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.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

boxing day walk, empathy, marriage foundation article in the times, conted, rosa stromeyer

A lovely Boxing Day walk along the Thames from Tadpole Bridge to Old Man's Bridge (shown above). Gorgeous sunshine.

Loved yesterday - including, before our lunch, a Radio 4 programme about empathy, which preceded the Queen's speech. Jane Davis, founder of the Reader (an organisation that works 'to connect people with great literature through shared reading'), said, 'How do you manage your feelings in relation to someone you both love and hate?...Books are brilliant for that kind of complexity.' Which made me think - then and today - of how I felt as a child. I remembered this programme when reading an article in today's Times about the 1.04 million children that find themselves in unhappy homes at Christmas. This shockingly high figure was revealed by a survey commissioned by the Marriage Foundation and the article very much struck a chord. I hope I can still feel compassion for both my parents when I remember the terrible rows that blighted my childhood and how unhappy they both were - while also being very aware of the awful damage caused by these rows, then and for decades to come.

Meantime, I much enjoyed recommending open educational resources (OERs) in Creative Writing for the Christmas webpage published by Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education. It's great to read those suggested by tutors in other subjects too.

I also loved the ContEd blog post about Rosa Stromeyer, who taught at an earlier incarnation of Rewley House in the late nineteenth century. A story that made me immensely proud to work in Oxford's continuing education department.

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