WP Closet

I started cleaning out my WordPress closet yesterday — more than 2600 blog posts?? And why? I started writing a blog because I had read a book that said the best way to market novels was through a WordPress blog. Just to write everyday (which I do anyway)? It’s a kind of archeology. When I started this blog, I was still teaching, though nearing the end of that journey.

I was writing the Daily Prompt, though I didn’t like it much. Back then, prompts were actual writing prompts and many were based on 80’s music because of the age of the woman writing the prompts. That would’ve been fine because I like 80’s music, but her taste and mine were definitely not as one, so I bitched about it. Then I had the epiphany that no one was paying me to do this and I could walk away whenever I wanted to.

I was beginning to write The Brothers Path and it was interesting to read my thoughts at the inception of that adventure.

I’ve trashed more posts than I’ve kept, and I expected that would be the case. I had 120 pages of posts, and now I have only 116. But, I’m still in 2014…

If I find anything good, I’ll re-post it, meantime, I may not be following any prompts for a while.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/24/rdp-sunday-closet/

Why a Break…

Dear Dangerspouse (and everyone else):

I’ve learned over the years that nothing makes my teeth itch more than worrying about marketing my writing. But…I started this blog in 2013 just for that reason. I read a book about marketing self-published books (was that book self-published?) and it said that writing a blog on WordPress was essential to selling self-published books. At the time I was trying to sell Martin of Gfenn and Savior. There’s something to that. I think many of the books I sold over the years have been to readers of my blog. But…

So I made a profile and looked around to see what was going on here. I’d had blogs on Blogger, mostly private, written as I used to write my journals, a place to think, to vent, but the online thing was better because of pictures.

I saw a thing called the “Daily Prompt” (RIP) and thought it was just fucking stupid, but the book also said I had to build an audience on my blog, so I started writing the prompt every morning. What I learned was that — at 4:30 in the morning, the hour at which I got out of bed at the time — it was nice to sit and think with my cup of coffee before the horror-show of my life began in earnest. My morning blog post became a kind of sanctuary, and I wrote some good stories. That was surprising.

People who talk, write, and think about “How to become a writer” often say, “Write every day until it becomes a habit.” I’ve had that habit all my life. Writing isn’t usually stressful for me, and when it is, it’s stressful because of where a story is going.

The China project was pretty intense. All those stories (and it’s just the surface) have been waiting for 35+ years. I thought there would be more. Then a moment came and I knew there were a lot of stories I didn’t want to share. The question, not share HERE or not share at all? I don’t know.

The little break or more I feel I need right now is mostly because I feel I need some down time to do/write/think about different things. As long as there’s snow (and there isn’t now, boo hoo hoo) I’m going to be most interested in my skis and that’s one story, “I went out and I skied and I came back home. It’s the best.” The little water colors are mildly consuming and take some time. So, just a break until I have something to say. At the moment, it’s just feeling a little ho-hum. ❤

______________________________

*The featured photo shows the strata of an examined life…

Tutorial for “Gutenberg”

For you who yearn for those halcyon days before WordPress changed its editor, here’s something that might be helpful. Don’t hesitate to contact the writer (not me) for help and advice. 🙂

From Janice on Mostly Blogging

Can I address the elephant in the room?

WordPress doesn’t look like WordPress anymore.The WordPress Gutenberg Editor has replaced the familiar WordPress Editor.

Welcome to the world of blocks!

There are blocks available for all kinds of content: You can insert text, headings, images, lists, and lots more!

This post will explain why WordPress switched to the Gutenberg Editor and offer a tutorial so you know how to use the new WordPress editor.

https://www.mostlyblogging.com/wordpress-gutenberg-editor/?fbclid=IwAR0y9_RWuTSye4lx9pzcY0Xf_wofMfbfFlMwUMvk6NoLpv4BoNSX7M8kYUA

Here’s the Tutorial…

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/rdp-monday-halcyon/

Letting Go

This is kind of a PSA. Yesterday I dumped some of the WordPress Blogs I built over the last few years. I dumped “My Everest” and “Martha Goes Home.” WordPress personal blog is $48/year (includes a custom domain and no ads along with other features I don’t use like emails and chat support) made it absurd to pay for sites that are nothing more than scrapbooks for me to read. I didn’t find an option to “downgrade” to a free site so I dumped them.

I was happy when WordPress said, “Do you want to download your content?”

