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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


I've written two letters to my parents that neither of them opened.
The first was to my father after he had refused to pay for my wisdom teeth surgery. I had just finished college when my dentist advised that I get them removed as they were crowding my mouth. My dad said I'd have to pay for it myself, so I got three part-time jobs and took care of it. But then I discovered that he'd claimed me on his income taxes as a dependent. So I fired off an indignant letter that he returned to me unopened.

The second was to my mom when she and her husband decided to move to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico just after her first grandchild was born. They had moved down to Southern California to be closer when the baby arrived. But by the time he was two months old, they had decided that they preferred Mexico. I was furious. Finally I had family in the same town. My fantasy of having the grandkids grow up near their grandparents was dead. Again, I fired off a letter. And it was returned to me unopened.

Now that I myself am a parent, I wonder if I would be able to handle the fury of my kid directed at me. If I didn't open the envelope, we could continue as if there had been no significant rift between us.

Maybe if they'd each read their letter the chasm between us would have widened. Or, maybe it would have sparked a dialogue between us.

But we'll never know.

Dear Dad

Box of Rocks