One of the many benefits of rising early, aside from luxurious isolation and time to sort out the mysteries of life, is the opportunity to cook for one. I have no objection at all to cooking for two, or even more, but cooking for one allows selfish pleasures the freedoms impossible to find when attempting to satisfy the tastes of others. This morning, for example, I grated a small potato and cooked it on the stove-top in a bit of oil, making an order of hash-browns for one. But I did not stop there. I sprinkled the crisp little potato pancake with smokehouse pepper (store-bought), then made a condiment comprising ketchup and Cholula salsa, which I tend smeared on top of the potato. None of this would have been possible had I not gotten out of bed at 4:30. Had I arisen later, I would have missed that selfish indulgence for reasons too convoluted to explain without writing a novel-length explanatory post.

Even so, the mere fact that my wife was sleeping in the next room prevented me from indulging myself even more. Had I been alone in the house, I might have taken bacon from the freezer and turned a simple order of hash-browns into a festival of flavors. But the aroma of bacon cooking would surely have awakened my wife, who would have been moderately annoyed at having been roused from her slumbers for a too-early (for her) breakfast. I prefer to eat early. She prefers to ease into the day, sipping on her first mug of tea until it is gone, before having breakfast. And I like big, hearty, over-the-top breakfasts. She appreciates far more moderate early-day meals. I subscribe to (but rarely practice) the philosophy that one should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” In practice, I tend to eat breakfast like a prince, lunch like a pauper, and dinner like a starving king presented with a feast. That practice, by the way, merits radical change.


Again this morning, my mind launched into a serious consideration of cobbling together some of my writing into a collection of fascicles. I wrote about fascicles a few years ago, by the way. I just checked; it was more than five years ago. It has been that long ago (and probably much longer) that I declared my intent to publish some of my writing, grouped together by topic or theme or other relational attribute. Five years and nothing of consequence has been done. Well, nothing of consequence I can show anyone. Unless I show the directory and file structures on my computer; there, I could reveal the work I’ve done thus far. I never got very far, though. If I were to approach it again, I would have to start from scratch. Ach.


I know of no actual connection, except the family name, between my family and the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. That notwithstanding, I find some of his poetry fascinating. For instance, this from Atalanta in Calydon:

Before the beginning of years
There came to the making of man
Time, with a gift of tears;
Grief, with a glass that ran;
Pleasure, with pain for leaven;
Summer, with flowers that fell;
Remembrance, fallen from heaven,
And madness risen from hell;
Strength without hands to smite;
Love that endures for a breath;
Night, the shadow of light,
And life, the shadow of death.

About John Swinburn

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