By Louise Ure
I have been so enchanted with the depth and breadth of writing in recent Murderati columns: David’s Ode to the Female P.I., Zoe’s looking back and looking forward in planning her writing life. Tess’ review of a Canadian conference, and Stephen’s paean to Peter Pan and an author’s magical thinking. They are all part of the writing life; an appreciation of the job, the output, and the mystery of making it all work.
I am not centered on the writing life right now, and because of that I sometimes find it hard to leave a relevant or thoughtful comment on my fellow bloggers’ posts. Everyone seems to have more insight than I do these days.
But here’s a tiny insight I found this week that is possibly a small trigger for better days ahead.
We all have those harbingers that we — jokingly or not — claim that blue skies and lucky days are ahead. The visit of a humming bird, the discovery of a penny on the sidewalk (especially if it’s heads). My new harbinger is: purses.
Most of you know about my love affair with shoes. For most of my life, I’ve had at least a hundred pairs of shoes at a time. Bruce was gracious about it, but about ten years ago ruled that if a new pair came in, an old pair had to go out. More than fair.
But what you probably don’t know is that for all those same years … with a hundred pairs of shoes at my beck and call … I only had one purse.
Granted, it was a very special purse. Brown leather and lattigo, with snakeskin and turquoise inlaid on the sides. It was created by a magical artisan named Toyo at his shop, Dark Star Leather, in Tucson. With that kind of bag, what on earth would I want with another?
But this last couple of weeks I’ve gone into a purse buying frenzy.
Bulgy pewter ones that can fit as easily over your arm as over your shoulder.
Lime green bags that go with absolutely nothing in my wardrobe but make an aqua sweater realize that she’d better rub the sleep out of her eyes and comb her hair.
Bright orange asymmetrical bags with enough ruffles and bows to contend with the hats at a royal wedding.
(This blog post was to have been replete with images. I worked like a dog to get all these new bags properly lit, propped and photographed, only to have Squarespace bamboozle me once again. Use your imagination on all those images, please.)
The only thing these bags have in common is that they are all big enough to carry an iPad as well as all of my usual junk. Oh, and they work like a bullfighter’s capewhen you see me coming down the street. There’s nothing subtle about these purses.
Shoes have always been a very private purchase for me. I can wear them at home, or just to the grocery store or taking the trash cans out to the curb. Shoes do not require you to commit to a job interview, a dinner with friends or a trip. The best shoes put no pressure on you to perform.
Purses, on the other hand, are extraverts, hob-nobbers and loud mouths. My person, they say, is so important that she has to have room for THREE PDA devices with her at all times. My person is so on the go that she has to have the ability to have her hands free at a moment’s notice. My person is so cool that she can wear something bright and big that bears no relation to anything else she has on. She’s sure of herself and she’s stepping out.
You truly can’t enjoy a purse unless you go out somewhere. Carrying it from room to room at home will do nothing but occasion snickers from the closet.
Purses demand a committment that you will go out and get involved with life. And that’s a far cry from what I’ve been doing for the last several months.
But maybe purses are the harbinger — my shiny penny, my first robin of spring — that says I’m ready to start.
A P.S. from here in Seattle: Things with my father-in-law are going well. His caregiver team is terrific (although he calls both young men from Ghana and Gambia “Barack,” because their names contain a “B” and because he calls all accomplished young black men Barack. They smile back). His appetite, his strength and his interest in life have all improved dramatically.
“Sure, he’s dying,” wrote Gillian Roberts, “at a rate just about the same as the rest of us.”
She’s right. For the moment, he’s comfortable, safe and clean. And we’re heading to the Indian casinos this week to see if he can add to my inheritance.
I see his strength and envision one of those slinky toys, motoring along under its own power, doing what it can do. But then I remember that a slinky can only maintain that momentum while it’s going downhill.
Well, maybe that’s true for all of us.
Here’s to the slinky life. And purses.
Do you all have any lucky signs that you treat as omens?