Yeah, I did, especially “Martha Goes Home.” Unfortunately, the “download” was an inscrutable text dump of XML files, and the image files were unreadable. I was disappointed but it’s not the end of the world. I haven’t looked at either blog in I don’t know how long and THAT is the test for me for throwing out anything. 

I’m going to dump some other blogs, too, and end up with only two — this one and the one for my books. That one is pretty inefficient, but I built it after I already had blogs for individual books — now, I think, I can streamline the whole mess. 

The moral of the story? Save your stuff your own way. Don’t rely on WordPress to “download” your blog. 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/rdp-friday-build/

China

36 years ago I went to China. It wasn’t the place it is now. Today I’ve had the chance to wander down memory lane through my blog posts with a blogging pal who’s in China now with his family. 

It makes me want to invest in a slide scanner so I can see the pictures we (mostly my ex) took while we were there. The things I want to see really are gone — some for real, some just as they were back then, such as junks on the Pearl River, favorite street corners, my apartment, the university where I taught.

Sometimes people ask me if I want to return to China for a visit, but it’s impossible. I wish sometimes there WERE worm-holes in the universe through which we could revisit places AND times. More than once this morning I was moved to tears through the sharing of memories. 

AND the miracle of my blog, his blog. and the Internet. Imagine exchanging knowledge of places in China with a man from India (that one has not met) in real time — seriously. That’s unreal and wonderful. 

This song by Vasco Rossi is right on. 

Ormai è tardi
E quanto nostalgia
Guarda il tempo
Vola via …
Non si torna.
Comunque sia
E la Vita 
Continua a correr vi

Translation (with the repeated bits left out)

Now it’s late (or) It’s already late
And so much nostalgia
Look at the time
Fly away
And we don’t come back
And life
Continues to run on… 

Every Blogger Needs an “About” Page.

I’m not sleeping so I’m reading and exploring blogs on Word Press. I just read one about bears. It was kind of interesting, but there was no information about where the writer lives or who the writer is. There is no “About” page.

I hate that. A completed “about” page enhances a blog (to me, anyway).

Our readers (if we’re lucky) don’t live inside our heads. They live out in the world and presumably know stuff that might be engaging or even helpful to us, but without context? I have lost interest.

We don’t have to give ourselves away or make ourselves vulnerable to attack by writing, “The Northwest Territories of Canada have been my home since I was a cub” or “I live in the San Luis Valley of Colorado.” It’s possible to give context to one’s blog posts without saying a whole lot about one’s self.  One of the great things about doing this is “meeting” people from all over the place.

So I don’t care anymore about the guy and “his” bears or his wife and their dumbass pumpkin bread and coffee. By not having an “about” page that writer — with all of five followers — lost a potential reader. I WAS interested. I wanted to know about their 100-pound dogs (what kind?) I wanted to know where “their” bears are. I would have to read through all the posts to find that out and even then, that might not be anywhere to be found.

Sorry, but it’s just rude not to introduce yourself.

Undetermined Hiatus

In all honesty, I just haven’t been feeling the blog thing for the past few weeks. And, I can’t say why (maybe because I hate summer? maybe my post-surgery self has other priorities? maybe the Schneebelis want this to be over with? No idea…) I’m a little fractious and frustrated. Also, I have to say, the demise of the Daily Prompt was like, “OK, stop doing this now.” I was impressed that people wanted to pick up the baton, but I also thought “Why?” Still, ultimately, I let people down after volunteering to post prompts for Rag Tag Daily Prompt.

It could be that after five years and nine hundred million blog posts, I’m just finished and have nothing more to say. I really don’t know. But I’m not able to maintain my own rules as a writer and a reader at the moment.

Other bloggers have stopped — I know because there are three whose absence I STILL notice even though it’s been a while. Others have shifted to writing when they feel like it. I don’t know what I’m going to do or where this will take me, whether I’m finished or in a transition.

All that being said, I really cherish the friendships I’ve made here over the years and since most of you have other ways of contacting me and being contacted, I hope that just because I won’t be here any more won’t mean we lose contact with each other.

Saluté!!!

Blog Redux

Yesterday in the chaos of discovering that by shutting down the Daily Prompt, WordPress was making it harder for me to pay them for my websites, I thought of blowing the whole thing up. But, at this point in my life, I’m a reasonable person. I did some research only to learn that most of the free or low-cost webhosting sites send you to — yeah — WordPress.

