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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Work. Space.

A room of one's own. Sort of. That's been the idea since I first heard it raised. A woman writer needs a room of her own (and a ready supply of cash, but that's another question). But it was a long time coming and hasn't really arrived. There were the separation and divorce years, when all the rooms were my own, but really it's been a series of share studies and workspaces and always the coffee shops and the corners of libraries. This one, here, now, is the study for the household, but really, it's been carved out as my space, and I'm the only one that ever uses it, unless there's a need for the big monitor that occupies a corner of the desk.

The desk. Ikea legs and table top, the legs from some long gone dining table of my past, the top a sturdy wood lbok my husband has dragged through various marriages and households. The carpet I carried back from Anatalya, bought after touring some of the grandest of ruins and probably protracted drinking of black Turkish tea out of small, tulip shaped glasses and some pro forma bargaining that I knew I'd come out on the worse end of. Came with me on backpacks and busses and has lived in a house or six and collected its share of dog hair and some attention from the claws of cats. Twenty years later and its still rich in color and rich in memories. It occupies a corner with my William Morris chair, claw footed oak, a gesture toward some arts and crafts era where my creative spirit might thrive. Curled in that chair, surrounded by books and always too many unfiled papers and pictures that meant something at some point in my life and more than one picture of my younger self, I move from preparing the work of the day to thinking about what to put on the table that night to looking out over the long sweep of park outside the window.

Bare now, brown grass and empty branches, sometimes ablaze with autumnal color, now and then blanketed in snow, and in the summer life begins to stir. Homeless passing time and, in the late afternoons, being fed by one of the local soup kitchens. High school students criss crossing and dawdling on their way to and from. The young families and the endless parade of dogs. But here, now, this work, this place. Sometimes the space of possibility and sometimes the space of the guilt of promise unrealized. Maybe if i rearrange the furniture, I'll find that great American novel I've misplaced. I had it once; it must be somewhere around here.

The Hand-Me-Down Coffee Table

Coffee Shop