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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Paul Newman Eyes

I started wearing glasses when I was 7 years old and like any insecure young girl, I was completely self-conscious about how I looked. Plus I could never find the right haircut to go with the glasses. As my eyesight became worse, my lenses got thicker and thicker. 4-eyes soon became my middle name momentarily, only when I was around boys, which was practically never. All through elementary school, there was only 1 other girl who wore glasses in my class. How was that possible, in a class of 23 9- year- old girls?

Middle school was co-ed and no picnic, and what I lacked in beauty. I tried vainly to make up in fashion. It wasn't too long before Bloomingdales became my go-to store. But as we all know, 13-year old boys were pretty superficial and if I didn't look like Joanne Strassburg, at least I could wear what she wore.

Nirvana came in 10th grade when my mother asked me if I wanted contacts. In the early 70's, they were still a bit of a mystery, but my mother wore them and evidently thought there was some hope for me when she made her offer. Did I ever! No more fogged up glasses after being outside, no more fear of breaking them during volleyball, no more having to clean them anymore. Not only did I get contacts, but the contacts that Dr. Eden stuck in my eye were blue. Not just a pale blue, but a shade that made my already blue eyes, a blue like no other. Turquoise, almost! Suddenly, my eyes were close in color to none other than Paul Newman. Suddenly, I was getting compliments that bordered on embarrassment. People would gaze into my eyes just long enough to make me uncomfortable, till at last I had to explain why my eyes were an absurd color of blue. Suddenly, boys even started looking at me a little longer than a glance, which of course was a completely different type of discomfort than I had ever experienced. Suddenly, I was a whole new me. Suddenly, I bloomed.

A Mind of Its Own

"Eagle Beak! Eagle Beak!"