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

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.



My oxblood wingtips from Dr Martens. I love these shoes because they make me recall my father’s black wingtips. I thought that going to work in a suit and wing tips was the bees knees when I was a young girl of 6. My mother also went to work doing the same job, she wore panty hose, a skirt, black pumps, a sweater over a blouse. A gold necklace over the blouse. Her clothes held no sway over me, but the black wingtips with their black waxed round laces, they made me swoon. I paid too much for a pair of Cole Haan women wingtips in my 20s, but they hurt my feet. Sometime after I turned 50 I found my Oxblood wingtips at the Dr Martens store in Boston, I was shopping with my 18 year old daughter and my best friend from college, Annette. Annette bought some beautiful painted boots, and Sara bought low top menswear boots, but I fell hard for the oxblood wingtips.  

I feel the most like the boss when I wear them to work, there are no other shoes that I own that make me feel like the business owner and CEO that I am. I strut, I stroll. Can I love those shoes so hard and still love being a woman? Lord, it felt so obvious that being a man was preferred when I was small. Ironically my older brother grew up thinking that being a woman was the best thing. Now in this new era when women are finally on the rise, my brother is taking it particularly hard. My brother and I always assumed the other person had it better. We fought endlessly over the fairness of things. Now with my own kids I don’t try as hard as my mother did to make things fair between the two children. My children are interested in different things, they are 4 years apart. They get along well with each other, they don’t fight, my kids. They seem to truly root for each other. My brother and I did not root for each other, we wanted what the other had, and we wanted what neither of us had. More loving parents, parents that were paying attention.

Blue jeans