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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Near Misses

Almost moved into a commune my junior year of college when I could see myself falling in love with every man and woman in the house, but then came the part about pooling all the money we had, which reminded me of the way I'd told my brother once that we should empty our piggy banks onto the bed and split the pile, because it would be the fairest thing to do. But his blue plastic pig with the red had that tipped when you put in a quarter was full of coins and mine was almost empty, and I knew it wasn't fair at all, or if I hadn't known earlier found out when our mother discovered the plan. Kissed everyone at the commune goodbye.

Almost moved to Hermosa Beach to write for an alternative weekly with offices near the ocean, but I decided to call and double check on the pay before moving west. "Your check will go a lot farther than you'd think," said the woman on the other end, "because we all qualify for food stamps." Had spent my life trying to get as far from food aid as possible and wasn't going to choose it now, even if that's what writing cost. Almost felt regret.

Almost moved to Minneapolis, Bridgeport, Annapolis and Santa Cruz. Almost took my chances on NYC. Almost took up with breatharians and the Heresies collective. Almost trusted the Hare Krishnas and Scientologists because they were friendly and I was alone. Almost panicked on the noontime sidewalk on Fifth Avenue because there was no way out of the crowd. Almost turned around after the Whittier quake set my hotel room swinging and moved back to Seattle. Almost missed out on L.A.

Almost got run off the road by a truck that didn't see me. Almost took my keys and left car behind. Almost forgot I ever drove.

Almost went into organic farming and radio. Almost forgot about my voice. 

Almost got through a whole day without judging. Almost gave up, today and yesterday and the day before.

Almost forgot to laugh.


An Almost Fundamentalist