Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Too Tired to Care?

I read an online article from Maclean’s Magazine (a left-center leaning Canadian news magazine) yesterday that moved me to rage. The article dealt with a decision by a local police department to issue an “Amber Alert” in the middle of … Continue reading

Posted in Anger, Compassion | 2 Comments

Cancer Journal 26, 2019

Yesterday, during my visit with my oncologist, I learned that the inquiry from Caris Molecular Intelligence a few weeks ago wasn’t entirely about “future treatments” if cancer were to recur. The genetic tests revealed that I have a “60% positive … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

The Break, Season 2

Last night, I watched season 2, episode 1 (and part of 2 before I dozed…not because it wasn’t interesting, but because I was absolutely worn out) of The Break (La Trêve, in French, “The Truce”), a Belgian crime drama. I … Continue reading

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Keeping Secrets

Who in your sphere of friends keep secrets that, if  told, could break hearts, ruin marriages, destroy friendships, shatter families, or otherwise upend moderately tranquil worlds? Perhaps the person in your sphere of friends who keeps such potentially explosive secrets is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Cancer Journal 25, 2019

Nothing much new, except that painful swallowing continues. It’s possible, of course, that it could be far worse without the extremely inconvenient medication regimen after every meal. One of the medications, nystatin suspension, apparently is in short supply for some … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 3 Comments

Unbearable Mistakes

A quote attributed to North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones, who died yesterday, saddens and moves me. “I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam … Continue reading

Posted in Empathy, Justice, Regret | Leave a comment

A Modicum of Control

Between unsuccessful attempts to fall asleep…and moments in which consciousness finally eluded me…last night, I escaped the bonds of rationality and reason. During those in-between moments when I was neither awake nor asleep, my mind took me to a point … Continue reading

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Questions of Privilege

Most people on Earth are “better off” in some way than at least some other people. Some have access to more food. Others live in more secure or better shelter. The surroundings of some are more reliably safe. Others can … Continue reading

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Film Nibbles

I watched The Angel the other night, the true story of Ashraf Marwan, who was President Nasser’s son-in-law. He was also a special adviser to Nasser’s successor, Anwar Sadat, at the same time he served as an asset to Israeli … Continue reading

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Trouble in Iceland

My affinity for, or interest in, things Icelandic is evident in the fact that sixteen posts on this blog mention Iceland (seventeen including this one). It’s a disease, I think, this longing for immersion in cultures to which I have … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 24, 2019

My radiologist resumed my radiation treatments today. I didn’t expect that he would in light of the fact that the pain I feel when I swallow hasn’t receded at all. He said “I hope the pain goes away after we … Continue reading

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Mental Sprawl

According to a news story I read a day or two ago, scientists or physicians or some other academically qualified researchers have determined that anger can be a symptom of depression. As I recall, the piece suggested that people who … Continue reading

Posted in Depression, Weather, Writing | Leave a comment


No matter where I seek it, I cannot find it. Silence. The absence of sound. There was a time when I could find it. But no more. Not since my heartbeat, with its drumbeat in my ears, began interrupting my peace. … Continue reading

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Cancer Mythology

I’ve slept more in the past week, I think, than I usually sleep in the course of a month. That may be an exaggeration, but not much. I am in bed by 8 or 9 in the evening, up around … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

Street Scene

Whispers. Strained voices. Anxious sighs. Stifled sobs. The sharp staccato raps of heels pounding on the cobblestone street, their echoes remaining long after the tear-drenched woman rounds the corner. Long after the dejected man shuffles away. Who were they, that … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 23, 2019

It’s Sunday morning. I slept/dozed most of the day yesterday, waking occasionally long enough to eat a bit or listen to the radio. Janine drove in to Benton to do some shopping while I rested. Rested isn’t the right word; … Continue reading

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Music and Words

When you hear, on a recording, the sound of a guitarist’s fingers scrape the strings, you’re hearing a sound unpurified to an extent that all of the reality of the musician’s engagement with the instrument remains. The connection between musician … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 22, 2019

Apparently I misunderstood my doctor yesterday. He said, but I did not hear, that he wanted to postpone further radiation treatments until next Thursday. I went in for my treatment this morning and the radiation tech informed me that the … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

Cancer Journal 21, 2019

The radiologist told me to keep following his drug regimen and to drink six bottles of Ensure a day. And to come back next Thursday and tell him whether the pain I experience while swallowing improves. Hmm. I was hoping … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 4 Comments

Cancer Journal 20, 2019

A week ago, I began experiencing pain when I swallow, thanks to (I assume) the effects of the radiation treatments on my esophagus. The radiologist prescribed some drugs that I take in succession following each meal: first an ounce of … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 1 Comment

Morning Babble

Our dinner last night met and exceeded our expectations. My dozen oysters on the half shell were enormous and very tasty. Janine’s dozen fried oysters were at least as good. The conversation with our friends was delightful and my Neulasta … Continue reading

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Putting Things in a Different Perspective

After my radiation treatment today, I visited a friend who’s in the hospital again after a couple of hospitalizations over the past year. His first hospitalization came last February after a “routine” colonoscopy that wasn’t routine, after all. During the … Continue reading

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Cancer Journal 19, 2019 and Dinners and Netflix Entertainment

Yesterday, the second chemo treatment was administered. It’s a long process, beginning with “backwashing the chemo port,” as I call it. Actually, it’s just cleaning the port and, I guess, ensuring that the contents of the needle plunged into it … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Film, Health, Television series | 2 Comments

Just Asking the Question

I read this morning that the Postmaster General blamed the massive and growing deficits of the U.S. Postal Service on a business model mandated by law.  Postmaster General Megan Brennan said. “The flawed business model imposed by law continues to be … Continue reading

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Bidirectional Exchange

Daybreak is a special time, but so is nightfall. Both allow us to peer into the universe from different angles, watching time unfold like a flower blossom, unveiling secrets made visible only to those who expend the energy to see … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Writing | 3 Comments