Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes

My Children

Until last night, I’d never thought of what my child might have been like, had I fathered children. I’d never even thought about the “what if” before. Whether a daughter or a son, I’d never considered another human being carrying … Continue reading

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Meticulous Chaos

Brighton Davis joined the crowd of women surrounding the car. “What’s going on?” A distraught woman replied, “There’s a baby in that car! We can’t get the doors or windows open. I’m afraid it might die in this awful heat!” … Continue reading

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Inner Peace

Inner peace. Where does one go to find it? I’m not someone with experience in the elusive object of our aspiration, but I’ve read quite a lot about it. After reading and thinking about how people embrace tranquility so fully … Continue reading

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Hunger and Everything Else

Those of us who have the luxury of savoring our food, instead of scraping just to get enough to survive, are extremely fortunate, indeed. Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of looking at recipes and thinking how delicious they might … Continue reading

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The Dangers of Dissection

At 5:33 a.m. this morning, I learned about a company called Mopec, an organization founded in 1922. The firm sells all manner of American-made medical equipment and laboratory products to the pathology, histology, necropsy, autopsy, and mortuary industries. Among those … Continue reading

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Bless Your Soul

The price the fellow offered to pay was more than Sleet McMaster could pass up. So, after an obligatory period of haggling, Sleet agreed to the terms: McMaster’s soul in return for thirty years of exorbitant wealth. “Just to clarify,” … Continue reading

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Kisses and Stings

Hypnic Jerks I experience, with some regularity, something I have come to be believe (as of yesterday afternoon) are hypnic jerks, involuntary muscle contractions that some people experience as they are falling asleep. These involuntary spasms also are known as … Continue reading

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Old Canadian Misfits

There are so many possibilities for this little vignette. But I’m getting tired of writing it and I don’t have the mental stamina even to go back and tighten up what I’ve written. Instead, I’ll leave it as a foundation … Continue reading

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Intellectual Refraction

My college sociology classes exposed me to concepts of social deviance I had never encountered in the “real world.” Once exposed to those concepts, I looked at the world through a different set of eyes. No longer could behaviors be … Continue reading

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The Allure of Skepticism and Belief

I remain extremely skeptical. But there’s room in my skepticism for the remote possibility that others have discovered aspects of reality that I haven’t experienced. An example of my skepticism that leaves open a possibility that goes against the grain … Continue reading

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The Color of Conspiracy

I wasn’t going to write any more this morning. But I did. What color is a black object? That’s an interesting question whose answer is beyond my capacity to fully comprehend, much less explain. An object that absorbs all visible … Continue reading

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Unasleep

Like clockwork. Fortunately, I went to bed very early again (around 9), so I got a few hours sleep before cramps and insomnia conspired to wake me. At my brother’s suggestion, I drank tonic water to ward off cramps; apparently … Continue reading

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Memorable and Not-So-Memorable Mugs

Mugs. Lots of mugs. Fifty of them, more or less. Many of them mementos of our travels over the years. The first time we hung this enormous mug rack (the photo captures only a tiny piece of it) was when … Continue reading

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Dark Hour Conversations with Myself

Yet again, insomnia and muscle cramps. This is becoming habitual. Yesterday, as I was attempting to find a “cure” for my muscle cramps, I came across an article that suggests drinking pickle juice can put an end to muscle cramps. … Continue reading

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Sleepless in the Ouachitas

It’s nearing 5 o’clock in the morning. I’ve been awake for hours, having been ripped from a fitful sleep by horrific cramps in both my legs, beginning sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. The first time, the cramps resolved themselves … Continue reading

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Pseudo-Scientific Rambling

The universe adjusts to accommodate us. As we move through space, the shape of the air around us adjusts to fit our forms. When the air moves to adapt to our motion, we do not propel only the molecules of … Continue reading

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The Diagnosis

I was shocked by the prognosis; even more surprised that it was delivered in such a matter-of-fact way, utterly without emotion. The doctor explained that the persistent cough I had been experiencing was symptomatic of an unusual form of lung … Continue reading

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Time to Kill Rugged Individualism

Rugged individualist. Loner. Aloof. Outsider. Those terms once described the person I sought to be. A man of his own. A guy who steered clear of the crowd, preferring to make his own decisions and think his own thoughts. Someone … Continue reading

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Nothing is Impossible

Imagine, if you will, an enormous United States rocket, poised on a launchpad for liftoff on a trip across the galaxy to a distant planet. Then, just moments later, deafening sounds engulf the sky as the monstrous beast’s engines ignite, … Continue reading

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The Price of Engagement

At some point, it becomes obvious. “I’ll get back to you” becomes an unfulfilled promise. Sure, there are reasons. But they’re never especially strong. Certainly not strong enough to merit trust. Believing them. Accepting them. And, so, you move on. … Continue reading

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Practical Compassion

An occasional “feel-good” story can go considerable distance toward restoring one’s faith in humanity, if only briefly. One I read about a day or two ago helped reduce the span between despair and hope. I don’t recall all the details, … Continue reading

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Letting It Ferment

Writing allows me to process my thoughts and experiences. It is therapeutic in the sense that it allows the “poison” of experience to be diluted, while being flushed into the wider universe. Often, I don’t quite know how an experience … Continue reading

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All This, and Without Drugs

In my head, I’ve constructed an absolutely gorgeous painted wood and metal wire railing for the back deck. It is modern in appearance, strong in stance, and allows for broader and more appealing vistas than we’ve ever had before. The … Continue reading

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For the Moment

A friend was to have arrived today, planning to stay several days. But her elderly dog got sick, so she had to postpone the trip. And, then, a wine tasting a nearby couple had planned for later this week had … Continue reading

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Vishnu Islam Apollo Poseidon Chaucer-Townsend

My son’s given name is Vishnu Islam Apollo Poseidon. His surname, like mine, is Chaucer, but with the addition of a hyphen, followed by his mother’s maiden name, Townsend. So, his full name is Vishnu Islam Apollo Poseidon Chaucer-Townsend.  Alice, … Continue reading

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