Two Larchmont women, each the mother of three, are the creators of an unusual blog: Drinking Diaries. Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Odze Epstein describe Drinking Diaries as “a forum for women to share, vent, express, and discuss their drinking stories without judgment. At Drinking Diaries, women can read, and share the details, the deep questions, the wide and wild range of experiences that pertain to women and alcohol.”
Questions for co-editors Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Odze Epstein:
What made you interested in this subject?
Leah: As the daughter of a recovered alcoholic, I have always had a complicated relationship with alcohol—a mixture of love/hate and fear/caution. I’ve been a teetotaler (in middle school and high school), a binge drinker (in college), a heavy drinker (post college) and a middle-of-the-roader (now). For me, alcohol has always been a loaded topic, and I’m fascinated to hear how other women negotiate their relationship to alcohol.
Caren: Growing up with a French mother, drinking in my house was treated in the European vein—sip some wine while cooking and eating. It was a symbol of the good life, shared among friends and family. I adopted the same practice in my adult life, until my mother became an alcoholic in her 60s at which point I began to question my previous attitude toward and feelings about drinking. While drinking wine remains an enjoyable part of my life, I am constantly wondering how much of a role I want it to play.
What is your readership? Who are they?
Women of all ages and cultures have come to our blog. Drinkers, abstainers, ex-drinkers, wine lovers—everyone feels comfortable here, and that is our intent. Our tagline is “From Celebration to Revelation,” reflected in our posts which run the gamut, from interviews to polls and essays to news items. We’d love to attract younger women to the blog because drinking can play a huge role in high school, college and post-college years.
Do you have a sense if you are known locally for this?
Some of our writers live in Westchester, but our blog reaches people as far as Australia and Europe, many of whom have commented and shared their own stories. It’s great when we see people around town who mention they’ve read something on our blog, and others who are Facebook fans and Twitter followers (@drinkingdiaries).
We are considering having a party, with a reading, at a local restaurant to celebrate the blog’s one-year anniversary.
Where has publishing this blog led you?
Starting this blog has enabled us to get in contact with many of the writers whose work we’ve read and admired for years. Recently, we attended the BlogHer Conference in NYC and it was so gratifying to meet many of our contributors in person and to be a part of the incredibly large and supportive female blogging community. We are working on transforming the blog into a book, which will only further our mission—to represent the true spectrum of women’s drinking stories. Not all drinking is about shame.