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.

Saturday 31 October 2015

such a warm day!, bronzed and coppered and yellow leaf-fall, i am the man who lives in a shoe, decades, narrative, ux, ugdip

Such a warm day! We sat out at the pub as if it was summer and I dug the allotment in a T-shirt.

Strange to be cycling through an autumn landscape with bronzed and coppered and yellowed leaf-fall in such weather. Part of you wonders if the sights you are seeing can quite be right.

Revisited my life-writing book, I Am the Man Who Lives in a Shoe (formerly, Trust: A family story), this week. The text was 'finished' a while back but inevitably time means that one sees it in a different light and there are things to change and strengthen, not least as far as the typesetting is concerned. I think that after this week's work it is substantially there now. It is in a fit state to run past people in the professional writing world to get feedback.

It's been curious to re-read it this week. Partly because the reading of it creates connections in one's mind and reveals new insights into the events of the last three decades or so. Partly because one watches the players in this sad drama and wishes so much that one could intervene and stop them from damaging themselves so deeply.

It was interesting to read an excellent article on life-writing narratives, focusing on Doris Lessing and Alison Bechdel, in the excellent Narrative magazine - October issue (available to University readers via OxLIP+).

Fascinating day at Imperial College mid-week learning about Ux (User Experience) surveys.

Preparing for my Undergrad Diploma in Creative Writing seminars - a course I have been teaching since 2007. Very much looking forward to meeting the students week after next.

Monday 26 October 2015

last runners, other harvests

Last runner beans and other harvests.

Saturday 24 October 2015

marking finished, rare weekend, digging, final final harvest?!, loved the visualization intro!

Finished finals marking on Thursday and so have a rare weekend of just doing not too much before I start on preparations for a seminar series and some publishing-related work.

Went up to the allotment at first light. There looked to have been some rain in the night but the ground was OK to dig. Did an hour and a half before the heavy rains came.

It's still so warm, though! I noticed there were runners to pick. Tomorrow must be the final harvest, mustn't it! The day the clocks go back. An extraordinary autumn.

Loved Alfie Abdul-Rahman's intro to visualization at the Bodleian Centre for Digital Scholarship on Thursady - see last week's post!

Sunday 18 October 2015

library, last of the runner beans?, log fires, marking, introduction to visualization in digital scholarship

As I tweeted, yesterday I worked at the library and had a lovely walk into town along the Oxford canal beforehand.

Today I went to the allotment early to do some digging and tidying. Also harvested what really must be the last runner beans. They have done wonderfully well this year - amazing to think that there still haven't been any frosts. At least in west Oxfordshire.

Nevertheless, we have at last started having log fires, though we haven't yet turned on the central heating.

Over the past ten days a fair amount of time has been taken up by finals marking. Not long to go now, however.

Looking forward to attending Alfie Abdul-Rahman's talk at the Weston Library's Centre for Digital Scholarship on Thursday: Introduction to Visualization in Digital Scholarship.

Saturday 10 October 2015

rising sun, leaves turning, last apple, first fire - not, ipm, digital bodleian

Gorgeous, rich, egg-yolk rising sun - seen from Cowleaze Corner this morning.

A few days ago it was difficult to spot the autumn in the trees but today leaves are turning or rippling and spinning from their twigs.

Yet still strangely warm. Haven't had that first fire, though at the beginning of September the temperature dropping at nights made me think it wouldn't be far off.

Before I went cycling, and while sipping tea and munching on the last apple from our first tiny harvest - oh and going through email (it is the start of term and there's masses of it) - there was a fascinating interview on iPM with a man from north Oxfordshire who traced his GI father and warm-hearted step family decades after the end of the Second World War. Well worth a listen!

Also, well worth exploring is the Digital Bodleian website, recently launched!

Tuesday 6 October 2015

somerset, three horse shoes batcombe - good as ever, autumn colour, library tours

Lovely break in Somerset, staying at the Three Horse Shoes at Batcombe, As good as ever.

Beautifully sunny on the first day but wet on the second. Terrific walks both days, though.

Trees not turning as fast as they are in west Oxfordshire but there was some vivid autumn colour.

Tomorrow the library tours for freshers begin.

Saturday 3 October 2015

last summer harvest?, winter veg, oxford noughth week, mst residence

This is probably our last harvest of summer vegetables. The runner beans and the many varieties of Italian courgette are pretty much over now.

Still, there are carrots to come, beetroots and parsnips, spinach and some late-sown winter radishes and salads, and spuds and shallots and onions in the shed.

A beautiful mellow morning spent on the allotment. A haven before Oxford Noughth Week and the arrival of the students.

Loved the MSt Residence earlier this week.