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, 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.

Friday, 14 October 2011

furniture, clowns, kennington, invisible, pinter, poem















Well, today was the day we visited the warehouse where the family furniture was stored (see post of 6th September 2011).

This was the strangest of days because I had not seen these things since January 1978. Another life away.

I have to say that the experience was made bearable because of the kindness of the three people who were there to help.

I cannot describe what it was like to see all those things--in containers stretching as far as the eye could see, almost--that I grew up with and that I had been told were in store for just six months.

However, as I wrote a month or so ago, I am now starting the rest of my life. In the short term, I am looking forward to the Kennington Literary Festival tomorrow and reading from Invisible.

I would now like to add a poem. This week, when I was thinking about what was going to happen today, I thought back to what I was doing around the time that the furniture went into storage in 1978. I remembered a poem I'd written in my last year at Stowe that got published in the school magazine. I tried finding the poem in the online database of the school magazine but the site was down for maintenance. Oddly, though, a copy of the magazine with the poem in was on the top of a teachest when we were looking through the containers today. It was only thing I was allowed to take away today and I've scanned it for this post. I remember, in 1977, being chuffed, not because of the poem itself, but because it was the first time that the word 'shit' had been published in the school magazine. The word appeared in a quote from Harold Pinter's diaries--how could the school authorities refuse? (Kids, eh?) I should also say the poem was a love poem. (I didn't get the girl.)

Here's the poem. (The photo above btw was taken on my bike ride this morning.)

Le Monde et La Fille

Undulating waves of emerald green
Flow beneath me, Tiber bound.
From an amber dolphin fountain-made
Glistening pearls ascend the purple sky.
As dusk envelopes beauty
A crouching temple I approach.
Up wide mosaic steps I glide
Through oak portals to the heart.
Central stands an incense pyre
Whose every golden tongue is echoed
By shadows dancing on white marble.
From the labours of Hercules
Sculpted parapet on high
My eye descends a rainbow of design.
In a corner a heap of books,
Knowledge and experience:

"Expende Hannibalem: quot libras in duce summo invenies?"

Dear Diary: in the city,
Filth and degeneration,
Grey paper-strewn streets,
Dried-up fountains of concrete
"rubbish shit scratch dung poison".

Le monde, Le monde,
My paragon unchanged by time
Je t'aime beaucoup.

Carpe diem.

[23.01.12 and 03.02.12: In the light of recent sad events I have decided to rewrite parts of the above post. I have kept a copy of the original.]

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