birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


Like my Grandmother and Outfit one, this is going to be snippets of memories (I’m seeing a trend here)

Circa 1988-1989. I had written an explicit letter to my boyfriend (who also just happened to have been “my first”. My mom and I had had a fight about something else and, to make up, she cleaned my room (that was her thing). Except she found the note. The fallout was bad enough that we ended up in counseling. As painful as that period was, it made our relationship stronger. It was also shortly after that that she took me to the doctor to be put on the pill. I remember the car ride and her stern, barely calm voice, “This *by no means* means I condone what you are doing, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to see you get pregnant!”

2003. I was cleaning out boxes that had moved from childhood home to adult home(s) and found a letter my (maternal) grandfather had written me. I don’t remember what it said. I don’t know where it is now. I know the year because it was in preparation to move to a new city with my husband and our 9 month old baby.

2016. Class assignment to write to a favorite author. I’d like to send it but haven’t. My only reason for not sending it is knowing that he won’t actually read it. I know he won’t read it because his website says so. He used to read and respond to fan mail but it became overwhelming. His administrative support person and some others in the office read it. I don’t know if they respond or pass any on to him to read or not.

A Note From the Past, Addressed to the Future