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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Brought to You by the Letter 'Why'

There's a 38-page version. An 8-page rethink. A recent draft of three focused, invested pages. There's even a mini letter meant to be a prelude to the main letter, whenever it's ready.

"Know your reader," the pros advise.

I thought I knew my reader — deeply, passionately, assuredly — but I worry I don't know her now, or that I perhaps didn't know her as well as I thought I did. But I think that if we connect once again, it'll be through a letter.

Our words brought us together.

A long-distance relationship in which two time zones' difference didn't make for easy phone conversation leant itself perfectly to words and wordplay, to honesty and intimacy, to exploratory questions and sharing, first through the dating site then through morning email missives and shared threads throughout the day. We were both reluctant online daters, and exchanging words and tickling each other's brains with style and the rhythms of language fostered intimacy and understanding.

When L said she was moving out, I had no hint it had been coming. She had always said to listen to her words, to not read meaning in things not said or expectations not articulated or precedents not cited. The words, expressed, mattered.

The words not said or not written matter, too.

I think of my letter and wonder how it might be received by L. With curiousity? Frustration? Sadness? Hurt? Anger? A little from column A and a little from column B?

I look at my letter, in its varied iterations, and question whether any of it manages to find the right words for the right mood at the right moment. I know that what is said will ultimately matter more than how it's said.

But when you've found each other through words, and the cadences and the turns of phrase of a thought perfectly articulated, it's hard not to feel that some perfect, wonderous, magical assembly of words will make all the difference toward the desired outcome, to at least recall an echo of that intimacy once shared.

Like I said, I don't know my reader right now.

But I want to. Very much.

3 ...

2 ...

1 ...


My relationship to the ground had changed

Dear Riot Games