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 18 November 2012

trailer, autumn days, wio 20th, fox, snowdrops, tunes

A mix of gloomy, leaden days, this week--like yesterday--and beautiful sunshine, like Wednesday and today. On the sunny days the autumn leaves have been glorious.

Yesterday we went to the Writers in Oxford (WiO) twentieth anniversary party, which was held in the room in Worcester College where the society was founded. It all came about when two Oxford-based writers were returning from a Society of Authors meeting in London and decided to see if there was any interest in a more local group. When they contacted fellow Oxford authors, far more than expected turned up to the inaugural meeting and WiO was born. It now has around 200 members. I edited the Oxford Writer, the society's newsletter, in the early Noughties and was chair from 2008-2010.

When we arrived at Worcester we met Brian Aldiss, who used to send me updates when I edited the newsletter, including news of the Steven Spielberg film AI, which was based on one of his stories (Super-Toys Last All Summer Long). As we wandered towards the building where the party was being held we saw first a fox, nonchalantly strolling across the lawn, and secondly, clumps of snowdrops out beneath one of the trees. A somewhat surreal experience!

It was lovely to see so many old friends. There were speeches from Brian, Philip Pullman, the current chair Denise Cullington and one of the two people who came up with the idea for a society on the train, Jenyth Worsley. (Sadly the other founder, William Horwood couldn't be at the party.) Philip remembered a memorable gathering at his house, when the whisky writer, the late Michael Jackson, gave a talk and cracked open many rare whiskies from his private collection. I remember that evening well--it was the greatest of fun.

Today, I got up early to work on A Conscious Englishman--the typesetting is nearly done. I also downloaded Daniel Merriweather's Red and Mad World by Gary Jules (loved the film in which the Tears for Fears cover featured, Donnie Darko). I bought T-Mobile versions of both tracks but they don't work on the Blackberry and I've been meaning to replace them for ages! Yesterday evening, after getting back from the party, listened to David Gray's Life in Slow Motion. Hadn't heard that for a while--still pretty great.

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