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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Not Really


I have a hard time faking it. It's hard for me to lie or pretend. I never liked dressing up in a costume, never really felt like I could be someone other than who I am.

I tried acting in high school. Couldn't do it.

Further, I could never cultivate a "look." I would be content to just wear a different color jump suit each day. I don't really wear jewelry or anything costumey.

I don't give false compliments.

When my kids have asked me "Am I going to die?" My answer has been "yes, but hopefully not for a long time."

My husband has to warn me to not tell the kids the truth, to massage the bad news first before delivering it. But it doesn't come naturally.

It pained me every time I had to pretend there was a Santa Claus. But at the same time, I remember how fun it was to believe in the magical illusion, so I had to come up with a compromise. "The spirit of Santa" was a phrase that I used a lot.

That's not a lie!

I thought at least one of our kids would not be able to lie. I thought that I could tell when they were. But when my son reached adolescence, he started to and I had no idea.

I thought I'd be able to smell the marijuana smoke if either of the kids ever experimented with the herb. No such luck. You can't smell it if they're vaping it, apparently!

I had to report my Parkinsons-ridden father to the DMV because he was continuing to drive despite being a menace on the road. We had hidden his car keys, but he just got them replaced and continued to tool around town, despite totaling at least two vehicles in about a year.

The DMV was supposed to keep my identity a secret. But my dad, an accomplished journalist who got professional athletes to tell him their secrets, wheedled it out of the DMV employee tasked with testing his competency.

So, he called me. "Did you report me to the DMV?" Seeing no way out, I was forced to reply, "yes."

As a kid, I remember that nothing infuriated my dad more than being lied to. I couldn't lie to him.

I am the same way. I hate being taken for a fool. I hate being lied to.

Fakery as a Career

Please Tell Me What Not to Do