Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Hiatus in the Interest of Serenity

I’ve noticed the decline in the number and quality of my blog posts since my introduction to lung cancer. It’s obvious to me that the reason for the change isn’t the cancer, it’s my response to it. I’ve allowed myself … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health, Writing | 3 Comments

A Bump in the Road

I haven’t posted much of late about my experiences learning about and responding to cancer. The primary reason for the drop in output is the decline in my certainty about what I’m dealing with. The certainty…uncertainty…certainty…uncertainty cycles have been torturing my … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 4 Comments

Poisonous Wonder

In the absence of data, I can only guess. I am simply a surmiser, a theorist who hypothesizes and speculates, a man who deduces and presumes based on the logic of conjecture. Yet my inferences carry the nuclear weight of … Continue reading

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Evidence validates the fact that all the broken pieces fit together. It accomplishes nothing more, does it? But doesn’t it show, too, that fragments once meant more together than they do apart? A sphere clutches to all the answers until … Continue reading

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Murky Morning

As I look out my window this morning, the landscape seems to have been painted with a thick brush, heavily charged with grey and brown and ochre pigments. My eyes search for familiar shapes amidst the abstractions of branches and … Continue reading

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The First Recovery Begins

I am out of the hospital. Apparently, though, the hospital adventure was just the start of a series of experiences designed either as lessons, to make me a better person, or as punishments in response to the kind of person … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 6 Comments

Pain-Based Design Competition.

The first few days after surgery were easily tolerable. The epidural and other pain meds made to easy to believe all was well. Well, the pain was masked. The agony was replaced by strange hallucinations. I spoke to Santa Clause … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 2 Comments

From a Small Screen in the Hospital

This post will be short, but happy. Today is Thanksgiving Day and I am in the hospital, short one lobe of my right lung. I am typing this with  one finger on my Samsung smart phone and happy to be doing … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 6 Comments

The Day Before Surgery

I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote the post below. Rather than post it right away, I decided to wait and see whether I’d feel differently after the remainder of a night’s sleep, assuming I could get … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 8 Comments

Clare’s Accent Made Me Hungry for a Visit to South Africa

When I heard Clare’s accent on the phone the other day, my mind immediately leapt toward South African food. If I discover Clare is from Angola or Ghana or, god forbid, Ecuador or Romania, I will be deeply embarrassed. Until … Continue reading

Posted in Food | 2 Comments

Closer to the Cut

Yesterday, two calls from the hospital in Little Rock emphasized that this lung cancer surgery thing is really going to happen. First, a call from someone representing the anaesthesia team called to ask a lot of questions about my medical history, … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 3 Comments

Dreamscapes and Their Kin

Strange dreams last night. I was in a  Japanese shipyard, where ships were being launched from an enormous automated contraption that suspended huge cargo ships along a track perpendicular to the waterfront. At the  very end of the track, the … Continue reading

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Okra & Tomatoes

My “memories” of okra &  tomatoes from my childhood may or may not be actual memories. Instead, they may be artificial recollections created from conversations with family members about foods my mother cooked when I was a child. I think … Continue reading

Posted in Absurdist Fantasy | 1 Comment

A Word Dies When Spoken for the Last Time

For some odd reason beyond my comprehension, the word “spill” inhabits a place in my brain that causes it to make regular appearances in my writing. Eighty-five of my 2,38 posts, more than three percent, include the word. Compare that … Continue reading

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The Fundamental Goodness of Humankind

It didn’t take long yesterday for the friendship and generosity within the “tribe” to which I attach myself to spill over into the wider world. I wrote that I had promised someone I would give him a ride to and … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Empathy | Leave a comment

Fictional Writing

Wherein the writer attempts, unsuccessfully, to return to writing fiction vignettes, producing swill and incoherent drivel instead. Coleman Daniel Sprague was the first person convicted under the new thought-crime statutes. The charges against him were extensive. The first count with … Continue reading

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Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

Several weeks ago, I assured someone I would be happy to take him to doctor visits and other medical appointments when he needed me to do it. Last evening, I received an email from him, asking me to help him … Continue reading

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The Gravity of Justice

The way I got there is too convoluted to tell. Suffice it to say I made my way to a blog post that described the writer’s journey of being selected as a juror and then, just as the trial was … Continue reading

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That Miserable Thought

I euthanized that miserable thought, that idea that reeked of the stench of rancid self-indulgence. I ran a spear through its heart and I severed its head. After a day, I threw the rotting corpse of that thought into a … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | 2 Comments


Spontaneity matters to me. Spontaneity is real. It mines desires and motivations and wishes from the substance of day-to-day life and turns that raw ore into experience. Friends who can adapt to spontaneity and who become part of it are … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | 1 Comment

Tells Stories and Believes Them

About four years ago, I wrote a very brief post that began, “Tells stories and believes them.” The quote was my memory (which I believe is correct) of a statement in a psychological inventory’s assessment of my personality. I didn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Frustration, Materialism, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Senses and Sensibilities Sans Sanity

I wrote two other posts this morning before I got to this one. And I wrote three others last night before I saved them, expecting to return to them this morning and fix them. Instead, I discarded last night’s writing. … Continue reading

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Bowing to the Trees

There was a chill in the air this morning, with the temperature hovering around fifty degrees. A thin overcast and a brisk wind made it feel cooler. Billowing flurries of orange and brown and yellow leaves fell from trees in … Continue reading

Posted in Imagination | 1 Comment

It Usually Turns Out Fine

Last night, after writing my post subsequent to visiting with the surgeon, I did additional research on Stage IIB lung cancer survival without treatment. The average, I found, was seven months from diagnosis to death. That’s considerably less than I … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 4 Comments

Staging My Attitude

The only real question now is: when? Will I go forward as we decided this afternoon, with surgery next Wednesday, November 14? Or will I wait a bit? After learning of the preliminary staging assessment (Stage IIB),  the potential dangers … Continue reading

Posted in Cancer, Health | 3 Comments