Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the things i carry

I read "The Things They Carried", Tim O'Brien's brilliant work of metafiction, in my sophomore year of college.

This book changed. my. life.

I could write a whole post about that, but i'm not going to. Just read it.

What i will do is say that when we read it, we did a free-writing activity where we dug into our own backpacks and purses and talked about the things we carried, and what those things said about us. I'm notorious for finding strange things in my purse and being unable to explain how they got there (a fork, glittery sunblock, rope, broken pieces of glass, a Joker card from a deck i did not own), so the piece i wrote was probably nine kinds of fascinating. I don't really remember.

Today, however, this is what i carry:

  • a white, Precious Moments Bible, NKJV, with about a million blue post-it notes to keep track of my reading schedule. My parents gave this Bible to me when i was three, for an Easter present. I've carried a lot of Bibles over the years, and this one is my current one for two reasons: i like the translation and it fits in my purse.
  • a composition notebook nearly filled with poems, post-it love letters from my boyfriend, dried leaves and flowers, homework assignments, recipes, travel itineraries, shopping lists, and Bible study notes. I always have something to write with. ALWAYS. If i'm going to a wedding and can only carry a tiny little delicate clutch purse, i fill it with a miniature composition notebook, or with old receipts, or a handful of cocktail napkins.
  • a composition notebook half-filled with a story rewrite. I love composition notebooks. Every July/August, when back-to-school sales start up, i have to stop shopping at Walmart or i will come home with another three composition notebooks that i don't need. I have about twenty notebooks that are completely or mostly empty, waiting to be used, and i keep buying notebooks anyway, just in case Mead ever goes out of business and i need to keep a stash hidden away.
  • printed pages of another story, ready to be storyboarded/scripted. I keep getting so exited about this book i'm writing that i leap ahead to the next part before i've totally finished the part i'm on. You know when you're reading a book and you're totally into it and your heart is racing and you've forgotten to eat or pee in the last seven hours and you are approaching the denouement and you're reading SO FAST to find out what happens next that you can't even totally take in what you just read? It's like that.
  • printed poems to be edited. Despite the excitement, however, i'm starting to get a little restless. I really really really want this book to be done, already. It's been seven years. I want to start something new. I'm excited, and breathless, and can't wait to get it into shape and start scripting and storyboarding and finding artists and agents and publishers, but i also want to do other things. And i very badly want to publish some poems.
  • phone and iPad chargers. I stayed at my boyfriend's apartment last night (scandal!) and there are no plugs on my side of the bed. So i have to charge things at work.
  • phone and iPad. There are games to be played and text messages to be sent!
  • The Truth, by Terry Pratchett, and the third volume of the Batman Chronicles. Because they're what i'm reading right now.
  • wallet, keys, pens, gum. Because secretly i'm a soccer mom.
  • a gum wrapper. Which is weird, because i'm rarely more than two feet away from a trashcan. Also, there's only one.
  • three Dunkin Donuts napkins. Because i spill things on myself all. the. time.
  • three different church bulletin-y things. Because the guy who hands them out is persistent, and i never remember to toss them in the recycling bin when i leave. However, i do use them to write hasty notes to myself, like "I am Asher Lev", which i think may be a book title or something. Somebody Google it and let me know.
  • a coupon for Dove soap. Because my boyfriend is 97 and likes clipping coupons and wants me to shower. (Full disclosure: my boyfriend is not 97. He is 23. And precious. And you can't have him. And i shower more or less regularly.)
  • three receipts. In case i need scrap paper for writing and run out of composition notebooks, church bulletins, and Dunkin Donuts napkins.
  • shopping list on an index card for the things i accidentally left at Walmart and had to re-purchase. Should be self-explanatory. Plus i used it to practice writing with my new fountain pen, which is really cool-looking.
  • two pay stubs. Because i'm bad at filing.
  • two thank-you notes (from other people, to me). Because i am utterly and uncontainably wonderful, and my wonderfulness is constantly sloshing out and spilling all over people whenever they get near me, and they can't help but express their appreciation with notes and baked goods. Plus, envelopes = scrap paper. Just in case.
  • deli menu. I ate there once. It was okay. But i saw that they offered free delivery, and sometimes you really want mediocre deli food brought to your door.
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda. I like to carry a book of poems around with me, like a security blanket. Plus i always think i'm going to use spare moments to memorize poems, instead of reading blog archives or making sarcastic comments in my head. I am always mistaken in this delusion, but Neruda doesn't judge me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment