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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

No checklist

More people ask me for my advice than I ask for theirs. Some people offer me advice, though not often because I ask them for it.

I have come to see asking for and giving advice as more about listening than about the actual content of the advice. When someone asks me for advice they are generally seeking an opportunity to talk through their question. What they want most is for me to listen, ask some questions, and draw out of them what they are internally planning to do.

When I ask for advice I tend to disguise or camouflage my seeking advice by asking for information. Rather than asking what I should do, I will more likely ask what something means, or for a good example to follow.

When I a was in sixth grade I went up to my English teacher’s desk to ask a question. It may, or may not, have been related to something we had talked about in class recently.

I asked my unsuspecting teacher what I needed to do to become mature.

Even as a young person, I was motivated to find the right answer and follow the right steps to get there. My experience told me people did not always treat me as a mature person and I wanted to make sure I achieved maturity as quickly as I could.

It must have been a fairly ironic situation for him, since I was a pretty serious kid.

I do not remember exactly what he said, though it was both insightful and not what I was hoping it would be.

He did not reveal to me the checklist, the chart I needed to follow to become mature. He did, though, take my question seriously. I remember him trying to explain there was no one way to arrive at maturity, that it was not something we could earn by following rules.

The lottery ticket

Two kinds of exhaustion