It’s an empire.

I thought, “Do I want to deal with this?” If I am allotted only 3 score and 10 I have only four left. Clearly a hissy fit over WordPress and starting over from scratch with websites for my books is a poor use of a rapidly depleting resource.

In the process I looked at my blogs on Blogger, thinking, perhaps, of reviving one. I found a poem. I wondered who wrote it, and then I remembered I had written it. Wow. My poor brain… Well, a lot has happened since 2013 — five years and my whole entire life has changed. The poem is on my painting blog, A Lifetime Apprenticeship. 

There was This Day,
There was This Shadow,
There was This Woman,
There was This Blue.
There was No Fame.
There was No Reason.
There was No Winner.
There was No Immortality.

Only

This Shaft of Light
This Sharp Blast,
This Foundering Ship
This Lost Child,
This Man Walking,
This Stream Flowing,
This Arc of Passion,

And

These Hands
These Eyes
This Ochre Clay
This Gold Foil
This Deadly Yellow, but USE IT ANYWAY
This MAGIC Poison White
This Blue from Gold-Flecked Stone
This Green from a Copper Pot
This Short Life
This Single Vision.

I wrote the poem as an ode to the ordinary painter throughout time. The one whose name we don’t know who might have influenced the famous one. The one who painted as a way to feed his family. The one who loved the colors, the process, the images, the beauty. The one who might have discovered a new color or properties of the magical ground on which he painted.

I love pigment. In writing Martin of Gfenn I had to learn how colors were made in medieval times. It was absolutely fascinating. Ultramarine blue — for example — was originally made of ground up lapis lazuli. Its light-reflecting properties in a fresco are amazing. A couple of months ago, as I moved closer to my surgery date, I found some online and bought it. I also bought a real wooden panel and old fashioned gesso (gesso means gypsym) to size the panel and make it ready to absorb oil paint. It should be wonderful.

I’m living in a place where art is big. There’s not a lot else here other than potatoes, barley, hops, horses, cattle. Taos and Santa Fe are well known art centers in this country, but it’s one kind of art, mainly Southwest Art. I want another thing completely when I paint. I don’t know exactly what I’m painting FOR other than myself. I’ve sold more paintings than I have sold words, but the other artists around me don’t think my work is all that good. That’s fine. I would never paint what they paint, either, though I have the good grace not to think their work is bad. It’s just not mine. Rivalry between artists is nasty but real.

In my case, I don’t want to paint the same thing or the same way twice. I view painting as a journey of discovery. I’m never going to be a master. With each painting I’ve learned something new about painting, about paint, about myself, about the world I’m looking at. The painting above is a narrow trail up a California mountainlet in a wet spring. Dusty and I had a wonderful time that day and I took photos. I like painting from photos and I really like the way paintings come out when I paint from the image on my iPad with the light coming up through it rather than shining on it. It’s different. Like this one. This is Descanso Falls in December. Some of this painting works well for me, some of it doesn’t, but it took months to complete and someone was happy to give me $300 so I didn’t have to store it some place. 🙂

 

Descanso Falls, unframed FASO size

Descanso Falls

 

For my blogging cat friends, Tabby, Parker and Lucy… This is Catmandu. Please note her crossed eyes. Once in a while, they caused her to walk into a wall, after which she’d look around to see if anyone had noticed. ❤

mandu

 

https://wordpress.com/tag/ragtag-daily-prompt

Segue…

I started keeping a blog on WordPress two years ago day before yesterday. WordPress let me know. The first blog — and the reason I started — was martinofgfenn.com followed that same day by savior1244.wordpress.com

Both of these are blogs to promote my novels, Martin of Gfenn and Savior. On that occasion I saw the Daily Prompt and I thought, “That’s dumb” but I did it anyway and it wasn’t dumb after all. I have written a few good stories based on those prompts and met some great people. It also helped me me grounded and calm during the chaotic days when I first came back to Colorado and didn’t have a house yet! 🙂

But for a while I’ve thought I might be nearing the end of that phase and wondered what would come along. One of my readers gave me the idea to write down the stories of dogs and hiking. That’s been in the back of my mind for a while and I finally decided to start a new blog dedicated to those stories and experiences.

I expect to be writing much more frequently on that blog than this one, at least for a while. I’d be very happy for all the readers who want to migrate with me. The blog is here and the title is My Mt. Everest.

 

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
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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.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/clean-slate/