Stories

Tarot Tales – The Highs & Lows of The X-Factor Hopeful

Using The Suit of Wands to tell the story, journey with the Page of Wands from Ace to Ten as he embarks on the quest to become the next X-Factor winner, thus fulfilling his lifelong dream to find Fame and Fortune. 


Photo by Ricardo Nunes on Unsplash

“On the road to success there is absolutely no room for criticism of self or others. Insecurity and fear masquerade as jealousy and judgment. Finding faults in others wastes time as we attempt to remove the bricks from other people’s foundations – time that could be better spent building our own. And worrying about what other people think about us also wastes the time that could be better spent expanding upon what we have built.” 
― Alaric Hutchinson

page-wands
X-Factor Hopeful

The Page of Wands– The X-Factor Contestant. Has wanted to be famous from a young age, among a million other things. Likes being the center of attention. Has an extrovert personality, is a bundle of energy and can be quite controversial and outspoken at times. He likes to draw attention to himself and can act out to get it. He is a great singer, songwriter and musician. These are natural talents. His dream is to become a mega star and live the life of a celebrity, driving fast cars and living the rock star life. He has strong self-belief and is very confident of his abilities. He rarely gets down about anything and has a can-do attitude. He will make a name for himself or die trying. You have to admire his enthusiasm and drive.  If anyone can make it, this guy can. He is convinced of securing a place on X-Factor and talks excitedly about who his dream mentor would be. He is impressed and dazzled with stardom.

Queen-wands
The Ambitious Mother

His Mother, The Queen of Wands – A single-mother, she reared the Page and his older brother the Knight on very little money but made sure they never went without. From a young age she instilled in them the believe that they could be anyone they wanted to be and do anything they wanted to once they set their mind to it. She told them that circumstances and lack of money should never stand in the way of personal ambition. Although their father walked out when the Page was only a young child, the Queen of Wands never molly-coddled her two sons. She told them that life was tough, so you had to be tough to survive it.She showered them with love, but wanted them to be independent, to find a way out of their circumstances, to be fighters not quitters, winners not losers. Tough love was dolled out when necessary with the Queen not shirking her duty to play the bad cop role to her good cop one. The Queen went back to college herself as a mature student and worked several jobs to bring in the money. The Page rarely saw his mother down or despairing and when bad things happened she would insist that everything would work out and not to worry. She took an interest in the Page and Knight’s education and pushed them when they showed signs of slacking or feeling sorry for themselves. It was the Queen who encouraged the Page to sing. She knew he had a good voice and was constantly telling everyone about how fantastic her son was.

She will be a powerful presence by the Page’s side when, and not if, he gets through the auditions round. She reckons she would be ideally placed to manage his career. A natural choice so to speak. With her around to oversee things, no one will be allowed take advantage of her Page and she would broker the best deals and contracts. 

knight-wands
The Cheerleader Older Brother

His brother, The Knight of Wands – The older brother. Has his own business and races rally cars at the weekend. He is proud of his little brother and insists that he can beat the competition. He is quite talented himself and plays lead guitar in a hard rock band he formed with friends when in their teens. Although slightly envious of his brother’s dream he plans on throwing his full support behind him. He believes their family is on the rise and success for one will surely rub off on the rest. It’s all good, all good! The Knight will be prone to bragging and boasting should his younger brother make it onto the show. Who can blame him as this is a family who don’t buy into being humble, shy and retiring. If you’ve got it flaunt it. If you believe you’re the best, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and make the whole world knows about it.  

king-wands-reversed
The Absent Father

The Absent Father –The Reversed King Of Wands. Left when the Page and his brother were very young. Couldn’t handle being tied down. Had a string of affairs and then ran off with a girl half his age. That relationship didn’t last either.  Hasn’t seen his sons in years. There is a good chance he will surface if the Page makes it through the auditions. He can then brag about him being his son and that he gets his talent from his father. If the Page makes a success of it and starts bringing in the cash, he will seek a reconciliation, offer to be his minder or bodyguard. Failing that, he could sell his story to the papers giving them inside information on the young Page. He could give interviews on radio and TV and might even become a bit of a celebrity himself. Now that would be something! 

