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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Newspaper

I feel lost in the morning. For my entire adult life, my morning has revolved around reading the newspaper, specifically the New York Times. There has always been a second paper, sometimes a third as well, but the NYT has been a constant since I left Wichita to find work in Washington, DC as a journalist. I discovered The Times and my limited world was never the same again. I knew where to find the light switch.

I would go to sleep at night looking forward to coffee and the paper in the morning. When the kids were little, I'd get up extra early to have my NYT moment to myself. I could read the LA Times and Wall Street Journal at the office. But reading the NYT gave me a sense of control of my day. I knew what I needed to know with a strong caffeine fix. I could start my engine.

Last month, I cancelled our paper subscriptions. We went digital. So, yes, I still get up and have my coffee and toast and read the news. But there is no inky newspaper. The evidence of the paper's news judgement is less pronounced on the app. But the stories are all there.

So I get up. Dress for whatever the day demands. Splash water on my face. Brush my teeth and hair. Take my thyroid pill. And head downstairs to make coffee and toast, perhaps boil an egg. Look forward to the fresh fruit my husband cuts for me every morning. Just as always, I sit down in the breakfast room and catch up with the world.

But I've read some of the stories the night before. There is no dramatic "reveal" of pulling the paper from it's blue plastic bag and opening it to study the story placement on the front page.

My iPad is convenient, a cold, dull exchange of information. I've saved a few trees. Reduced my carbon footprint. But the love is gone. I leave the breakfast room table more quickly than before. My morning routine is a bore.

Ablutions

4:40 a.m. PT