My perfect bag

There’s a scene in the movie MISERY that I remember fondly.  Not because it’s a movie about an author with a fan crazy enough to hobble him to keep him writing (hi, motivation!), but because of this:

Note the look of adoration.  That is some bag!

James’ Caan’s leather bag.  This is the satchel he keeps his manuscripts in.  It’s on the seat next to him when his car slides into the ditch.  It’s the proverbial bag the cat gets out of when Kathy Bates goes nutso on him, having read his most recent manuscript.  It’s leather.  It’s old.  And it’s frickin’ awesome.

I saw MISERY a good twelve years before I ever published a novel, but I wanted that bag.  In my mind’s eye it merged with an old bag of my fathers, a black-and-white checked leather trimmed attache case with his initials embossed on it in gold letters.  That bag looked like it had been somewhere and seen somethings.  It looked like it held secrets and treasures.

I wanted that bag.

And then, two years ago, I was walking down the street in a small town juggling a manuscript, my purse, and my sunglasses when I passed a bag in a store window.  “That’s perfect!” I thought. I ran inside, pulled it from the window display, and tried to cram my manuscript inside.  I failed.  But a mission was born.  I would get a writer’s bag.  Something to hold my printed pages when I went to lunch or a cafe.  Something to ride shotgun as I headed out into the world.  My bag.

It was not as easy as it sounds. 

For the past two years, I’ve been on the hunt.  Diligent, obsessive even.  When I procrastinated in my writing, I was online bag shopping.  I fell in deep like a few times. 

The now unavailable Marcopoloni Bruno bag (insanely expensive, but gorgeous).


The classic Cambridge satchel, in purple, monogrammed in silver. (Price, shipping from the UK, possible dye transfer from awesome color)

Scaramanga bags (too… earthy? And a bit too big)

And the gorgeous map case at Satchel and Page (perfect for an ipad).  You name it, I looked at it.

The trouble is, Apple hates writers.  Not really but, with the advent of the laptop and the tablet, bags are 17″ and too big for 8.5 x 11″ paper, or they are 8×10.5″ for tablets and a frustrating half-inch too small.

I finally had to face the fact.  I was the Goldilocks of leather bags and I should get home before the bears showed up.

And then I did my thousandth random search on etsy for a “leather writer’s bag” (I used other keywords folks, so don’t think that’s why I failed).  And something popped up.

“Beautiful Thick Leather Writers Shoulder Bag with Leather interior” the title read.

I was intrigued.

“Really gorgeous thick leather bag meant to last forever as much as anything is. It is meant for those who write and think and create.”

There were details, measurements, and a lot of hand wringing from me (I’d been fooled before!) and kind photos and further descriptions from the seller.  And at last, I said “yes, please.”  And a week later, this showed up in the mail.

I have my bag, folks.  A gorgeous vintage leather number from the eighties.  It makes sense, right?  If you want a bag that’s made for paper and not iPads, you have to go retro, and not just retro style. 

She came in the mail this week and I love her.  I’ll post pictures as soon as I can get my monogram her.  Thanks to Lori at Vivian’s Vintage for knowing a writer’s bag when she sees one.

Two years, people!  And it was worth the wait.