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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The final third...

Greetings Starlings! I've been away for a little while, off in Portland, Ore., for a visit with my wife's family, but I was glad to have your daily missives along on the trip. The pieces that you wrote for "Hometown" were, across the board, terrific. That's a prompt that I have worried is too trite, and maybe off-base for people who -- unlike me, didn't grow up in small towns in the American Midwest. Not so for this group. Really, take a look.

I sometimes think that I would just keep running this little writing programs forever just so that I could get emails like these every day. I am so very charmed by what you write, what you think, what you see, and how your lives are -- depending on the day -- so wildly different or so unexpectedly similar.

So, while it may feel like these 40 Days will never end, in fact you are in the last lap. See, 40 Days and 40 Writes is actually three 12-day programs, and the curtain in now up on Act III. 

The prompts are going to get less directional, and maybe even a bit abstract. Ride them wherever you want. Indeed, if you feel compelled to veer off in a new direction, don't feel tethered to the prompt too tightly. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This program, first and foremost, is about exercising your writing muscles daily.  

So if you did the math, yes, 3x12=36. The final four slots? They are  up for grabs. Do you have an idea for a writing prompt? If so, send it my way at


How it works.

So here's a funny thing