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The Writer Jason James Barry

Jason James Barry

"I put off my final essay for English in high school until the very last...


...and so, the night before it was due, I wrote an essay about writing an essay the night before it was due.


And this, my subtle screwgy out the door, somehow earned an A...


...and began my love for writing."

Jason James Barry is an award-winning essayist, journalist, and author. For personal works, Jason writes literary nonfiction, often in reflective, first-person narration. He is a regular contributor for Great Pacific Review.

Image by Patrick Fore

Now Offered For Syndication
Jason James Barry's
-The Longview Essays-




an approach to a problem or situation that emphasizes long-range factors.


As an award-winning journalist and an elite former federal agent, Jason James Barry braids a depth of experiences with an intimate writing style.


Jason has been a staff reporter for the Hartford Courant, New Britain Herald, and Record-Journal newspapers. He went on to serve as a police officer and as a DEA Special Agent.


Jason has since become an author and award-winning writer. His works often focus on literary narration and introspection, infused with a dry-wit, reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut in his prime, matched with vivid descriptions akin to an early-days Ernest Hemingway. 

Captivating + Contemporaneous

+ Cost Effective


Column work in Jason James Barry’s "The Longview Essays” fulfills beyond platform needs, providing:

• A content pipeline of poignant essays and contemporaneous social commentary


• A break from the standard machinations of industry postings and news aggregation

• High-end, syndicated content that is contract-based, at a fraction of staff and commissioned writing costs

Jason James Barry's
-The Longview Essays-


How to add
-The Longview Essays- 
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Details and Pricing

  • 500 to 1500-word columns (+/-)

  • Weekly or bi-weekly

  • Non-exclusive syndication

  • Deliverable via email 

  • Pricing based on platform circulation

    • $75 / column - Indy/Upstart/Nonprofit

    • $150 / column - Established Platform

    • $300 / column - Mainstream Publication


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-The Longview Essays-


The Far End of the Bench | Jason James Barry

Timing then was everything. And I found then that time was running out. Waiting until the end of next spring to get a varsity letter — in track no less — wasn’t going to cut it. I found myself calculating when I could get custody of an actual letter — sewn on my jacket — in time to be seen actually wearing it. It would have to be fall or early spring or of course in winter. But by the time track season would end and award ceremonies came around in the warmth of late spring — and followed closely by graduation — a thick wool letterman jacket would be useless to me.


It was with this scheming and contemplation that I realized I was a fraud, or willing to be. To be what they wanted, or what I thought I needed to be. For me though, there was no reversal of fortune that came with hard work and more drills and more time in the weight room. I just wasn’t good, really at anything, never mind at one of the marquee sports at my school — basketball.


I had sat bench then been cut then sat bench again in a spiraling masochism of team lineage that got me as far as JV — the participation trophy of teams. After freshman year, I saw a handful of the popular kids, who, rather than gut it out, wisely and casually left sports, as if captaining and starting all the awesome teams no longer pleased them and had just been a passing fancy.


I stayed on, seeing the dominos fall, one brand-name after the next, them moving on to other things, maybe they just couldn’t hack it. But I was keeping on, still in and calculating my odds at better and better, in spite of me overlooking my actual, ever shrinking gains in ability and standing.


And at some point I had my reckoning, my realization that I hadn’t started or even played meaningfully in even one game, that I somehow had become part of the stockade of defenders the oversized and gifted freshman were cutting their teeth on. I was the Ensign Johnson beamed down with Kirk or Spock and predictably shot dead in every episode. And with a creeping, persistent numbness, I realized I was a scrub, past-due on potential and left filling the far end of the bench.


In one of my last, unmemorable games, the fakery had worn, the coach no longer veiled his pretenses, and neither did I — with me sitting back and chatting through all of the plays and with no allusions about pulling off my warmups. At the near end, and with the game’s fate assured (another loss — again!), the coach mouthed his offer to sub me in for the last minute. I shook my head and waved him off, polite as I was, and leaned back knowing I never wanted to play for his fucking team again.


Next fall, with just senior year left, I would find myself slogging through on the AV club in making my way, under the guise of learning techniques in scene framing and storyboarding. But I was really there for the side deal, to tape a season of home games for varsity basketball — for the team I would get cut from by the coach I swore the season before to never play for again — in exchange for a varsity letter. And I did it all for the ladies, the girls who would finally take notice once I amassed some sort of status in this bacterial petri-dish we all seemed to exist in.


It was like being cajoled into eating a cat turd by that guy who held sway who you never got along with who you had to impress for reasons that make no sense except in the moment. So yes, I’ll go on-record as saying there are, or were, ten different cheerleaders I would have eaten cat shit for and done a hospital stint for dysentery for — if that’s what it came down to with the varsity basketball coach in the way of them. Which it did.


