Welcome to justthoughtsnstuff

I started posting to jtns on 20 February 2010 with just one word, 'Mosaic'. This seemed an appropriate introduction to a blog that would juxtapose fragments of memoir and life-writing. Since 1996, I'd been coming to terms with the consequences of emotional and economic abuse that had begun in childhood, and which, amongst other things, had sought to stifle self-expression. While I'd explored some aspects of my life through fiction and, to a lesser extent, journalism, it was only in 2010 that I felt confident enough to write openly about myself. I believed this was an important part of the healing process. Yet within weeks, the final scenes of my family's fifty-year nightmare started to play themselves out and the purpose of the blog became one of survival through writing. Although some posts are about my family's suffering - most explicitly, Life-Writing Talk, with Reference to Trust: A family story - the majority are about happier subjects (including, Bampton in rural west Oxfordshire, where I live, Oxford, where I work, the seasons and the countryside, walking and cycling) and I hope that these, together with their accompanying photos, are enjoyable and positive. Note: In February 2020, on jtns' tenth birthday, I stopped posting to this blog. It is now a contained work of life-writing about ten years of my life. Frank, 21 February 2020.

New blog: morethoughtsnstuff.com.

Sunday 21 March 2010


It was great being out on the new bike--rain or shine. I loved seeing the countryside again and felt so much healthier. Realised how important cycling is to my fitness. Walking just ain't the same. Today's cycle was the best in terms of weather and landscape--warm (car said 12° later), beautiful spring light, the grass greening up in the water meadows near the Thames. I did the route that takes you along the Great Brook to Aston and then to Mount Owen via Lew lane (from the top of Mount M you can see as far as Didcot power station and the Ridgeway). The Mojave went pretty well, although 5th gear on the big cog jumps occasionally. A pain because it's a useful gear when you need to catch your breath. Physically, I felt ok most of the time, even on the long haul back from Oxford. The worst day was yesterday when the sides of my knees ached for a bit after the first mile. Raising the height of the saddle helped.

Loved listening to Frank CB on Desert Island Discs. He's such generous-hearted man. It was because he liked my Oxbridge close reading paper that I got in--so I was told. When I met him years later he said he could still remember that exam paper. I will always be grateful to him for the kind things he said about Invisible and for allowing me to quote him on the cover. I know how much of his valuable time he gave up to read it. If I can track him down at the Oxford Literary Festival, I'll give him a copy.

I'll be reading from Invisible at Blackwell's on Wednesday sometime between 1 and 2 pm. It'll be just a short reading--3-4 pages with maybe the tardis poem thrown in at the end (see below). It'll be fun to read again.

I'm concerned about YouWriteOn's distribution to bookshops--the Anchor Book Club have been having problems getting their 12 copies. This shouldn't happen and I've emailed Ed at YWO about it. An incentive to get StreetBooks edition out.

Very proud to be chair of WiO when I prepared the Oxford Literary Festival and Oxfringe 2010 pages for the society's website (see http://www.writersinoxford.org).

Looking forward to Initiate preview at festival on Thursday 6 pm.

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