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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


Summer night street dances in the high school parking lot, Fall football games, Winter toboggan sledding at the country club, and weekly visits to the St. Paul Public Library. Those were the events that framed our calendars in my hometown. Add to that the neighborhood 4th of July picnic, the elementary school fall festival, complete with cakewalk, and the neighbors who reported faithfully to my parents each time they saw me riding my bike on the highway, or invited friends (boys in particular) over when mom & dad weren’t home.

We all knew each others’ parents; we all went to church, most of us Lutheran, and we all knew who the bad boys were on the soda fountain stools at Muller’s drug store. We held pajama parties, sneaked out after dark, made prank phone calls and told secrets late into the night.

I only live 10 miles away, and hope to see someone I knew when I’m there. But those days are gone. The town was never the important thing. It’s always about the people.

Bob the Hermit