Ashe's Bar

Welcome to the Bar

All you need is a love of reading, writing, and a bar-like atmosphere.  Alcohol, cigarettes and Sean Bean optional…

I wanted a place where I could be my opinionated self on topics that occur to me during my reading and writing pursuits, and this is it.  Comments are welcome, even if you disagree with my point of view, but please remain respectful.  The bar staff are not here to take your abuse and the bouncer is trained in highly painful eviction techniques.


Featured post

Opinions are like…

This is one of those risky posts to write.  Risky because I am laying myself open to criticism for doing exactly what I am about to complain about and that is expressing opinions online.

This past week has seen me become irritated, annoyed, upset and saddened by a number of online exchanges in writing communities that have degenerated into bickering and insults to the point that Group Admins have needed to step in and warn participants to be respectful.  It frustrates me immensely that supposed adults cannot control themselves and behave reasonably when they read something with which they don’t agree. Instead, they choose to insert themselves into the discussion, become rude and abusive because the topic is not to their taste.

This week I have witnessed a prevalent attitude of “This is my opinion and I have the right to express it. I don’t care if it offends anyone and I will defend it against all comers.  I don’t have to listen to you because I don’t agree with you. I consider you stupid/evil/weak for saying what you did.” Why are there are so many unpleasant people who find satisfaction in being deliberately antagonizing?  I wonder if they are actually voicing their true opinion or if they just enjoy lighting the fuse and standing back to watch the fireworks. Trolls abound.

“Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.” – ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan

To borrow a quote from Harry Callahan, “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.”

Now, I am not against people having opinions. I don’t expect everyone to be in agreement,  that would be ridiculous. But it seems that there are too many people online who won’t even do a commenter the courtesy of reading the post and thinking about it before they rattle their keyboard to respond in anger or to inform them that they are wrong.  Step back and look at the big picture. Consider if your response is fair, appropriate, and proportionate before you let your fingers fly.

The demise of healthy debate is something to be mourned. The skills for exchanging opposing or varied opinions with others are being lost.  The back and forth of a stimulating discussion is disappearing. There is no searching for common ground, weighing up the value of another argument, considering that someone will have different experiences which affect their viewpoint, and may indeed invalidate our own point.  There are so many learning opportunities wasted by not ‘listening’ to more sides of a debate than our own.

With advances in technology, we appear to become poorer at communication between people. Perhaps we, as parents and teachers, are failing to pass on these skills so we only have ourselves to blame.  Maybe we believe our lives are too busy to engage with others properly so we hastily dash off a response without a care for how it will be received by others. For some, the anonymity of the internet gives them the sense of being untouchable, not to be held accountable for any hurt or offense they may cause.

Whatever the reasons, it saddens me to think I now have unrealistic expectations of the world we live in and the people who inhabit it.  

Ha’way Marra, Tark Proppa!

If the title had you thinking I was speaking in a foreign language… well, you wouldn’t be far wrong.  I suppose it’s a phonetic representation of a North Eastern UK phrase meaning “Come, my friend, speak correctly”, but it perfectly illustrates what I want to talk about, and that is, the writing of regional accents and dialect. Continue reading “Ha’way Marra, Tark Proppa!”

Safe Sex: A Moral Dilemma?

Some time ago I got involved in a debate about the role of safe sex in fanfic and our ‘moral obligation’ to promote safe sex to readers.  My opponent in the debate was also a writer who was very much pro the explicit use of condoms and other barrier methods in her sex writing, and also insistent on explicit consent being given every time.  Her reasoning was based on her own past negative sexual experiences, but also that she was aware that younger teens seek out fanfic for their favourite shows and movies, and knowing that, she felt she had a duty to write characters acting responsibly.  To her vexation, I disagreed. Continue reading “Safe Sex: A Moral Dilemma?”

Big, Scary Goals

All of the best goals should stretch you, challenge you.

Aidan J. Reid

You know the type.

Batshit crazy to others. Except you.
A goal that makes you pee your pants a little just thinking about it.
Something you’ve dreamt of all your life but kept hidden from others for fear of judgement or ridicule.
A goal so ambitious it looks impossible, given the current snapshot of your life.

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Defending the Electronic Word


Last week, a friend and I were discussing books versus e-books, or rather we were talking about the snobbishness of some readers when it comes to favouring ‘real’ books over e-readers.  This is not the first time I have encountered the ‘which is best?’ argument, but there were a couple of points raised in defence of e-readers that I had not considered before, so I thought it worth a comment here. Continue reading “Defending the Electronic Word”

Trigger Me Not

The subject of triggers comes up regularly amongst fanfic writers, normally in the context of ‘to tag or not to tag’. In my experience of being involved in this argument, or actively trying to avoid it, one thing is clear – it is a very emotive subject for many reasons, and it’s almost impossible to gain a consensus that is satisfactory to all.

Continue reading “Trigger Me Not”

Tripping over shoes

Do you ever become engrossed in a story and suddenly trip over a shoe?

I can tell you’re confused, so let me illustrate with a few lines of my own writing…

“Q hit the deck, quite literally, Alec following him down to the sun-warmed floor. Q’s hands scrabbled at Alec’s shirt, attempting to tear it from his back so he could claw at Alec’s tanned skin, feel the muscles of his shoulders flexing, as Alec pinned him to the yacht’s sun deck.”

I hope you would agree that we feel Q’s desperation to get Alec out of his clothes so they can move on to the fun stuff. Our focus is on the passion between them and we are with them, in the moment.

Now, with a rather contrived and exaggerated addition, I’ll show you what I mean by the ‘shoe’… Continue reading “Tripping over shoes”

Unhappily Ever After

“I don’t mind an angsty story as long as it has a fluffy happy ending.”

I see this a lot on writing groups when the question is posed ‘fluff or angst?’ and invariably there are more who agree with a happy ending than not.

Why? Continue reading “Unhappily Ever After”

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