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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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I'm pretty sure that several of my childhood memories are actually memories of seeing myself in photos. I am equally sure that I remember the events shown - especially since the memories in question are ones I have had since... well, since they happened, of course, at some point in... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Thoughts and words
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Recently, I read that, in David Copperfield, Charles Dickens was exorcising childhood trauma. I also read that Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits began as a letter to her dying grandfather when she could not reach him in time. There is also no doubt in my mind that WW1 played... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Well written! What does that mean? Does it mean that the grammar is correct? And if it means that the grammar is correct, I will ask to which type of grammar the speaker is referring - prescriptive grammar or descriptive grammar. The first is grammar that tells us how we... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Here is a picture of my writing room. As you can see, it is plain and white and uncluttered. I like it that way. People often say (they don't ask) that writing must be a very lonely task - sitting in a white and uncluttered room with only yourself for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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In this article, originally entitled "Stiff upper lip - memoirs of a non-combatant" C.A.Goddard reflects on his time at an English boarding school (Ottershaw) in the early 1960s, on stiff upper lips and changing attitudes. A feature of our leisure time at Ottershaw was the Saturday evening entertainment. This took... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Cecil Roberts (1892-1976) was an English novelist, poet and dramatist. He was a prolific writer and his novels were very popular in his lifetime. He is now almost forgotten. His books include A Terrace in the Sun and the Pilgrim Cottage trilogy. During my teens, I read and enjoyed many... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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One of the disadvantages of writing fiction oneself is that it can make you (with the emphasis on the word "can") rather too critical of the work of others. But the opposite can also be true. Just before Christmas 2017 I was searching for an additional present for my wife.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Imagine you were desperate to get into a relationship. Along comes a suitable candidate - just the right age, the right educational background and sexually attractive, and she seems willing to accommodate you. Sounds great! But there is a catch. In order for you to be considered a good match,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Memories of old friends/lovers. The end of a relationship and the feelings of loss that can follow and linger for a long, long time. Memories of old friends/lovers are a great source of inspiration for writers. Think of The Great Gatsby, The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Imagine a chance encounter in a London pub, a meeting with a stranger at the bar and the subsequent discovery that you are the descendent of a well-known aristocrat. Alternatively, imagine that you are on your way to work one day and you encounter a woman about to throw herself... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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What do Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks novels) and James Joyce have in common with Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Victor Hugo, Pablo Neruda, Isabel Allende and Vladimir Nabokov? Well, of course, you might exclaim, they were all writers, weren't they? So much is true - but they also lived long periods... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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They were interviewing motorists stranded in the snow on the M8 this morning. They all seemed happy. It occurred to me that, perhaps, this happiness came from the anticipation of a free day. It also occurred to me that their happiness might stem from the fact that for several hours,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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War, peace and remembrance have inspired, and still inspire, artists and writers. I have personal experience of many people who served in WW2 and when I think of these meetings now, the words "national purpose" and "community" and "common goals" still ring in my head. It seems that the war... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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In 1992, I was working at Manchester Business School and grabbed at the opportunity to become part of a project in St Petersburg. At the time, Perestroika - a policy of limited economic reform - was in full swing. Perestroika was designed to restructure the Soviet economy and turn it... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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I don't usually write about politics on this blog but I am so depressed about what is going on in Syria at the moment that I felt I had to do something. I ended up putting a post on Facebook. Here it is in full: "I saw a Muslim woman... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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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 Feb 20, 2018 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 Feb 17, 2018 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