Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Discomfiture Made Me Do It

The shame and discomfiture of my inactive fingers overtakes me; I must post SOMETHING on this blog or admit I am not a writer. It’s been more than a week since I posted an incoherent soul-search that attempted to discover … Continue reading

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Afraid of What?

For reasons unknown, a memory that’s been hidden for many years surfaced this evening. I remembered being frightened of living in this world to such an extent that I fantasized about living in a granite cave carved into the side … Continue reading

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Avalanche

While searching online for a recipe for carne guisada this morning, I came across one on a “mommy-loves-to-cook-and-write-about-the-challenges-of-motherhood” blog. I scrolled past paragraph after paragraph and photo after photo before I finally came to the recipe. It seemed a little … Continue reading

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Tunnels

There was a time when the streets were places we all could go to be anonymous. We could walk into the crowds on a downtown street and disappear. Our contexts would evaporate into that amalgam of anonymous others. We could … Continue reading

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In an Instant

My niece called me this afternoon while my wife and I were eating an early dinner. We had stopped at the Bubba’s Catfish-2-Go food truck for fried shrimp, fried okra, and fries (a fry-fest, I guess). Just as I was biting … Continue reading

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Spilling My Nuts

I just watched an episode on CNN of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown that brought tears to my eyes. Seriously, it presented a city (indeed, a region) in which I spent eight unhappy years in an entirely different light. The city … Continue reading

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Tripping

I wonder whether, given the opportunity in my thirties or forties or fifties, I would have moved to Mumbai? When I was an undergraduate in Austin in the mid 1970s, a friend and I talked about going to India. Our … Continue reading

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Visiting Old Self-Inflicted Wounds

I read a question posed on Quora recently, asking whether something might be “wrong” with a person who others generally don’t like. A respondent then described a young woman who’s intelligent, witty, socially aware, confident, and physically attractive but who … Continue reading

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Subversive Subconscious

My vivid dreamery outdid itself last night, offering up two utterly bizarre experiences in a single evening of sleep. The first dream started with my oldest brother taking me to his storage unit somewhere in Australia (my brother lives in … Continue reading

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Climate Control with Coffee Milk Stout and Olives

I sit in my study (the term is more appealing than “the guest bedroom”) staring out the window at the rain and fog. We’ve had days and days of very heavy rains. All the lakes are full and streams overflowing … Continue reading

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It’s Only Just Syllables

Yesterday’s fierce rains, still continuing but to a much lesser extent, have filled lakes, reservoirs, and roadways. The police and sheriff’s departments have issued warning about inundated roadways and impassable streets. Some water crossing roads may conceal wash-outs. The bottom … Continue reading

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Duct Tape May be the Ticket

This will be repetitious if you’ve been around here for awhile. It’s even getting tiresome to me, and I’m the one thinking and writing it. I embarrass myself when I cannot conceal tears that reveal my inability to rein in … Continue reading

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Escape from Dreamland

For years, I’ve attached a name to the kitchen my wife and I share: French Kangaroo.  One of my nephews created the image to the left at my request; I use it on a Facebook page of the same name, … Continue reading

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Reviving the Town’s Soul

I’ve played with the town of Struggles, Arkansas, using it in a few vignettes I’ve posted on this blog and in a few stories I’ve drafted. When I conceived of the town, I had a specific picture of the place … Continue reading

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The People Who Feed Us

I’m embarrassed that I have not attached more value and significance to a large group of people who, collectively, play a vitally important part in my life. I’ve come late to an expanding appreciation that the food I eat has … Continue reading

Posted in Employment, Food | 2 Comments

Scurrying Between Pity and Decency and Rage

I just sent a long email, and a text message, to a friend I’ve not seen in a long time. As we grow older and our friends morph into the diaspora of the aged, I wonder whether it’s safe to … Continue reading

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Uprooted by Wind and Madness

Last night, I heard heavy rain slam against the composition shingles above my head. I wished I were a child again, the sort of child who would go outside to experience that cold anger of the winter sky. But I’m … Continue reading

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The Awful Secret

A tiny knot of local would-be writers has been playing with the idea of strengthening our skills by marrying art with writing. The idea is to use a piece of art (painted by the husband of one of the women … Continue reading

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Hiding Behind Rainbows with a Machete in Hand

I dabble in reality the way other people I know dabble in fiction. Those other people write an occasional piece of fiction but they spend the majority of their writing time solidly entrenched in the real world. I, on the … Continue reading

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Spinning Broken Webs

Some days…or weeks or months…I’m ashamed to claim that I am a blogger. I miss posting for days or weeks. And then, when I do, my posts are so random that I cannot in good conscience suggest to a living … Continue reading

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Last Man Down

“On the cusp of my departure, my words are hollow and weak, as I struggle to describe the man I wished I’d been, a speck of the decent man I failed to be. I tried but I failed. I could … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Writing | 3 Comments

Exploring the World of Wine

Last night’s World Tour of Wines stopped off in Auckland, New Zealand, with a couple of side trips to Christchurch and Wellington. We sampled wines from only a few of New Zealand’s seven hundred wineries; I suppose the only way … Continue reading

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Bitterly Wonderful

Where would the world be in the absence of glass and screen? How would we let light enter our homes in the absence of glass? Would we live closed off from the world, choosing darkness over exposure to weather and … Continue reading

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Scorn

You look around you and you see people who could have been friends but are not. They don’t reject you, they simply don’t embrace you. They are not bad, they do not wish you ill, it’s only that you do … Continue reading

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Affixing Blame on Tuesday

I resent Facebook. Facebook extracted depth from communication, replacing meaning with volume. Depth now splashes in shallow Facebook pools, trying in vain to find its way to the life-sustaining oxygen of conversation. Conversation that died at Facebook’s hand.  Conversation withered … Continue reading

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