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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Finding My Voice

If I had the chance, I would speak up, sit down, and write it out. I would speak up about my wishes to write, my wishes to be a legitimate writer. I would sit down at a desk, rear in chair, focused on moving forward. I would write words out in black and white. Write anything. Write everything. Yes, I think that’s it. If I had a chance to do anything over, I would write everything.

I don’t miss many opportunities to learn, to see, to try. I’m overly encouraging for others to do the same. But what I’ve ignored for many years — many decades — is the voice whispering in the back of my mind that I should make time for my ideas and words.

“Make money first,” the other voice whispers. “You can try this after you’re successful with savings in the bank.”

“Use that degree and those opened doors while you can,” it haunts, talking over the softer whisper that wants to try now.

“You didn’t pay attention in grammar and punctuation lessons!” the harsh voice scoffs again, pelting us in all the soft spots.

“Probably because my mother was the teacher!” the quiet voice retorts, a rare comeback move.

“Still, this writing of yours isn’t anything special, correct commas or not.”

“Who would want to read what I write, what I see, what I think? How do I find the perfect story to start?” The quiet voice prattles on in self-deprecation at an Eeyore-level of confidence. And so it goes…

And then there’s the real-life Practical Patty one can find when seeking any rebuttals or confirmation of doubt. She’s there to write a laundry list of all the things one should do before “indulging” in imaginary worlds and fruitless fodder. She doesn’t need much ammunition, given the statistics on getting published, getting paid when published, or the far-out hope of just being read and recognized. And encouraged.

If I had the chance for a do-over, which I think we all get each day, I’d write more. I’d write often. Hell, I’d write daily. At least for 40 of them, all in a row. Perhaps that’s the magic of making a habit, of making muscle memory and momentum. So, I’m doing it over, starting now.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Up and Away