Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

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

Stake

Killing time is no less a crime than murder; and its punishment equally severe, yet just as pointless. +++ We speak of time, using terms like hours and weeks and years and centuries and eons; as if time existed in … Continue reading

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Prisoner of the Mind

I was the sole male in the presence of four females at last night’s dinner. Though it is impossible for me to accurately describe the dynamics of discussions in which I constitute a twenty-percent minority, suffice it to say they … Continue reading

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Desperately Seeking Satisfaction

Do some people enjoy their lives of crime because they get to choose their victims? I wonder whether they would find as much fulfillment if they had no choice in picking their victims? And how many people would choose a … Continue reading

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Splinters

In a world unencumbered by human pettiness, knowing what to call the days of the week would be utterly pointless. That world would not have words for Monday or Thursday or Saturday; what possible need could there be? Only when … Continue reading

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Please

I read an intriguing article this morning. Entitled Why Do People Make Music?, the piece reported on a study by 75 researchers of songs sung in 55 languages. Though the article did not offer a definitive answer to the question … Continue reading

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Gift of the Sky

Some automobile insurers—most, if word on the street can be believed—may not be the good neighbors they once claimed to be. Good neighbors do not pick locks, steal wallets, empty savings accounts, and snatch purses. In reality, automobile insurers do … Continue reading

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Failed Attempt

When properly employed, humor masks anxiety, depression, fear, and other potentially troubling emotions. Humor shields and protects the privacy of the person using it, of course, but it also gives other people in the setting a defensive cover. Humor erases—or … Continue reading

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Erratic Thinking

Somewhere along a very long, irrational continuum, optimism becomes blind idealism. That transition whittles a piece  of solid hardwood into shavings and sawdust. Reasonable hope for the future transforms into misplaced certainty. Opposing opinions begin to look—to holders of each—like … Continue reading

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Disappearance

For as long as I can remember, I periodically have experienced the desire to abandon the life I have been living—leave absolutely everything and everyone—and start over as someone new in a new place.  The fundamental problem with that fantasy, … Continue reading

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Seasonal Transition

Despite the fact that there are still remnants of yellow pollen on everything outdoors, being outside is finally more than just tolerable. Sitting outside on the deck yesterday afternoon was delightful. The calls of several birds, the occasional sounds of … Continue reading

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Consequences

Humans’ understanding of space—and the stars and planets and the intergalactic debris between them—is infinitesimal. There simply are too many facts and processes and interactions between them for our remarkable (but crudely aboriginal) brains to comprehend. I suspect we know … Continue reading

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Naturally Calm

Pods of bottlenose dolphins, schools of silvery fish changing direction in unison, swarms or blooms or smacks of jellyfish. NBC or YouTubeTV treated us to a brief, soothing, underwater video between newscasts last night, apparently in lieu of pharmaceutical commercials. … Continue reading

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Damage

Video of what appears to have been a tornado on the south side of Hot Springs confirms that last night’s weather was fierce. Claps of thunder shook the ground here in the Village, twenty miles away, but as far as … Continue reading

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Conflict

Conflict often puts me in competition with myself. That clash takes the form of a struggle between the sometimes irrational desire for more personal possessions and the intense longing for serenity—austere simplicity. I want the luxury of more or better … Continue reading

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Warren Commission

What, exactly, is entertainment? That question came to me during my quick skim this morning of a few web sites of popular news media. I noticed, perhaps for the first time, the  juxtaposition on those sites’ pages between what I … Continue reading

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Very, Very Little

Torrential rain and hail—that grew from the size of peas to the size of hefty marbles—interrupted the early May serenity yesterday afternoon. Weather reports from across the nation and around the world reinforced my sense that the climate has lost … Continue reading

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Artifice

No matter what I might write this morning, the reader will not believe me. Not because I would tell lies, but because the truth I would tell would simply seem  too improbable to be based in fact. My words would … Continue reading

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Fast

The incessant sound of water flowing through the downspout just outside my study grates on my already frayed nerves. Big black crows try to drown the noise with their loud squawks. But to no avail. Like me, the birds seem … Continue reading

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Cycle of Raw…

What a surprise it would be if the grey sky suddenly changed from vapor and emptiness into thick sheets of jagged glass and semi-transparent plastic. Watching pieces of the sky crash down, smashing trees into splinters, would be an experience … Continue reading

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Avoidance

Dangerously powerful—or powerfully dangerous—people have the capacity to spread misery worldwide. Rather than acting early to derail the damage those individuals may inflict, though, society tends to take an attitude of “wait and see.” Our failure to take action early … Continue reading

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More or Less

I know the trees outside my window are surrounded by fog—not because I can see the fog, but because the trees’ images in my eyes are vague and dreamlike. Invisible vapor conceals parts of what otherwise would be a crisp … Continue reading

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Plenty

Somewhere between artist and artisan, value and worth begin to take on different meanings and different forms. Those forms and meanings vary, depending on perspective, but regardless of their differences, they share one distinct commonality: judgment. The creative output of … Continue reading

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Simplicity

If Calypso had written complex stories—cobbled together from fragments of confusing and deeply disturbing dreams—they would have only reinforced beliefs held by some people that his mental state was, charitably, unstable. But “if” suggests Calypso had a clear choice. He … Continue reading

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Curiosity About What Is and Is Not

A few months ago I wrote a poem I entitled Negative Space. Immediately, the morning i wrote it, I posted it here, on this blog. I commented about it, giving myself a combination of accolades and criticisms. Until this morning, … Continue reading

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Tacos

The serenity and silence of a landscape free of all but a tiny tribe of select people. Free, too, of the gossip and cluttered, useless thoughts that seem to sustain human interactions. This quiet, calm, soothing, absolutely tranquil place probably … Continue reading

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