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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Life Lessons

While I was a child and playing a game of checkers with my mom, I remember playing it "safe." It seemed a good strategy as she wasn't able to jump my checkers if they were backed up against the edges of the board. My mother told me that "yes, it was safe, but the game wasn't as interesting." Well, with those words I reversed course on not just the game of checkers, but most of my childhood and onto the person I became. Interesting became more important than safe.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I decided to write a book. I made an outline and carried the idea around with me in a blue spiral notebook. While back at my parent's home I told my dad about it and said that I thought I'd be able to write it better if I had a typewriter or perhaps one of those personal computers that were starting to come out. He looked at me and said, "It's what's up here," pointing to my head, "not in some contraption." I ended up writing the book in long hand and it was published by Prentice Hall Press.

I first met Walt in college as he was my painting teacher. We had a typical student/professor relationship, but it evolved into a friendship that is intact today- 45 years later. Walt told me early that no matter how it appeared, we would run out of time to do all the work that mattered. It struck me as an important life lesson in mortality and I feel those words have not discouraged me, but rather, spurred me on to keep the juices flowing.

My son, who is a man now, prefers to share any inner feelings only on his own terms. He does not like me to ask him personal questions but rather I am asked to wait to find out when he is ready to share. I find myself weighing my words carefully around him when it comes to his future. His need for personal space in sharing is much more characteristic of his dad, my husband, than my own style of speaking. This is a hard one for me, but it keeps me aware of my intense curiosity to want to know what he is thinking. He is teaching me patience.

My Babies

Coffee Achiever