Topical Grazing

I spent just over a half an hour during the latter part of yesterday afternoon in Hot Springs, visiting with a woman about whose life I have written. I’ve not posted my writing here. Her story is, for now, private. But it may one day become public, depending on factors too numerous and convoluted to get into here. I wasn’t alone with her. I was with someone else, the instigator of the exploration of the woman’s life story.

After our meeting, and after I had dropped the instigator at his house, I felt like the several meetings we’ve had with the woman and the hours I’ve spent writing about her was time spent in pursuit of rainbows. The outcome of our conversations, I suspect, will be nothing. Oh, I’ll finish the story. But it will go nowhere. That saddens me, on the one hand, but relieves me on the other. The woman’s story deserves to be told. My version of it is irrelevant; she is the one with the story, so she is the one to tell it. Not me.

She complimented me on my writing. I thanked her. What I didn’t do was thank her for allowing me to invade her privacy to such an extraordinary extent. I should have.


I read a bit about suicide today, suicide by people who don’t seem like “the type” to take their own lives. They are not people who aim to hurt their loved ones, but their pain is so intense that the will do anything to stop it. Even at the expense of their loved  ones. That’s got to be the most horrific pain anyone can possibly feel. Writers who can’t deal with the pain have committed suicide or endured its irreversible consequences. Suicide is irrevocable. Irreversible. Permanent in so horrific a way as to be monstrous.

How the hell did my post abruptly change from life stories to writing to suicide? Crap, I really am ADD or whatever the latest genesis of the experience is called.


Food isn’t the same as salvation, but it has the potential to make that logical leap. Yes, I realize that sentence makes about as much sense as a telephone pole in an ice cream store, but it is what it is, as they say. But, food. Food is not always cuisine, but cuisine is always food. At least that’s what I think. This afternoon, if all goes according to plan, I’ll take up yesterday afternoon’s interrupted plan and make some spring rolls. I’ll slip sheets of rice paper in water, one at a time, then put them on a flat surface and place the fillings on them and roll and wrap them. Ingredients like shrimp, napa cabbage, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli, cilantro, and anything else that strikes my fancy. And I’ll make dipping sauce with miso, lime juice, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil. I might make some other versions of dipping sauce, too, perhaps using hoisin sauce and wasabi and lime juice. I don’t know for certain; time will tell.


I’m conflicted about Brett Kavanaugh. On the one hand, I believe his accuser, Dr. Ford, but on the other, I don’t have all the facts. Apparently no one does. The fact that the FBI didn’t interview either of them doesn’t help. But I can’t automatically assume that, just because Dr. Ford’s testimony seemed believable, Kavanaugh is guilty. He is guilty of being an asshole, which is enough in my view to keep him off the court, but only after a truly thorough investigation could I say with any certainty that he did what she claimed. It bothers me that people who regularly accuse “the right” of ignoring the law when it benefits them do exactly the same thing when it serves their agenda. No, I do not know whether Kavanaugh is guilty as accused. It sure seems that way, especially with the people who have spoken up since their testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. But people lie. And, frankly, Dr. Ford’s comments describing her experiences by making reference to her hippocampus seemed contrived and artificial in the context of the rest of her testimony. But Kavanaugh’s testimony seemed utterly combative; he stonewalled every question about drinking, blackout, etc. More data. More information. More interviews. But that’s not what the Republicans want and it’s not what the White House will allow. The fact that tRump selected Kavanaugh is a strike against the man; that, alone, is reason to be deeply, deeply suspicious. tRump surrounds himself with lackeys who reach orgasm by doing his bidding. The Law. It’s becoming a parody of itself.


A story is brewing, a story I think will be good for next year’s L’Audible Art. I haven’t written a single line for it, but I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot lately. The way it’s coming together in my head suggests it would be far too long for L’A, but I might be able to shave it down and maintain its core message.

I’ve grazed enough topics for now. Time to face daylight.

About John Swinburn

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