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Brian Rea

Brian Rea

It’s astonishing to 1) hear one of my essays read out loud, 2) hear it several years after I conceived and wrote it and 3) have it read – achingly and masterfully – by Oscar and Emmy nominated actress Angela Bassett. This great honor, on the Modern Love Podcast.

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I never thought I’d contribute to the vast canon of writers-on-writing essays, but here is one for second-career writers. Like me. What I meant to say, and hope it somehow came across is that, every one of us took a different path to get here, and all are singular and legitimate. No matter what our method, and what our level of success, we all spend our day the same way: in imperfect solitude, battling doubt, swatting away the distractions that gallop across our consciousness. A lot of the time, it is anything but pleasant. Always, it is my choice to be doing this.

I am writing because I want to. My work originates in the shadowy recesses of the mind and even in the most parched or fallow times, it is still the land of plenty. There is success, failure and everything in between. But mostly there is the labor, the constant lassoing of thoughts into sentences. It would be difficult if it weren’t actually so simple. Or maybe, it’s the other way around.

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This is some of the most fun I’ve ever had: an essay written and inspired by objects hidden in my own library. Wisely, I asked my friend and neighbor Kate Uhry to take the photos. A story on travel, memory and books and how they all come together in a bookmark, for Tin House.

Hemingway, Dubai, 1990

Hemingway, Dubai, 1990

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