On WritingI shouldn’t do it. I shouldn’t weigh in on the Starbucks red cup controversy. I really shouldn’t, but I’m going to.

It’s all bullshit. There.

I’m sick to death of the irony. And hey, I’m a fan of irony. I dig on it. I think it’s great in stories, and mostly entertaining in actual life. Occasionally it’s just a little too bitter to be anything but tragic, and every once in a while (like now) it’s so poignant that I kind of want to kick an elf’s ass just because. Any person of any faith who turns sour, angry, indignant and/or mean because other people aren’t representing love the way they’d prefer is so clearly in the wrong that I’m shocked we’re even pretending to indulge these ridiculous debates.

And yet, here we are.

It’s as predictable as death and taxes. So much so that someone needs to change that saying: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and people spitefully losing their shit every December in the name of love.” (Benjamin Franklin, with special guest appearance by AR Martin). We could get U2 to do an update of their song by the same name. “One man sips from a vile red cup; one man, he resists…” We’d have to have Bono sing a duet with someone much younger, of course, because no one under 20 gives a rat’s ass about good music U2. Maybe we could even get Starbucks to sanction it. No publicity is bad publicity, right? It could become their new annual thing. I mean, plenty of other businesses are focused on love and good cheer. At least one major corporation should be all about seasonal discord.

And before you say I’m taking this too far, consider how far it’s already been taken. People are accusing Starbucks of intentionally taking philosophical military action against Judeo-Christian ideals. That’s what a so-called ‘war on Christmas’ is, and it’s absurd.

And before you say the other thing, yeah, I know this was all over the news a few weeks ago and I’m a little late to the party. Hey, I made a U2 reference two paragraphs ago. Obviously I’m all about hitting these cultural phenomena at the height of their popularity. Besides, I hate how early we’re ‘celebrating’ the holidays now. Christmas decorations start showing up in August. I refuse to focus on one holiday until the one before it has passed.

And before you say the last thing, yes, this is related to writing. No, not directly, but if you’re even moderately familiar with my site you know I don’t mind taking the scenic route. Recently, I’ve had more than one friend/invited critic tell me that if my writing is weak anywhere, it’s weak in the following regard: sometimes I don’t have enough confidence in my opinion. I hem and haw, justifying my reasons for thinking this way or that for far too long. Instead of just speaking my mind, I beat around the bush.

It comes through more in non-fiction than fiction, but I’m pretty sure there are traces of it in both places. I don’t like that. I’m committed to weeding it out.

Hence this rant about the war on Christmas, which, again, is bullshit.

In your writing, be bold. Say what you think. Don’t hold back. Part of the magic of the page, whether relating fact or fiction, lies in the writer’s ability to be candid at an insane level. No-holds-barred content feels more real. Yes, you might piss some people off, but that feels more real, too. Don’t walk on eggshells, my friends. Not here. Not when you sit down to write.

No, speak your mind. Embrace your inner bad ass. And while you’re at it, fuel your writing sessions with demon juice Starbucks coffee, because damn if that red cup doesn’t symbolize anarchy in all possible forms.


About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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