What’s the Point of This, Anyway?

Clean slate? Well, the clean slate I’ve been pondering is ending this WordPress blog. Yes, I’ll admit. I’ve become disenchanted with WordPress’ daily prompts. My audience isn’t very large and on a good day I get eleven or twelve readers. I sincerely believe that doesn’t matter (and it doesn’t) but there’s no denying that if the readership had grown by leaps and bounds, I’d figure I was saying something people needed or wanted to hear. That would be good in itself and a learning experience for me. The best posts I write often go un-noticed. That’s fine and probably true for everyone, but it is also instruction to me that there are other things I might want to do with my time.

And then, I got this message this morning. A German researcher was able to reach me through my painting website (marthaannkennedy.com) after she had found what I’d written about my piano teacher, Hans Baer, on WordPress.

A Client Contact From Your Website with FineArtStudioOnline.com

Name: S F
Email: s.f…@uni-hamburg.de
Phone: **49-*******
Comments: Dear Martha Kennedy, I’m a musicologist working as researcher at the University of Hamburg, Germany. In my current research project I deal with the exile of Jewish musicians exiled in Shanghai 1938 to 1949. There were more than 400 musicians from Germany, Austria and Poland in Shanghai, and one of them was the pianist, piano teacher and composer Hans Bär or Baer (born 1893 in Berlin, died 1967 in the US), whom you obviously mention as your piano teacher in your blog on the internet (https://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/second-place/). I wonder if you can tell me a little bit more about Hans Bär? When did he come to the US? Was he in company (wife, children etc.)? Where did he live resp. where did he teach you? Obviously he worked as piano teacher, but did he also give concerts or did he compose? How many students did he have? Did he teach children or rather advanced students? Do you know anybody else who knew him and who might know where his papers are (maybe his children or other relatives)? I am especially interested in the music he wrote in Shanghai – his “Piano Preludes” after oriental themes and the song “Shir” – but also in correspondence, newspaper clippings and other documents. Every little hint would be great for my work! I hope to hear from you soon. Yours sincerely S F… ________________________________________________ Dr. S F… Institut für Historische Musikwissenschaft Universität Hamburg
Captcha: 758211

So, there is a point, after all. It was a wonderful experience this morning responding to this email and I learned more about a man who was a powerful influence for good in my life.


34 thoughts on “What’s the Point of This, Anyway?

  1. Martha, I love reading about your years as an educator, your retired life in Colorado and recently your posts about your paintings. I have enjoyed getting to know you and feel we have a lot in common (San Diego, faculty fun. leisure, etc.) I will admit that often when I see that your post is from the daily prompt, I don’t read it. Sorry. Another blogger just writes daily prompts, too, and I rarely read his.
    I want to read about YOUR story, not posts generated from WP. Hopefully that is feedback you are looking for and I REALLY hope you stick around and blog about YOU. You are interesting and this recent message should say it all!! Don’t feel compelled to post every day, either. I did that for a while and struggled. I post maybe 4 times a week and 2 of those are photo prompts. I, for one, will dearly miss you if you stop blogging.

    • Well, though I often DO write the Daily Prompt, it’s never “the Daily Prompt” if that makes sense. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, too. It’s been cool “knowing” a woman whose life went in a direction that didn’t exist when I was at the “life direction” point in life but which I certainly WOULD have taken if I’d had the chance. It’s also wonderful to share memories of a place that has meant a lot to us both.

  2. Well done for perseverance. I like to read how others view the world around them.

    Personally having to write every day to a daily prompt would drive me round the bend. I blog when I can, and when I have something I can write about and intersperse with photos I’ve taken. Otherwise my efforts and my imagination would go into the blog instead of into my short stories and novels. It’s wonderful to engage with others around the world, but for me anyway it has to be balanced with the other stuff I want to write and to improve.

    So well done for keeping the juices of inspiration flowing.

    • The Daily Prompt has “inspired” me to write things I would never have thought of and piqued my imagination as well as giving me a break from the novel I was writing. There would never have been Lamont and Dude, 😉 but it’s also gotten so repetitious that it’s (obviously) less interesting.

  3. I sent this on to the editors to see if they will feature you on freshly pressed. Sometimes the do, sometimes they don’t take my suggestions. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  4. Martha, I hope this letter has inspired you to stay with us. I stopped doing the Daily Prompt some time ago, both because of the repetition and the inanity of so many. But I always read yours because you find a way to make something worthwhile out of the silly musings of some poor schmuck at WP.

    I have commented on your blog with relish, you have commented on mine (and by the way, I owe you a response). I have, through the auspices of WP and our respective blogs, met a woman whose story is moving, whose words entrap me, whose pictures thrill me, and who I would never have known of if you didn’t blog.

    Very selfishly, I hope you continue. You make me think, and at my age, that’s a good thing.

    • I’m pretty sure I won’t stop and I really appreciate the encouragement. It’s been fun for me watching your growth as a writer and I’ve enjoyed each of your epiphanies!

