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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

History as Backstory

A paper mill exploded. That's the only sane explanation.

To my left, on the arm of the couch is a standing metal file. It's full of manilla folders that are full of photocopies. There's also two large baskets full of legal pads, books and more files full of photocopies. A few typed also stick out. And that's just the left side. 

To my right, a basket the size of a Volkswagen overflows with more folders and copies and notebooks. A black cover bosses me around: LAUGH OUT LOUD BE HAPPY FOLLOW YOUR HEART JUST BREATHE BE SILLY (as if the last one is an option for me). Another cover looks like a 60s McCall sewing pattern. The thickest one closes with its own rubber band. One has a typewriter with a page sitting in the carriage with the words: Remember, ideas become things. It was a gift from a friend. Wedged beside the basket is a mark and wipe board. The other mark and wipe board, because if one is good two is better, right?, leans in front of the fireplace, just to the left of the Post-It table top easel pad. I could go on. But I'm not that cruel.

My workspace is nuts. Beyond nuts. But I'm desperately trying to hit a deadline of Jan 31 and I've been spending 14-17 hours every day for the last two weeks, except for Wednesdays when I teach) going through five years worth of research, spreading out three hundred years of stories, and trying to put together a manuscript.

I've always heard that history is messy. I'm beginning to understand.