! The editor of the Equestria Daily wrote back to say that they were worried about "sending people to a place that answers their questions". It must be a cultural thing? I asked what steps I need to take to get on the list of vetted contributors. The editor replied something that I take means that they will discuss my case in a meeting. I guess this is what happens when you are thousands in the same herd, you choose a select few to contribute to your newsletter on behalf of everyone? No matter, I'll just have to bite down on the bit and ask the Ponyville Express to print my open letter.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
What my work in progress, The Magic of Friendship, a Reference Manual, really lacks, is material for the chapter on Friendship Creation (the First Spark). I was thinking, where else could I put out a request for Friendship Lessons for my research project and maybe get a few new data points without running the risk of getting swamped with mail? Somewhere off the map of Equestria, so to speak. Not Yakyakistan, not Griffonstone, not Saddle Arabia. I'd get ignored there anyway. No, I was thinking of perhaps putting in a letter to the editor in an Earth newspaper. There's one that looks promising. It's called The Equestria Daily. It seems to have a good readership, even though it has what looks like made-up news from Equestria and it prints new editions much more often than daily. It should probably be named Fantasy Equestria hourly.

What do you think? Would I get any letters? They could send them here, either as comments or as "private messages" (this E-journal has a mail slot!). The advantages would be: no uncontrolled pan-Equestria announcement of my project, no sea of ponies wanting to tell me their stories in person, and no ponies armed with pitchforks and flaming firebrands banging on my front door if my project goes bust.

So research! Science! Yay! I think my letter to the editor of The Equestria Daily should go something like this:

Dear Earth People, as Princess of Friendship I've decided to expand my studies on the Magic of Friendship by asking for data in the form of Friendship letters from Equestria at large. As I've learned from Rarity and Applejack (Friendship Reference Manual, chapter Living With Friendship sub heading Benefits of Friendship section Observing Friends Sub Section Avoiding Traps) is that careless advertising and promises can lead to overwork. Thus, I started by having a test run using the foals of the Ponyville schoolhouse. That went well, for a test of concept. Now I'm ready to scale up slightly. I read that you like ponies and friendship. Since there are probably at best only a few hundred of you, I feel that asking you for Friendship Lessons You Have Learned won't flood my mail box the way it might if I go next to asking, say, all of Ponyville.

A Friendship Lesson should follow this general format:

Dear Princess Twilight Sparkle,

Today (or whenever it was) I learned that [key friendship problem] is solved by [key action].

Fill in the pertinent details and context.

Your signature statement [for example, Yours Truly, (your name)]

I'm building a manual on Friendship covering everything from starting friendships, building on friendships, mending friendships, benefiting from friendships and stronger abilities through co-operative friendship. It's all about building better magic through science!

You can send your Friendship Lessons to me as a comment in my E-journal here at dreamwidth.twilightpony.org or as a "private message" in that same E-journal. It does both! It's really nifty!

Princess Twilight Sparkle.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
We met this afternoon in the Map Room. I had everything prepared for a round-table analysis and I had sorted the friendship lessons I'd received so far. First, there were the letters that mirrored lessons that I and my friends had already written down. For simplicity, I reminded all of us of what we had experienced, then Spike read out a summary I'd made of the letters giving the same lesson. Then he listed the ponies who'd written them. That cleared most of the pile quickly. Rainbow Dash was still awake! Bonus! Spike was also furiously scribbling down notes on what we covered and where we filed the new material.

That was the warm up. On to new material. There was the lesson from Flareblitzfury, that even when communication breaks down, a friend learns to have faith in a friend that cares for them. That's similar to what we learned when we didn't know what a parasprite was and we couldn't understand what it was Pinkie was doing. From Algernon97 came the lesson that friends may quarrel, but friendship brings everypony back together, and that it's always hard to say goodbye to a good friend. I think we all glanced at Dash.

More lessons. A good friend shares what they like with you and will sample new things that you offer. Pinkie Pie approved of this lesson.

A good friend will go out of their way and spare the time to lend a hoof. Applejack approved.

A good friend helps you find your flaws and weaknesses and gives you the motivation and courage to understand how to master them. Rarity felt this lesson resonated with her.

