The books they carried


So there’s this thing–EDC, Every Day Carry–which, according to, is “A peek into the pockets of people worldwide, showcasing our every day essentials.” As writers, most of of us have solid preferences regarding the tools of our craft; I carry a notebook for thoughts, but for true productive writing I can’t do without my laptop.

As a writing instructor, however, the EDC expands to the EDL–the Every Day Library–which travels with me to writing workshops, conferences and retreats, all the craft books fit to fill a reusable Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s grocery bag.

There are my standard favorites, dog-eared from use, spotted with coffee drips, edges wavy from water exposure as I do a lot of reading over a morning cup or a late-night soak. Then there are the ones I’ve read and am iffy about, but they number among the canon of ‘Books About Writing Written By Beloved Writers That Must Be Discussed.’ And then there are the partial reads, a handful of opening pages vigorously bookmarked or underlined, but the remainder pristine and untouched.

Finally, there are the ones I’m ashamed to admit to: the tsundoku collection. Tsundoku isn’t a word for unread books but rather the habit of buying books you won’t read. Being half-Japanese, I appreciate that my countrymen and women understand that this is “a thing” and have named it.

I’m afraid to count, but I’m guessing that at least five books in my EDL fall into this category.

On the eve of the first of two successive retreats at which I’ll be the resident writing coach, I am about to unpack my shopping bag, lay out that library, and set a few goals for myself: a steady practice of work over the next seven days, the beginning of NaNoWriMo on Tuesday, and my leaving here next Monday having finally read every book in my EDL. There are no bathtubs where I’m staying, so I’ll need a good bit of coffee to see this through.

Photo by Cynthia del Rio / Unsplash

One thought on “The books they carried

  1. Clever article, you’ve got it covered. I usually have 2 or 3 reads in progress…and also carry a notepad to jot down the amazing insights that come through! That helps them stick around instead of leaving as quickly as they came.
    Best wishes for a successful Writer’s Retreat. Hope to see you again in November.


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