Who I Was

In recent months, I have become fascinated with (or, perhaps, fixated on) what I wrote years ago on my first blog. I’m sure I’ve recently mentioned, here, my obsession with my earlier writings. Reading what I wrote reveals to me the personality of someone with whom I no longer share a brain and body. Well, that may be a stretch; we may share both, but we’ve ‘grown apart,’ if you will.

On the one hand, I find that firebrand appealing and wish I could resurrect his passion for matters that, today, seem unworthy of getting all worked up about. On the other, I look back and wonder why he spent such extraordinary amounts of mental energy ranting about such stuff. In either case, the fire in his belly seems to have been a case of arson; that inferno could not have erupted spontaneously. For example, here’s the text of a tongue-in-cheek rant from September 2007:

I’m considering changing my company name and line of business. It would be Associated Hatred & Malevolence, Inc., which will specialize in euthanizing nasty and unruly clients of professional service firms, after first doing to them what they tend to do to my company when the mood strikes. My title in the rebranded firm will be Supreme Incubus. I will employ an Executive Vice Succubus to deal with the clients for which my nature may not be appropriate.

If you’d like to apply for a position with the firm, submit your resume, along with references which will attest to your experience with gallows humor, jocular homicidal rages, and facetious torture. Must be facile with all manner of weaponry, including explosives, knives, guns, nuclear arms, and flamethrowers.

A year before that vituperative outburst, I posted a recipe I had not yet tried (and still, to this day, have not done) for green tomato soup. I ended that post with:

It goes without saying, but say it I will, that anyone who prepares, longs for, or has ever had, green tomato soup should behave responsibly. Part of that responsible behavior involves making sure to vote in all meaningful elections—voting for people with progressive ideas and attitudes—and doing all within their power to defeat the fascist machine that is tearing away at the heart of this country.

There. I’ve combined my two passions: food and progressive politics.

A month after the initial vituperation, I wrote about a road trip my wife and I took to Arkansas and beyond, during which we visited Little Rock. While there, we visited the Clinton Presidential Library and had lunch at Loca Luna, a place we visited again not long ago; the food continues to be exquisite.

With all the adjustments in my self and in my life during the eleven years since I first started blogging, there remains a few of the embers that ignite the flames of passion in me. The passions have changed, and the propellant that ignites those embers is a higher grade fuel, but they remain there, somewhere beneath the surface; and sometimes in full view.

I look back at what I wrote during my early years of blogging and think there was an authenticity in my spontaneous expressions that is sometimes missing now. I over think what I write, what I say. I tend to be more conscious that what I write may be misinterpreted. In the ‘old days’ of my blogs, I knew there was almost no one watching what I wrote but me. And, even if someone happened upon what I wrote, they would not know who wrote it (save for the few with whom I shared my pseudonym). So I felt a freedom to expose who I was, what I felt; even venting rage was less of an ordeal, because I knew I, the real I, would not be judged. While a reader might take issue with what I wrote and might even consider the writer a monstrous beast, it didn’t matter; because I was hidden behind a veil. Now, I’m not.

I can’t feel comfortable being myself because being myself would reveal who I am. And that’s an uncomfortable person to be. And, so, I read old blog posts to get a glimpse of who I was.

About John Swinburn

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