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 26 February 2017

snowdrops and aconites, not to mention marsh marigolds, first plotting, mixed feelings about a felled eucalyptus, bs johnson at the finborough, hockney and the nashes

Lovely to see the snowdrops and aconites appearing in the garden and on the verges when I'm walking to work in Oxford and cycling at the weekend. Not to mention the marsh marigolds in the ditches along Calcroft Lane, near Clanfield!

First working half-hour or so on the allotment this year earlier. Pruning blackcurrants. The cut wood smelling of the juice of the fruit. Also harvested some leeks and, after a late breakfast, went to the shed to fetch Desiree spuds from their sack that hangs from the rafters.

Had mixed feelings about the felling of the eucalyptus that overshadowed our plot. It has provided welcome shade from the sun over the years and, now, the allotment field feels awfully bare without it. Yet its roots or its leaves - people tell you different things - was killing the ground.

Just had a heads up from a friend that her productions of three plays by the astonishing, magnificent BS Johnson are on at the Finborough Theatre in March. A terrific prospect!

Wonderful memories of seeing the Hockney exhibition at the Tate a fortnight ago. Went straight from that into the Nash retrospective. The former uplifted, the latter perplexed and fascinated but never quite did it for me. I in any case prefer the work of Nash's brother John. I have a suspicion that this makes me a lightweight - but so be it!

Saturday 18 February 2017

facing the strange by sb sweeney

Official publication

Facing the Strange by SB Sweeney is now officially published and is available from online retailers globally as a paperback and from Amazon as a Kindle ebook.

Now busy planning the launch party at Blackwell's on the 16th March, 7 pm.  Readers of this blog welcome - let me know you'll be there (info@streetbooks.co.uk).

Facing the Strange

A rock musician on the brink, his drunken father and the grieving widow of a murder victim. Facing the Strange is a tale of three lives in free-fall at the end of the analogue age – the lives of three characters that hold the key to one another's redemption.

'One great long drunken rambling guitar solo of a novel!'
Tim Pears

'SB Sweeney writes with a clarity and wit that brings to life the less glossy side of the eighties: a world of squats, bedroom bands and cheap drugs, where a CV most likely meant a pint of cider and Vimto. The intriguing and intertwining tales make an addictive read.'
Deb Googe: My Bloody Valentine and The Thurston Moore Group

'It's La bohème meets Trainspotting, with the structure of a dream; a hole in the wall of the ordinary, an extraordinary landscape beyond.'
Roger Ashton-Griffiths: Actor and Writer

Find out more at the StreetBooks website:

Explore author SB Sweeney's website:

Sunday 5 February 2017

longest january, bug, software nightmare!, samantha wynne-rhydderch at kellogg, sb sweeney's brilliant facing the strange

Am I the only person who thinks that last month was the longest January on record?

Perhaps it was the bug I succumbed to early in the New Year that laid me low or the dark days that seemed to dominate.

Despite the, rhetorical, question at the head of this post, my impression is that a lot of people have been laid low during the weeks since the Christmas holidays.

My experience of last week, with the change of month, didn't altogether lift my spirits. There was the major software failure on my now previous phone to contend with. A choice of reset and lose all your diary and notes data or transfer the info manually ensued.

Ironic that the day before I had been chatting with a colleague about how overmuch we rely on these devices of ours.

On the plus side, the manual transferring of data does force you to make choices. How much rubbish I keep on my phone! Smartphone? If only the operator was as smart!

Not that the week hasn't had its highlights  I very much enjoyed Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch's talk about her wonderfully thought-provoking and entertaining poetry at the Kellogg College Centre of Creative Writing. See: http://www.rhydderch.com.

And, of course, I'm looking forward to the release of SB Sweeney's brilliant novel, Facing the Strange, which is officially out on Thursday 9th February, but the publication of which is spread over the coming two months - Oxford launch at Blackwell's on Thursday 16th March, for example. See http://www.streetbooks.co.uk.