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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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Glancing through my blog, I get the impression that two themes stand out, these are: the pursuit of happiness and the influence that memory can have on our writing. For example, a previous blog on happiness can be found at https://www.thoughtsandwords.eu/blog/2018/12/chasing-happiness.html This piece picks up on the theme of happiness... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Which is the more effective story-telling, the first or the second examples below? Here is the first example. Men and women tend to have a different focus on life. Here is the second example. The phone rings. It is my wife. She has arrived safely in the US. Now I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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A number of well-known books deal with the passage of time. As an ageing man, I feel able to fully engage and empathise with this theme. Nor, of course, and judging by the number of well-known books on the topic, am I alone here. Swanns Way by Proust, Labyrinths by... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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"What is your book about?" Readers often ask me this question. "They are not about me," I reply, but I would say that, wouldn't I? "My writing is not necessarily an act of self-expression," I say. "I take a topic that interests me - war, love, the relationship with the... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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The Only Story by Julian Barnes is the story of a 19-year-old youth who falls in love with a married, middle-aged woman. It is a powerful story about how the passion and tragedy of love dissolve into each other. But for me, it is also about how first love can... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Cigarette in hand, Saville-Row-black-and-white-suited, laughing and joking, he strides through home-made-black-and-white-film and his adored and adoring family. This was the man who said that artists' work should express the country of their birth, their religion, their love affairs. In short, their work should be the sum total of their experiences,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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After a hectic day, my wife consulted her Fitbit and announced her intention of completing her daily quota of steps by going on a "little night walk" around the town. "Night Walk" - what a title for a film, a novel or a novella! "Night Walk." Career woman under stress... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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For sale now on Amazon: "...because it was you..." It is 1990 and 70-year-old novelist Tommy Mostyn thinks he is at the end of the road and that his writing life is over. He decides to spend one last holiday in the Italian city of Verona, a place where he... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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At the time of the Profumo Affair (1961 - 1963) I was between 9 and 11 years old. When the affair blew up, I did not pay much attention to allegations of a sexual liaison between the man in the pic, John Profumo (Secretary of State for War in Harold... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Here's a story. "I was in the pub last night and there was this foreign bloke, loud and aggressive, you know, talking about the Brits and telling everyone what a bunch of idiots they are over Brexit and all that." As it stands, this is not a very interesting story.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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This morning, 16 January 2019, the BBC News is full of Brexit, of yesterday's vote on May's proposed "deal" with the EU. There is a lot of talk about how British business feels about it. Angry, impatient, frustrated are just some of the words used. My immediate thoughts were not... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Mats Staub calls himself a story collector. The stories he collects are personal memories that mirror history. The memories are Erinnerungen ans Erwachsenwerden or "memories of growing up" and the storytellers are "ordinary" people, that is, people like you and me talking about their transition to adulthood. These ordinary people... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Am I the same person I was in 1980? Is there a fundamental “me” which may change a bit but which remains fundamentally the same? Well, what do you think? Do you, dear reader, like to think that staying the way you always were is a sign of your integrity?... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Another language, music, values and history. Can we, as adults, take these on as our own? And if we can, will the people of our adopted country allow you to do it or do they want you to remain different? Should you also take on another history and/or the guilt... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2019 at Thoughts and words
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Well, good resolutions can work in literature and film and, what's more, this change can form the linchpin (what a wonderful word) of the plot. I am asking this question because now is the time for those end of year resolutions and new dawns. I'll stop smoking, lose weight, spend... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Yes, I am as guilty of this as everybody else. "This" concerns what I put on social media. I may be unhappy, disappointed, miserable, depressed and feeling lonely and isolated. After all, it is Christmas and I am thinking of the past, my parents, lost opportunities and chances never taken,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Yesterday, in my blog entitled, "Inspiration from contradiction - double identities or simply human?" I wrote that for writers, the topic of flawed heroes is both fascinating and inspiring. Should our characters be wholly good or wholly bad or a mix of both? Doesn't the latter reflect reality? In other... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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On 31 October 2018, I finished my blog on political correctness with the words, "I do not doubt that the original intention of political correctness was good. Unfortunately, I would argue that effect of political correctness has been to make everyone avoid sensitive topics altogether and that political correctness has... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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I have heard it said that sonatas, plays, poems, sculptures and even sentences and phrases for our books are waiting for us to find and release them. Apparently, Michelangelo said that he released his David from the rock in which he found him. It certainly looks like the figures in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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This individual's story is an inspiration for the struggling writer. His life is a wonderful example of character development and a way to hook the reader to take his side against all the odds. Our story is a classic rags to riches story. Biographies suggest this man was born and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Reading a variety of newspapers has been a habit of mine since studying History at university. Reading widely offers me a wide range of views and perceptions so that, in the end, I can better make up my own mind and decide for myself. This is, perhaps, the most important... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Most parents love their children. I say "most" because I am sure we all know that parents can also hurt and disturb their children. Nonetheless, for most adults, losing parents hurts. And when they are gone, you become an adult orphan and this is something few people can imagine until... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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I wonder if it is the market economy that is persuading people that they can create the person they want to be. Go to anyone bookshop chain and find the self-help section. You can be sure that the shelves will be full of books telling us that life is not... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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Are you fundamentally the same person you were when you were a child and/or a young adult? How, if at all, are you different? These are fascinating questions to approach for anybody and not only writers. And when, as senior citizens, we look back at our younger selves, how accurate... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2018 at Thoughts and words
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There is an exhibition in the nearby town of Bickenbach at the moment. The exhibits are photographs taken by one couple, every year at Christmas, between 1900 and 1945. The couple were Richard Wagner (no relation to the famous composer) and his wife Anna. For me, such photos are inspirational... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2018 at Thoughts and words