Last week, I reached an incredible milestone on this blog: 10,000 email subscribers. I can scarcely believe it.
When I first started Extra Dry Martini 3 ½ years ago, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I only knew that I had a lot of ideas and opinions and I wanted to carve out my own little corner of the Internet on which to share them. I named this blog after my favorite cocktail, while the tagline, Straight up, with a twist, was a nod to my often blunt (sometimes foot-in-the-mouth!) Sagittarian nature, and my rather edgy, sarcastic sense of humor. Away I went.
I couldn’t have anticipated that only a few short months later, life as I knew it would fall apart. Or maybe I could have. Maybe I did. Maybe I intuited, in some strange, cosmic, sixth sense-ical way – the way animals can sense an impending natural disaster – that creating this platform to express myself would be the very thing to save me during the darkest nights of the soul I have ever experienced.
When it all came down, I didn’t write for a year. One whole year. To this day, I have only a vague, foggy idea of where that time went. I call that period of my life “the vortex,” a black hole of funerals and whiskey and airports and late night phone calls and never ending to-do lists and sleeping with one eye open.
But when I did come up for air, my writing was different. I wrote with a sort of raw honesty that would previously have been unthinkable to the me that started this blog. I wrote and I wrote, without a goal or a clear direction other than to simply keep going. And through the process of turning Extra Dry Martini into a sort of public journal to air my very private feelings, I changed. No, strike that. I didn’t change. Writing through pain, trying desperately to find meaning where there was none, the real me started to shine through the cracks in the old, broken me, the one I’d unwittingly hidden for years under layers of self-doubt and insecurity. It’s as Steven Pressfield says in his brilliant, essential, book The War of Art: “Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves to some idea we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
Thank you to everyone who has read this blog. The sheer volume of kind-hearted, compassionate, thoughtful comments that I receive from readers never ceases to astound me. While I don’t always have time to respond to all of them – particularly on the posts that WordPress has chosen to feature on Freshly Pressed – I do read every single one, and they mean the world to me. Thank you.
Speaking of thank you’s, thank you to WordPress.com, without whom and all of their generous shares of my blog posts, reaching the 10K milestone never would have been possible. In just over a year, Extra Dry Martini has been featured on Freshly Pressed a whopping SEVEN times, including just last week. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read these posts, or if you’d simply like to revisit them, I’ve linked them below at the bottom of this page.
People sometimes call me “brave” for writing about some of the things I do, and for sharing intimate details of my life on the Internet. I’m not brave. I simply write to survive. I write to remind myself of who I am. And I write for all of the people who respond to one of my posts with the comment: “I thought I was the only one.” Let me tell you, with one hundred percent certainty: you are not the only one. If there’s a single lesson I take away from writing this blog, it’s that despite all of our differences – geographic location, family background, age, gender, ethnicity, religious faith or lack thereof – we are far more alike than we are different. We share the same hopes, the same heartbreaks, the same struggles and the same joys. We are united by the same powerful experience of being human and in this experience no one – not one of us – is alone.
Ten thousand is an impressive number. It’s a humbling number. But I’m not resting on my laurels. As I prepare to head off for a few days of creative recharge at Write Doe Bay, I’ll be thinking about how to make this blog bigger, better, and somehow more. Among the things I’m considering: spinning off Extra Dry Martini into some other iteration like a book, a play, a film, or possibly all of the above. I have no idea how that will look, or what the next steps will be. All I know is that anything that I create will be undertaken with the same commitment to honesty, to cutting to the core of the human experience, and will always, always be served straight up, with a twist.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing my journey. And – fingers crossed – here’s to the next ten thousand.
Until next time, friends.
P.S. – If you would like to read the posts that WordPress featured in their Freshly Pressed section, here they are:
– Time Out
– Little Steps. Big Steps. First Steps.