This is post number 3600. I wrote the first post for this blog roughly eight years and eight months ago, which translates into an average of roughly a shade more than thirty-four posts a month. Some months have been far more active, some considerably less. Regardless, I have devoted a LOT of time to writing and posting here. Toward what end, though? That’s hard to say. The direction and tone and content of my posts have varied wildly over the course of these eight-plus years. And the content of other blogs I wrote during the six or seven years before I created this one were just as schizophrenic. If nothing else, though, the fifteen years, more or less, I’ve been blogging account for one hell of a lot of words. Just over three months ago, I wrote my 3500th post. The spigot remains almost fully open. I keep talking about extracting from all of that a stand-alone volume of related pieces and producing a book. So far, it’s been all talk, with very little action. Maybe one day. Uh huh. Enough reminiscing. On to more consequential stuff. Maybe.


When I receive handwritten letters (an extreme rarity, I must say), I am touched that someone has taken the time and devoted the energy to write something directed exclusively to me. Even though the content sometimes suggests I was only one of several recipients of the message contained therein, receiving them feels like a special gift. While I would love to reciprocate (or initiate them), my handwriting is so utterly abysmal that the recipient would be unable to read them. So, when I “write,” I type. Better than a sharp stick in the eye, say I. But I have been thinking about typing some letters that the recipients would clearly understand were written exclusively for them. For example, including in the letters some recollections about how we met or some event or activity we shared or some other obviously personal matters. I think the inclusion of memories exclusive to the recipients and I might be moving. But such letters might also be distressing to the recipients, who with very rare exceptions would have never before received a letter of any kind from me. The receipt of such letters might trigger in them fear that I have become obsessed with the recipients. The recipients might understandably think I have become too focused on our relationship, whatever form it had theretofore taken. And they might well wonder what possessed me to suddenly write to them. I can imagine the thoughts going through their minds. Instead of thinking “I’m flattered that he’s thinking of me,” their thoughts could be “I’m afraid that this letter signals that he ‘wants’ me.” A simple letter, intended as a gesture of goodwill and friendship, might result in avoidance and fear and, perhaps, a call to the local police to express concern and seek protection.

But, still. personal letters have such appeal. And I know my idea is not unique. A woman in my church mentioned, during a recent Zoom meeting, that she regularly mails letters or notes or other form of personal communication to people. She understands the value of that personal touch and how it makes the recipient feel. Ah, yes. Good intentions. Will the road to Hell be paved with more of mine? Whether I follow through on the idea remains to be seen.


It is hard to believe the calendar has turned to May. I have only a vague recollection of the first four months of the year. It’s as if I have been under the influence of low-dose anesthesia for much of the last several months. I have memories, of course, but they seem distant and nebulous; almost like they belong to someone else who has allowed me limited access to their experiences.


I arose later than usual this morning, around 6:00 a.m. Two hours earlier, I awoke and considered starting the day, but the allure of a comfortable cocoon-like spot in bed was too much. So, I spent another two hours in soft comfort. The cool outdoor temperatures permitted the air inside the house to cool to 72°F, ideal for sleeping with only a light cover over me. Though only seven degrees cooler than the point at which the air conditioning would kick in, the temperature inside the house at that hour was perfect; I had no choice but to sleep in.


Yesterday morning, while I was playing Words with Friends with my sister-in-law who was sitting across the table from me, my phone rang. It was the minister of my church, inquiring about the Mexican restaurant/tienda about which I’ve been singing praises on Facebook in recent months. He was considering having lunch there and had a few questions. I haven’t heard back yet about whether he ate there, but I hope if he did it was a positive experience.

I rarely get legitimate phone calls on my landline, so often I just let the phone ring. In fact, I’ve been considering getting rid of the landline. That would be a shame, though, because only a few months ago I bought a new set of phones (a base plus five stations) to replace the ones killed by a lightning strike (which also killed a television and my cable TV provider’s TiVo box). One of my brothers calls me on the landline with some regularity. And my oncologist’s office calls that number with reminders about appointments. (Sometimes I feel like Beverly, from my oncologist’s office, calls just to talk. But I know that’s not the case…she’s just so friendly and casual and familiar, despite insisting on calling me Mr. Swinburn. I will almost miss those occasional calls when I complete my three years of regular follow-ups.)

It’s happened again, hasn’t it? I do it with some frequency; starting one topic only to allow myself to follow a stoned rabbit down its warren—filled with magic mushrooms—and ending in another dimension or on another planet.

I should get on with my Sunday. I have a body (my own) to wash, hair to shampoo, barely visible facial stubble to shave, and teeth to brush. To you reading this stream-of-consciousness post, thank you! And have a good, productive, enjoyable day!

About John Swinburn

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