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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I have noticed that there are so many things I cannot bear to let go. My daughters’ baby teeth are, perhaps, the grossest of the lots that take up space in my house and my heart.

Perhaps, the meanest is the band of rubber bands that live on the doorknob in the kitchen—just in case there is ever a need; well, there is an occasional, a rare, need. Just last week I used the one good one left [all the others crumbled at my touch] to close a pair of scissors for safe transport.

There are books that I’ll never read again—but it’s a book, and a book is a friend. There are dishes that I’ll never use. There’s that giant silver-plate tray my husband’s coworkers gave us at our wedding that we’ve never used—I guess were not silver-using kind of people. Though we do use, maybe twice a year, the silver table service we bought just after our wedding to go with the china given that never got complete. It’s all pretty the silver and china, and so much more—just not very practical.

And there is a lot that’s not so pretty—but it has other worth. There are dishtowels, made from feed-sacks [for real] and trimmed with crocheted threads by my aunt; also given to us as wedding presents. As she said, “You can never have too many towels!” But now, almost forty years old, they are dingy and worn [tho, the trim is still in fine shape]; some have holes; and I can’t bear to give them away—much less throw them away!

And speaking of throwing away—I have a sweatshirt that I got when I was pregnant with my second daughter [now 29]. Its pink, though always pale, is now nearly worn to white. It is stretched so out of shape the neck rests halfway down my shoulder most of the time. And, it is full of holes, and covered in stains. I can’t give it away. I cannot stop wearing it. Whatever does it mean to me? I simply love it, LOVE IT! For its comfy-ness, its familiarity, AND its connection to, and its ability to connect me to, my baby girls who are no more. They're women now, and forever.

J. K. Rowling knew and told us something truly, deeply important when she featured horcruxes in her wizard stories. Things do collect pieces of our souls—that is what makes them so difficult to part with! All these things around me—like the Disney videos I spy lurking on the shelf—they hold the scintillas of so many beings, that have come and gone and come, that make life LIFE for me.

Some day I will part with more of this stuff—maybe not the baby teeth, but surely the silver tray. And, I will not part with any thing today!

I'm Wishing ...

Inferiority Is A Painful Thing