Looking forward, looking back

Looking forward, looking back

I’m a spotty diarist at best. Last year about this time, just before I started Life In A Skillet, I sorted out all my various diaries and journals piled up in the closet, starting by tossing every single notebook containing just a single entry on January 1st with a resolution to lose weight into the trash. (Oops – I meant in the recycle). I kept the few random streams of teenage hormonal angst – some angst stretching into my 20’s – as well as every travelogue, including a surprisingly detailed yet detached account of a trip I made to San Antonio about 25 years ago. (An excerpt: “sat in a wine bar discussing the cult of intellectuals and where to find them.”) Seems I “journaled” only during my highs or lows; any account of normal day-to-day living is conspicuously absent. Stuck in my mind somewhere was the idea that writing an account of the day would be either self-important or boring, or most likely embarrassing.

That idea changed over the last twelve months; maybe the 21st-century reality craze finally caught up with me. I have a Moleskine reporter’s notebook, last year’s birthday gift from a friend, that is almost completely filled now with notes and doodles from my days. There’s a history of my kitchen. Haikus the family wrote while out to dinner, a future blog post as they are too good not to share. Notes on books I read, meals I ate, and a transcript of a conversation I had with a Las Vegas cab driver. A list of words that rhyme with “riparian.” Musings over the idea of magical thinking and the meaning of Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” I’m looking through this journal today and am fascinated – who knew I was so interesting??? No wonder people do this.

I’m also fascinated at looking back over this first year’s worth of Life In A Skillet entries. Each blog post and snapshot triggers memories of the rest of the story, the circumstances or emotions I’ve omitted. I mentioned the rain in this early blog post but didn’t say that it stormed so hard I was scared driving, and it was still storming so hard the next day I kept the boys home from school because I didn’t trust the bus driver or the high school kids to drive safely. Cleaning and steaming live crab at your house is delicious, to be sure. But I never mentioned the digestive mess left in the yard by raccoons or skunks scavenging crab guts in the grass. Ick. Then there’s the obligatory explanation at being absent from the blog for some period of time. Unnecessary, I know, because it’s my blog. And I trust that any of you reading this blog has enough of a life to not particularly care how often I put up a blog post.

My collection of blog posts also reminds me of all the things I didn’t, or haven’t, written about. The dinner party (ok, parties) that involved so much cooking and eating and drinking and cleaning that once I got the energy to write about them I realized I didn’t take any menu notes. My quest to make the perfect enchilada sauce from a recipe a fellow blogger sent to me. Trying to duplicate the awesome artichoke appetizer from Post Ranch’s Sierra Mar restaurant.

So it’s a new year. I’m moving forward, armed and ready with a fresh Moleskine to tackle my days. Stay tuned.


  1. Maggie, Was that wine bar in San Antonio the Liberty Bar-the slanting building? I would love to hear more about your trip to San Antonio. C.

  2. I’m just reading through my angsty diary entries from when I was in my teens… they are reminding me of so many things and putting different slant on my adult memories. 😀 I’m also posting them into a blog (Fascinating to me and most likely merely entertaining to others).

    I invite you to come over and take a look. Diary of a Hopeless Romantic

    Your post also reminded me that I have a few travel diaries floating around too that will most likely end up posted as well. 😀

    Hope your year is moving along happily and your moleskin is well worn.

    • Thanks for the link, Ann – I just took a quick peek at your page and will definitely be back. Entertaining, indeed, but I do get the fascination. Reminds me of a book that came out just in the last couple of years – I LOVED it but can’t remember the name of it. I think American was in the title. It was the journal entries of a woman from about age 13 to 25; she grew up in the South in the 70’s and it’s a great slice of life. yes, the moleskin is getting lots of love. Cheers!


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