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Robert John Goddard
Seeheim-Jugenheim
So - who am I? I was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, in 1952. I attended the local school until 1963, passed the 11 plus exam and went to Rutlish School, Wimbledon. I have a B.A. in History (1976), a Postgraduate Diploma in International Marketing (1990), and a Masters Degree in Education (1996). I have lived and worked in Italy, Portugal, Jordan and Germany. All of my novels contain elements of my experiences in these places. I currently live near Frankfurt with my German wife and 11-year-old son, Anton. I also have a 36-year-old son, Alexander, from my first marriage.
Recent Activity
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There is little doubt that nostalgia can be a useful spark for writing a book. Evidence is the market for memoirs and books that deal with the twenties or with WW2. But if readers are looking for a better place than the present, they need to watch out! Was the... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Thoughts and words
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Most writers will have experienced the one that got away; that is, the story that appears at some random moment and disappears just as quickly. They swear they will remember it but when the time comes to write the idea down, they find it is gone forever. Thomas Hardy apparently... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Thoughts and words
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In 1992, I was back in England after many years abroad. I met an old friend from the 1960s and was struck by how far we had grown apart. It inspired me to write this story - published later that year. The story is entitled, "Dick." God knew what had... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Memories of childhood affect most of us. Perhaps we see these flashbacks as more genuine than adult memories, but they certainly have a poetic quality about them and a mysterious force. One of my memories is of watching Film Noir on BBC TV's Sunday afternoon Film Matinee in the early... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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The following article was written by me in 1994 after a 3-week assignment in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The article was published in a local newspaper. I include the article on this blog because it demonstrates how far aspects of other culture can inspire us - even if... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Every year in the 1990s I would spend a "white week" skiing in the Dolomites. Every year, same people from the same German ski club and the same ski resort. I noticed Klaus because he would often stand still and appear to contemplate the terrain. He would half-close his eyes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Every German knows about the Holocaust. They have grown up with it and have been told about it in schools. Many have also been asked, as adolescents, how they intend to deal with their own guilt. "What guilt?" you may ask. We are talking children of the 1960s here. What... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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The 750 inhabitants of Herxheim Am Berg have really got their clangers in a twist. The problem is: what to do with the hideous find in the church tower? (below). No, this is not the discovery of skeletons of murdered children. Nonetheless, the find is causing no end of trouble... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Was it a memory that tormented them? Most of "them" were probably over 75 and old enough to remember. They stood still and stared, but their faces were blank - no fear, no joy, nothing at all. Were these blank faces a sign to keep the strangers at a distance... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Seventy-five years ago, on this day - 2 February - the German 6th army in Stalingrad surrendered to the Russians. Hindsight tells us that this was one of the turning points of WW2. In December 2017, I posted the pic below. The wording on the drawing is "1942 Christmas in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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So - what on earth motivates an otherwise sane individual to spend all that time writing something that, statistically, very few people will ever read? I suspect that writers have a myriad of reasons. Writing for the money would not be one of them. If its money the writer wants,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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“Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." The above disclaimer usually appears on opening the pages of a new novel. Several fellow writers have reported to me that they are often asked whether the characters in their stories are based either on people they know or on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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How has it come to this? I thought while opening up the throttle and accelerating fast up the Amman to Jerash road. The Ex-Jordanian-army BSA thundered through the desert, and the corners of my Kuffieh flapped in the wind. I was Lawrence of Arabia. It was 1973. What is going... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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He styles himself His Royal Highness King Marcio and he has lived in a sandcastle for 22 years. Here is his castle in the pic below. It is on the beach in an upmarket area of Rio. Fake news? Apparently not. He says he likes the ephemeral lifestyle and that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Regular readers of my blog will already know that the relationship between past and present is a theme that comes up time and time again in my short stories and novels. So it should come as no surprise at all that old buildings and ruins also fascinate me. I also... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Imagine you are standing on a street corner. The woman walking past you has a cigar between her teeth and two poodles trotting behind her. What would you make of this woman? Would you see her as an eccentric but interesting woman you would like to get to know? Suppose... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Have a look at this woman below. What do you make of her? She could be the lady who lives next door, couldn't she? The neighbourly neighbour we would all like to have. She lived in the US for 20 years and, sure enough, neighbours and friends described her as... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2017 at Thoughts and words
Robert John Goddard added a favorite at Thoughts and words
Dec 23, 2017
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Quite easy this. The chances of getting caught are minimal. So, you have access to the sick and dying because you are an ambulance worker. You inject a vein with air - causing death by embolism. Then, you recommend a funeral agency linked to the Sicilian mafia. You get a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2017 at Thoughts and words
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Have a look at this drawing (charcoal on paper). It was sketched by Dr Kurt Reuber (1906-1944) in his "medical" bunker in Stalingrad Christmas 1942. The drawing depicts mother and child. Round the edge of the paper, Dr Reuber has written: 1942 Christmas in the Kessel - Fortress Stalingrad -... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2017 at Thoughts and words
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I am often asked where I get ideas from. "You must be very imaginative," people say. Well, not really. Most of my ideas come from real life, that is - real situations, real conversations (often overheard conversations) and real people - past or present. For example, meet Cora Pearl (nee... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at Thoughts and words
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Music is very often associated with people and/or places from the past, whether we like it or not. The soundtrack of our lives - those songs or other pieces of music that will forever be associated with certain events and people that influenced us. Writers can use this phenomenon, too.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2017 at Thoughts and words
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There is nothing remarkable about the village of Dornheim in Hessen. But you might take up the invitation written on this memorial to "verweile und gedenke" or "stop and think" in English. In 1939, Dornheim had around 2000 inhabitants. By 1945, about 200 of Dornheim's men had either gone missing... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2017 at Thoughts and words
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I get the impression that many people believe writers write about themselves. I cannot say whether this is true or not. All I can say is my novels are not about me! Why should anyone be interested in the author? However, I can say that I use some of my... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2017 at Thoughts and words
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Lost Property was partly inspired by the current refugee crisis in Germany. But I also wanted to draw parallels with the refugee crisis in post-war Germany. In 1945, Germany was in ruins and yet it had to accept and assimilate ethnic German refugees kicked out of their ancestral homes in,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2017 at Thoughts and words