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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


"Nothing but the dead and dying in my hometown" Paul Simon

When we first moved here in '78, Scott Valley and surrounds were thriving. Timber, logging, and ranching were mainstays. Working class towns with honest working class people. Every little town had a mom and pop grocery store. A library. A school. A cafe. A bakery. And the bar.

Ranches continue, and there are bars still.

Timber is gone, more or less. Cal Fire is the new industry. That, along with county government jobs is it. Fire season is year round now, they say, and statistics don't bode well for the next three years. A casino went up this year. It's too early to tell what impact this will have on our economy. Meanwhile, I count the empty storefronts and commercial buildings.

Once upon a time, we had The Shoe Shoppe, The Book Store, Greg's (family department store), The Hallmark Store, The Deli, The Peasantry (homemade sourdough pancakes), Don's Sporting Goods, The Florist, The Bakery, and a children's outfitting store. The Newspaper. The Community Pool. Ice cream parlor in the corner drug store. We were a self-contained, self-sustaining organism. No more.

We could blame the internet, the interstate, and Wal-Mart.

But really, there are no jobs here. What could draw healthy families here? Besides the environment? Out of apathy, our local government has no parks and rec department. They let the pool disintegrate, with no plans to repair or rebuild. A kind of entropy has taken hold with no sign of let up soon. Our family may become part of the statistic exodus soon, if this is the trend.

Dear Body,