Secrets, Some Of Them Even True


Let’s play a game.

Inside this issue is a collection of unsettling experiences, rendered in various literary ways.

Brazenhead Review Editor-In-Chief Simona Blat says “The Brazenhead Review is a publication that wants to return this purity of abandon, entertainment, and awe back into the reading process. This is why we read and select our contributing work blindly and why we keep the author identities clandestine. I wish for readers to focus on the work – the myriad uses of language, image, tension, idea.”

This erasure of identity is an excellent basis for a collection of literature. The organization I work for is meeting in person for the first time since the plague began. During one of those values reflection exercises you do, a co-worker and I were discussing which values we identified with and how they shape choices in our lives. I mentioned humility as a value I identified with and discussed how’d I seen too many people chase money, doing things inconsistent with their professed values in order to stoke their own traditional male ego. In the end they died, like anyone else, leaving behind only memories and a mess. My co-worker agreed, citing a relative who had been a workaholic and then died – what did it amount to? What in the end is left? As Shelley said,

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Shelley, Ozymandias, 1819

The ego dies upon death. Ignore the evangelicals: works not faith.

To that end, the game: which one’s me? No cash prizes. You reward is reflection upon the role of identity in writing and in what sense a work stands alone from its creator. Which, of course, brings to mind another work meeting conversation about problematic artists with great art, and how to navigate the separation, but I feel like we kind of beat that discussion to death on Twitter already. Someone is probably lovingly crafting d i s c o u r s e on it right now.

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