THE WRITER’S BAG By Helen Aitken

Helen on one of her trips.

Helen on one of her trips.

It could be a briefcase, shoebox or a $5 black metal file cabinet from the thrift store, but the function is the same; writer stuff must go somewhere.  My writer paraphernalia lives in my purse; one might call it a suitcase.

My purse is my lifeline.  If I need twenty pounds of loose change, a flashlight, tire iron, or a portable desk, it’s in there.   If I need “it”, it’s in there.  If you saw it, you might call it a “Pursenator”, a handbag posing as a storage unit.

Long ago, my Pursenator was a large tote bag, and then it became a rolling backpack, functional but ugly.  The logical solution came in several options for each season, canvas for summer, leather for winter and vinyl varieties for the rest of the year.   My Pursenator morphed into a comprehensive writer’s bag.

The upside to a Pursenator is that it is always stylish and practical for writer days as well as shopping days.  There is always a reporter’s notebook or two, so that I don’t miss out on the “hot story”, a digital camera whose batteries died last month, and a tape recorder with microcassettes no longer in existence.  Instead of using ballpoint pens whose ink dissolves in a coffee spill, I’ve graduated to permanent Sharpies and military “write in the rain” notepads.

You will also find the latest writer magazines, my laptop with Simon’s Cat, Cat Man Do,    (, bookmarked for inspiration.  Thankfully, I traded in my microscope for writing a humor blog, so the Pursenator is much lighter.  It has what I need, when I need it.  Periodically I have to file receipts, or locate that snip of paper that holds the First Lady’s, personal secretary’s phone number (believe it or not, I have it- well. it was Hillary Clinton’s secretary’s number, but it should still work and that’s another long story), so everything is right where I left it.

The only improvement to my Pursenator, would be the addition of wheels and a long handle.  Okay, that would make it a rolling backpack, but I could hire an assistant to carry it.   Actually, I have one, and his name is “husband”.

My Pursenator has taken my writing to the next level.  So, what’s in your bag?


Helen Aitken is a freelance writer, photographer and humor writer.  She is the author of the humor book, “It Only Happens To Me… Can You Dial 9-1-1?” and the humor blog, “It Only Happens To Me…” at

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