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Let the Pen Case Tell You Where It’s Been


can you sing with all voices of the pen case...

Here’s a snap of my daily arsenal, pared down for the summer. It still requires a home in one of my Beast of Burden handbags and lately I’ve been favoring a rugged oversize black leather Steve Madden satchel with braided straps, which is substantial enough for the daily arsenal and my laptop. The additional cross body strap is a great purse snatching deterrent. Though to be honest, any would-be purse snatcher would get more boob than purse and ultimately a hardy, “That’s my purse. I don’t know yew!” coupled with a knee, elbow or fist to the groin. Or you know, I’ll just give up the damn purse. It all depends on the circumstances. I’m still carrying around way too many writing instruments, a condition, which has no known cure or treatment. I also have started carrying one brand new pen with me at all times, after an unfortunate experience where all the pens in my possession ran dry. Coincidentally, early that day I had just pronounced some pen my “favorite” without the qualifier one of. Bad idea jeans, people. Nothing dries up the pens faster than publicly admitting to a favorite. Don’t do it. Not even on a dare. Also, a reader emailed asking about the books I carry with me. Currently, I’m carrying I Am the Cheese and The Chocolate War, both by late, great YA novelist Roger Cormier. Keeping those company is the Richard Peck YA classic Father Figure. All of these works are repeat offenders and highly recommended. In honor of my watch – Disney’s Pocahontas – here’s some Vanessa Williams for you. “Colors of the Wind” also inspired the post. If colonialism has a soundtrack, I suppose this would be the title track.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. maggiemunkee permalink
    06/08/2010 1:32 am

    not at all pen related, but I Am the Cheese related.

    that book was on the list of approved-for-book-reports books for my junior high school’s english classes, so in eighth grade i did a book report on it. i had never gotten anything other than an A from that teacher, so i was *shocked* when she gave me a C. she said my interpretation was wrong — apparently being a painfully shy social outcast gave me no additional insight to possibly getting different thoughts about it than my teacher (the beautiful, never lost her cheerleader’s body even after three kids, social butterfly of a woman) was capable of thinking.

    sorry for dropping the rambling bitter on your blog. that was almost fifteen years ago and it still irks me. damn you, mrs. brasser! maybe some day i can get over this. ha!

  2. 06/08/2010 3:40 am

    Hey Maggiemunkee! Anything mentioned in a post is up for grabs in the comments. I think being a shy person would give one a perspective on Cormier’s work that a social butterfly wouldn’t have. Even though I’m “outgoing” I’m an introvert. I find people and excessive social simulation quite draining. I think when one draws their energy from internal sources (introverts) Cormier’s prose can have a very profound impact. It’s not especially showy, but thoughtful, quiet prose and I’m sorry, but your TEACHER WUZ WRONG. Cormier himself seems to really like to explore the outsider’s relationship to systems and institutions. There is total precedent for your interpretation. I just hope doesn’t spoil your interest in the book, which I tell you still gives me chills.

    Thanks for your comment and welcome.

  3. 06/08/2010 3:41 am

    Also, your teacher clearly missed the whole clue in the title “I Am the Cheese.”

  4. 06/08/2010 1:05 pm

    I don’t carry nearly as many pens as you, but I do try to make sure there are extras because I too have been bitten by the dry-pen bug. Actually I like the idea of making sure one is brand new. I love that my latest murse has a bunch of elasticized pen pockets so that there’s always room for one more.

  5. 06/08/2010 3:31 pm

    I wish I could carry a Beast of Burden Handbag. I get giddy at the thought of carrying a small office on my shoulder. When my friend Rachael was planning her wedding, she had perpetually on her person a tote bag armed with binders, paper, pens, scissors, tape, stapler, stickers, and heaven knows what else. It was sweet to see her whip that business out in Starbucks and start crafting lists.

    Unfortunately I have kind of bad shoulders, so I have to be careful with the weight of my carryables or else pain and crunchiness is immanent. I have two purse configurations. The average-size purse carries journal, wallet, one or two pens and a smaller bag of miscellanea (hand sanitizer, lotion, sewing kit, shoeshine – yes, really, an old coworker picked up some free ones at a biz expo and passed them around). The small purse is perfect for just the wallet, a tiny notebook and a pen.

  6. maggiemunkee permalink
    06/08/2010 10:14 pm

    i’ve been thinking about rereading it, and i definitely have time to kill. thank you for the validation! 😀

  7. 06/08/2010 11:42 pm

    I am a virgin at blogging, but a friend informed me of this site– she knows I’m an office products freak. I have been enjoying every word, every link, in fact, everything about this site. Thank you for helping me realize that I am not alone in my fetish for office products.

  8. 06/12/2010 5:03 pm

    maggiemunkee, I have to agree with Snarky. Your teacher was wrong. That attitude is what kept me from poetry for 35+ years. I really, truly HATE the way literature is taught in schools. Each person can get something totally different out of a work of art, and there is no wrong answer. Period. (And I, obviously, haven’t gotten over it, either.)

  9. pollo con queso permalink
    06/24/2010 6:52 pm

    LOVE THIS POST, Miss Snarky! I am trying to figure out all the pens you have in that thing. I see the Vader pen from the novelty pen post. Any others you wanna highlight?


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