What's in My Bag

What’s in my bag? — Andrew Liptak

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What's in my bag? issue #50

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Andrew Liptak is an author and freelance writer who specializes in covering science fiction and fantasy entertainment. He’s the co-editor of a military science fiction anthology, War Stories: New Military Science Fiction, and a forthcoming history of cosplay (coming from Saga Press sometime next year). He’s written for places like Gizmodo, io9, Polyon, The Verge, and Tor.com. You can find him on TwitterFacebook, or subscribe to his newsletter about science fiction and storytelling.

About the bag
For the last year or so, I’ve been carrying around an EDC-1 from Savage Industries. It’s designed after an Apollo surface bag and a toolbox, which makes it really useful to find things in it: open it up, and you can easily find whatever it is you’re looking for. It’s the perfect size for notebooks and my iPad.

I can pretty much write from anywhere there’s an internet connection (Before the pandemic, I liked to write in libraries), the entire thing essentially becomes a mobile office. The exterior has a velcro strip for patches, and I’ve been alternating between a Green Mountain Squad patch (my local 501st Legion unit), and one from the Tachi, a spaceship from the Expanse series, depending on my mood.

What’s inside the bag

I carry a wide range of things, depending on what I’m doing. Usually, I carry a couple of notebooks — currently a moleskin that I use to jot down story ideas, as well as a heavy-duty, spiral-bound blank notebook I use for notes and sketches — as well as an iPad Pro with a keyboard folio. The bag itself doesn’t have any pockets — part of Adam Savage’s design philosophy — so I have a couple of pouches that I carry stuff around in.

Equipment Pouch: I use this for some of the larger items that I need to keep with me at any given time: chargers and cables, headphones, a spare battery, as well as a couple of bags of tea and a spoon. Right now, I’m drinking Steven Smith Teamaker’s No. 1851 Portland Breakfast blend. The spoon is a relic from my childhood that turned up when I moved a couple of years ago.

Pen Pouch: The pen pouch is something I got as a work gift a couple of years ago. It’s the perfect size for pens and pencils, so I have a variety that I carry with me. I’ve got some of the usual suspects — a couple Sharpies, Bic mechanical pencils, and pens. But what I like using the most for notes is a brand called Tru Red, which I picked up from Staples. They’re nice and thick, have a nice, reliable line, and they’re grippy. I’ve also got a Parker Jotter fountain pen, as well as a small, 6-inch General ruler.

Lochby Field Journal: I picked up this field notebook recently, and I’ve really fallen in love with it for notes and for writing. It’s a durable object with a nice, solid closure hook, with a bunch of pockets on the inside. It’s small, but not overly so, and I’ve equipped it with a couple of smaller booklets from the same company, which are great for writing on.

Books: I read a lot, and I always carry a couple of books with me. Right now, I’m reading Hao Jingfang’s (translated by Ken Liu) Vagabonds, a science fiction novel about a group of young adults from Mars who took part in a cultural exchange program on Earth after a massive war. It’s an engrossing read about two very different cultures, and how they connect with one another. I’m also reading Eddie Robson’s Hearts of Oak, an intriguing novel about the inhabitants of a mysterious city with some deeply-held secrets.

-- Andrew Liptak 05/20/20