Welcome to the What’s In Your Bag? series, where I get nosy with artists about what they take with them to capture those creative thoughts, live their art, and express themselves.

My first guest is Wonder Truly, who I met on Instagram. We connected over music and I love her voice — it’s beautiful, smooth, and clear; her songs like journal entries telling the ups and downs of life. I LOVED getting a peek into their world with this interview, so let’s get this party started!

Hey, Wonder! So what’s in your bag?

Oh boy, okay. So we’ve got the basics–phone, keys, and cards. I always carry a pair of heavy duty sunglasses with me, as I am actually a goblin living in a cave and the all-encompassing Arizona sunlight hurts my eyes. I currently have two packets of guitar picks that I bought a couple weeks ago and still have yet to transplant to my desk where they can be used. I carry at least two masks in my bag at all times: an Aura N95, and a brightly colored KN95 in case I go somewhere I’ll need to remove my mask for bites of food or sips of a drink. I caught Covid at the end of October 2021, which turned into Long Covid that had me fully bedridden for 13 months. I am extremely cautious of the risks of the ongoing pandemic; I wouldn’t wish what I went through, or what thousands of people with Long Covid are still going through, on anybody. 

In the front pocket of my bag, I have two different kinds of hand sanitizers, and a handful of clean tissues and paper napkins because I do be living that chronic sniffles life. I have a cute mint green pocket sketchbook for doodles and mini paintings that’s about 1/3rd full. Looks like I also have a folded USPS customs receipt in that pocket too, haha. 

Pull the zipper open and the middle section of the bag is revealed: the real trove. I have a journal for songwriting and stream of consciousness writing, four different ballpoint pens, a little roller bottle of Gucci Bloom that I save for special occasions and only when I know I’ll be in a well-ventilated area (as someone who is gagged on the regular by other people’s perfumes and body spray, I try to be conscientious of sensitivities around me). This is starting to sound like I am overly neurotic with a superiority complex, but I promise only one of those is true. 

I’ve got a modest arsenal of lip products: a couple lipsticks, Burt’s Bees Regular Peppermint chapstick, a classic C.O. Bigelow Menthe Lip Shine, and a Sephora tinted lip balm. I employ them maybe once every couple months, when the mood strikes. I’m genderqueer and have a complicated relationship with presenting as femme on a regular basis, but I’ll go through phases where I feel like wearing the She/Her costume. 

I have three flavors of gum (one cinnamon and two different kinds of mint), a little zipper pocket with yet another hand sanitizer, and a deck of emergency playing cards at the very bottom of my bag. Some days, I’ll throw in an emergency beanie for when my roots are atrocious and I’m a long time between hair washes. More frequently, I’ll shove a crochet hat project into the mix so I have something to do with my hands when I’m sitting otherwise unoccupied. 

That’s it! The story of the inside of my bag. More illuminating and personal than I was expecting, ha! 

Ok, first of all, LOVE the minty theme. Huge fan of mint right here.

Mint is SUCH a good theme, I’m a big fan. When I first started dyeing my hair, I went with mint first. 

And I love how you’re prepared with different options of everything in your bag. Because one never knows if, for example, it will be a cinnamon kind of day or not, right? 

100%, I gotta have options. 

Do the contents of your bag change if you’re doing a gig, or going to record in the studio? 

So I actually haven’t done any gigs since the start of the pandemic! I might be tentatively dipping my toes back into the scene next year depending on covid numbers, but for right now & the last few years, I feel it’s  irresponsible to create an opportunity for people to gather in large numbers, especially indoors. Back when I used to gig, though, I packed some extra guitar picks, a handful of snacks, and my iPad with my charts on it. I forgot to mention that if I’m leaving the house for more than an hour, I’ll pack a snack like a protein bar or a bag of dried mangoes, which is what I’m hooked on lately!

So, with the sketchbook and the journal…is there a time or circumstance when you break them out of your bag the most? Like, in traffic, or at the coffee shop, in meetings, backstage before or after gigs?

I tend to break my sketchbook out most in doctor’s office waiting rooms where I practice drawing plants and gesture drawings. Last year while I was sick, I had several doctor’s appointments per month and I really appreciated having something to doodle in to pass the monotony of waiting. I mostly use the journal that’s in my bag for when I’m somewhere by myself outside the house. Coffee shops are my go-to for journal writing, but I actually got this journal specifically for a Covid-conscious songwriter’s retreat I hosted in Sedona at the beginning of November. We had designated freewriting time every morning, followed by either a solo songwriting session or a co-write that afternoon. I hoped to continue the morning freewrites after the retreat, but I ended up being super busy with projects (a great problem to have!). I plan to get serious again about my journaling habits next year. My friend Rae, who was on the retreat with us, has an amazing selection of fountain pens, a very fancy and expensive Japanese journal/planner, and a small Canon sticker printer for adding visual recall to their entries. I’ll try to emulate her ensemble (hello, Christmas wishlist), and then see what comes of it! 

Cool! And tell me about those sunglasses!

I actually have a pair of sunglasses meant for shooting ranges, ha! I’ve been shooting once, in Texas, while on tour. It’s not for me. But the sunglasses are great! They’re tinted and amazing for all purpose outdoor life. They’re so scratched up though because I’ve had them for years, that lately I’m using some cute paparazzi-proof sunglasses, the kind that take up almost half your face. I got them from H&M. Not that I have to worry about paparazzi, but the anonymity that comes from wearing a mask in public with the sunglasses on is quite nice! 

Awesome. Thank you so much, Wonder, for your time and for giving me a little peek into your life! I’ve so enjoyed getting to know a bit more about you in this way.

You’re so welcome! It was a pleasure. Great questions!

Do you have any current or upcoming projects you’re working on that you want to tell us about? 

Ooh, what a great question. I’m currently releasing a song every month! The song coming out December 1st is an introvert’s Christmas song. Every year I try to write a nice, heartfelt Christmas song, and every year I fail, haha. So this song is a bit grinch. but folks can stay in the loop on my Bandcamp, or on my Patreon for first looks at all new releases.

I can’t wait to hear this Christmas song!

photo of Wonder TrulyWonder Truly is a singer-songwriter, music producer, and Twitch streamer. Wonder is best known for her songs about living with mental illness and chronic illness, self-forgiveness, and defying the narrative of being “too much.” Like most working Creatives, Wonder was forced into a hard pivot with the arrival of the pandemic, which opened up the unexpected opportunity to fall back into music production after years of being a full-time touring solo artist. Wonder currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, where they live with three cats and a most wonderful partner. As is her signoff at the end of every Twitch stream, Wonder implores readers to “drink some water, eat some food, take your meds, and take care of each other.” Connect with Wonder on Bandcamp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, or their website.