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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


A few years ago in the rental house in Birmingham, I explored the basement and found an old closet door propped against the cement wall near the water heater.

How do I know it's a closet door?

I don't. But I am calling it that.

I dragged it upstairs to the empty room in our tiny three bedroom house. Then I found old plastic shelves to prop it up on and made it my writing desk.

I knew Harper Lee had written on a closet door or maybe just a door. I thought that it couldn't hurt seeing as I was living in Alabama --- even though her writing desk door was in New York. (She hated much of Alabama and plotted her escape early on.)

But I love my writing desk. It's a large (closet) door that isn't flush but it doesn't really matter. I have pasted Bronte and David Hockney postcards to it. Norah's fairy diary is on it. Flannery's teddy bear. Lucy smiling in a picture hugging Kiffen. A doorknob in the middle of the desk divides the books on each side if that makes sense.

It's the desk where I write and where I feel most at peace.

But now I'm writing in bed. A dachshund snores at my feet. The two closets in this bedroom (why are there two? I don't know) with real doors mock me.

One is cracked open and clothes hang, messy and indifferent.

The other closet door is closed but the hooks on the outside are laden with garments - scarves, shirts, belts.

I rarely wear any of it but I loop these scattered clothes (and the occasional towel) on the hooks and call it a day.

I should be writing at the desk that gives me peace.

Instead I'm writing in bed with a dachshund after consuming too much cherry pie because my heart is broken because the world is broken but somehow I still eat cherry pie and fling clothes over hooks and call it cleaning.

Something in the Room

The Corner Cupboard