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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

All's Fair in Love...And Memory

Heartbreak, unnecessary heartbreak, is SO not fair...why would we want to hurt one another? What benefit could it possibly have? There's no reason for it and no need for it. And why does it haunt me still today?

These thoughts careened though my brain as I drove home tonight from dinner with my father, a meal we share three to five times each week and one that gets in the way of my social life, but also gives me time to unwind my brain from the messiness of the day on the 20-minute ride home.

It is on that ride that I often relive my past, especially my past heartbreaks--there's nothing like riding solo in a car along a darkened road, especially if the music playing on my playlist radio is from my past (from the time my heart was shattered) to make me introspective. I like to think that the shatter has healed mostly now, but there must be some cracks in my heart or soul because the moment certain words bubble up from a song--the ones written and/or sung by Lucinda Williams or Steve Earle or Kevin Welch in particular--I start to feel that old heartache that has haunted me for 20 or more years now, a ghost that does not leave even though I want to think I buried the battered body of that ache long ago.

So what's not fair? It's that some hurt is so profound that it will never leave me. That its tentacles from the past creep into the moment of today and rob it of its joy, but also make me feel alive in ways that I cannot grasp in a less painful moment. That because of that former hurt I am not all I should be--want to be--for myself and for others.

I cannot speak the words of this hurt to the man I now love nor to the man I once loved, the one who left me feeling this damaged. It's not fair that I loved him so fiercely that, all these years later, I cannot love someone else as fully. Or that he can still sneak into my head and, in a perverse way, into my bed and take away from the love that I feel for someone new.

And yet it is SO fair that I get to feel this--because I do feel it and, by feeling it, I know I am very much alive.

Illusory Tears

Entitlement and Deference