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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


To this day, my son (now 16) thinks I cheated while playing Candyland with him when he was five. Why would I cheat during a game of chance? It doesn't take any skills to win at that game, it's pure luck. What would be my motive? Yet, he feels wronged and the wound is still fresh, 11 years later. He claims that I stacked the cards in my favor. But I'm not a cheater. No fun in that. It would feel phony to know that I'd beaten my five-year-old at a simple board game. Plus, I happen to love board games. Why would I mess that up? I've tried to clear up the misunderstanding over the years, but he clings to it and brings it up all the time. Along with the times I "abandoned" him on Santa's lap and at the playground (I was nursing his baby sister on a nearby bench). Clearly he has abandonment issues, but I've never actually abandoned him! I fear that when he heads to college, he'll share these stories during late night dorm room tete-a-tetes, trying to talk out his horrible childhood, but I was here the whole time. Future girlfriends will despise me. Future grandchildren will be warned not to play Candyland with me because "grandma cheats." If that happens, I'm the one who will have been wronged.

The War of Prisms