ace-wands
Audition Day

Ace of Wands – I Am so excited. Today is audition day. I feel very positive. I am on fire and can’t wait to get on that stage. Performing is all I have ever wanted to do. I am passionate about singing and everyone tells me I have amazing talent and a unique powerful singing voice. When I saw the notice about the auditions I applied immediately. My mother tells me I have what it takes. This is my chance and I can’t wait to prove myself. They are going to love me and my lively personality. I am going to make them all fall madly in love with me because I am a great character and fun to be around. I have one of those hyper personalities that was made for the stage. Everyone agrees I crave the limelight and am not afraid to put myself out there with my extrovert personality.  My mother and older brother are my biggest fans and will cheer me all the way.

two-wands
The Judges Deliberate

Two of Wands – Job done. The crowd seemed to love me. I think it went really well but I am standing here now in front of the judges waiting for them to decide my fate. If the crowd are anything to go by, putting me though is a no-brainer. My mother and brother are back stage holding their breath and waving the banner for me. So far two have given me a yes, one a no and I am on tenterhooks waiting for the last vote which is being dragged out to whoop excitement into the audience. This is my make or break moment. I am either going forward in this competition or it will go to deadlock and be put to another vote. I could be going home before I have even started. It just can’t all end here. No, I must believe in myself, stay positive, but this is nerve wrecking for sure. My future lies with this last judge. Say yes, say yes, please and I promise to work very hard.

three-wands”
On His Way – No Looking Back!

Three of Wands – It’s a yes, it’s a yes. Three yeses to one no. It could have gone to the public vote which is always dodgy. I am going to the judge’s house!!! Wow, I am not going to blow this. This is going to be the best experience ever and I can’t wait. The world is out there for the taking and my name will be everywhere. My future just got a whole lot better looking.  Just found out my mentor’s house is located on a tropical island!!! Wow. Bye, bye boring 9-5 job, hello my brilliant future. I intend to be crowned X-Factor Winner this year. Life is never going to be the same again.

four-wands
Arrival At Judge’s House -Welcoming Party!

Four of Wands –Just arrived at my Mentor’s House (he is my idol) with the rest of my group and it’s absolutely fantastic. The Villa is located behind high gates with a sweeping driveway. There was a big party laid on for us on arrival so that we could get to know each other. Everyone has been so welcoming, and my group are really nice and friendly. We will support each other and think. I think we will get on like a house on fire. We each have our own bedroom with a balcony overlooking the ocean. Happy days all round! Tomorrow the real work begins but for the moment we are kicking back and having a good time.

five-wands
Fellow Competitors – There Can Be Only One Winner!

Five of Wands – The first Elimination day at the Judges’ house is here so we have to sing for survival. Even though everyone is being nice and encouraging there is a strained atmosphere at times which the media have got a hold of. Don’t be deceived by all the hugging going on! After the big welcoming party a few days ago, we are acutely aware that we are here to compete against each other and not to find a NBF. We may smile and clap each other’s mini successes during rehearsals or congratulate them on their wonderful choice of song but secretly we are praying for each other to fail. There has already been a clash of egos in the house since we arrived,  and dare I say it, some Diva behaviour too. Everyone wants to be the top dog in the house, me included, and at times things can get nasty. Some people want all the attention, and if they don’t get it there’s hell to pay!!! These are the off-screen, in-house fights and dramas that somehow are getting leaked to the media. Some of my fellow contestants really irritate me and I find being cooped up with them stressful.The sooner the group whittles down with eliminations the better. I have an idea of who might be sent home later today. I have been doing very well and working hard not to get embroiled in any scandals in the house but the little patience I have is wearing thin. It is important the judges like me so I will be all smiles and obliging. If they say ‘Jump’, I will say ‘How High’!

six-wands
Through To The Next Round – Riding High On Success!

Six of Wands – Oh joy of joys, I got through to the next round. The judges said I absolutely nailed the song. They said it was flawless and that I made it my own. They gave me a standing ovation. I am over the moon. This is a great indication of things to come. I can only get better. I am riding high on my success. After getting through to the next round, the public are taking a great interest in me. We all had to set up X-Factor Social Media Pages for the competition and I just found out I have thousands of new followers. My fans are gone crazy for me and sending me mountains of comments, wishing me well and promising to vote for me when I reach the live shows. I have become hot news and my name is trending off the scale. My YouTube clips from the show are breaking all previous records. I am hot, hot, hot.  The media have picked up on me too and want a piece of the action. I am getting a taste for frame and I love it. This is what I was born for. Life has never been so good. The rest of the group say they are thrilled for me but I know they are just saying that. Everyone wants to hang out with me in the house and think me so funny when I make fun of our fellow contestant who got voted off. I mimic his silly voice and strut around the room doing his funny walk. Survival has made me cocky. Everyone thinks me hilarious when I call him a big loser.

seven-wands
The Tide Of Adoration Turns Against Him!

