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Robert John Goddard
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 14-year-old son, Anton. I also have a 38-year-old son, Alexander, from my first marriage. I have written 6 novels and 2 novellas as well as several short stories and a book for university teachers entitled: "Teaching English for International Business." People frequently ask me what my books are about! That is a difficult one to answer but I often begin my reply by saying the books are not about me or my life and, to a certain extent, this is true. However, there are a number of themes that I come back to again and again. The first of these is how the past can impact on the present, and the second theme, perhaps related to the first, is the relationship between parents and children. Why is this? Perhaps because I have been fascinated by history as long as I can remember and that fascination remained intact even after studying the subject at university. History has not helped much in my academic career but it has clearly influenced me in more subtle ways that I only now recognise. When I am not writing, I do some teaching; I study German and keep fit by cycling and walking in the hills between Darmstadt and Heidelberg either alone or with my wife and son.
Recent Activity
I started writing when I was 40, and I now have nine novels selling on Amazon, and a number of short stories published in the small press. For me, writing is not a hobby, it is a need I had been longing to fulfil since childhood, but only in my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2024 at Thoughts and words
A friend of mine recently commented that his elderly mother tended to repeat the same old memories time and time again. Perhaps, this repetition is a characteristic of many older people and it is hardly a surprising one. By the time people reach a certain age, they've accumulated enough life... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2023 at Thoughts and words
The monkey candle-holder stands next to a row of books in my sitting-room. The poor monkey has not held a candle for years. On the wall beside the animal is the oil paining still in its ornate gold frame. I wonder if it misses its sibling picture - somewhat smaller... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2023 at Thoughts and words
In his memoir, "Goodbye to all that," Robert Graves recalled his meeting with Thomas Hardy. Graves Writes: "As we walked around the garden, Hardy paused at a spot near the greenhouse. He had once been pruning a tree here when an idea for a story suddenly entered his head. The... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Apparently, psychologists have found that - as a rule - one-way love is more common than two-way love. One-way love - or the so-called "unrequited" love - has proved to be one of the great themes of literature and drama. Below are four examples. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Seattle to San Francisco road trip in 3 weeks mostly along highway 1. Eight stopovers in eight different places. At first, we see the new place through the lens of the previous one but it doesn't take long to adapt to the new hotel, the new environment and the new... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Toast? Do you want wheat or rye? Any other beverages beside water? Sunny side up or down? How do you like your fish? Soft or medium? Coffee? With or without? This your vehicle? Where are you from? Where have you been? What have you seen? The blogs that follow over... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2023 at Thoughts and words
It might be trite to say that the bicycle journey is more important than the destination. On the other hand, it might not be trite at all. Imagine biking over the Alps to Italy in order to visit your beloved. I am not sure this lover would be impressed if... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2023 at Thoughts and words
I don't see myself as an irritable person but, like most of us, a state of irritation can result from a harmless question - (or is it a thoughtless question or a throw-away question designed to fill an uncomfortable silence?). While getting older, that question is asked more frequently and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2023 at Thoughts and words
It is in the muted colours - the blue and the grey. There is a ghost from the past and it haunts this painting. The ghost gives this painting its beauty. The ghost gives this painting the bitterness that makes us shudder. Distant fog hangs over the painting. A question... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Do you ever get enjoyment at the misfortunes of others? The Germans have a word for it - schadenfreude. It seems to be true that many of us love people who are larger than life - a kind of hero, in fact - somebody like Robin Hood or Cristiano Ronaldo.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Just finished Julian Barnes's latest novel, Elizabeth Finch. I must admit to loving Barnes's novels. I read Barnes's The Only Story while on holiday in Morocco a few years ago, and I loved it - at least, that is what memory tells me. Perhaps, in retrospect, it was a sense... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2023 at Thoughts and words
There might be a certain fixation on 20th century creatives and drugs use. It may also be a myth! Did all creatives in the 1960s use drugs and alcohol in order to channel inspiration and make better art? While this may be true for some creators, it may well be... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Instructed to write a short story in slightly old-fashioned style, ChatGPT came up with this little beauty! On an evening of fog and faint moonlight, I found myself on the cusp of history and mystery, drawn to the Roman ruins near my home. My name is Robert Goddard, an enthusiast... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Life, we are sometimes told, is a journey, not a destination. How we live, moment-by-moment, is what constitutes our lives. And if we find a passion in life, we are free to fill our moments with that passion. People, or some people, think they might be missing out if every... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Walking clears my mind of busy thoughts, each step forming a rhythm to think with. It makes me aware of my body and of the ground beneath my feet. In movement, I feel most like myself. Having said that, it seems that there are some walks in some places which... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Whether or not we can trust our memories is a rich seam for writers to mine. What really happened that night in 1968, 20 years ago? What really went on that evening of the 1971 graduation ball? One thing is certain. If you find 10 people who were at that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2023 at Thoughts and words
I had a dream today. I dreamed of bluebells over the white cliffs of Dover, of Good Queen Bess and Robin Hood, of battles won on the playing fields of Eton, of Francis Drake who found time to finish his game of bowls and deal with the Spaniards, too. I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Next time I am in the US, I will visit the grave of one of my favourite poets - Robert Frost. The ideas and themes expressed in his poems have been an enormous inspiration for me. The extracts below are from two of my favourite poems. The first poem -... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Weihnachten 1949. Es war ein trauriger Tag – die gedrückte Stimmung unsere Mutter prägte diesen Heiligen Abend. Nicht nur die Tatsache, dass sie noch immer keine Nachricht über das Schicksal ihres Mannes und unseres Vaters erhalten hatte – sein letzter Brief war vom 24 Juni 1944, was uns allen an... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2023 at Thoughts and words
How and why do rulers use myth to validate their power? The question is pressing because today 6 May 2023 is the day Charles will be crowned in Westminster Abbey and I cannot help almost falling victim to the skills and the myths of the royal marketing man. The coronation... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2023 at Thoughts and words
Vater unser… Es war Weihnachten 1944. Mein Papa war Soldat und kaempfte irgendwo im Schuetzengraben fuer „Fuehrer, Volk und Vaterland.“ Eines Tages erhielten wir Post, die nicht erkennen liess, woher sie kam. Es gab ja nur eine Feldpostnummer. Mein Papa schrieb: Es besteht die Moeglichkeit, dass ich einige Tage Urlaub... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2023 at Thoughts and words
The following memory is taken from Licht in der Dunkelheit - Light in the Darkness, a book of recollections and stories told by friends and employees of the German War Graves Commission. I have included the original German - in italics - for those who can read it. .. and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2023 at Thoughts and words
This citizen of the world, with much of the child still in him, had not one painting that didn't breathe with Bella, blue and Belarus. Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2023 at Thoughts and words
I love these words - the speech given by a father to his son in the film: Call me by your name. It tells us that it is better to feel something, good or bad, than to feel nothing at all even when those feelings might be inappropriate. "When you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2023 at Thoughts and words