Scribbler’s Saga #20 – Pockets, Bag, Car

Posted: March 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

© 2017 G.N. Jacobs

“What has the nasty writers got in his pocketessss, Gollum?”  

Well, to be fair the answer is neither nothing nor the One Ring of Power. Maybe, I beat that question because Smeagol might not have the vocabulary to figure out things like an iPad, keyboard, pens, mechanical pencils, notebook, score sheets, power cables and a few other things that I’m not sure I remember when I dropped ‘em into my black bag of writerly doom. Or maybe I punch Gollum in the head until he squeals for mercy.

It’s kind of odd doing the periodic inventory of my mobile kit that I take with me whenever I need to be anywhere but my house making my words. I have three levels of where I keep my stuff: pocket, bag and car. Because there aren’t any excuses ever and even less Mother May I in writing.

My pockets end up filled to the gunnels with things I need to move around the city and get home again, but when you include the black coat I wear nearly everywhere, even when sane people broiling in 80-degree temperatures in Sunny California might rightly wonder about such a high-albedo fabric color, I become a one-man mobile writing machine. The coat is thin only good for wind and water and provides the pockets needed to supplement that the only pocket in my various pants devoted to my writing is the cellphone pocket at my right thigh. I wear sweaters underneath on cold days.


On a light travel day, patting me down you’ll find the cellphone, a cable, a mobile battery, my reading/typing glasses, my earbuds and some cheap shades. The battery powers the phone until it dies giving me a few more hours sitting in a plush chair swilling coffee when I don’t want to make the logistical commitment to bringing my black bag into the room.

The interim state involves the aforementioned black bag where I keep iPad, keyboard, notebook, pens, pencils, 3” x 5” cards, a pack of writer support cards (a victorious acquisition at a recent Christmas White Elephant party), connector cables of all the just in case types for iPhones and iPads, score sheets and clamshells paper clips in a couple sizes leftover from the last time whenever that was that I had a paper manuscript in the bag.

As you may surmise, this bag is the most modular item in my kit. If I know I need to read something in goes the book, Kindle or comic book. If I’m stuck for ideas I’ll drop in the heavy ass idea dice that I recently took out of my bag precisely because it was a heavy ass bag of dice sitting at the bottom of my bag on days when I didn’t have any trouble finding the next thing to work on, at least in the coffee shop.

There is a constant war between me wanting to lighten this black shoulder bag versus getting my day completed. Dice go out. Dice go in. Graphic novels in. Different graphic novels replace the first one. I thought I would replace the iPad and full size Apple Bluetooth keyboard, still in the original coffee stained box it came in, with a cheap Lenovo running Windows 10 (see Hide in Plain Sight, Axes to Grind), but I hated how said crap-wagon technology interfaced with me so the iPad Mini remains despite being slightly heavier.


Two other contests for space in my bag and pockets continue to the present moment. I have music aspirations that fear and needing to write have delayed for a couple years now. I used to carry a harmonica in the pocket where I keep my keys and business cards and might again when I finally get over being a scaredy cat composer, but for now I’m saving weight by leaving it home. Currently, I have an unopened pack of score sheets in my bag that’s the other relic of saying I’m a composer. Additionally, some of the cables in the bag are music oriented in that they’re intended to connect an iPad/iPhone to a recording microphone that I’ve also generally left at home to save weight avoiding forms of creativity I’m not feeding at the moment.

The other contest involves switching back and forth between a regular 6” x 9” spiral notebook and one of those special notebooks with the proprietary paper that works with an expensive note capture/smart pen (post to follow whenever). Sometimes I take the regular notebook. Sometimes I take the note capture gear. And sometimes I take both. This will end when I’m ready to call it that the note capture pen actually saves me time taking my handwritten work directly into the phone instead of merely re-typing my handwritten pages. We’ll see when we see…

It’s kind of funny to me that the bag might have influenced a key sartorial choice. For a long while, I would wear shorts bringing the black shoulder bag with me. A black soft bag splitting the difference between shoulder/messenger bag and briefcase somehow doesn’t go with shorts. So I decide to wear pants (a decision that also coincides with cold weather and shorts that have holes in them from a Leatherman tool sitting wrong in the pocket, take salt here liberally), because pants just look better with this bag. 

Lastly, we come to what’s in my car that helps me write. I keep a blank spiral notebook in the map slot near my ankles. And I have a bunch of interesting things in the center armrest cubby. Coffee mug. An extra portable lamp (the twin of a similar light in my bag glossed over in the paragraphs above). Yet, another portable battery kept fully charged just in case the three in my bag run down or I blow off bringing my bag. And a spare USB-Lightning cable separate from the one that plugs my phone into my car.

Wow! That is a lot of small items to lug around just to make sure I don’t get to try the cheesy ass lame I forgot my calculator, Sir excuse that didn’t even work when I last tried it in a middle school science class. And for sure, this post is generally representative of a Slow News Day that I’m basically emptying out my pockets to keep up my word quotas.

But, when you think about it maybe you’ll have a greater understanding of the tools you like, why you acquired them and why you’ve become emotionally attached. And maybe we’ll give Gollum a kick to the head…just because.

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