Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Compassion in Winter

The frigid fingers of winter, long and cold and callous, can tear at the fibers of compassion when the homeless are left to fend for themselves in cardboard homes behind picket fences stitched together with razor wire and disdain. Whose … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Writing | Leave a comment

I Could be a CIA Operative – Maybe

I spent considerable time this morning learning details of the country of Yemen from the CIA World Factbook. The country has a population of more than twenty-eight million people; more than thirteen million of them do not have access to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


It boggles the mind to realize how utterly spoiled we are in this country. We (the collective “we,” not necessarily you and me) behave as if the good fortune to which we have become accustomed is our birthright. We assume … Continue reading

Posted in Poverty | Leave a comment

Doing Without, or Doing, Again

In August 2013, I started what I intended to be a year in which I would “do without” something I was used to for a month at a time. At the end of the year, according to my plan, I … Continue reading

Posted in Doing Without | Leave a comment

Step Four

This post is the final one in a half-hearted attempt to accomplish a goal that’s neither simple to articulate nor easy to abandon. Having not attained a foothold toward achieving the elusive goal, I’m discarding my efforts to chase it, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snake Sighting

Gwynn Slottman was deathly afraid of snakes. The mere sight of an elongated, limbless reptile sent her into a panic-stricken delirium of the highest order. She screamed, swore, and jumped on chairs and tables. Sweat poured from her brow. Perspiration … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Writing | Leave a comment

Step Three

When we welcome reality into our lives, we acknowledge the challenges that confront us. By welcoming reality, though, we do not accept defeat, even if defeat appears to be the most likely outcome of an endeavor; we simply acknowledge the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Nothing matters so much as the  time I learned I never mattered and never will. This is bizarre. I must have been playing with WordPress a long, long time ago and set this post to print far into the future … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Step Two

A goal becomes a failed wish without regular, renewed attention and effort. Every incremental movement toward its achievement merits reward and celebration. The hope for a decent democracy remains alive. The challenge is to feed it and nurture it and … Continue reading

Posted in Hope | Leave a comment

Step One

The mythology of the phoenix varies by culture, but I choose to see it as a symbol of the rebirth of hope arising from the ashes of despair. That having been said, it seems to me 2017 was a year … Continue reading

Posted in Thoughts for the Day 2018 | Leave a comment

Euthanizing a Sick Year

I’ve skimmed along the surface of an angry, tumultuous time until I’ve finally reached it: the last day of 2017. This year, one of monstrous upheaval, forced us to reckon with the reality that U.S. world dominance in transitory. By … Continue reading

Posted in Justice, Philosophy, Politics | Leave a comment

Self Compassion

I’ve often been accused of being harsh with people who don’t meet my expectations and demands. Those accusations are almost always correct and my harshness is almost always more severe than the “infraction” deserves. The punishment I mete out is … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion | Leave a comment

Once Again I Will be Kolbjørn Landvik

Decent people worldwide treat the transformation of one year to the next with a sense of—what—appreciation, reverence, hopefulness, anticipation…expectation. I suspect deviant monsters, too, treat the change with the same emotions. But they are not worthy of my words, are … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Every One of Us

First posted on Facebook (12/26/2017). I decided to post here because it’s easier to find things here than on Facebook. Here’s evidence that I do not have a future as a poet laureate. Every One of Us If your eyes are … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

Christmas 2017

I played with software on Christmas day this year, creating two covers for two bogus magazines I’ve written about in years past. And then I smoked and reverse seared three enormous ribeye steaks. Just another day in the Arkansas outback. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another Christmas

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Whatever your preference, I wish everyone (anyone?) who reads this a joyous winter season and a better 2018 than the year soon to end. Last night, for the second year in a row, we spent the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Chile con Queso Spirit of Christmas

It’s officially Christmas Eve. Or should I say it’s officiously Christmas Eve. In either event, the calendar claims the date is December 24, the day before evidence of the existence of Santa Clause will be found in households across the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Melancholy Rage and Ill-Will

I think I’m coming to grips with the fact that I’m an extremely emotional person. I still try to stem the tears when I can, but I’ve reached the conclusion that some people (and I’m one) are just hyper-emotional. Maybe … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blogging for Food

I have been toying with the idea of starting a food blog for quite some time. More than a year ago, I explored the costs of setting up a separate URL hosted in an account separate from this blog. At … Continue reading

Posted in Food | 1 Comment

Lightening the Page

I haven’t posted here in a week. That’s a bad habit, one I need to break. It’s easy to get into the habit of resting my fingers and my mind, leaving writing until later. I’ll pledge to myself to insist … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turning the Tide

Assuming the apparent results of yesterday’s election in Alabama are certified, there’s reason to be hopeful. Yet it’s best not to let hope blind us to reality. More than forty-eight percent of voters cast their ballots for a man, Roy … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment


I awoke at 3:56 a.m. No, that’s not quite right. That’s when I got out of bed. I awoke a short while before that. I got out of bed at 3:56 a.m. Subsequent to abandoning my effort to sleep until … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tangled Nerves and Cold Weather

My stenosis and bone spurs reared their ugly heads again a few days ago, causing my tangled nerves to react with pain in my arms, shoulder, and right shoulder blade. I had stopped taking my "nerve pain" medications, which was … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Channels run deep within us, channels as delicate as gently bubbling streams and as powerful as rivers that fiercely tear into the bedrock of the earth over which they flow. Through these channels flow the aspirations that drive us to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Could Have Been a Chef or a Glutton but I Became Both

Today, I’ll smoke the turkey we bought before Thanksgiving. Even though we had no intention of cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner (our nice neighbors had us over for that meal), we couldn’t resist the low prices offered for the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment