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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

"You know what you otta do..."

Advice is a noun; to advise is a verb. Can you advise someone without their permission? Can you give advice without being asked? Of course you can, but would you?

My friend says quite often, "Zip it!"

This is advice her husband gave her many times while raising seven children: "Zip it, Pat."

When children are young, you are advising them all the time, about everything. When they are adults themselves, you want to wait to be asked, which of course may never happen. When a question does come shyly though the door and finds you waiting for permission to speak, pay close attention to the effect your words may have, and also the affect they have. You may be thinking you're saying one thing, when another thing all together has been heard. This is the uneven ground that advice stands on, between even people who love each other.

I was given advice fifty-eight years ago that changed the course of my life. My Mother Superior at the convent where I was a novice, advised me with all sincere assurance, that God did not wish for me to be a nun. I could leave the convent with assurance that it was not a path I was meant to be on, and go live another life and be happy. I have done just that, but often I smile to think of the certainty with which she gave me advice that altered my vocation. How did she know so confidently that what she said was the truth? It was blessed advice, but was it the truth? Was it MY truth? or hers?

Blessings on the Bardo

Routine or Ritual?