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.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

bridges, graffiti, port meadow, puny, tarkovsky

Had a great walk on Saturday, which I've not had time to write about since.

I had to work in Oxford on Saturday, starting at 10 but because there is no 8 am bus from Bampton, I had to get the 7, so had plenty of time in hand when I got to the top of the Woodstock Road before 8.

Loved walking down the canal then along Aristotle Lane and over the railway onto Port Meadow.

Funny doing this walk because it follows the melancholy path that the Oxford don Gerald takes when things are unravelling for him in my first novel The Lock. His walk in turn echoes one that his wife Elizabeth took when she was puzzling over his strange behaviour--he was having an affair with one of his graduate students. Graffiti features on the steel bridges over the railway line in the novel and the real ones are still covered with spray paint even now, over a decade on. Yet the images are new and refreshed.

Port Meadow remains its wonderful huge romantic, tragic, uplifting, louring self. On this occasion, quite wonderfully spacious and lit up.

As I walked I contemplated the 20k word piece I've written recently about what I went through between 1988 and the present within the family. I wrote this during the week I had off after Easter and had completed the revisions the night before my walk. My head was still buzzing that morning--trying to comprehend the enormity of the suffering that had passed during those many years and which was suddenly being made more-or-less portable through the writing of it. Suddenly made puny through the writing of it. The cruelty of others suddenly rendered in its proper proportion for the first time in over two decades.

It was a beautiful and strange walk that Saturday morning.

Finished off with the Tarkovsky-like underworld beneath the last bridge before the station that I crossed through on my way back to the city.

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