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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I dream I am climbing the steps to a podium or a panel in a theater at a national conference. I am to deliver a keynote speech of some sort--I never know about what. I never get to the podium--that action is always interrupted by some sort of chase out and away from the theater. What IS that about?

Many people tell me that i should teach--or write for publication. I have one published book--that still reads pretty well, 20 years later.

What IS that about?

I wish I knew. I do have stories to tell. Information to share. Passion to express--on a number of topics. But I don't like crowds. I don't like conflict. I hate making people uncomfortable. And, many of my thoughts might do just that. So, what's a girl to do?

Well, maybe that's part of the problem. I'm not a "girl"--haven't been for a very long time. But, I've never quite been a woman either--well, not all the time, not in every way. A woman knows and does what she knows.

I remember once talking with my first therapist [a rich white guy, seven years my senior] about my frustration with conflicts in a group I served. I wanted them to tone down the anger and fear. He said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." I replied,"MEN! What about turning down the heat, so things don't burn?"

I don't truly know if this is a sex or gender difference. I don't have the research in hand anymore [that book I mentioned earlier is about sex and gender]. And, it does seem that men are always turning up the heat!

Look at our president. He seems sure that it's all about heating it up to a boil.

I don't want to boil. I don't want to roil. I don't want to rile.

And the dreams keep repeating the climb to the podium, and the running [or being chased] away.

Maybe playing the dream forward, awake, is in order:
I am climbing the steps. I see the podium at center stage. I gasp at the thought of stepping to it. I stop--my feet feel glued to the floor, my legs are too heavy to lift.

I shuffle my feet forward. The podium seems still miles away. My palms sweat, my heart races, my breath comes in tiny sips that choke instead of enlivening me.

There is applause, and expectancy. The audience is waiting to hear from me. What is it that I must say? Or die?

What can no longer be run from? I am stuck to the floor, and I am still in the hall on the stage. I am still without notes, and I am--

Well, yes, I am.

Dead Bored Lorde

Where Is It?