Seven of Wands –I can’t believe it. I got a very early phone call this morning which has totally rattled me. I am fuming! It seems one of my fellow contestants secretly videoed me making fun of the contestant who got voted off last night and sent it to the media. I was the golden boy yesterday but now they are vilifying me. Just about every media outlet is running the video and the comments coming in are vicious. I am under attack from all sides. Everyone is snubbing me in the house, yet they all laughed along with me last night. One of them deliberately filmed it to use against me. I wonder who it was? How did I let this happen? How am I supposed to respond to the horrible accusations laid against me? I am terrified this will damage my chances in the competition. I am pacing up and down my room in a rage. The judges have made it clear they are not happy with me and very disappointed in my behaviour. There is some talk of me being asked to leave the show. Indeed this is echoed in the comments flooding in online. Surely my crime isn’t that serious? I ring my mother in a panic on the phone and she tells me to calm down, that she will think of away to defuse the situation. I have been told by the show’s organisers I must make a public apology to the contestant and ask my fans to forgive me. Many have un-followed me because of my one act of stupidity. My mother comes up trumps with some advice and suggests a few get out of jail cards I can try. I need to take responsibility but also offer excuses for my behaviour. I can blame my  deprived background, hold my hands up and admit I am immature, insist that the person they saw in the video is not the real me, that it was taken out of context, beg to be given a second chance. And if all else fails tell them I am in the competition to make my seriously ill grandmother proud of me. Anything that will sway them back in my favour will do.  

eight-wands
Flying Home For The Live Shows

Eight of Wands –  It worked. God bless my mother and her ability to think on her feet. She never gets fazed by anything. I have been forgiven. Let me tell you how I turned it around. The song I was given this week was one of those tear-jerkers. Well before I launched into in front of the judges, I told them how the song had special meaning for me. It was one of my ill grandmother’s favourite songs. Well I wasn’t getting very far with the other excuses. The judges smiled at me. I bleated my little heart out and shed some tears towards the end, lowering my head and eyes to the camera so the viewers could see I was struggling with my emotions. My performance was so moving I got rapidly voted through and that was that. I was back in the game. My social media accounts were flooded with lovely comments about my grandmother and how touched they were watching me sing.

Well that’s it, I have made it to the next stage of the competition and am flying high on my success. All the bad stuff seems to be forgotten. I am Literally flying high as we are in mid-flight heading back home for the live shows at this moment. All the cabin crew asked for my autograph and to take selfies with me. There is no stopping me now. I am determined to make it through to the finals and it seems even at this stage I am the bookies favourite. As we pass though the doors of arrivals, crowds of screaming fans are waiting for us.We are almost blinded by the flashes of cameras and mobbed by the media. I am in great demand.  Everyone wants to hear what I have to say and I am bombarded with questions. This is the best feeling ever.

nine-wands
The Finals – Still In The Running, But Only Just!

Nine of Wands – So here we are. The night of the finals has arrived and I am still standing, still in with a chance, but it has not been the plain sailing I experienced in the Eight. I have had the stuffing knocked out of me.  I have been in the bottom two several times since we started the live shows. The media refer to me as the ‘cat with nine lives’. Each week they thought surely I would be voted out by the public based on being in the bottom two the previous week, but somehow I have managed to cling on by my finger nails and have made it to the finals. My ego has taken a severe hammering over the weeks though. Some of the judges’ comments were stinging, harsh and deliberately below the belt. I know one of them really doesn’t like me. They keep telling me I have lost my initial fire, that my performances have become lack luster and that I really need to up my game and get my mojo back if I am serious about winning.

At times it was hard not to lose my temper and fight back, but no, that would have been career suicide for me. My mother had instructed me to smile though their negative attacks on my performances, agree with them, even if I think they are wrong, and let them see I determined to do better the next time.

