I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about how aspiring authors are supposed to be constructing a ‘platform’ upon which to build our writing careers. The words which keep popping up are ‘media tart’. Now, I don’t know about you, but I hear those words and I get two views pop into my head. Either I get a vision of food, not necessarily a tart, just food, succulent and fruit infested, or a picture of a pole dancer wearing the flimsiest of outfits and carrying her own pole wherever she goes.
Neither image is especially helpful. Both send me rushing for the cupboard to find something to eat. The first because the thought of food always makes me want to eat and the second because there is a certain dread attached to the idea that I might have to invest in said pole and cavort around it and I always eat when I am panic stricken.
The food part of ‘media tart’ reminds me too of the old prune stone rhyme: tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. You all know. When you count your stones left after you’ve eaten plums or prunes. Or apricots. Or peaches I suppose, but I’ve never eaten peaches in sufficient multiples to know. The result tells you either what your profession will be or what your true love’s profession will be, depending on whether it was your granny or your granddad who taught you the bit of doggerel in the first place. So you count aloud and usually end up on poor man or thief and have to swap stones with others at the table to get it to come out to rich man or sailor, depending on your personal proclivities.
Even as a child, I thought the possibilities offered were pretty minimal. I didn’t know any tinkers, tailors, or soldiers, or any especially poor men, beggar men, or thieves come to that. My granddad was, or had been, a sailor, but I didn’t fancy that. My Uncle Bob was supposed to be a rich man, but he was a nondescript bloke much hen-pecked by his wife, who did all the spending as well as all the talking, so I didn’t like the idea of that either. And then when I was a little older at school, everybody wanted to know what I wanted to do, as in be a teacher or a nurse, saying I wanted to write (or even at one point, horror of horrors, to act) seemed about the flakiest thing on the planet. People worried about me. My mother told everybody ‘She hasn’t made up her mind.’ I had, but nobody was particularly interested. I had to think about it more seriously.
But I’ve tried serious and don’t much care for it.
Now I’m doing what I want to do and if it involves being a media tart, then so be it. As long as I don’t have to take up pole dancing.