SEPTEMBER, purse changing time

Every author practices their craft regularly to keep themselves in peak form.

Ginger Kuenzel, author of the very humourous Downtown, practices her craft by writing practice, blogging and communicating with her network of friends and fellow professionals.

Here’s an excerpt from her September writing/practice.

The Purse
When September comes, many women start thinking about transferring our worldly belongings to a different purse. After all, a hard and fast fashion rule has always been that one cannot wear white shoes or carry white purses after Labor Day. And though my purse is really not too white after all it’s been through this summer, the time had come to switch to an autumn color. So, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I rooted around in the depths of my closet and found a lovely pumpkin-colored bag that I’d forgotten about. Perfect!

Here’s what I hate about changing purses: I always aim to transfer only the bare essentials – in order not to create clutter in the new bag – but how do I decide what’s essential and what’s not? And here’s what I love about changing purses: finding treasures – items that were deemed non-essential and stayed in the purse when it was put away. The pumpkin bag contained not only an old tube of lipstick (yikes! I really wore that color?) and dried out pens, but also scraps of paper with notes I’d made – the name of a book someone had recommended, a must-see movie title, a plastic girlie figure to hang on the rim of my wine glass and that had ‘Ginger’ written on its rear. I pulled out a silver barrette bought on a trip to Arizona in 2001. The clip is broken and my hair is now too short for a barrette. But I paused for a moment to let the hundreds of images from that trip flash through my mind. Digging deeper, I pulled out my good-luck coin – a two-pfennig German coin from before the days of the Euro. How did I deem that non-essential? Next, a business card with the name Joe McNally on it. Is he that guy I met at a conference in Chicago some years back? As I recall, we came up with an idea, over some adult beverages, for a can’t-miss business venture that would make us millions. We promised to keep in touch. We didn’t. If we had, and if I’d kept the two-pfennig piece close to me, would I be a millionaire now? 

By this point, I was totally into my trip down memory lane. The rain was still pouring down outside, my ‘purse action’ was completed, and it seemed like a great time to move onto that carton of books in the same closet. After all, someone from my high school class had recently contacted me through Facebook, and I had been meaning to look up his photo in my high school yearbook, which I knew was in that box. I pulled it out and started reading the hand-written comments from classmates: “To a sweet girl.” “To a nice girl.” “To a good kid.” Most are inane. But not all. “To that lovely girl, who without her help, I would never have met Mr. Joseph J. Lyons face to face.” Mr. Lyons was the Assistant Principal in charge of discipline – and nobody ever wanted to be sent to his office. Was I really that mean to this fellow who signed his name Frank? Next, I looked at the list of activities next to my photo. What was I thinking when I joined the Future Nurses of America? And I had totally forgotten that I played the clarinet in the marching band. We weren’t very good. In fact, we could never figure out how to play our instruments and march at the same time. And since I nearly failed science classes in college, how did I ever get into the Biology honor society? It also says that I won the heather award. I wonder what that was for.

My yearbook, like my old purse, contained so many nuggets that sparked memories of people and places long forgotten. How lucky I am, I thought, to have all these treasures stored away for a rainy day.   

Ginger Kuenzel


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