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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Boldly Going

In my teens and 20s, at the height of my immersion in science-fiction reading and viewing, I would often cite the "Star Trek" vision of a better tomorrow: that at some point down the road, say 50 years, or a hundred, or whatever, we'd look back and reflect, like Dr. McCoy, on things society once took for granted but which we would eventually regard as impossibly backwards.

"Needles and sutures, Jim? Barbaric!"

After all, the "Star Trek" projection of humanity was one that routinely depicted different races — different species, even — living together harmoniously. Food supplies were abundant. Money and the pursuit of wealth were obsolete. People had so gotten over their petty pursuits and addressed the basic needs that we would be free to explore the universe and revel in new knowledge and understanding. We'd grow.

As a kid, watching PBS nature documentaries and Jacques Cousteau specials, I harbored a sense that someday — soon, I even thought — we'll come to understand that animal intelligence, though different from our own, was deep and appreciated and that we'd stop treating other species and the natural assets of this planet as things to be exploited, bulldozed, pillaged, collected for personal gain, or otherwise abused.

Growing into adulthood, it still felt more often than not that we were getting there. Science solved problems. We better understood cultural differences. We respected invidual choice more and more, even if it was not our personal choice. Ideologies that didn't mesh with the greater good were sidelined. Knowledge was power.

These days, some 150 days into this current regime of U.S. leadership, I simply hope we'll collectively come to (again?) value facts and research and genuine knowledge, instead of ideology and the win for a particular faction.

I hope that the see-saw of American politics will stop returning regressive, backwards-thinking hacks to power.

I hope that gains toward inclusiveness, appreciation of differences, and ambition beyond the self will be the sharp trend line.

I hope that we'll make strides forward instead of cyclically turning back the clock 20 years everytime we achieve eight years of gains.

I hope that creativity and a shared sense of place and sacrifice for a greater good will be more common than exceptional.

Is that too wild a vision?


Things with feathers, and without