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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Sunday Breakfast

The service was not great. But then, we were very loud, always, and there every Sunday. Kelly would sometimes walk right past the counter, grab the pot, and refill all our coffees. She’d usually go around to the other tables and refill theirs, too. What did we even talk about? Gossip, certainly. I’m sure I learned at breakfast that the art museum had a great new curator of Italian Renaissance come down from Cleveland, and that all the ladies on the board were trying to figure out how to marry her off so she’d stay in Birmingham.

I'm pretty sure that's where Edgar told me about another breakup -- a girl who didn't want Ella to sleep in the bed, and Edgar considered who he truly loved more and chose the dog. Barry showed up first at breakfast, long before I had any idea he had designs on Kelly; he's a professional man, but at breakfast he always drank a carton of chocolate milk.

I’m sure we talked about books, we probably talked about food, it is such a touch point right now, this idea that it’s an act of oppression at worst and not listening at best to cut off another person mid-sentence. But I can truly think of no greater pleasure on Earth than having Michele finish my sentences — she was listening, she had merely already arrived at where I was going and her mind was already lit up with something interesting it made her think of. Which I in turn would not quite be able to let her finish before tumbling forward to the next idea.

Oh, how we talked over one another! What an accumulation of breathless talk we constructed at that table, staying way too many hours, pulling up another chair for latecomers, rearranging the furniture to suit our needs, as though we owned the place by virtue of our own recurrent excitement in each other’s company!

Skin Ignorance

Ten O'clocks