What's in your pocket? Your characters pocket, that is. Debi posted about this on The Pen Whore (the name of this blog alone is almost enough to elevate it to Crush Blog status) , and I couldn't help but wonder what is in my characters' pockets, anyway?

Let's start with Josephine, since I'm having issues fleshing her out...

Hmmph... not much, apparently. She's a working girl, after all, so she carries a purse with her everywhere. Maybe a tin of Carmex lip balm, and her keys on occasion. Always a lighter and if she can't carry her purse, a pack of Marlboro Lights. (People are always surprised to learn she smokes. She has an air of that outdoorsy, healthy girl about her, even when she's all dressed up in heels and hairspray for work. But she started young and... well, just kept it up. Bad habits die hard.)

Ah, and there's a little stone from her last trip to Hidden Beach out in Half Moon Bay - this one, for today anyway, is smooth on one side and is shot through with white quartz on the other. Josephine brings home various sticks and stones like stray pets. She trades them out like other girls choose their earrings for the day - her Worry Stones. She nervously fingers them off and on throughout the day, deep in her right front pocket when she thinks no one is paying attention.

When she has no pockets, she hides the chosen stone in her bra -- right in front, tucked into her cleavage. She wouldn't want you to know this, and she has never told anyone before.

Janus - well, Janus doesn't need pockets. He's a soul, after all - pure energy. But if he had them, he would most likely have two things: first, a ball of string. Not just any old string, but string that binds lives together, string that pulls you in and tangles you up. String that has that odd quality of not easily being torn in half, and yet frays and suddenly severs itself from unnecessary weight all at once...

Second -- a rather large seed pod, polished smooth after centuries of wear and tear. A valued reminder of life on Earth.

Michael -- he always has a comb in his right back pocket, and a pack of Marlboro Red's in the left (with a lighter tucked inside). His wallet is with the comb. No one has ever seen it, but he always carries a poem originally written on a yellow office legal pad, folded and unfolded so many times over the years that the creases have pinholes of light that shine through.

The poem is written in the flourished hand of a young girl under the throws of her first love. A bit of change in one front pocket, with some gum. And a small, silver key that was broken off from a chain he wore around his neck for years. Given to him by the same girl who wrote that poem: Josephine.

There are a few more people, but right now those are the three main characters. Most important in my mind, are the why's and what for's of these somewhat trivial items. Even the simple comb, for instance, reveals character. What do these items conjure up in your mind?

The smallest item that we choose to carry with us tells volumes about who we are.