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 7 February 2013

a conscious englishman by margaret keeping published today

I'm very proud that A Conscious Englishman by Margaret Keeping is officially published today by StreetBooks.

I've followed the novel's development over several years and always hoped that one day StreetBooks would be able to publish it. The novel's subject, Edward Thomas, has been important to me since the 1990s when I began reading his poetry during the turbulent family times that I have written about elsewhere in this blog. In those days I desperately wanted the family problems to be resolved and dreamt of moving out of Oxford to the countryside. Late at night I would read Thomas' poetry or look at John Nash's paintings and dream of another life. Well, we did move and when I walk through the lanes and fields round Bampton, I am reminded of the images in the poems and paintings and am grateful for the help they gave me to get through that difficult period.

The novel is a wonderful rendering of the last years of Thomas' life. It is told from both Thomas' point of view and that of his wife, Helen. To say that Thomas is the novel's subject is, to an extent, misleading because it neglects Helen's perspective, which is in many ways the book's great strength and is essential for an understanding of the poet. The novel brings the two people's stories together in a brilliantly accessible form that is compelling, beautiful and poignant.

I have been struck by the number of people who have already read the book who say they cried at the end. The ending is very moving.

The novel is available from the StreetBooks website and can also be ordered from bookshops and bought from online retailers (ISBN 978-0-9564242-3-5).

'[Margaret Keeping's] writing is very assured and she has the necessary eye for place, detail, weather and seasons to write about Edward Thomas...especially like the way she's shown the origins of the poems in his observations, and her depiction of the complicated relationships between the main characters. 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.' Linda Newbery, author of Set in Stone

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendation Frank. Cathy x