While it is easier to become friends with somepony so similar to oneself that it's like holding up a mirror of perfect familiarity, a good friend will compliment your familiar likes and strengths with new and seemingly oddball quirks. It is from these exotic friendships that we build magic, understanding and community. I got a lot of blank looks. That lesson needs a hoof trim.

Overall, I think the Friendship Council was a success. It was a bit vague, but then what we are attempting to quantify is nebulous. At least we are getting back into the friendship halter! The after-council supper with all my friends was the best part. Good food builds strong friendships.

Chemistry

Dec. 27th, 2015 11:59 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Tomorrow we get together in the Map Room and go through the new Friendship Lessons I've collected. I've made a rough, first pass sort-through of the pile Cheerilee brought me. We'll go through the list, evaluate them, and inscribe the friendship lessons in my volume. And try not to bore Dash.

What is the spark that ignites a friendship? I felt that spark during my confrontation with Nightmare Moon... it seems so long ago. What brings on that realization, the dawning that a pony is your friend? Can we build a protocol for laying down a framework from which friendships can grow? Can we find a reliable catalyst that will ease the transition from stranger or antagonist to a stable friendship bond? Or will friendships always rely on putting ponies together and hope that they find a common goal or interest?

I share therefore I befriend.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Cheerilee came over and dropped off the Friendship Letters her students wrote. I've read and sorted them. Many repeated the examples I gave. Some just stated that they had friends and they have fun together, which is a bit vague. Well, time to get my friends together, to sit in our thrones, and weigh the lessons. Then I will present our findings to the class to complete the loop.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I picked up a copy of the Foal Free Press this morning and sure enough, it has pictures of me. There was a short article too which stated that I had talked about the Magic of Friendship at the school, but it doesn't mention my call for data. There wasn't anything in the Ponyville Express. I doubt there will be either, talking to a class full of young students isn't news. Now I just have to hope some students at least thought about friendship.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The students have a week to write a friendship lesson. I think my exposition on friendship went well. At least I seem to have had their rapt attention. I'm not sure they understood what it was I was saying, but they have my written request which they can read when they wake up from their 'oh, wow, a princess, here' collective trance. I think the only questions I got were "may I have your autograph", "may I have my picture taken with you" and "do you really live in the Friendship Castle?". It's up to Cheerilee now to explain what I said and to collect the letters from the foals that have a friendship lesson to share.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I'm going to need a chapter on anti-friendships in the book. It occurs to me, thanks to Starlight Glimmer, that antagonism from other ponies can change the course of pony endeavor and spur some to make lasting friendships.

This is research -- questions that spawn still more questions.

I saw Cheerilee today and I'll be by to talk to her class tomorrow afternoon. Spike picked up twenty blank scrolls and he copied out, on twenty sheets of paper, the task that I will be giving them. Namely, to tell me how friendship made your life better and what you learned to do to make that friendship stronger. Test launch of the cooperative community data collection project on building and strengthening friendships is a go!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I really do have to hope I get this launched right. Rarity and Moondancer have shown me what sudden overwhelming demand on their time can be like. Slow and cautious it will be.

With the Ponyville students, there would be the advantage that, while they may all jump at the chance to mail me a friendship lesson, they will soon move on to something else and forget all about it.

At the Running of the Leaves next week, I expect most of the ponies there won't be in a frame of mind to be thinking about the nature of friendship. And what if my oral request gets reported in the press? What if the reporter gets it wrong? So I am back to publishing a written tract in order to keep the message straight.

I'm still stuck on the formulation of my request. The more I work at it, the more complex it gets. There are so many permutations and outcomes in friendship. Would ponies understand what it is that I'd like to see if I call for examples of altruism, mutual support, tolerance and well being in a friendship framework? Or perhaps simply, how friendship made your life and the lives of your friends, better? If my request looks esoteric, it might control the flood. Or maybe there wouldn't have been a flood at all, and I'll get nothing.

In the clearing the stallions go
Talking of Mare. E. Angelo.

