If there’s one thing I learned at the Muse and the Marketplace writer’s conference in Boston last weekend, it’s that every story is, in its essence, The Odyssey (yes, the Homer one you read in high school), and has to be about a journey in which the protagonist (in the case of the following story, that would be me) yearns for something, sets out to find it, and ends up in a different place from where she started.
That’s why it was completely fitting that I should, during a break from the weekend’s workshops on how to write books and sell them (if you missed the conference the answer is not easily), continue on my quest for a black wristlet. I guess quests need to be completed even when the need for the object has passed. I had actually needed a wristlet (for the uninitiated, that’s a small purse with a strap that you carry on your wrist as opposed to on your shoulder or in your hand as you would a clutch, which I just have to say I personally can’t abide, since clutches often preclude you from holding a glass of wine) the week before, for a wedding. When it hit five hours before the wedding and I had gone to six different stores and still hadn’t found one I liked (in my price range; I saw plenty that were like $200), I settled for a rather junky but cute-enough cross-body bag on sale at Aldo. Buying it broke my rule about holding out for what you really want (in handbags as in life), but what could I do? Sometimes you have to settle (in life, as well as in handbags), so you can move on to the next challenge.
Still, the need for a wristlet stayed with me, even after the wedding.
So when I left the conference, needing to clear my head after a day of workshops on the not-easy business of writing and the even-less easy business of selling your writing, I headed straight to Nordstrom Rack on Boylston Street in Boston. And there it was, a black wristlet made of the softest soft leather. It was Rebecca Minkoff, no less, a brand that I can only consider contemplating thinking about actually affording when it’s on sale. Which it was. So I bought it. I don’t need the bag right now, and in fact, don’t even know when I’ll use it, but somehow this handbag odyssey just had to be finished. I returned to the writers conference with the Rebecca Minkoff wristlet, and a fuller understanding of the need for the protagonist to embark on, and complete, a journey.