Thursday, March 18, 2010

What’s In Your Wallet?

Yes, this is a question from a popular commercial. And it’s kind of an interesting question, I think. When I chat with young readers about the characters in my books, I sometimes ask what those characters might have in their pockets, bags, or wallets. And I get some hilarious, really insightful, and just plain brilliant answers. Because if a reader knows a character, that reader will probably have some interesting thoughts about what items or trinkets the character keeps in his or her pockets, bag, or wallet. Think about your favorite characters. I bet you can guess what things they tote around.

Let’s take a real life example. A nineteen-year-old that I know and adore (not that the adoring part is relevant) carries around a miniature sewing kit, tiny manicure items (including the smallest bottle of nail polish that I’ve ever seen), a mini Crazy Glue tube, safety pins, and even camping and survival materials packed into a sardine can. I am not kidding. If you don’t believe that the sardine can exists, check out this link:

What do all these bits and pieces say about the adorable nineteen? That she is prepared for anything. The world could be hit by a meteorite in the next ten seconds and she’d be able to survive it with newly filed and polished nails. She might even be able to start putting the world back together. After all, she’s got that Crazy Glue and those safety pins. To me, this stash is mighty impressive.

In my carry-around satchel, you’ll find a small notebook, a year supply of pens and pencils (at least one of them red), a month-by-month datebook and planner, a camera, and a novel. In my wallet, there is always enough green for at least one chai latte. Also, a few hair clips and elastic bands. Yup, all the signs of a writer slightly obsessed with Starbucks and tormented by too many bad hair days.

So, what’s in your wallet, bag, or pockets? And what does this say about you?


  1. I have always had an aversion to carrying purses. Then I discovered fanny packs and at last my hands and shoulders were FREE! In my fanny pack is a little notebook and pencil, lip balm, a smooth stone picked up on a beach in the islands, a small package of kleenex, and my wallet that has more change in it than paper money. And, there is room for the checkbook when I need to take it and my camera.

  2. Oh, dear.

    Okay. In my shoulder bag right this second, I've got: six pencils, none of which are mine -- these have been confiscated on the fly during field trips, fire drills, etc., and need to be returned to the class pencil bucket; one of those pens that has push-down ink in different colors (red, green, blue, and black -- I've been obsessed with these pens since I was six); a bazillion paperclips; a spiral notebook; lots of loose paper scraps from tearing pages out of the spiral notebook; somebody's graded spelling test with no name on it; my favorite orange pen with the squishy grip; three library books; seven hair bands; a hair brush; a hoof pick (how did that get there?); my dog's tennis ball (he likes to hide it there, usually when it's wet and slimy); eighteen pennies and two nickels, one of them green; my car keys (I hope! Actually I don't see them in here ... uh oh ...); and an ARC of my novel.

    What that says about me? That my shoulder is sore by the end of the day. I should clean this thing out!

  3. Wow! Bish, I envy you being able to get away with a fanny pack. I'm more like Sarah. And Sarah, the contents of your bag definitely define you as a teacher with a novel about to be released! How exciting is that??? : ) Thanks for sharing, ladies.