Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Scraps of Compassion

Death steals from us, leaving only shadows and memories. Those fragments of the past are wholly inadequate to replace the vibrancy lost to the endlessness of forever. John Prine died yesterday. I never saw John Prine in concert, but I … Continue reading

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The Breaking Point

Finally, months after the fact, we had Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, dressing, broccoli and rice casserole. But no cranberry sauce. No condiment tray. It was just the two of us, so pulling out all the stops would have been wasteful. The … Continue reading

Posted in Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment

Safe Places

Safe places are the stuff of folklore. They exist in ever smaller numbers today, numbers smaller than zero and with even less substance. Safety, always a figment of the imagination, has vaporized into an evanescent fantasy so vague and ghostly … Continue reading

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When the Clock No Longer Matters

The clock tells me it is just after seven o’clock on a Saturday morning. My brain tells me the time is much, much, much later than that. My brain tells me time no longer matters, because it’s too late. Too … Continue reading

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Videoanalysis and Vegetables

Last night’s Zoom videoconference was successful and not-so-successful. I think it was successful in that the participants (including me) enjoyed the opportunity to see and hear the voices of people outside today’s limited personal spheres. We all shared a little … Continue reading

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Today’s post is evidence of thought-skipping, that experience in which one’s thoughts skip across many subjects in a short period of time. It’s like a smooth, flat stone thrown across the surface of a body of still water, the forward … Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19, Food, Language | Leave a comment

Transforming the Way We Relate

Last night, I posted a comment and question on Facebook: “Let’s have a long distance happy hour soon. Wine (or tequila or bourbon or…) and munchies via Zoom! Say when, people! Tomorrow?” Nine people initially responded in the affirmative; an … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Covid-19 | Leave a comment

Fiction and Reality, One and the Same

There was a time, not so long ago, that I found it easy to write about fictional dystopian horrors, experiences unlike anything I ever experienced. My imagination allowed me to picture those ghastly nightmares as a dispassionate observer, watching through … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Covid-19, Empathy, Writing | 2 Comments

Barbara, Fill in that 40-Year Gap

On New Year’s Day this year, after taking a short respite from my blog, I returned to it to find a comment on a mid-December post. The comment was from a person with whom I had had no contact for … Continue reading

Posted in Memories | 2 Comments

An Irrelevant Milestone and a Little More

Yesterday’s post marked number 3200 since I began this blog in August 2012. Almost eight years. A few years ago, I explored some of my earlier blogs in an effort to tally the number of posts I had written at … Continue reading

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Love Letters

I tend to keep personal letters I receive in the mail, whether handwritten or typewritten. Maybe my practice is driven by their rarity. Or perhaps they offer evidence someone thought I was worth the time and energy required to write … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Just Thinking, Philosophy | 2 Comments

Contemplating Commerce

I think there’s a continuum of economic commerce that ranges from offering neighbors a needed cup of sugar to unflinchingly demanding a pound of flesh before even a grain of the sweet stuff is released. Maybe the spectrum is even … Continue reading

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To heal. To me, the term conjures a string of related words and a host of related thoughts behind them. Healing leaves scars from wounds. Those wounds and their consequent scars may be physical or emotional or a combination. Whether … Continue reading

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I tell myself I am not superstitious. I say I dismiss the concept that coincidences have “meaning.” There is absolutely no reason to believe that, when I think about a person with enough focus, enough intensity, that person will reciprocate … Continue reading

Posted in Ideas, Intellect, Philosophy | Leave a comment


My mind wandered deep into my past this morning, suddenly and for no apparent reason. In my mind’s eye, I saw images of items I probably last saw when I was a very young child. I remembered tiny replicas of … Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19, Memories, Mexico | Leave a comment

Struggles (AR) in the Times of Pestilence

The fictional town of Stuggles, Arkansas morphed from a small town coping with abandonment by its principal employer, a manufacturing plant, into a community on life support, thanks to a virus for which no immunity nor any treatment exists.  The … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Writing | 3 Comments

What I am Learning, Even Today, from Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath. I remember (though indistinctly, as if through a heavy fog) reading Steinbeck’s classic novel depicting the struggles of Depression-era Dust Bowl migrations. What I remember clearly about the story, though, is the intensity of Jim Casy’s … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | 2 Comments

Solutions Already Exist

Solutions to the problems we are facing exist, already, in our heads. We just need to find ways to mine for them and process raw ideas into finished, implementable processes that yield results. Creativity blossoms when monstrous challenges  confront us. … Continue reading

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Speculation and Organization

The threats posed by the coronavirus have changed my life, thus far, in only limited ways. The seismic shifts taking place throughout the rest of the world have begun here, but I spend most of my time at home, anyway, … Continue reading

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A Lone

I sometimes reflect on my life thus far as if it were a single event playing out across a spectrum of time. That viewpoint allows me to contemplate the experience from an unusual perspective; as if I were watching it … Continue reading

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Life in the Times of Pestilence

We have no weapons to fight this war. Our only realistic hope is to hide from the enemy; play dead and hope the beast does not call our bluff. If we confront him, face to face, the best we can … Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19, Health | 1 Comment

I’m Not Going to Work Today

On Labor Day several years ago, my wife and I listened to the Glenn Mitchell Show as we drove around Dallas. I was enthralled by Mitchell’s talk show, especially his “Anything You Ever Wanted to Know” segment; the tag line … Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19, Memories, Music | Leave a comment

Fear and Dark Humor and Complete Disorientation

Fear drives both rational and irrational behaviors. In times of chaos, we find differentiation between them increasingly difficult. For example, are consumers rational when they stock up on toilet paper and non-perishable foodstuffs? It depends on perspective. If information available … Continue reading

Posted in Covid-19, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Facts, Bias, and Slant

Media bias is real. Yes, there are fake news sites. But the “main stream media,” a term right-wing near-nazis (note I did not call them neo-nazis) does not, by and large, conform to my definition of the propagators of fake … Continue reading

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Restlessly Waiting

Avocado toast and bacon improved my state of mind yesterday morning. Lunch yesterday helped, too. We had leftover (from the night before) cioppino. My wife found a recipe that married the Italian-American dish to Korean flavors (the latter courtesy of … Continue reading

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