Last Night and Today

Last night’s Village Writers’ Club read-around and social gathering was, I think, a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy hearing the readings and, judging from the status of left-over food at the end of the evening, they liked the hors d’ouevres everyone contributed. All in all, it was a fun night.

Despite the fact that some readers utterly ignored the five-minute time limit I had asked them to follow, most of the readings were well-received. One reader contacted me in advance to request a slight increase in her time and I readily agreed to it; hers was among the shortest readings and the most engaging. Another read a poem she had written specifically for last night’s event; it was an excellent piece. A third read a moving account of her visit to Sarajevo and what learning its history has meant to her. And another read from her second book. There were others, too, of course.

Five minutes may be too little time to allow for each reader in a read-around. But given that we had eight readers, it would have worked fine in a two-hour time-frame that included not only reading but socializing. Forty minutes of reading (plus a couple of minutes per person to “set up” the piece the were preparing to read, or fifty-six minutes total) should have been good. One reader, in particular, was so blatant in ignoring the time limit (easily taking more than twice [and closer to three times] the time slotted for his reading) that I decided he will not be invited to, nor permitted to attend, any future read-arounds in my house.

Okay. I’ll try to chill. I’m not going to allow a selfish writer to spoil my day.


This morning, my wife and I are driving in to Hot Springs to volunteer at Jackson House, where we will help make lunches for people in crisis. They may be homeless, unemployed and impoverished, or otherwise in need of a helping hand. Jackson House provides volunteer community support to their ‘clients’ (I guess that’s what they are called); as far as I can tell, the vast majority of services provided through Jackson House are provided through volunteers. Our church has been encouraging people to volunteer at Jackson House for as long as we’ve been going to the church; finally, we’ve decided to engage.

After we make lunch for the clients of Jackson House, we may go have lunch with some other volunteers from our church. This might be a fun and rewarding day.


The other day, in my post entitled “Being Better or Dying Trying,” I wrestled with what I was trying to do with the resurrection of my “doing without” project. I still don’t know. But I haven’t forgotten or dismissed what I wrote. It’s very much on my mind. This morning, after scanning the headlines about topics including US/South Korea relationships, the thinness of sea ice in the Bering Sea, and Israel policy shifts, I decided I need to add “watch or read news” to the possible “doing without” list. I think that could have an enormously positive effect on my mood and my mental health.


Okay. Enough of this mindless typing. Time to do something that has a modicum of value.

About John Swinburn

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