Sixteen years ago today, I posted a “placeholder” announcement on wbjewelry.blogspot.com, saying I’d be launching a blog soon. Two days later, a distressed Britney Spears fled a photo shoot clad in borrowed designer goods — including one of my 18K gold poison rings — and the blog posts started pouring out of me. Over the years, as people’s creativity and traffic shifted to new social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, TikTok, and YouTube, I kept on blogging — although I eventually migrated to my own wendybrandes.com URL. Of course, I joined all the social networks too, but I always expressed myself best here, plus I liked knowing that the likes of Poodle and SpaceNook weren’t making any money off my blog content. I honestly preferred my content being unseen and a source of satisfaction to me alone (and maybe to Sheila from Ephemera) than playing the algorithm game.
My blogging habit survived the election of Trump and the rise of U.S. Christofascism; my resulting turn towards activism; and even the pandemic; but I fell quiet this year after the unexpected death of my friend Lola Mitchell, aka Gangsta Boo, this January 1. I have written many blog obituaries for creative legends I never knew, as well as for close friends, but Lola’s tribute is one that I’ve struggled with — writing and rewriting it — since the moment I got the news.
I did express my immediate shock and grief on Instagram, but being an old-school blogger at heart, I had to come here to make it official, and I couldn’t manage that in a way that I felt Lola deserved. Then I became hung up on the idea that if I hadn’t memorialized Lola, I had no business writing about anything here. Intellectually, I knew that was absurd, but emotionally was another story. Besides, I told myself, I’m busy! I’m actually writing a lot, what with the weekly action newsletter I’ve been doing for six years, plus the usual social media. But I have thought about this blog — and Lola, of course — every day, just trying to gather the wherewithal to make my return.
I was “THISCLOSE” to letting the anniversary of my 2007 blog launch slip through my fingers as my motivation. But I’ve been sitting at my computer attempting to download my Twitter archive before deleting that 15-year-old account due to Elon Musk‘s disastrous Twitter takeover, and that provided the extra inspiration I needed. Most of the content I share online — that we all share online — benefits white tech bros like Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. You might make a little money off your content but they’ll always make more. (Even the people who make the most money as content producers are mere peasants compared to the billionaire owners and corporations who make bank off their data.) Here, on this blog, the bros make as little as I do from my efforts! They can’t invite Nazis in or freeze my account on a whim. So I think it’s time for me to make a comeback, and I’ll finalize that perfect tribute to Lola as soon as I can. Right this minute, though, it’s time to finish this week’s action newsletter.