Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Memories of Physical and Emotional Pain

I once was referred to a neurological specialist who, the referring specialist doctor said, would attempt to “replicate the pain” I had earlier felt in my neck and shoulder. Instantly, I decided against accepting the referral because I did not … Continue reading

Posted in Emotion, Memories, Pain | Leave a comment

The Attractive Discomfort of Gatherings

I can’t seem to get my mind off Thanksgiving. We had planned on inviting my sister-in-law over for a non-traditional meal of some sort or, maybe, a restaurant meal with a non-traditional menu. But that went south when we learned … Continue reading

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Transition to Acceptance

The sky is turning bright pink in the east. Earlier, it was orange and the trees against the horizon looked black, as if they were shadows. The day broke in beautiful form. But then I made the mistake of opening … Continue reading

Posted in Acceptance, Anger, Self-discipline, Serenity, Wabi sabi | Leave a comment

Molly Ivins Documentary

Last night, we had dinner with a friend. She served us wonderful chili and treated us to a documentary about Molly Ivins entitled, Raise Hell: The Life And Times Of Molly Ivins.  I have been a Molly Ivins fan for … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Politics | Leave a comment


Elbow McMaster stood facing the front door, poised to spring upon the woman the moment she entered. His eyes, fixed on the peephole well above his eye level, noticed a momentary interruption in the light on the tiny circular glass … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Writing | 4 Comments

Writing Like a Curative Drug

I once wrote, during a period of personal introspection and social observation, Writing is like a drug; it can be a cure or an addiction. A lot was missing in that simple statement. One missing piece concealed the danger of … Continue reading

Posted in Lies/disinformation, Poetry, Politics, Writing | Leave a comment


From time to time, I am surprised by the source of my own questions. This morning, for example, I asked (through Google) how Mexican per capita household annual income compares to that figure in the United States. I would not … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Poverty, Rant | Leave a comment

Transformative Places

Wherever we go, when we settle in we take on attributes caused by the place. We change, at least a little, to reflect the way a place we live changes us. And often, maybe usually, we don’t recognize the change … Continue reading

Posted in Change, Essay, Philosophy | Leave a comment

What Once was Vibrant

For the only time I can remember, this morning I pondered about how my emotions may have changed during the course of my sixty-six years. A piece of semi-autobiographical fiction (is that even a realistic category?) I began writing last … Continue reading

Posted in Emotion | Leave a comment

The New Realm

“Lance, would you please get the ax for me? It’s getting close to dinnertime and I need to get Little Johnny ready for the roaster.” Lance looked up from his crossword. “All right, Suzanne, just let me finish this last … Continue reading

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A Nonfictional Account of a Wednesday

Yesterday’s productivity exceeded most days’ output, but only because we forced ourselves to visit Lowe’s with the aim of buying a replacement stovetop-oven combo. We managed to select one to put on order, but first we will have an installer … Continue reading

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Mental Health and Healing

When my creativity wanes, as it has of late, I notice gaping holes in my imagination. I suppose those are synonymous. What I notice more acutely is that there’s a very strong correlation between my creativity and my sense of … Continue reading

Posted in Depression, Emotion | Leave a comment


Listen to the sky. That’s not the sky, it’s an echo of your emptiness. Listen to the horizon. That’s not the horizon, it’s a sigh of hope. Listen to the river. That’s not the river, its a murmur of possibility. … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Writing | Leave a comment

The Core Within and Other Matters

I wish more people would read and listen to poetry. I wish they wouldn’t dismiss it as linguistic egotism. I wish they would try to listen to it without judgement and disdain. Instead, I wish they would try to hear … Continue reading

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Recalling Darkness

Two years ago today, I wrote a post on Facebook that, in both immediate and distant hindsight, I realize did not belong on Facebook. But at least Facebook reminded me it is still there. It may not have belonged anywhere. … Continue reading

Posted in Compassion, Depression | Leave a comment


My thoughts this morning comprise a jumble of unrelated and incomplete ideas that careen through my mind as if they were running from something dangerous. They stumble and fall and bounce off the inside of my head as they flee … Continue reading

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Be Kind

I posted a good bit of this yesterday on Facebook. I’m posting it here because I want to be able to find it again; to use it as a reminder to try to be better.  Yesterday, I expressed anger at … Continue reading

Posted in Anger, Compassion, Kindness | Leave a comment

I Wish I Knew

If the world were meant to be comprehensible, we would be able to climb inside others’ heads to determine what they really think. We would be able to discover, for example, whether people who seem serene and unflappable and genuinely … Continue reading

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Seriously. No, Seriously.

A blank white computer screen often summons me to fill it with what’s on my mind. That is, essentially, it beckons me to transfer what I’m thinking to the screen. That allows my thoughts to be read by others who … Continue reading

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I am accused, from time to time, of being afraid of being vulnerable. I’m told that I fear exposing my vulnerability would challenge my maleness or my “manhood” or my sense of personal man-centered strength. And I’ve bought into the … Continue reading

Posted in Vulnerability | Leave a comment


A July 23, 2003 article in The Telegraph touches on the scope of what we see through telescopes in a clear, dark night sky: There are 10 times more stars in the night sky than grains of sand in the … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a comment

Processing Ideas

I wrote a rather long post this morning about distance and intimacy between people and what it might mean and how it might be expressed. Even though the topic is emotional, the post seemed clinical and emotionless, so I’ll let … Continue reading

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Another Try: Wisdom

Wisdom involves knowledge, but knowledge alone does not constitute wisdom. Wisdom is the abstract application of knowledge with discernment. That is, wisdom is not just knowledge, it’s knowing what to do with knowledge. As I am wont to do when … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Wisdom, Writing | Leave a comment

Converting Mental Energy to Breakfast Mass

This morning, ever since I got up around 5, I have attempted to write posts for my blog. I’ve started at least five but, a few paragraph in, abandoned them; I lost interest in expressing myself before I could even … Continue reading

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Living in a Dead Man’s Journal

He wrote the following in his journal on November 14, 2009: I wish I could bring myself to reveal all the secrets I’ve kept locked away for so very long. One day, perhaps, I’ll write a memoir, though I suspect … Continue reading

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