By now I’d managed to match pictures to 160 songs and 212 poems for the galleries that I was building for my website. What was the point? I’d previously posted the words, along with links to the recordings on my YouTube channel, and there’d been no takers, I mean, none at all. I guess I was hoping that someone might look past my rough voice and crude low-fi videos, and see the jewel that’s been shining in my heart all these years.
I decided to go to my Haunted Rock website and start it from scratch, to delete everything I’d posted so far. If you want to know what it’s like to die on a dead-end street, all alone in the darkness of night, get a WordPress blog. It is like the parable in the Bible about the rich man who plans an extravagant wedding for his son, only to have none of the invited guests show up. At the end he’s trying to round up enough beggars off the street to fill his banquet hall. Even beggars off the street will never visit your website, however, or comment on your latest masterpiece. You’ll have to pay someone to do that.
When I went to sign into my WordPress site, it suddenly wasn’t recognizing my password. I went through the whole process of changing it, then went back and tried again. Rejected once more. I changed it again. It didn’t work. The next time I’d exceeded my sign in attempts limit. I’d have to wait for a half hour before trying again. Was there a phone number I could call for assistance? No. Was there any way to get help? No. My attempts to get through on live chat just kept directing me to the same general information page. This couldn’t be happening. Not now. Putting up these galleries was the only thing keeping me alive.
Eventually, I did a Google search to see if anyone else had ever had the same problem. What I discovered was simply unbelievable. There is a wordpress.com and a wordpress.org which are owned by the same company but respond to different passwords. Once I made sure it was wordpress.com in the address bar, I was able to sign in right away, but what if I’d never found that out? The welcome screens looked identical.
My last great burst of inspiration had been at the beginning of the pandemic. I’d used all the time on my hands to redesign my site, and had wanted to add a PayPal button so had been forced to upgrade to their small business plan, which cost three hundred dollars a year. Previously, I’d been using the free site. The downside of that is that they litter it with advertisements, so suddenly, between your posts, may be a picture of arthritic feet or a brain tumor, some physical deformity disturbing enough to get you to cough up the money for the premium version. That’s where I was at now. Two years of the small business plan had cost me six hundred dollars and I’d gained no followers or gotten any donations, so I’d downgraded to the premium plan, paying just enough to keep the freak show pictures off my site.
It didn’t pain me to delete all my posts. They’d been like dogs that are born in the pound and die in the pound. What was my hope for this new crop? I thought that I might take a more extroverted approach, perhaps start handing out my business cards to other travelers, maybe even break out my ukulele by the pool. Where to even start? I figured I’d start with all the songs I had matches for. Just hang a travel picture on the site, like you would on a gallery wall, and then place the lyrics right beneath it. Right away I didn’t like the fact that all the songs had been automatically alphabetized in the folder I’d put them in. I wasn’t sure posting the songs in that order was the best way to go forward.
But then I came to a problem that rendered that objection obsolete. The pictures stopped uploading from my laptop to the media library. I hadn’t posted more than twenty-five songs, when the image I was uploading failed to materialize. There was a ghost of an image, but the image itself was unable to break through. The wheel that marked the progress of the upload just kept spinning and spinning. I searched the internet for an hour but could find no solution. Despair fell down hard and heavy.
There was a girl I’d met named Jen, a young girl, out on her first hippie trek. I liked her because she was friendly and straight-forward with people. She came out just then and found me there at the desk I’d taken over, like an uncle who’s just discovered that the stock market has crashed and he’s ruined. What could I tell her about art and life? This is what happens. This is the reality of it. If you have to do it, then you have to do it. If you can get out of it somehow, run and don’t look back.