Word Whiskey got its 100th follower yesterday! That’s an average of 1.4 followers per post, which I will absolutely take.

This blog means a lot to me. It was something I had considered doing for a couple years before finally getting around to it, and I’m amazed at how therapeutic it has been for me. It’s a place where I can finally have long-winded opinion pieces on writing, how to do it, how not to do it, how I do it, and what it means to me and have it read by people who give a shit. It’s a place where I can put poetry and short stories and flash fiction so I can exercise my writing muscles, and nobody will roll their eyes because that’s part of what this blog is for. It’s expected.

There was another unexpected advantage that quickly made itself known. The other day, my friend and I were driving from the (excellent) theater show she directed to go and get some drinks. I was telling her how I tend to not be a very open person with things that matter to me. I don’t like discussing my family and I try to keep away from talking about the things that are really eating away at me. Even so, members of my family shaped me. The darkest parts of my life helped me learn a lot about myself. Personal failures and losses have taught me a lot about the world and how to exist in it.

I’ve done less than some and more than others throughout the time I’ve been alive so far. I’ve endured things that – like everyone else’s struggles – have affected me uniquely and with their own degrees of severity, dictated primarily by my perception but no more or less serious. I didn’t come into this blog wanting to gain any kind of pity or exhibit any sense of helplessness or condescension.

All I wanted to do, for the first time, is talk about things. I wanted to talk about how individual members of my family impacted my life and the kind of things they went through, the kind of people they were. I wanted to talk about my struggles with depression. I wanted to talk about my struggles as a writer. Despite the difficulties and how close it hit home, I wanted to talk about addiction and suicide. About fear, sadness, and frustration.

I don’t do this to be bleak. I do this because, for one, it helps me get it out onto (digital) paper. For another, I want people to know they aren’t alone in their experiences. Hopefully I can bring understanding to some people. Hopefully, people will know that someone else is going through the same stuff and that they have all the support in the world and that they can get through it.

Maybe they want suggestions on books to read. Maybe they want to read a poem to remind them of romance. Maybe they grew up in a harsh household or with loving grandparents or are wrestling with something inside and they just need someone to empathize with them. So I’ve been writing about and sharing things across all forms of social media where my friends, family and strangers can read about shit I would never talk about over dinner or unless I was deeply drunk.

Yesterday someone left a comment on one of my posts. They said they had skimmed through my entire blog until they found one about the importance of discussing suicide and thanked me for writing it, saying they had bookmarked it to read maybe every day until the day they didn’t need to anymore. I’m not sure if I know the person who left the comment or not or how they stumbled across my blog either way, but that post made my heart ache. It also made me feel like I was doing something positive if I was helping even one person. That’s a huge chunk of what Word Whiskey is about.

Not every post of mine is going to resonate with everybody. My 100(!) followers have come here for different reasons. But you guys and gals knew that, didn’t you? And you’ve stuck around regardless.

Thank you so much for all the support and for everyone who has taken the time to stop by and read even one of these things. Near the top of the page, you’ll see a little gear symbol. Clicking on that will give you access to archives of Wood Whiskey posts by either month or category, so feel free to dig around. If you read something you like and you think others would like it as well, feel free to share it to Facebook or Twitter or wherever else you might feel inclined.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a poem by Tyler Knott Gregson. You can find more of his excellent work at his Tumblr.