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.

Thursday 17 May 2012

wolvercote green, wio, reviewing the past, john wain, waterman's arms

This was the view across Wolvercote Green from the entrance to the Plough on Tuesday night.

I'd gone there to attend the Writers in Oxford (WiO) AGM--the first I'd been to since standing down as chair in 2010.

It was lovely to see old friends, catch up on what the society is doing and chat about writing and this and that. The evening brought back memories and added to the sense I have at the moment of reviewing the past, somehow. Not sure why I am doing it--I can't help it, I guess--but I am aware that this is what is happening.

Oxford is in any case so full of overlapping memories and connections. John Wain, the novelist and Oxford Professor of Poetry, lived on Wolvercote Green for many years and he regularly used to walk down the canal that runs past the village to the Thames and on to Osney, where he would drink at one of his favourite pubs, The Waterman's Arms (now, the Punter...though the water running by is really too deep for punting). The pub features in my novel The Lock (as the Narrow Boat) and was one of the key settings in John Wain's wonderful Where the Rivers Meet trilogy. It was John's son Will who published The Lock under his Smaller Sky Books imprint in 2001 (ebook) and 2003 (paperback). Memories, connections...

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