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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


When I was little, I shared a bedroom with my younger sister. Our bedroom had two doors. The west-facing door opened to a hallway that depending on which direction you turned, led to either our mother's bedroom, the bathroom or the rest of our apartment - the living room, den, dining room and kitchen. The east-facing door, when opened, led to the service door, the kitchen, and toward the hallway that led to the west-facing room of our bedroom.

The washer and dryer were located in the service porch, and I loved hearing the sound of the dryer when I went to bed. I never thought of this sound during the day, and most nights the dryer wasn't running, but the nights my mother dried a final load of washed clothes made my evening.

I loved being in bed when the dryer was running and sometimes, when my mother was out for the evening and we were home alone, I'd run an empty dryer just to hear the low, deep hum of the dryer. The bed felt cozier when the dryer was running and I swear it felt warmer.

The hum of the dryer was equally as soothing as the rain, and sneakers tumbling in the dryer became thunder whose loud, pounding knocks lulled me into a deep sleep.

The dryer's hum sounded as if it came from the depths of the machine's belly. It was a low, deep, heavy hum, like the Sunday hum of a black Southern grandmother in a front row pew praising God for favors yet to be received. It was a comforting, soothing, vibrating hum, like the middle of the night hum of a handsome man with soft lips and strong arms who kisses necks and spoons tight.

I felt safe on nights the dryer hummed.

The Life of the Party

Opus 32, No. 12