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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I am forgetting things on a daily basis.

I hear about an event, think about someone or an activity and later the same evening or much later in the week experience a wave of shock followed by disappointment at the realization that said event has passed me by.

My intentions are good. I have every reason to attend or participate, yet, I forget to.

I am tired. Physically, tired. My brain is tired. I am simply overwhelmed and because of this, I have become forgetful. I own a datebook, one I bought during the second or third month of this year to keep track of my life and commitments. My datebook is small and can fit in the palm of my hand. It is black in faux leather and I use a nice thin mechanical pencil to log my schedule and events. Yet, at times, I forget to consult my datebook.

I can do it, consult that is, yet my brain is slow. I've considered taking ginkgo biloba, but I don't. Nor do I give myself enough sleep. All of this, I know, is reversible, if I'd simply slow down and release.

I am....have been...depressed. It, on some level, has been self-induced. I know it has been. I've allowed myself to wallow in pain and although the external factors leading to my depression are real, much of the "stuff" swirling around in my head are manifestations of over-thinking, ego-based comparisons and self-sabotaging. I know depression is real and is considered a mental illness and is associated with chemical imbalances in the brain, yet my depression and extended stay in Woe-Is-Me land is a result of being forced to close my studio, put everything in storage and drastically change my art practice. Not making paintings for me is like Helen Keller not being able to sign.

Because of this mental fatigue and inability to create the way I want, I have become forgetful. I don't forget to bathe or brush my teeth and I never forget to eat (I can miss a meal or two, for real!), yet I forget artist talks, and exhibition openings, and following up on emails or phone calls, the things that will or may keep me in touch with the world I want to engage. I will admit, that some of the not attending I do is intentional, I have needed a break, yet other times, often-times, I have simply forgotten.

Maybe the problem, all this time has been me wallowing in my want. I have, this entire time, been frustrated in my inability to make art the way I want, when I should be focusing on making art the way I can. Isn't this really where pain and suffering come from? People wanting things that don't exist or rather, people wanting things to be different than what they really are? Maybe, maybe, a lot of pain and suffering can be released or eradicated if we allow ourselves to sit be in the moment and accept our situations for what they are. When we do this, then we can be open to the ways we are guided to do something about our present.

I know for a fact that this message exists in my practice of yoga and in one of the many self-help books I have either flipped through or read, yet, as most of us do, we go about our daily lives and get side-railed by experiences and holding onto understandings like this lodge themselves slightly out of our mental reach. It's no different than committing to a new way of eating and you find yourself breaking your commitment after a few successful weeks not because any major event has occurred, you simply realize, that you are eating or drinking something you know good-and-well you are not supposed to be eating or drinking.

I've been forgetful lately. The kind of forgetful that makes me open palm slap my own forehead forgetful. I envision myself as a forgetful old lady - the kind who looks for glasses propped up on her own head or who had 12 jars of mayonnaise in her cupboard because she can't remember if she has any each time she goes to the grocery store - and it scares me.

This is not the future I desire. So, as I sit here in this moment, I acknowledge my own part in my current situation and check out of Woe-Is-Me land. I commit to making art the way I am able and being open to the new ways my work evolves. I commit to checking my ego when she rears her ugly head and most importantly, I commit to being loving to me and remembering.

The Drivers Seat