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The Things Drea Carries

Updated on July 8, 2012

What do you carry?

Not long ago I was required to read a section of Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" for a creative writing class. The professor had the class provide personal analyses of the prose based on different forms of literary criticism. Blahhhhhhhh. Actually, it was not. In fact, it was truly intruiging. However, the final assignment on O'Brien was for everyone to follow a writing prompt where they created their own lists of what they carried each day. It was an interesting writing process that forced us students to consider the details of our everyday items, but it was also an important writing project to help us develop our writing skills. Unfortunately, the class did not share their lists as a group, but I thought I would go ahead and provide YOU with mine, as follows:

The Things Drea Carries


Drea carries a handmade (Guatamalan) hippie purse made from recycled fabrics including corduroy.

It contains:

3 jade budai form Maitreya buddhas

A large marble that reflects light like oil spilled on concrete

An orange Samsung cellular phone

3 Bic lighters

A pack of Camel light cigarettes

A check-book which only gets used once a month

A purple Paper-Mate ink pen

A coin-purse with a broken zipper and faded image of Krishna which contains a book of matches, 2 credit cards, 3 health insurance cards, a Sam’s club membership card, a Border’s reward card, a debit card, and a driver’s license

A handful of snot rags

A key ring with a key to Darby (the car), a key to the downstairs backdoor, a key to the upstairs back door, and a key to the garage (which is rarely used)

A 1.76 oz. tin of Altoids

A bottle of prescription alprazolam

A tube of ultra menthe lip shine that has SPF 15

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before 5:00 p.m.

Drea carries a tan tote bag labeled Ambrose 82 .

It contains:

6 freshly sharpened #2 pencils

3 ink pens

A statistics textbook

An intercultural management textbook

A finance textbook

A hunter-green, 3-subject, Top Flight notebook full of drivel

2 orange two-pocket folders full of finance handouts

A leaf-green two-pocket folder overflowing with statistics handouts

A TI-BA2 Plus calculator

A TI-30XA calculator

At all other points in time Drea carries which ever bag she comes across filling it with a jumble of necessary and unnecessary items .

I really enjoyed this writing exercise as did the rest of the class. If you have not read Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" that's OK. It is an excellent read which I highly recommend, but reading it is not necessary. Try coming up with your own list. It will probably be more detailed, intricate, and elaborate than mine, but it will be your own. It may teach you alot about yourself, and help you improve your writing skills at the same time. I found this to be an excellent writing prompt.

What do you Carry?


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