What’s In Your Bag
Last year I hit the famous Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne looking for my dream bag – the bag which screamed “I am Writer!”
It had to be a back pack, made of leather, with many pockets and hidey holes. It had to be able to house everything I needed to carry as a writer and last a life time. Oh and it had to be under $200. I realised buying leather I wasn’t going to be able to get anything cheaper.
If you are anything like me, when you hold an image of the perfect anything – piece of clothing, gift, hair cut – in your head long enough, you’re certain to never find it. That was what it was like with this backpack, made worse by the fact we travelled through Tasmania for two weeks before I even got to Victoria to go searching for it, on top of the two month build up to going on holiday. I knew if I could not find it at the Vic Markets it could not be found.
Anyone who has known me for any length of time, would find it an odd fixation given I have never owned a handbag much less wanted one, certainly never fantasised about one and have only had the” shoes and handbag” discussion once in my life! I’ve always travelled light – kept a wallet rather than a purse so I didn’t have to have one and even becoming a mother could not bring me over to the dark side. But I digress …
There was such a thrill of anticipation and dread when we arrived at the Markets after the hour’s drive from Ballarat (more time to sit and contemplate in between talking my son down from a major meltdown on the way). It had been years since I had been there. I decided I’d hit the bag sellers first – wasn’t going to hold off any longer. Once I had my bag I could then beat a track to the Spanish Donuts stall!
And for once Lady Luck was with me. The first stall had something better than my dream back pack and they were having a sale which meant the bag came in under budget. The grin was wide as I attempted to find the car and put my purchase safely away.
For almost 18 months now this bag has been my constant companion. It is the thing Amex was really talking about when they told you “don’t leave home without it!”
In it I carry:
- My diary – an awesome Letts one with a two day diary on one page and a blank page perfect for list writing on the opposite one.
- A pencil case – a funky zipper Squiggles one, full of eclectic writing gear from my fountain pen to grey leads.
- A bottle of ink – just in case my fountain pen runs out.
- A clip folder with loose leaf A4 paper – which holds morning pages and at least a couple of stories from critiquing class.
- The most current novel I’m reading – which sometimes gets left at home, OK more often than not gets left home!
- My lap top – if I’m definitely going out to work – otherwise it is too heavy and stays at home.
- My iPod – since I finally joined the rest of the world a few months ago and it can block out dozens of screaming kids to find the head space to write.
- My business cards – because you never know who you might meet.
Plus all the other stuff you have in a bag like a wallet, phone, lose change, bundles of receipts, gift vouchers, errant lolly wrappers and film canisters.
This means no matter where I am I have access to my to do list (or the ability to create on), I can jot down ideas (though I am reticent to do this most of them time because I feel this kills the idea unless it is for non fiction writing), work on a story critique, read a book or write. To me, my bag and what is houses, is as much my “tool kit” as the collection of writers tricks and tips which inform and shape my writing every day. My bag is my life line when I am out of the house. Because of it I read more, as there is almost always a book on hand. I have written short stories which would have gone begging otherwise. And I have to say after 18 months service it barely looks a day over brand new?
Confession Time: Do you have a special bag/backpack dedicated to your craft? If not what do you have in your bag, right now, which supports your craft?