Getting to It

This published post will be number 4,560 in this blog; another 550 drafts await either my decision to revise or to delete them. Having written more than 5,000 posts for this blog, alone, I have to believe there must be something worth reading among all of them.  When I take the time to rummage through old posts, I am pleased to stumble upon some I particularly like. And that experience invariably leads me to think—again—about extracting what I consider the best of what I have written, editing it, and assembling the collection into a book. Dreams. Just dreams. I just may be too old. “He published his first—and only—book at age 70.” Yeah, I may have exceeded the point of ripeness.

Some days are gentler than others, the usually hard corners worn just soft enough to make them malleable.  Those are the days when, after hours of dappled brightness, night comes on slowly, as if the light in the sky was draining the way water drains from a wet sponge left in the sink.  Orange skies become pink, then drift into cloudy purples and, finally, into dull grey blackness, with just enough light to see, but not enough to expose the jagged edges of the night.

If I were to spend any more time looking at old posts, I would find myself awash in snippets I find especially appealing. But that would be time spent stroking my own ego. I do not have the time this morning; I am off for my second visit to a therapist. This time, I suspect the conversation will revolve around the resurgence of cancer. Ach. When will I have time to make a book? What else demands my time? It is a matter of priorities, interests, and willingness to treat the endeavor as worthy of my investment of time. Those may be the biggest obstacles; I probably am not the best judge of my writing and I certainly will not ask not ask anyone else to undertake the laborious task of reading all my posts and determining which, if any, are worthy of inclusion in a collection. That effort might turn into an enormous disappointment if, after untold hours of reading and pondering, the outcome were to reveal that there’s nothing of consequence in all those posts.


Returning to my old habits, I got up this morning before 4:30. Feeding the cat at that hour was a futile exercise in attempting to quell her yowling. Drinking two espressos simply confirmed that I was, and will remain, awake. Writing this post did little but exercise my fingers. Two hours have passed since I awoke—two hours I have more or less wasted on unproductive endeavors. I forgive myself for being non-productive, though; living 70 years so far has earned for me the right to sit and simply think. The constant question, though, is whether I have 70 years of incremental life experience or simply one year of life experience repeated 70 times. If I am being generous with myself, I would say I probably have 35 years of incremental life experience and one year of life experience repeated 35 times.


I am scheduled to have a set of pre-procedure tests (probably just blood draws) on January 10, followed by the CT-guided biopsy on January 12. The results of the biopsy should be back in the hands of my oncologist by the time I meet with her on January 17, at which point I expect to learn details of her recommended treatment plan, which I think will almost certainly include both chemo and immunotherapy. My discussion with M.D. Anderson in Houston was not especially satisfactory; until I complete their paperwork to become a “new patient,” they seem to have little interest in talking to me. Still, I may explore that again after I meet with my oncologist. It all depends…


Time for me to shower, shave, and otherwise make myself look moderately presentable. I have a semi-full calendar today, which is about as full as I want the calendar to get. Leisure time and freedom from obligations are my desires of late. Decompression. I may look into getting a massage; my neck, shoulders, and back seem to have been getting increasingly tense lately, leading (perhaps) to a constant low-grade headache. The massage therapist comes highly recommended by mi novia’s ex-husband, who generously provided spaghetti sauce for last night’s dinner. Okay, John, enough procrastination; get to it.

About John Swinburn

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

  1. Thanks so very much, Penny.

  2. Penny Beed says:

    Hi, John. I just wanted to comment that Doug published his book at exactly age 70. It has had great reviews. If you’re so inclined, I think your time on a book would be purposeful and worthwhile. On another note, I haven’t seen you to say that I’m so sorry about the reoccurrence of the cancer. I’m so glad you have talked about it on your blog for 2 reasons: your friends know about it and, hopefully, it is of help to you to discuss it. You have my love and hope for a clean “get-away” from it in the future!

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