Perhaps one day after I die, someone will stumble upon this blog and will find its several thousand posts (approaching 3900 as I write this) intriguing. That someone—as she begins wading through the morass of words I have written here— might decide the writer had something profound to say but never found it within himself to orchestrate his language in such a way as to reveal that profundity. She might decide the tangled, unstructured outpourings the writer composed most mornings consists of a compelling philosophy hidden among scraps of language better suited to something else—an advice column or a personal diary or a wishful life list or a catalog of unexplored ideas. Whatever she decides the writing represents, she might decide to use an analysis of the writer and his words as the basis of her research for her doctoral dissertation, which she may entitle “Hidden Swinburn: Philosophies of an Introspective Madman.” Her doctoral advisor, Professor Kolbjørn Landvik, probably would suggest to her that her academic career would be better served by selecting another subject to explore. But this doctoral student, who I’ll call Phaedra Collier, will be undeterred. She will steadfastly refuse to deviate from her fascination with this unknown man who documented his rapid-fire attention deficits, no matter how mind-numbingly boring or unhinged they might have been. I imagine Phaedra Collier will regret her refusal to select another topic of exploration. During her dissertation defense, she will engage in fierce debate with Professor Landvik and his colleagues, Professors Ekstrom Noble, Linoleum Price, and Calypso Kneeblood. The professors will collectively agree Phaedra Collier has become too emotionally engaged with the blog’s writer to present cogent arguments supporting her contentions about his philosophies or his madness. They will reject Phaedra’s dissertation and send her back to start over. Phaedra, dejected and broken-hearted, will decide to abandon her dream of attaining her Ph.D. in Literary Philosophy. Instead, she will leave academia and will burrow into the far northern Canadian wilderness, where she will buy several hundred acres of virtually inaccessible land. There, with a used Kubota tractor, she will clear a small plot of land and build an architecturally significant house. From her modern abode, she will create a self-sufficient farm. She will earn money by creating and selling, by way of the internet, scented candles which, when burned, will smell like a fireplace burning oak and hickory.

I would like to have known Phaedra Collier, but she will have been born a hundred years or more too late. But I feel like I know her anyway. I can almost read her mind. And I can hear her words even before she speaks them.


The trouble Phaedra and/or others like her might have when they stumble upon this blog is that the writer weaves fact and fiction together without warning. Even to the seasoned literary detective, it is sometimes difficult to determine which words are based in reality and which are mined from pure fantasy. Phaedra, as it turns out, was able to separate the wheat from the chaff or the gold from the iron pyrite or the charcoal from the coal. Her surname, Collier, derives from her ancestors’ trades: coal miners. Just thought I’d throw that in.


I woke this morning before 4, my wheezing and coughing having returned with a vengeance. I’ve run out of one of a couple of medications about which I’ve not yet decided their utility. Apparently one or the other (or both, collectively) work to minimize my mostly nocturnal wheezing. One of the medications was prescribed and I am eligible for one refill, which I will call about today. The other was given to me as a sample by my primary care doctor. I had decided that one might work, so I asked my doctor’s office to prescribe it and they obliged. But my prescription insurance company contacted me to say the inhaler has a “high” deductible. Astronomical is a better word: $682 is what they want for a three-month supply. I can live with wheezing, thanks, at that price. After that “high” deductible, it would be “only” $117 per month. No, thanks. The deadline for agreeing to let them ship it at those prices has passed. So, I’ll see if the other prescription may be responsible for keeping my wheezing at bay. I would like to be able to sleep without waking myself up by wheezing and coughing. We shall see.


Despite the fact that painting the house will be a very long-term project, I’ve decided it will be worth it. Having not yet completed the living room, I have decided the light forest green color my sweetheart selected is precisely the right color. I had been inclined to go for a light grey and I had wanted to paint the wood trim white. (The trim is stained and the stain has been mistreated over the years, so I thought painting would be the best way to restore it to a more attractive look.) No. The wood trim now looks spectacular. With some TLC, I think it will look wonderful. The room will be a showpiece. I can barely wait until we are able to move furniture into the house, with us to follow. But I’ll have to wait. I have a lot of painting yet to do. And we have to hang new ceiling fans and light fixtures. Oh, the house will be a beauty. I have been a doubter. But now I can see beyond the unkempt appearance and the needed repairs. Yes, it will take time, but it will be worth the wait.


I could write and write and write about my life. But if I did, any reader who stumbles across this blog would curse me for the abundance of my words. So I’ll close this morning’s disgorgement and work on getting on with the day. I will try to get to work early today. The afternoon promises rapidly falling temperatures and mixed precipitation. Ach!

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Blending

  1. $2500 per wood-burning season. 😉

  2. Deanna says:

    How much are those candles?

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