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. 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 nightmares 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, rural west Oxfordshire, where I live, the seasons and the countryside, walking and cycling) and I hope that these, together with their accompanying photos, are enjoyable and positive. In February 2020, jtns will be ten years old and there will be no further posts. It will then become a contained work of life-writing about me and the past ten years of my life. Frank, December 2019

Sunday, 19 August 2018

oxford creative writing summer school, self-explanatory?, riverbank plants, produce, kentish treasures
























Gosh, the Exeter College Creative Writing Summer School sped by. Two groups this year so quite a lot to do. But what groups - loved working with them.

Talked about and read from Trust: A family story at my plenary session, which was entitled Self-explanatory? The blurb read as follows:

This talk is about life, fiction and some of the varied forms of life-writing: memoir; real-time (blogging); and poetry. It is a personal story that explores broader writing questions, including relative truth – neither the self nor the past stand still, it seems – the value of life-writing and our ethical responsibilities to others... and to ourselves. The talk includes readings of prose and poetry.

There were a lot of questions at the end. I was touched by the positive comments.

Worked in Oxford yesterday. Lovely walk beforehand, including along the Thames to Port Meadow from Osney. Took the photos above on Fiddler's Island. The banks orgiastic with riverbank plants.

Have been enjoying the James Grieves. They are delicious this year - sharp but sweet. Today I harvested some 'quick' beetroots, spuds, French and runner beans, courgettes and cucumbers. Also did some digging - this was before the still-fierce sun came out and the plot felt quite autumnal. J is making cheese sauce for the beetroots to have with ham hock.

Meanwhile, J went to Kent last week and came back with three excellent Shepherd Neame beers, including the classic Master Brew, and a bottle of Westwell Naughty Hare Chardonnay. The last of these was outstanding! An extraordinary mineraliness that reminded me of the curious flint you get in some of the more intriguing Côtes du Rhônes.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

first james grieve, roasting hot!, cucumbers, onions and shallots























Our first apple of the season - a James Grieve faller.

Softer flesh than last year but an intense sweet flavour.

Roasting hot out - and inside the house. Yet things on the plot are keeping going. Excellent cucumbers this year! Onions and shallots lifted yesterday in the end.