So, just short of that — I unapologetically and fully geeked myself out for a season of videotaping from the bleachers, and far from on high, making the highlight reels of all the someone elses. Task done and turd swallowed, the athletic director called me in to make good on the coach’s bargain. He handed me off the letter, transactionally so, a sealed wax paper envelope he kept in his desk, its translucence displayed a maroon and white varsity letter, unmistakably, with its looped and tufted embroidery and a golden sports pin, given with the reluctance of a father who lent out his car — accompanied by a raise of his brow — as though he was party to awarding a war medal I didn’t earn or like I was a kid out of his league in getting a hot girl’s phone number I would never know how to handle.

Not surprisingly, the world didn’t tilt right with this loose worn, false dignity. Everyone still knew who I was, and more so, so did I. For all of us, it seemed, we each dragged this overstuffed sack of our histories, from kindergarten on, and at some point there were no more surprises left in who we could be, each of us typecast and locked for our four final seasons.


Perhaps inevitably, by the end, as months dwindled to weeks before graduation in mid-June, after four years of high school, with my must-have and much-sought prize, I found myself less and less concerned with what everyone else thought or whether they thought of me at all. At some point before having left high school, the letterman jacket I had to have simply became a coat in my closet that I knew I would feel too old to wear, just the next fall.


The wonderment of high school no longer enchanted, the jacket and varsity letters and lunch cliques and sports teams and yearbook signatures, the parting pen quips, all what I once clamored for like a glitz-struck fan, all since middle school, I no longer sought them, not the approval from classmates I’ve known since forever nor the mementos of them. Before the light dimmed on its final day there, I was seeing high school as it really was, my passage with kids I grew up with — that after 12-years of school and a lifetime in town together — I was finally no longer tethered to any of them. And that left me to start being me.

- The Writer, Jason James Barry

-The Longview Essays-

Days That Break Bad | Jason James Barry

Agents like to recall the great days. Takedown days. The days that lead to the capture or big seizure. Less so of the long days on surveillance with nothing to show. Even less so when something goes wrong.


Today, it caught me off guard that an agent is dead. Another one shot but alive. And a task force officer shot but also alive, in some better state. But the whole scene in Tucson, an approach on a random transit search, it’s commonplace. All of it, common. Just not how this one ended up.


Most times there’s some bit of Intel, a heads up from sources that can and sometimes cannot be disclosed. That whiff and little tip, maybe it’s just a hunch, something that says that something’s rolling in.

It’s not often that stars will align, but when they do, and you find them, it’s almost always a quiet exchange. One that leads to an aside on the curb. Then handcuffs. Then the processing with fingerprints, then questions, the stuff that leads to an admission. And the flip up, the flip to the bigger fish. It’s where we always want to go. Up. Up stream. Not just with these minnows we troll for, for days. Not just the couriers or mules or wannabes in over their heads. We get them to flip up.



But sometimes they freak. They run. Or get stupider. And pull a gun. The guys and the gals out on surveillance. How often do they have body armor on? How often did I? For all those hours on end? And once you get the word, the quick word of the stars that somehow, now, have lined up. Now you’re out of your car and on foot. Your blending in with the crowd. You’ve got your gun and your cuffs. No vest and surely no plate for your chest. You’ve got to blend in and not look like the Michelin Man.


And the thing that you do, that you did and have done dozens of times on over, now this one breaks bad. The perp goes into a panic. Gets stupider. Pulls a gun and he shoots. And it could have been any one of us, any one with me among them. I catch my breath and feel lucky. Then sad. Then horribly selfish. There are agents out there. They’re out doing the time on the job that they do. In much the same exact way that I‘ve done mine. Today it broke bad. Just badly for each of the three of them.


Jason James Barry is an award-winning essayist and journalist. He previously served as a Special Agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

-The Longview Essays-

The Sandwich | Jason James Barry

They say you can indict a ham sandwich. Factually and technically, I think you could. So I wanted challenge myself writing about meaning, in terms of a sandwich. Here we go:


He made the sandwich with care, my father’s longtime friend did. First was the mayo he smoothed onto two slices of crisp rye bread. Generous mounds of turkey were next, not but a few hours from having been labeled as leftovers.


Then, he spooned in fresh sauced cranberry. A shake of the salt and some ground pepper before putting the bread lid on to put it all together. He pressed firmly with one hand and guided the knife to cut clean, making two halves. 


He spoke quietly, what seemed a loud of a whisper. This talk was just for us and we chit chatted and sipped sips from our beer. He fished out vintage Schlitz and Ballentine cardboard coaster he invariably collected on nights out with my father.


He passed on to me a bottle opener from sometime in their time too. And we chatted, him caring like I was his son, while talking like I was my father. The first of the holidays since Dad passed away, we were lost, our heads turning, and found family in friendships that  made us feel close, with the loss of my father. 


—The Writer, Jason James Barry

Read "A Season in Madness: Essays on the Year of Isolation, Introspection, and Closed Schools"
by Jason James Barry

Now available on
A Season Cover link.jpg
Read "The Midnight Coffee Club:
A Memoir of Grit, Glimmers, and The Pull of Police Life"
by Jason James Barry

Now available on
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