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 14 October 2012

frost, gang warfare, typesetting, editing, landscapes

Up fairly early this morning because I'm marking finals scripts later. A misty start to the day.

There was a frost too and cycling was chilly as well as beautiful. When I had to brake because of an oncoming car along Calcroft Lane, I felt the tyres slip and the memory of when I came off last December returned to me and made me shudder. I've continued to feel twinges in different parts of my body all year and it's only recently that they've pretty much gone. Do not want to repeat the experience!

Yesterday, I worked at the Taylor. Had a lovely walk down the Oxford canal beforehand but when I turned into Gloucester Green bus station, heading for Caffè Nero, I suddenly noticed police tape across the entrance to the square. I asked the guy selling London tickets what was happening. There had been a fight between two gangs after the clubs emptied and one person lost an eye and another was critically ill in hospital with stab wounds. 'That's where it happened,' he said, pointing. 'There's the blood.' The pool was magenta and looked surprisingly fresh. I decided to get away from the scene-of-crime police and photographers and head for another cafĂ© on St Giles. As I walked along the top of the square looking at the debris and little yellow numbered markers by the discarded belts (weapons, I suppose) and other evidence, I felt very sad for the young lives blighted by the drunken evening--both the victims and the people who'll end up behind bars.

Meanwhile, I've been typesetting and editing A Conscious Englishman. Apart from anything else, I'm enjoying reading the novel again. The wonderful descriptions of nature and landscapes seem so far removed from what I saw at Gloucester Green. Btw the novel's author, Margaret Keeping, has just started a blog about her experience of the StreetBooks publishing process.

Which is about it for now.

1 comment:

  1. I like the compassion in your thoughts about that horrible fight, Frank. A different Oxford, one I used to be much more aware of when I(and Marc) worked at the Probation Day Centre in the 90's but now never see.