Respite from the Respite

I grossly underestimated the work involved in developing a coherent compilation of my writing. The endeavor is far more time-consuming than I expected; I didn’t realize how long it would take to sort through the 2900+ posts to this blog, let along the hundreds more posted to old abandoned blogs. And there are hundreds of pages of material that I never posted for public view; stuff that just sits in desolation in my computer.

Of course, most of this stuff will not find its way to my compilation. It’s either redundant, poorly-written or ill-conceived, or irrevocably incomplete and, therefore, unsuited to dissemination. Let’s say I have 4000 pieces from which to choose. If I decide to pick just ten percent, I’ll still have quite a task before me.

One of the difficulties I’ve had thus far has been organizing material into topics. And one of the obstacles to doing that is the fact that my writing tends to reflect the way I think; my thoughts ricochet from idea to idea, frequently failing to conclude one thought before moving on to the next one. So, it’s a task. Once I get the materials sorted, I’ll have to cull ninety percent of what I’ve written, then edit, revise, and/or rewrite what’s left so that each topic area is at least moderately coherent. This is more effort, perhaps, than it’s worth. Or, to use a slightly modified favorite aphorism: “The game may not be worth the candle.”

The idea, once I gather this material and tidy it up intellectually and cosmetically, I will self-publish it in book and e-book form. I expect sales may reach the low double digits. So why go to so much trouble? Ego, perhaps. A desire to eventually leave something tangible as an intellectual legacy. I really don’t know. I’ve tried to explore my own motives and thus far haven’t been able to pin them down. We’ll see what comes next.


I spent the day yesterday in Little Rock. First, we ran some errands my wife wanted to complete…Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Drug Emporium. Then I was in what seemed to be a perpetual state of waiting to be called for my CT scan. I got there fifteen minutes early for my 11:30 appointment. I was called in for the scan after 12:30, the time I was scheduled for a blood draw. The CT took only 20 minutes, allowing me to be just a little late for my 1:00 appointment to see my surgeon for my six-month follow-up visit. Everything looked reasonably good to him. “Come back in six months.” I then went back to the lab for the blood work (not necessary blood work…I had agreed before my surgery to allow the research team to follow me, which entails periodically giving them blood and urine samples…who knows, research conducted with my blood and urine may lead to a cure for lung cancer).

After all the medical engagements, we went to El Tapatio for a late lunch of borrego and birria, thereby satisfying our hunger for lamb and/or mutton and/or goat (but I doubt we had any goat…even though birria usually is made with goat meat…it didn’t taste like it to me). I gather from the menu that the restaurant’s owners are from Jalisco (where birrierias are ubiquitous). As always, the little dive of a restaurant was a delight.

While we were away, the contractor spent a second day replacing deck boards. By the time we got home, they had come close to completing the replacements. All that’s left now is to rebuilt some steps. Next up, they will clean and power wash the deck, sand where necessary, and paint. But all that will depend on cooperative weather, which may be a while. But progress is most certainly being made.

Today, I’m taking a break from my compilation and anything else requiring the expenditure of much mental energy. Even though I didn’t spent much yesterday, I still feel a need to vegetate.  And so I shall.


About John Swinburn

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

  1. Thanks, Bev. I’ll give it some thought. And, by the way, your suggestions are always wanted. Whether I opt to follow them, I always truly appreciate them!

  2. bev wigney says:

    Just a suggestion — perhaps unwanted. Why don’t you pick a topic that interests you, and that you think might interest others — and then pull out enough materials to make a nice sized publication. I don’t know about others, but I don’t really like giant tomes — collected works, etc. I very much like manageable amounts of writing on a particular theme or topic. For example, I like reading what you write about food — cooking, food in restaurants, day trips when you have had food. Or, there’s another possibility. A sort of “day tripping journal” of some of your memorable adventures. That sort of thing is interesting. A reader can pick it up and read a nice essay or chapter. I have friends who are fairly prolific writers and self-publishers, and that tends to be how they publish. I’ve been thinking about something similar. I don’t think we should feel that we have to create some major opus. Small can be interesting and beautiful.

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