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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

For All of This, I am Most Grateful

I am sitting on a ridiculously large comfortable white sofa in a spacious white room. There is so much soft, natural light entering the space, it feels as if I am outside. A light rain dances upon the skylights as a variety of plants hang from the rafters, their spiraling tendrils cascading towards the floor. The floors are hardwood and when we walk across them, the heavy sounds of my family (all of our footsteps have a distinct sound) bring me joy.

I am in my studio, I am happy. My studio is 1,500 sq ft and is located behind my house. There is an expansive back yard between my home and my studio that allows me to have privacy and separate my home life from my studio life, yet as an artist, this really doesn't happen as my life informs my practice. Anyway, back to my wild and wooly dream...the backyard is a creative, beautiful and practical combination of grass (my grandchildren will know what grass feels like on their baby toes), drought friendly plants and concrete.

In my studio, I am working on a new suite of large-scale paintings that will be exhibited at MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the Fall and I am sitting back analyzing, appreciating, admiring my work. I've come a long way and I have a lot of work to do, yet it doesn't feel like work, it is simply my life and I love it. In my studio, I have a designated area for making jewelry and another area where I write.

At MoMA, I will also exhibit a collection of jewelry I've designed over the years. These wearable works of art have been collected nationally and internationally and collectors have generously donated their pieces for the duration of the exhibition. Tiffany's - the designer jewelry house - has invited me to design a line for them that will debut in two years.

My writing career has been established and I have published three children's books. The publishing house has contracted for two additional books to be completed over the next five years. All of my books have been on the NY Times Bestsellers list for the past year and an animated film was produced for one of my books. I have also published my creative nonfiction and a book of essays about my life, observations and personal discoveries.

I have an amazing life partner who is a gem of a man. He loves and appreciates me and what I do and is successful in his own right. We truly like and respect each other and still look forward to seeing each other. For both of us, this is our best relationship and meeting in our late 40s was perfect timing. Together we make a fabulous team. My daughter is a happy, successful young woman who enjoys her career and is pursuing her life with passion, confidence and a plan. Because of my careers I know a lot of people, yet my real folks, my peeps are a small group of kin I keep close and dear to my heart.

I eat really well. My husband cooks his butt off. We made an arrangement early in our relationship that he would cook and I would clean. I honestly will do anything to not have to cook. He still cooks, and I've hired a housekeeper. I make a great living as an artist and can afford it, so, yeah, I have a person who's sole responsibility is washing dishes and keeping my kitchen clean. Thank the good lord for domestics. I am no longer concerned with my weight. Occasionally we eat vegan, and mostly we eat vegetarian, yet we are not opposed to eating a bit of meat (me: fowl and fish mostly). I work out because I enjoy it (dancing, swimming, walking, bike riding) and eat what I want. One of my favorite foods to eat is sweet potato pie or peach cobbler, a la mode. My husband makes the best and together we eat pie or cobbler while naked in bed. It is the best. We binge watch an actor's movies (regardless of how bad they may be) or one of our favorite tv shows and sit back and eat pie and laugh. It is wonderful.

Now, with all this goodness in my life. I have finally made time to find balance. That sweet space of me time that doesn't mean isolation, yet it exists, for me physically, spiritually and emotionally. Because of this sweet space, I've tapped back into my ability to think things into existence. I had this gift in my 20s, this gift of thinking of an experience or a person or more specifically a person at a particular time and that experience would occur or that person would call at that time. Well, I've tapped back into that ability. Maybe it is more accurately phrased as, I've accessed that ability again. My mind is clear. I can see energy again and my thoughts and spiritual connection is aligned and what I see or ask for or think takes form.

I consider my life and am grateful this is not a dream. It is real and tangible and I am truly a blessed woman as I am living my best life and have my health and my sanity and my creative endeavors are sustaining my life emotionally, spiritually, and financially. For all of this, I am most grateful.

Epistolary Dream

Here's Looking at You, Kid