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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Small Accumulations

My office is a study in small accumulations. From my left, atop the desk are:

  • A specimen bottle (1 liter) that I use as a drinking bottle, on the off chance that someone will notice what it really us.
  • A square coffee mug that my employers gave out so we would stop using so many paper coffee cups. I don't drink coffee, or tea, or anything else in a mug, so it currently holds a small tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush that I got a couple of weeks ago from my dental hygienist, who encouraged me to brush twice a day instead of the two or three times a week I had been doing it. I eat breakfast at my desk (two Pop-Tarts and a Vanilla Coke, usually), so I figured I should probably brush after that each morning instead of at home.
  • A green origami dragon, folded by my younger stepson. He does a lot of origami, in bursts of activity when he remembers how good he is at it. He's quite good.
  • A glass orb with yellow and blue streamers in it, atop a base with a small light I can turn on. I usually only turn on the light after a University of Michigan football victory. My sister-in-law made the orb. She's a materials engineer who does crafty sorts of things in ways that make regular crafters look like Neanderthals.
  • A scratch pad, rarely used.
  • A pad of Post-Its, also rarely used, and mostly in support of:
  • A row of Post-Its stuck onto my windowsill, each with a thing that I want to put in the company Style Guide the next time someone lets me take a whack at the company Style Guide. The Post-Its are things like "COMPLAINT / COMPLIANT" and "MANGER", which also serve to remind me to search every document I edit for those words to make sure they're used correctly ("MANGER" is never used correctly, because I do not work for a Christian publishing house; I search for it because spell-check will never catch that particular typo for "manager").
  • Usually, a small block of wood that holds my phone in position so I can half-watch TV while I'm editing, or full-watch TV while I'm not busy at all, which happens a lot too.
  • Two cords, one to charge my earbuds and one to charge my phone.
  • My large monitor, which is a recent acquisition. I only barely acquisitioned it, as one day an IT guy emailed me to ask how big my monitor was. I told him, and an hour or so later some other IT guy showed up with a bigger monitor and hooked me up. I didn't ask to keep the other one, because the number of times I've thought, "Hey, I could use *two* large monitors" approaches zero.
  • My laptop, the screen of which is essentially a parking ground for things I'm not looking at just now, because it's much smaller than the monitor and I can barely see anything on it. My vision is juuust barely this side of legal to drive, and that's with glasses.
  • My phone. I talk to basically one person on it, because who uses the phone anymore? I don't even talk to my boss on it. Every time I need to call her, I go outside and use my cell phone because I hate talking to people generally and I hate talking to people in earshot of other people even more.
  • A poster of great books that I swear I'm going to hang up any day now. It's currently flat on the desk, held down with office equipment to flatten it out. It's been like that for months. It's probably flat now.
  • And a calendar from some charity that we donated to. We've been trying to donate to a good cause each month. We started after the election. It's been a long nine months. Next is the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Under Glass

Full of Light