This week the astonishing news that social media like Facebook and Instagram tempt people to make their lives seem more interesting than they truly are. Well Lordy, Lordy, who ever would have seen that coming?
Ten years ago it was quite cutting edge for a writer to have a website. A surprising number still don’t, and some acquire a domain name and then do nothing with it. A bit like buying a packet of beetroot seeds and leaving them in the kitchen drawer. Then about five years ago the whip started cracking for writers to really Put Themselves Out There. FB, Pinterest, Twitter, and a hundred and one online book-reading communities that we were exhorted to cultivate.
My first instinct was to resist. Even I, an antediluvian techno-twit could see the potential for becoming annoying or worse still, boring. I gave in, of course. Because when the accountants start looking at your sales’ figures with sorrowful eyes you want to have a leg to stand on. Or a platform. That’s what they call it. It means being all over the Internet like a persistent rash. In my heart of hearts, I think J D Salinger was on to something but anyway, here, for what it’s worth, is what I’ve been up to this week.
On Monday I opened my work-in-progress file, read a few pages, then my dear husband came home from a week in respite care so I spent the afternoon doing his laundry and generally facilitating his re-entry. Tuesday I thought I’d get my November post for The History Girls off my desk. It’s only a once a month commitment but I like to get it done ahead of time. I thought I’d write about history. Does the 20th century now count? Where do we draw the line? WW2? The Fifties?
Then I made lunch, and over lunch I thought, ‘Ah feck it, I’ll write about the 1916 Easter Rising instead.’ But before I could get back to that life got in the way. It’s Friday. I’ve written half a History Girls post, done a mountain of ironing, steered my husband through two doctors’ appointments and an MRI, spent far too long dithering over the purchase of a tablet, and failed to locate a lost bunch of keys. Not much worth Tweeting about there, I think you’ll agree, but I just wanted you to know I’m still here. On my platform.
Would Henry James have had a platform, do you think? I bet Charles Dickens would have. You wouldn’t have had to wait two weeks for a blog post from Boz.