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 2 April 2016

oxford, geese, pool, jacob's room, sublime, best americano

Working in Oxford today.

The land warms up and spring flowers appear along the canal and Thames. Yet the reflections of the trees in the pool below Bossoms boatyard remain winter-stark.

Back to work this week after our wonderful Easter break.

Making some time for reading, though. A revelation has been Jacob's Room, a novel dipped into some years ago and forgotten. Reading it now on the bus on my phone (Project Gutenberg edition) and loving it. While the plot and the scene structures are broad and ought not to have much momentum, they really do compel you. Why? It's the beauty of the descriptions and the sharpness of the observations, whether of landscape or townscape or social situations, together with the audacious handling of perspective, space and time. Boundaries are freely broken, so that we switch from character's to character's point of view in the third person, so that the narrative loops and spools, unifying the world and the people. Well, of course, Virginia Woolf does that elsewhere to stultifying, straight-jacketing effect, but here, everything is kept light and sublimely supple.

Enjoying a regular American at Maison Blanc - the best coffee in Oxford, I feel. Soon heading for the library.

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