Moleskine Kreisel

I discovered my first moleskine pocket diary in 2000; after that I used it everey year. I use it as a visual journal – every year a little bit more. You can see it in the picture: The latest moleskines... Read More

31/07/2007

Switching from a BlackBerry to my Moleskine

I just joined this group to obtain some ideas about how others use their Moleskine Notebooks. I had no idea what a Moleskine was until I saw one on Flickr. As someone who loves to write, it immediately captured my... Read More

31/07/2007

Moleskine in the High Seas

"As if the weather wasn’t hot enough, there was Marsha Masha Tsukanova, the editor of Kommersant Weekly in Ukraine." The Jaeger-LeCoultre Hawaii Trip Day 3 (13th June 2007) Report – The Real Live Test of Master Compressor Diving. LINK [Thanks... Read More

30/07/2007

Dressed-up Moleskine

I am a huge fan of Moleskines, and don’t want to journal in anything else. Most other journals that I run across have wide, fat lines, cheap binding, or are the wrong size and thickness. The problem is that there... Read More

30/07/2007

FREE MOLESKINE GIVEAWAY WINNERS for July 28

Thanks to the thousand plus (and growing) entries from around the world. Our winners for last week are: One winner asked her name to be removed Hannah Kook Dededo, Guam XUTAO ZHOU Beijing  People’s Republic of China Please check your... Read More

30/07/2007

Featured Artist: Tatiana Musi

Tatiana Musi was born in Mexico City in 1982. Musi received her BFA in painting from San Francisco Art Institute, and has also studied at Sokei Academy of Art and Design in Tokyo, the National School of Painting Sculpture and... Read More

27/07/2007

Ron Arias: Notebooks a family obsession

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... Read More


Well
into her eighties when she died, Mama Julia–as we called her–liked to
watch Mexican lucha libre on television. Every week the sequined capes,
scary masks and flying leaps off the ropes captivate her for a few
hours. The frail old lady I saw whenever I visited her place had always
been a quaint, slightly raunchy figure who just happened to like short,
tubby men in tights. She’d call me Manos de bragueta, not because I
fidgeted with my fly but because in her mind men’s hands were vile and
had no place in her kitchen. "Fuera, manos de bragueta," she would
mutter. "Fuchi, fuchi,"–as if to say, "Yuck! Outta here, boy."

But
after her funeral, everyone gathered at her one-bedroom house in a
central Los Angeles neighborhood, officially named Elysian Valley but
on the street called Frog Town because it runs alongside the L.A.
River. We all poked around and took keepsakes of her presence. From the
kitchen I came away with the comal–the griddle on which she had  made
me hundreds of flour tortillas over the years. Then in her bedroom I
claimed a photo album no one seemed to want. Finally, I stepped outside
and went around back to the tool shed. Inside, behind a rake, hoe and
shovel, she had stored a small cardboard box on a shelf. I brought the
box out into daylight, opened it and fished out a stack of her
notebooks and some index cards covered with her invented prayers and
poems. I glanced at a few pages but only remember that the rhymed
verses in Spanish spoke about things like love and faith. For a long
time after that I kept all her writing stored away and unread.

When
my mother died I did the same thing–after the funeral I came away with
a bundle of her notebooks and diaries that I found in a bedroom drawer.
Yet rather than store them away, eventually I began to read them to
look for answers to the lingering questions about the odd circumstances
surrounding her death. She died at home at the age of 48 from
drug-related heart problems. Months later my father, a secretive,
enigmatic U.S. army officer, disappeared from me and my two brothers,
never to return.

I
read and re-read everything–notebooks, diaries, journals, letters,
postcards, store receipts with scribbled notes on the back. For the
most part they gave me the answers to my questions. But the truth
wasn’t always in facts. Often it was in the touch of words. As a
writer, in trying to create whole lives, of real people who lived and
had minds and dreams and desires of their own, I was blessed by having
all this in their own words. When Julia Terrazas writes that her mother
died, or when Emma Arias writes on July 19, 1952 that she longs for her
husband–who was then a prisoner of war in North Korea–I know I’m
touching the truth.

[Ron Arias is a staff correspondent for People magazine and the author of "Moving Target: A Memoir of Pursuit"]

[Originally posted 7.1.05]