  5. When you receive such messages they are to show that it is all worth it. I am so pleased for you as I know the feeling that you get. I also noticed that WordPress is not what it used to be with reactions. When you think you have written a mastepiece it has a low viewing %, but otherwise you just write and you land a hit. I have discovered that it is not always what I think is good is so good. I now write daily as it sort of keeps me out of mischief and I have fun writing. And now you have perhaps a reason to go to Germany (and drop in on the way to Switzerland).

    • I loved that man. He was a huge influence on my life and that I have a chance to help him be known and remembered in some small way makes me very happy. I (usually) agree with you about writing on WordPress. It’s for the fun of it, but I’ve noticed that my attitude is affected sometimes by prompts that are awful, the discouragement of writing for publication (my novel) and several rainy days in a row. 🙂

    • AND, I have every reason to go to Switzerland. I just decided NOT to take a US trip this summer as a way to save money toward CH next year. I’m really excited by the idea and it will be wonderful to meet you.

  6. I’m finding the Daily prompt quite tedious. I’d first delved into it only to meet others on WordPress, others who were inspired to write…and then those others directed me to other bloggers I had things in common with, common stories and the like (like you!). Don’t give up with the blog. Write what you want to write when you feel like it. Your readership (and word) spreads as you see from the email sent to you from the German researcher. It’s amazing who eventually will find you and will continue to see what you’ve written. My pop culture blog entries are getting a lot of word-by-mouth all over by people with the same interests. Keep at it, always!

  7. Hooray for you, Martha that you have decided to drop the stupid Daily Prompt of WP. I don’t see how anyone can keep up with the absurd ideas but, you did a right nice job.

    So now about quitting. Please do not stop posting. I would miss your stories which, by the way, I think keep getting more interesting. Write for yourself and don’t try to post daily.

    To be honest- I think you will have more commenters when you post less often. It’s very hard to comment on someone’s blog every day. I’d like to comment each and every time. I try my best but often fall short.

    As someone wrote, you never know what will he a hit and what will be a miss. Some things that I post. I know will not go over very well but I post these things when I think it will help the folks that use search engines for info, etc. Or benefit the person that the post is about.

    You have a tremendous talent and I’m not much of a reader- don’t have the time anymore. But I read posts that are interesting and well written and yours fits my bill just fine.

    You see your blog matters more than you realize and it made a difference for the lady on Germany,. I think that’s fantastic.

    If I might be so bold, take the time to find bloggers that have interests similar to yours and comment on those blogs. It takes time to gather a following and it has taken me years to garner a few faithful people.

    Best regards, Yvonne

    • I don’t know — when I stopped blogging every day, my readership dropped by 60%. I think I’d prefer to do what you suggest — write when I want to and yeah; what happened today was exactly what a person write a blog online for — to reach someone. It was a good reminder to me to get over myself and persevere.

  8. Please keep blogging! This story about your music teacher was fascinating. I’ve also enjoyed reading your reflections on teaching. As far as building an audience, it can take time for people to find your best writing. My most popular post, for instance, languished for nearly a year before it started to build momentum in views and comments. For comparison, look at all the positive feedback your post has generated in one day! Your audience is rooting for you.

    • Thank you — I’m not going to stop. I think I just had a sinking spell this morning when I read yet another incredibly stupid prompt. I haven’t been writing much about teaching on WordPress. I found an online magazine on Medium called the Synapse which is teacher/teaching focused and that’s been very good. You might be interested in some of the articles — and you might want to contribute because your perspective is a valuable one.

  9. Every time I think about quitting, something happens that reminds me I have reached some people, I’ve changed a few minds, made a few people rethink something.

    The prompts are a waste of time. It reminds me when I was a puzzle addict. Everyday, I just HAD to do the crossword, the acrostic, they cryptogram. I don’t really want to write the daily prompt, but I feel a compusion. Not only have I done it before, I didn’t like it the first time. Yet … I do it anyway. Some form of personal perversity?

    I really LIKE writing. So I can scribble and get feedback. I can always do less if I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t have to make and all or nothing choice. There have been at least 8 or 9 months when basically, I wrote nothing. I survived. The blog survived. It’s useful to have an outlet for whatever you may be doing. Painting, organizing, marketing. All the authors I can think of (included super popular authors) have blogs. Publishers require it. Keeps you accessible and findable.

  10. So much to write, so little time! Note the date I write this? I am on “vacation,” living in another world of poor Internet connection, little access to the big cities and the latest news (no TV). I almost get depressed. But, it’s ok I keep telling myself. I am trying to keep to my monthly schedule of a story and maybe a weekly posting of something “academic.” It is writing for myself and those others who just might find me through the tags or a title. And that’s it. You have been a loyal follower. Thanks. Don’t stop writing–or stop WP.

  11. Well, after reading all the comments, I am happy to see you are not going to stop blogging. I just started following you! We follow a lot of the same bloggers so your name/face was familiar. I am not a Daily Prompt-er myself, so while it might be repetitious to you, it is new to me! Glad you are staying on, Martha. Very glad.

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