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 27 January 2013

mud, hardy celandines, streetbooks on linkedin

After the thaw, mud!

Still, nice to see these two hardy celandines, which were covered by snow till yesterday and are underwater today.

Btw for those in Linkedin, you can now visit the StreetBooks company page.

Saturday 26 January 2013

thaw, a conscious englishman on sale, look inside, burns night, cairn o'mohr spring oak leaf wine

The thaw began last night and this morning, after a lot of rain (flooding predicted in some areas), there is hardly any snow left.

Another rather hectic week. Lots going on at the libraries, there's teaching and marking to do, and the publication of A Conscious Englishman is imminent.

Talking of the forthcoming novel, you can now buy copies from the StreetBooks website and Look Inside on Amazon. (There's also a nifty £5.58 Book Depository copy available on Amazon, I notice. As has been widely noted, the ways of Amazon and pre-publication copies are a mystery!)

Meanwhile, having some friends round for a Burns Night (well nearly) supper this evening. The Cairn O'Mohr spring oak leaf wine arrived yesterday and the Rough Guide to Scottish Folk has been downloaded. Btw the original box of spring oak leaf was damaged--all thanks to Cairn O'Mohr for getting a replacement to us within a day!

Sunday 20 January 2013

snow, change opportunity and uncertainty, ebooks v 'real' books, oxford english, a conscious englishman, margaret keeping, linda newbery

Snow arrived in Oxford and west Oxfordshire on Friday. Some disruption to travel but not much, thankfully. Not as bad as the past two years. The predicted heavy falls this afternoon didn't materialise. The roads will be icy tomorrow, though.

Last week was Oxford First Week and seemed busier than usual. Lots of admin and meetings during it and Noughth Week. All rather fascinating, even so. The impact of the digital revolution is being scrutinised and responded to throughout the University, as plans for the coming years are drawn up. A time of change and opportunity, as well as uncertainty.

Same in publishing, of course. I've been heartened, nevertheless, by some articles about the importance of the book, as opposed to the ebook, recently. There was The Book Bounces Back in last week's Sunday Times and Why Printed Books Will Never Die on Mashable (not behind the News International paywall!). Why was I heartened? Well, having been excited by ebooks for many years, I have to say I do love 'real' books. True, they're bulky and a nightmare to house, whether at home or in libraries, but they are great to work with and enjoy. Academics also raise an interesting point about referencing--the problem of how to cite a page reference, when there are no pages as such in an ebook. Well, I'm sure a way round this will be found--if it hasn't already--but the culture of citation in respect of physical books is so fail-safe and unambiguous. The rise of the ebook won't cease but I hope that e and physical books will co-exist. As my friend Lorna Fergusson put in a discussion recently, 'What I wish is that we could debate all this in a non-confrontational manner accepting that for most of us it's not a case of "either/or" but "both/and".'

Pleased to receive my copy of the second issue of Oxford English, the annual magazine published by the Oxford English Faculty. Well produced, apart from anything else, and only available, as far as I can see, as hard copy.

Meanwhile, very, very pleased to receive some wonderful comments about StreetBooks' forthcoming title, A Conscious Englishman by Margaret Keeping from the novelist Linda Newbery, who wrote: 'Her [Margaret Keeping's] writing is very assured and she has the necessary eye for place, detail, weather and seasons to write about Edward Thomas...I hope the book will reach the wide audience it deserves and feel sure that many others will enjoy it as much as I have.'

Saturday 12 January 2013

back to work, forecast of snow, coal fire, oxford 0th week, fresh eyes

Gosh, a challenging week! A shock to the system, going back to work after the lovely long holiday! Still feeling the benefits, though. One of these has been an unexpected urge to tidy desks and put both my physical and virtual filing systems in order--something not felt for a few years. Colleagues will wonder what's happened!

Somewhat grey and lowering weather, nevertheless. Incredibly warm to begin with but now chilly--with the forecast of snow.

Loved the smell of a coal fire from one of the barges when I was walking along the Oxford canal the other day.

Oxford 0th Week--this past week--seemed earlier than usual. The online course I teach started last Monday and there has been a fair bit to do in respect of other creative writing courses too. All very rewarding, however--as suggested above, the long holiday has meant I've viewed the world of work with fresh eyes! Long may that last.

Friday 4 January 2013

holiday, promise of spring, hedging

Great to have some extra days' holiday. Back at work on Monday.

Meanwhile some signs in the west Oxfordshire countryside that promise spring, including more hedge laying along Calcroft Lane (aka the gated road). The hedging continues the work that started last winter and is wonderful to see.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

sunlight and blue sky, 2013

At least there was sunlight and blue sky!

Happy 2013!!!!
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