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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Eat, Drink, Poop, Sleep: We're Just Big Babies

Essential: clean, ideally cool, water to drink. And also? For me, lip balm. I’m a lip balm enthusiast/connoisseur/addict…Make it addict. Addict: I’m not even choosy. I need to know lip balm is near me whenever I want it. I get pangs of anxiety when I realize I somehow left the house without it. I’ve gone so far as to detour straight to a place to buy some—gas station, drugstore, supermarket, wherever—within minutes of discovering I am out and about, without. When I travel, there are three accessible in my carry on and at least another one, at least, with my toiletries. Being lower on lip balm than this puts me into a delusional kind of scarcity mentality, the same way that finding out I’m running low on eggs makes me behave like I lived through the Depression and our family may possibly starve.

Like my lip balm and 3+ eggs, many things we describe as “essential” we do because we’ve grown so used to them it’s hard to imagine doing without them. Things like quiet. A toothbrush. A diaper. A good knife. Where does essential end and luxury begin? Is there anything universal or is it all just personal? Are we confusing mandatory with indispensable? Be honest man, what do we really need?

I’m gonna put on my favorite lip balm, check the fridge for eggs, and sleep on it.

[Ah-ha! Sleep! Sleep, the ultimate “essential.”]

"It's The Little Things That Count"

Essential List