Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Damn Pain

The side effects of the latest round of chemo treatments (including taxol) took two days to hit me. And when they hit, they hit quite hard. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, my knees started to ache; a couple of hours later, … Continue reading

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Frayed Nerves

Starting over. The thought of beginning a new chapter in one’s life prompts feelings of both excitement and fear. The idea simultaneously is inviting and daunting. But starting over is more than beginning a new chapter. Starting over erases old … Continue reading

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Do Not Drown

I hoped for a shorter-than-advertised session with the oncologist yesterday. Hope is wasted energy. We arrived at 8:45 a.m. We left the oncology center at 5:20 p.m. I know little more now than I did when I arrived. Apparently, though, … Continue reading

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Answers Again

Today will be a long one at the oncology center. My patient portal indicates I will be there for five-and-a-half hours; my hope is that it will not take that long. But the Taxol (brand name for Paclitaxel) infusion alone, … Continue reading

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Reality, Viewed Separately Together

Apathy once was of great concern to almost everyone. But nobody cares anymore. That’s just one more deeply-fatigued manipulation of a time-worn play on words. Uniqueness in creativity becomes harder to achieve with every new-born baby. Babies are not simply … Continue reading

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Shallow Pools

I do not hear the buzzing or ringing or pounding in my ears. Instead, I feel them inside me; in my head, in my chest, in my legs, everywhere. They can be loud, but not loud in the traditional aural … Continue reading

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All the Corners

The morning hours are mine, alone, today. Yet the sense I am in control—that I have power over my direction—still eludes me. Intrusive thoughts, tearing through my brain like a runaway locomotive, twist hard steel rails into thin, flaccid fibers. … Continue reading

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Jejune

If Brit-Box is a model of experience in England, a number of villages and significant areas of the English countryside are awash in murder. And, if Netflix reflects the legislative landscape throughout Scandinavia, that part of the world seethes with … Continue reading

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Mostly Talk

Some people are natural conversationalists. Some of us are not. Those of us who are not sometimes are labeled timid, quiet, reserved, dim-witted, private…the list goes on. Sometimes, the labels are radically different: pounce-ready, silently seething, brilliantly-murderous, pre-explosive, drenched in … Continue reading

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Ruminarian

History gives us a preview—a warning—of the future that awaits us if we ignore the lessons of experience. When we are the targets of that cautionary advice, we ignore it at our peril. Our disregard invites the repetition of past … Continue reading

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Looking Inside My Lungs

According to a couple of demographers (Toshiko Kaneda and Carl Haub), who updated an earlier estimate in 2022, 109 billion of people have lived and died since 190,000 BCE. Counting the additional people alive as of their updated 2022 estimate, … Continue reading

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Complaints About Gratitude

My good fortune is almost boundless, especially compared to the circumstances confronting million and millions of my fellow Earthlings. But, still, I complain about the difficulties I face. With all those difficulties, I should not have to acknowledge the bounties … Continue reading

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Still Unsure

Half of the year disappeared at a speed even faster than Time. If I were to try to be cute, I would say it was more like Time Squared. But I’m not being cute. This is profoundly serious stuff. Male … Continue reading

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Things Are Not Always the Way They Are

Sometimes, restraining the tendency to ascribe human emotions to Mother Nature is hard—almost impossible. Acres of huge trees, each massive piece of timber weighing thousands of pounds, slammed to the ground by tornadic winds. Streams, transformed by endless rainfall into … Continue reading

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Additional Context

Time has a sound—like a whispered hiss; its volume so low only Time itself can hear it. In fact, no other sound has volume so low. Because Time is the perpetual companion of the Universe, situations in which sound is … Continue reading

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We Pretend Hope is Real

Today, June 28, is a day of reflection for me. In one sense, it is a normal day—a day like any other. But in an another way the day has deep personal significance. This day impels me to think deeply, … Continue reading

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Moments

Imagine watching an entire video clip, which normally would take ten minutes, in just one minute. But, instead of seeing blurred images race by at ten times actual speed, imagine that the entire video appears to take place in real-time—yet … Continue reading

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Seething

Even when people are found guilty of a heinous crime and subsequently and irreversibly  sentenced to death, they tend to hold out hope that something—the State, the Universe, God, anything—will intervene to save them. People diagnosed with an incurable, terminal … Continue reading

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Enough for Now

What if… Sounds had flavor? Every color had a unique odor? Vision was always accompanied by a noise exclusive to the sight being seen? Would our experience of life be radically different from today’s “normal?” Or would those variations from … Continue reading

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Slow Recall

A bank in Huntsville, Texas once lent me money to buy a pair of glasses to replace a pair that broke—I think. I was living hand-to-mouth at the time, with my income as a prison system research intern barely enough … Continue reading

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Health

I, who lately have made too many trips to the hospital with my own ailments, was not the one who needed last night’s visit to the hospital ER. The culmination of mi novia‘s week-long fatigue, multiple (and long-lasting) nose bleeds … Continue reading

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Ruminations Again

Comfort and anxiety are like two magnets attempting to establish dominance over the other. Each one repels the other. But anxiety is the more powerful of the two. Anxiety is covertly muscular and subtly assertive. Comfort tends to quickly acquiesce … Continue reading

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Mixed Messages

Stacks of individual sheets from newspapers. A poem, typed on a single 8 x 11 sheet of paper, missing from those stacks. Broken hand-held garden trimmers. Weed killer, meant to supplant those broken trimmers, sprayed indiscriminately on prized decorative garden … Continue reading

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Formula

Most of them are vague—memories that seem to emerge from a different life—but a few are so crystal clear as to be deceitful. Those vivid remembrances confuse the brain, insisting the experiences are taking place again, for the first time, … Continue reading

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The Need for Numbers

Astrophysicists and other experts tell us the sun will begin to die in about 5 billion years, when its supply of hydrogen is depleted. That unfathomable length of time is easy to dismiss as “nothing to worry about.” Surely some … Continue reading

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