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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Alternate Realities

I almost gave up on this writing project. I didn't want to. I just had so much piling up that I suddenly lost track of my priorities. But here I am.

I almost became a school counselor. But then I lost my friend Jeff, and I didn't know what to do with myself. It's better that I didn't. I had some work I needed to do.

I almost got hit by a bus once. I got out of my car on La Brea and the bus came so close that all of my hair flew straight up. My cousin laughed at the sight of my hair, but I was shaken.

I almost did a good job with my student today. He lives in Compton and I tutor him in South LA. We had a fantastic first half hour. But then he totally shut down. He has so much energy, and he badly wants to run around outside, but he's mentioned that he wants to be on the computer. So today I brought him some headphones that he could use when we're together to play a reading game on the computer. I picked out the ones that were his favorite color. He liked them, but then he was disappointed that he couldn't take them home and he laid on the floor of the library with his hood over his head and wouldn't speak to me while I read him a book.

I tried to let him be. I read the entire book to his back. But when he showed no sign of relenting, I told him he needed to sit up. I told him life just gets harder and you just have to keep doing stuff you don't want to do. And that I drive there to see him every week just because I care about him, and that I really want to make things fun for him but sometimes we just have to do some work. So inspirational, right?!

Then I told his mom what happened. I try so hard not to pull the mom card, but today it felt warranted. At one point is it good to just let an 8-year-old be? At one point is it good to tell them what you expect of them, and that they're not meeting it? Then we went outside and there were three people getting arrested on the street.

Maybe he has a good reason for being pissed off and unsatisfied.

Maybe I didn't almost do a good job. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations that the headphones would make him feel cared for and special, and blamed him a little bit when he didn't react that way. Maybe it'd been 6 weeks of struggling, and I hit some limit. One thing I know is that there is no almost about this little boy. He is who he is no matter what. There is no almost to his anger, and there is no almost to his beautiful dimples.

Kids don't have an almost mode.

I'm almost 37. On Sunday I will have a party at the beach. People say they are coming. I hope they do. I have been stressing about carrying all the stuff, and having enough food, and having enough to drink, and carrying all the stuff, and it almost seems pointless to have a party I'm so worried about! But I do think I'll have fun once I'm there. I love when people I care about get together.

Being almost 37 means I'm almost too old to have a baby. I didn't think this would happen to me. I always thought I'd have a chance, even if I wasn't sure I wanted it. It still feels like I can push it down the road a few years. Maybe I can, one more time, but that's about it. It's really almost time to figure it out.

How does one "figure out" creating a relationship that can sustain a family in a short time?

I almost didn't graduate from college. I struggled so hard to put my senior recital together. I was out of steam. But I managed it.

I almost had a peaceful moment in the canyon yesterday. But then there was a car show, and all of the cars started their engines at once. The exhausted permeated the woods.

I almost didn't come out to my family. Sometimes it just seemed to much to risk. I was afraid my brothers wouldn't want me around their kids. I didn't expect my middle brother's reaction: "God, you must really think I'm an asshole."

What if he finds out that I don't really feel like a girl? Almost, but not quite?

Liquor Store Sage

Leisure Swirls Slowly Through the Stress