Starting Anew

Me, ready to tell you all about it

Welcome to According to Lisa!  After a great 5 years, I’ve decided to retire www.offmylist, a first attempt at running a blog.  While that website was aptly titled due to the scatter-blog nature of its content, I’ve been longing for a change in direction and goals for my online writing presence.  As I now kick off the new site I am both excited and uneasy- both familiar sensations that arise whenever I start something new.

Since I started blogging in 2016 a lot about the world, and consequently my world, has changed.  My very first post was an attempt at telling my story in the form of a tribute to my very favorite food, Dungeness crab, along with a recipe on how to boil and serve it yourself.  Such a safe and orderly way to share a tiny piece of myself online for the first time, don’t you think?  There could be no threat of doing it wrong, or making any mistakes (am I the only one battling these fears on a regular basis?) by choosing such a benign and easy topic.  Yet I was confident that some dear reader somewhere might find it interesting; it was after all crab season in Northern California, so the hope was that the effort was timely, mildly interesting and not a complete waste of space.  It would take some time and practice before I would more or less steadily compose future posts that revealed more of what I thought, what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced.

Throughout 2017, 2018 and 2019, I managed to cover a greater variety of topics.  I shared DIY project instructions and photos, more favorite foods recipes and interesting travel experiences. I really flexed my quite out-of-shape writing muscles, as aside from letters I had not written anything of great substance for several years.  In fact, the last memorable thing I got down on paper is from back in 1998, when I started what I initially thought might be a first novel.  I titled my draft “Mr. Right Now”, featuring a single woman in her mid-thirties named Courtney as main character, who lived in Venice Beach (OK, the initial drafts might have been more autobiographical than actual fiction).  

My story idea centered around what life was like as a single woman at mid-age living in youth obsessed Los Angeles, and how challenging the dating scene for women in this age group was.  I literally had bushels of noteworthy stories, from both personal experience as well as tales from other single friends who were going through social and sexual dramas very similar to my own.  Some were hilarious, some were frightening, but either way I felt that these stories needed to be shared, to be captured in writing. They reflected an overall point of view that I believed was interesting, authentic and reflective of the times we were living in.  However after I had completed 2 chapters of Mr. Right Now, I got the wind knocked out of my sails when HBO released Sex and The City.  Upon learning it was based on a book, I immediately obtained a copy and read it cover to cover.  I dejectedly told myself that the author and producers had beat me to the punch, and that consequently my story was destined to be overlooked and undervalued as an LA imitation of that brilliant book and award-winning series. For better or worse, I stopped working on that project and tried to figure out what could be next.

Life got busy for me shortly after that in a way that left little room for me to think about writing anything.  I relocated back to Northern California, got married and had a little girl who took up most of my time for several years.  I wish I had the discipline and wherewithal to have kept a journal during those special years, to have created a record of what it was like to be a first-time mother later in life and all that it entailed.  But I didn’t, and although I did carve out a little time for other creative endeavors, I did not write or even read much until my daughter went to middle school.

However I digress.  I started to realize in 2020, with the onset of the global pandemic, that there were more important things to write about than how to make cookie favors.  I started feeling more confident in my work and in addition, compelled to write about weightier topics:  Kobe Bryant’s death, effects of the Pandemic on society, my daughter’s transition from high school to college.  In my last post on Off My List in 2021, I made a public promise to myself and to those who cared enough to read my work.  I promised to keep working on putting more of myself and my feelings into my writing.  The foundation on which that promise will be built is  

On one hand, I am starting over again in the blogosphere but on the other, I am simply formalizing my intention to bring more focus to my work.  I’m excited to deliver to my readers less lists on how-to and where, and more words from the heart, the brain and the spirit.  I’m not exactly sure where this journey will take me, but I am sure that its one I need to go on.  I appreciate you coming along with me and look forward to what we might find ahead together as we go.

©2021 Lisa Ihnken All Rights Reserved

8 thoughts on “Starting Anew

  1. Lisa: I am so excited and honored to read you next blogs – your past writings have brought smiles, laughs and sometimes tears – they are so vivid and personal. Learning more about you and your life has been awesome! You are brave and I admire you. Keep it coming! xo courtney


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