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 15 November 2015

philadelphus in flower!, conspiracism, arvon courses

Having written about the inexorable creep of winter yesterday, today I noticed that the philadelphus is in flower in our garden. Six months early...

Read a rather fascinating book review in the Sunday Times earlier about conspiracism. The book is called Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories (Bloomsbury Sigma) and is written by academic psychologist Rob Brotherton.

The concluding sentences of the review give a flavour of the whole:

'He does admit that conspiracism is more common among people less satisfied with life, or those who feel they have less control over it. And he does regret that “you can’t win when you’re fighting a conspiracy that doesn’t exist”.

'As for fighting conspiracism in ourselves, we can try to compensate for our brain’s reflexes with evidence and reason, but we are unlikely to win. If three people were on a desert island, Brotherton says, it wouldn’t be long before each was “wondering if the other two were up to something behind their back”.' Review by James McConnachie.

Just been thumbing through the Arvon creative writing courses book for 2016. I went on an Arvon course in 2002 at Totleigh Barton in Devon with David Flusfeder and Louisa Young as tutors and Patrick Gale as guest author. It was a magical, enriching experience. You can find out about the courses on the Arvon website too.
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