Write On Wednesday: Toolkit

In the neighborhood where I grew up, there was an old-fashioned hardware store within walking distance of our house.

Well, it would seem old-fashioned now, when most of us purchase our gadgets and gewgaws at huge warehouse type places like Home Depot or Lowe’s where you must walk 10 miles on cement floors and peruse nine millions layers of plastic packages before you find just the right five-dollar pair of screws for the job.

At our little hardware store in Melvindale, Michigan, all the nails, nuts, and bolts were tossed into bins up and down the narrow aisleways. You could pick a handful if you liked, or just one if that were all you needed, and put them into tiny paper bags.

When I was a toddler, I loved going to the hardware store almost as much as I loved going to the drugstore and looking at magazines. All those shiny objects in so many sizes and shapes were great fun to look at. The man who owned the store knew my father and grandfather, and enjoyed watching me sink my chubby little hands into the mounds of steel and iron. Perhaps he wasn’t quite so enthusiastic the time I took home a pocketful – but he forgave me nonetheless.

My early obsession with tools didn’t last. I’m pretty hopeless with a hammer and nails, and you certainly wouldn’t want me within operating range of any kind of power tools.

But then, I’m not an engineer like my husband, or a machinist like my father.

I am, however, proficient with the tools specific to my trade.

Like any other craft, writers and musicians have their own set of tools, a personal kit of indispensable items that help them tackle the job at hand, whether it’s writing an essay or playing a sonata.

See what I carry in my writer’s toolkit at today’s Write On Wednesday.

How about you? What tools are specific to your trade? What are the essential items in your toolkit?




6 thoughts on “Write On Wednesday: Toolkit

  1. We have a few old fashioned neighborhood hardware stores where I live and I always go there first for anything I am looking for. If they don’t have it or unable to order it, I will go reluctantly to Lowe’s or Home Depot.

    When one of our local hardware stores opened another store a few miles away, my wife and I just went in to walk around and see everything. We were asked if we needed help a number of times and that is one of the things I like about a real hardware store; they not only WANT to help you, they know what they are talking about.

    • There is actually a rather old fashioned hardware store not too far from me. It’s under the ACE Hardware chain, but it feels old -style. Kind of dark and crowded with all kinds of stuff. Lots of young guys working in there, but they’re friendly and knowledgeable. Keeping the hardware tradition alive!

  2. I love this post — it reminds me of the place I wrote about here a couple of months ago that was a plumbing store. Hardware is more versatile, but yes — those stores with every little thing, bins and barrels and boxes! Oh, they are indeed fabulous!

  3. There’s one called Gibson’s in Kerrville. You can get deer corn, a globe for an old-fashioned hurricane lamp, zippers, bisque kewpie dolls, and Polident. Oh – an ammo and cammo and a good ax. It’s my kind of place!

    Every now and then you’ll even find a lady working the cash register in slippers. It’s what they call “down-home”.

  4. Well, I have a pen and paper and I think that’s all I need. Unless we’re talking about figurative tools in which case I don’t have the brain power to think of them. What I love about living in Brooklyn is that we still have neighborhood-y type things. I go to a local hardware store, a butcher, a baker, and a place that’s been selling Italian specialties for years. I love it that way.

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