And then there was the media and my fickle followers. Old school rivals from my past, ex girlfriends, and long-forgotten neighbours crawled out of the woodwork to dish the dirt with stories about me that were so exaggerated there was little of any truth in them. God forbid ever let the truth stand in the way of a good story, juicy gossip and scandal. And of course, the more I speak out and defend myself, the worse the incoming fire. People want to believe what they want about me and no matter what I say it makes no difference. It seems they deliberately build you up so that the can delight in tearing you down. The latest breaking scandal about me has been designed to ruin what’s left of my image and coincide with finals night. It’s all lies too! Gone is my cocky attitude, my positive outlook. I can’t trust anyone and am paranoid about what people are saying about me. My mother has told me to avoid reading the newspapers and stay away from Social Media but it is very hard not to. I feel the media is out to get me and want me to lose.

Now I stand side by side with the pretty 17 year-old demure sweet-faced competitor who has become the darling of the show and a firm favourite with the media. She does have a lovely voice. I will give her that but on talent and performance alone, she does not stand a chance against me. That is if people vote on performance of course and not pure sentimentality. Yes, yes, sentimentality served its purpose for me back in the Seven but at this stage surely it must come down to raw talent and not heart-string pulling. I must admit I am nervous and worn out at this stage. So here we are again, waiting with baited-breath to get the final results and as usual they are dragging the suspense out as long as they can. My mother and brother are in the audience waving banners. So too is a man who is telling everyone he is my father. He even has it printed on the t-shirt he wears and gives interviews to anyone who’s interested.

ten-wands
On To The Next Show – Bringing Experience With Him!

10 of Wands  – Yes, you guessed it. Sentimentality won out at the end of the day with the vote going to the 17 year-old pop princess. I couldn’t believe it. Really, I couldn’t. I had given it my all and still it wasn’t good enough. How many weeks and months of tortuous work and sheer determination went into my campaign only to be pipped at the post by someone who sounds like all the rest. I was different, I was new, I was raw, I was edgy. I was writing my own songs, putting together my own arrangements. I am the real deal and she just a mouthpiece for other people’s work. She can only do covers of other people’s songs, not write her own. So, I am distraught and believe me I had to fightback the tears of bitter disappointment, resentment, envy and jealousy in order to do my bit for the camera, congratulate her and wish her well. I was then shunted to the side as all the cameras focused on her and people fussed over her. Of course I then had to stand and listen to the patronising comments from the judges telling me that I am a star too, that I have a brilliant future ahead of me and that they have no doubt the world will be hearing a lot more from me. So, that was that, my reign of fame over in the cast of a vote.

My mother and brother take me home and never mention losing at all. In their eyes they know I was the real winner. My mother says to put it behind me and move on, that my day has still to come.

So what next for me then? Well, my brother tells me they are running auditions for a new talent show due to start early next year. He might even go for it himself or perhaps we could team up. The auditions aren’t that long away so I need to work on getting my application in as soon as possible. What, you all think I am mad to put myself through the grill all over again, that surely I should be happy with getting so far and build a profitable career on the strength of it? Well you are all wrong. I do not concede defeat to the pop princess at all. I was robbed of what was rightfully mine and am determined to win it back one way or another. I am not a quitter. I am a fighter. I am not prepared to settle for being the loser. This isn’t the only talent competition in town you know, and there is nothing to stop me auditioning for the X-Factor again next year if I want. I am still young.

I would certainly know how to play the game next time though. The process has taught me a lot. Next time I will pace myself better, don’t give it all at the beginning, save some surprises for later. I was so eager to impress I gave 200% from day one. By the time we were half way trough the show they were expecting more of me, 250%, 300%. I started from a sprint and ended up limping home giving the impression my talent and energy were both waning. I won’t give the goods away so quickly the next time. Hitting the big time is going to take a bit longer than I expected. I have had a taste of what fame has to offer and must fight my way to the top now. I am not going to let this so-called setback get the better of me. I will be famous one day, mark my words. Just watch me.

Now if you will excuse me I have bags to pack and work to put in for my next audition so I best get going. ‘Would you not take a break, a rest I hear you say?’ Sorry, no time for that. Can’t sit and wait for fame to come knocking at my door. I have to go out and make it happen. Don’t let the grass grow under my feet and all that! Right now, I am going to work on getting my mojo back and reigniting the fire. Just you watch this space!


Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

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The Suit of Wands

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