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.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

holmes, boom, old man's beard etc

Watching Sherlock Holmes--Robert Downey Jr is God.

Meanwhile, on a serious note, I was sad to read of the death of Holly Eley in the Times yesterday. About ten years ago when I'd lost confidence in my abilities as a critic, she sent me a series of about seven or eight seemingly random non-fiction books to review for the TLS, which by their very difference from the fiction I'd been writing about for years quite refreshed me. The last was the estimable She Moves Through the Boom, about what seemed then to be the Irish economic miracle.

How this reviewing came about was itself quite random. I phoned the TLS and got Holly. I explained that I wanted to speak to Lindsay Duguid about reviewing fiction. Holly talked to me about my work and when I asked her when Lindsay would be back, she said something like, 'I think I'd like you to write for me.' Two days later a parcel of four books arrived. We never met but I have always been grateful to her.

Went to the readings at the end of the first MSt residence of the 2010/11 year last night. Really enjoyed the students' work and that of the guest author, Tim Pears.

Funnily enough we'd been talking about In the Place of the Fallen Leaves when we were staying in Somerset. We'd been wondering about cider-heads and what it was about the drink that caused all the trouble. It was nice to see Tim again and he settled the point.

I thought the pieces he read from his new novel were very interesting. I know his early work, having reviewed both In a Land of Plenty and A Revolution of the Sun but this was different from those. There was a measured simplicity to his prose last night, which one suspects only comes with time.

Talking of Somerset, the above pics are the last of the holiday ones I'll post.

As far as Invisible is concerned, I'm really pleased that Blackwell is now stocking it.

Last weekend btw was partly spent working on an unusual Latin American subject request that involved researching the Mayan prophesy about cataclysmic events on 21st December 2012 and the problem of correlating the Mayan and Gregorian calendars. I had to research the subject and produce a short essay. I love my job!

Ho-hum, I can't work out whether SW is winding me up for some strange reason. Time will tell, I suppose. Which is where I shall end.

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