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. 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

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

brrrr! what's new! all-weather towpath, what's left of me is yours by stephanie scott



Brrrr! Frosty morning. But then it's soon going to be... unseasonably warm again. So, what's new this late winter!

Haven't been able to walk the canal towpath between Wolvercote Green and Aristotle Lane for some months now, not because of the mud - which there would have been in JCB buckets - but because it's being upgraded. The work will soon finish, hopefully. True, a certain amount of rustic charm will go, but the towpath becoming all-weather is very appealing. My office carpet will be less muddy too.

Thrilled to see featured in the Guardian, Oxford MSt in Creative Writing graduate, Stephanie Scott, and her debut novel What's Left of Me is Yours. Several years in the writing, the book's pre-publication buzz is a testament to Stephanie's unwavering professionalism, hard work and dedication to her craft. As her advice to aspiring writers illustrates: 'Persevere and believe in yourself and your project.' Can't wait to read the book when it comes out on 21st April (published by Orion)!

Sunday, 19 January 2020

super-frosty, good riddance to rain, veg, christmas break, brideshead revisited, first week



Super-frosty morning in west Oxfordshire but I'm still hopeful of a cycle later.

Thank goodness the rain's gone. Some downpours at the start of the week were horrendous! One evening, I got off the bus and ran to our car - only about 20m - and I was completely soaked!

Veg has kept going on the allotment but the downside of the frost is that some will probably start to rot.

Wonderful and refreshing Christmas break! Lots of long walks - taking to the high ground above the flooded Thames valley - amazing food, catching up with friends and family, and Victoria and Brideshead Revisited on DVD. I don't think I saw all of the latter when it was originally broadcast, so it's great to watch it all now - and it's fascinating to see the programme again after nearly 40 years. It remains rather wonderful.

First week of term begins tomorrow, though the working year has been busy from the start.