From the (Writing) Workshop: It’s In The Bag!

This was the exercise:

Empty your purse, backpack, briefcase, or shopping bag and look at what you’ve  taken out.  Now choose one or two or more objects that say something significant to and/or  about you. Describe them. How are they related? How are they not? This is an exercise in three things.  The first is your powers of description. Second is your ability to analyze, to move from the concrete to the abstract, to see the patterns (or lack of same) in things that seem unrelated. The third is your ability to play with words and ideas.

I took the assignment more literally than my classmates did, and I think I succeeded more at “play” than “analysis,” but I was surprised by how much fun I had doing this. I’m doing some assigned revisions on it for class tonight, but here’s what I came up with before I was given further instructions.

I actively avoid physically writing things down–I have several apps on my iPhone that will let me make notes I can actually decipher when I need them–but I always make sure I have a pen and notebook with me, just in case. I bought the ones I’m currently using at Book Soup about six months ago–although given what I just confessed, “using” is probably not the right word. It may be more accurate to say I’m keeping them on retainer.

notebook and wallet 3rsblog.comThe notebook is 4 x 6 inches, which is small enough to fit easily into a pocket in my bag but wide enough that writing in it doesn’t feel cramped. That is, it looks like it wouldn’t feel cramped–since I haven’t actually written anything in it yet, I’m just speculating on that. The heavyweight pages are lined but otherwise blank, and the blue, bound cardboard cover has a woven, fabric-like texture. The pen I keep with the notebook is a brown, plastic, retractable ballpoint called The Seven Year Pen. The manufacturer says it has a larger ink supply than standard pens, which should allow most writers to get seven years’ use of it. Since I’m not actually writing very much with mine, I think it may have better odds of drying out–or getting lost–during those seven years than it does of being used up.

My wallet lies on the other end of the use spectrum–it’s in and out of my bag and opened and closed multiple times a day–so I’m afraid it’ll break or wear out much sooner than I want it to. I’d like it to last at least as long as that pen, though–I’m quite fond of it and I don’t know how easily I could find another just like it. It’s more like a card case than a proper wallet, really. It’s comparable in size to my iPhone–just as wide, not as long, and roughly twice as thick–and it doesn’t hold quite as much, but since it gives a home to my ID, insurance cards, and money (paper, plastic, and sometimes metal), it’s just as essential. It’s a hard plastic clamshell with a six-pocket flexible plastic insert to hold the cards, and its construction is sturdier than those cheap materials might suggest. The only thing wrong with it is the color–it’s nearly black. and it should be blue. Both sides of the case are embossed with Doctor Who’s TARDIS, and everyone knows that the Doctor travels in a blue box. It’s otherwise true to its namesake, though. It holds more than you’d think–it’s bigger on the inside!–and it holds what I need, no matter where in time and space I am.

It doesn’t hold the notebook or the pen, though. It’s not quite that big on the inside. Then again, I don’t really use either the notebook or the pen, so how much do I need them? Apparently, not nearly as much as I think I need a TARDIS.

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