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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Navy Blue Suits

The Kims had a family photo shoot at the Huntington Library when I was a senior in college. My sister was a high school junior and my brother had just dipped his toe into his teen years. My mom decided that we should all be in navy blue business wear—the men in suits and the ladies in skirt suits. The Kim ladies had a plethora of skirt suits at our fingertips then because my dad was a sewing contractor for Jones New York.

There we were at Huntington Library on a Saturday, five people bound by shared genes and the same hue of blue. For a whole afternoon, we were directed by the photographer to get into various formations and positions, sometimes smiling into the camera and other times at each other. At one point we were told to stand in a line holding hands and walk towards the camera as we looked at each other and laughed together. We looked like a group of Asian business people overjoyed by our businessy-ness. I felt as though I was dying a small death of embarrassment. I can only imagine how my younger siblings felt about the whole thing.

The photographer was so pleased with the results that a giant print of our family portrait hung from his studio window for years and years: the five of us in matching suits, hovering together on a patch of Huntington Library grass.

Double Arches

Not Quite Uniform