People magazine correspondent and author Ron Arias writes about his family and its long affair with diaries and journals.
"As near as I can tell, my writing habit began more than a hundred years ago on a
cattle ranch in northern Mexico. That was when my grandmother, at seven years of
age, wrote three words in a little notebook her mother, Cristina Terrazas, had
given her: hoy murio mama. No capital H, no accent marks, no other
details–little Julia Terrazas simply wanted to record that her mother had just
Many years later, Julia gave her own daughter, my mother Emma, a
notebook in which to jot down everyday happenings, thoughts, prayers and poems.
Eventually, when I was nine, my mother also presented me with a notebook. I was
confined to a hospital bed after having my tonsils out, was restless, and my
mother wanted to keep me out of mischief. "Here," she said, "write what you see,
write some stories." I did as she told me, and that’s how three generations of
Terrazas women passed onto me the itch to write."
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