Well, I'd better test the waters with the Ponyville Schoolhouse students. I'll talk to them about friendship and how being a good friend makes you a better pony. I'll tell them about my discoveries about friendship. I'll also provide a written invocation for each student and a scroll for them to fill in. It should start: Dear Princess Twilight Sparkle...

I'll have Spike buy twenty new scrolls tomorrow.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
You know that there are a _lot_ of ponies in Equestria? Thousands. Many thousands. I'd better be careful on how I word this official request for friendship lessons. If everypony feels that they have to send in at least one friendship story or friendship lesson, we will drown in the paper flood. Maybe I should start small. I could just post the request in the Ponyville Express. Or I could take five minutes to address the crowd waiting to start galloping at the Running of the Leaves. Or I could address the students at the Ponyville schoolhouse. Then work up from there.

I worked on the proclamation today. I'm toying with the idea of including a fill-in-the-blanks form letter, with a checklist of usual types of friendships. Or how about a list of conflicts and cooperative puzzles solved by friendship? Can't do that, I would be biasing the data. How to ask? Probably something along the lines of: describe a conflict, problem, task or event that was solved or made easier through friendship. Or, tell me of the time you and your friends fixed something or solved something you all thought would be impossible to solve or fix. I need to write that so it looks official And fun. And important. And useful.

Princess Celestia makes this kind of thing look so easy.

I realized that I had to make sure I wasn't going to get myself into hot water with this. I had Spike take a letter and send it to Princess Celestia -- is it OK to make a call for friendship lessons in the Equestrian press?

She wrote back, I can request letters in this way as long as it's voluntary and clear that I'm not paying for these letters. She added that I need to be clear that I reserve the right to summarize or change or omit the submissions as I see fit.

I think I'll go out and watch for more shooting stars.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
For supper Spike whipped up a pumpkin sesame soup, followed by hay casserole with sunflower seeds and raw cubed acorn squash. He also made a lemon poppy seed bread which we served with apple butter. There were carrot and turnip sticks to munch on, and for dessert, beet pulp cookies and oatmeal swirl ice cream.

While we ate we started to discuss how often we should convene and how to proceed. I would be the pony to go through the letters first, arranging them by type and writing a summary of the actual lesson for particularly long and rambling letters. Spike would read the letters aloud and together we would weigh their pertinence to friendship and the strength of the lesson. That could be tricky. Spike would take notes.

This is assuming we get any letters at all.

I proposed using my book of Friendship Lessons as basis for organizing the new lessons and filing them for efficient retrieval and reference. Dash looked relieved that I'll take care of that. To each her strengths!

This may be a good way to spread the Magic of Friendship, but Equestria is a big pasture. We'll get through this puzzle, one small bite at a time.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Well, I made the rounds, dropping in on each of my friends in turn. I told them over snacks and tea and serving as a clothes model and pulling a hay cart, that I am considering creating a compendium of friendship lessons from across Equestria. I'm a bit stiff and full of tea. I've invited all five to join Spike and me for supper tomorrow to discuss this together.

It's research! My friends could be a bit more excited... I told them it'll be easy, we'll each play to our strengths and do this together, like we always do. We've trained for this. (That got Rainbow Dash's attention!)

Tomorrow Spike and I will see what's in our pantry and go to the market to see what we can get to make a good supper for seven. Right now Spike is sleeping and I'm just too full of tea.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
What I ought to do is start up a fresh Friendship research project. It would be an extension of what I and my friends had been doing, when we would stumble over a friendship lesson, write it down and either mail it to Princess Celestia or make a note in a common journal. This time, what I envisage is to call on the ponies of Equestria to mail Friendship lessons to me. Then, every week, my friends and I would meet to audit the lessons and file them. Eventually, they could be components in a reference book on Friendship... "The Magic of Friendship, a Reference Manual".

Since my mandate, as Princess of Friendship, is to share the Magic of Friendship with everypony, involving all ponies in this quest will further that goal.

This would be an open ended project, but that wouldn't stop us from printing a first edition of this Friendship book we'd make and sending copies to libraries all across Equestria. Then we'd print updates. Then a second edition, and so on.

I'd better see if my friends are up to this. I'll also have to research how to make and distribute a proclamation. There must be a book on that subject somewhere.
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