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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I am a recent addition to a women's discussion group and the theme for our May meeting was creature comforts and the innovations that led to them. I chose to talk about the creature comfort of a warm shower and as I thought about this selection I thought about the millions of people around the world, both in the present and in time past, who have probably never had the privilege of experiencing the sensuous pleasure of a warm shower. I thought about the ingenuity of designing the whole system, the plumbing and electricity required, and the infrastructure to provide the water. Absolutely amazing.

Most of the time, I take the privilege of a warm shower and all that is involved for granted, and that led me to think about the people who are not as privileged and what they might regard as essential.

What about the women, children and families who are crossing into the U.S. seeking the basic essential need for safety, for freedom from harm? What about young black men who run the risk of being profiled for the color of their skin? How is the basic need for safety and security, one of Maslow's hierarchy of basic needs, met for them?

In my women's discussion group, I was surprised to hear the variety of creature comforts that were mentioned, including gardening, sewing, playing music, listening to CD's while driving, accessing Spotify.

These responses made me think that privilege can blind us to the reality of how comfortable we really are and to what exactly is essential. I realize that I take for granted the resources that enable me to live a remarkably privileged life.

Shelter for the Soul

How Deep is Your Pledge?