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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Epistolary Dream

When I saw Anthony Bourdain enjoying Waffle House in Charleston, SC with Chef Sean Brock, the dream of writing him a letter to come here to Auburn was born. If I could put this letter together just right, maybe I could get the Parts Unknown crew right here to shine their light on a small town losing its soul to big time developers.

The story seemed right for the shows Bourdain was doing at the time. Plus Auburn now has some seriously good restaurants—the plus side of development. I started thinking about the people who could be eating around the table with Bourdain and discussing the mixed blessing that growth is.

I could also take him to Waffle House (we have four). Maybe I could even get the head football coach, Gus Malzahn, to join us since Malzahn is well-known Waffle House fan, as well.

The composition floated around in my head. Some story line on Parts Unknown would set me off on magical thinking again. A nobody, literally from South Succotash, could get a big time star to come here. Anthony Bourdain seemed like someone who just might do it, though.

The last few episodes of Part Unknown seemed darker to me. I wondered at the different tone. The shows weren’t sending me into my epistolary daydream. Maybe the man who was a master at showing and telling a good story was showing and telling something about himself.

I Live Alone, but I Am Not Lonely

For All of This, I am Most Grateful