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, 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.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

colin grant, kellogg, great brook lane, bart van es

Really enjoyed Colin Grant's talk at the Kellogg College Creative Writing Seminar on Wednesday. A convivial - and delicious -guest night dinner afterwards.

Have been cycling along the Great Brook lane quite a bit recently after an extended period of doing different routes. The lane is long, straight and relatively even, with meadows either side at the western end (the one that floods) and arable fields towards Chimney, the ground having risen a foot or so by then.

The meadows are bright green and the verges are already abundant tangles of leaf and flower.

Looking forward to a joint Writers in Oxford and Kellogg College event on Monday - Bart van Es will be talking about his Cota-winning book, The Cut Out Girl.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

abraham-isaac-jacob, trust: a family story, rewriting and editing completed, library, book launch

Came across this striking plant south of Wolvercote beside the Oxford canal yesterday. I can't remember seeing it before and identification took a while. At first I thought it might be Russian Comfrey but a different book led me to the glorious name Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, a member of the Borage family. But why that name, though? It appears to have been given to a number of plants over the years, including Pulmonaria or Lungwort (also known as Wounded Soldiers).

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Have now finished the Trust: A family story rewrites and edits. Working steadily in the early mornings, the evenings and at weekends, the pace of the process increased.

When I first returned to the text two months ago, I'd expected I would simply read through last autumn's version and sign it off. I was downcast when I realised that there was still work to do. For a day or so I wondered if I would ever finish.

Having re-read the first section of the book over the past couple of days, I feel confident that there will be few further changes - initiated by me, at least.

What remains is going through the annotated Word document and confirming the edits - all marked in red (green, second pass) as additions or crossings out. I considered tracked changes but decided against them because I want to keep very close to the work and the text as I proceed.

There will be a final read through - which is bound to turn up minor corrections - but the work that is left won't take long.

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At the library in Oxford today - to be preceded by a walk along the canal (past Abraham-Isaac-Jacob). Also looking forward to a friend's book launch in the village.