Welcome to my blog..


"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty

I am in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I will be getting to know soon. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog will trace the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that'll feature too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June last year my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island. Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.

A recent addendum as of July 1, 2013: I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC but because of immigration rules that'll be slow. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.

As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.

For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For Vickie and those who love her

Just heard from one of my extraordinary friends in London (and I mean that - you all know who you are), that what I wrote for our good friend Vickie was read at the end of the memorial service for her today - it was her birthday today.  Below is what I wrote.  It is apt that her birthday coincides with Mother's Day in the U.S. anyway given the powerful example of love she gave us all.

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For Vickie and those who love her…

I wish I could be there with you all today.  Unfortunately, my teaching schedule and being across an ocean makes that impossible.  Vickie, I know, would understand because she was always making sure her responsibilities were taken care of no matter how she felt.

Those of us who knew her in any context knew this about her: she did absolutely nothing by half-measures.  Speaking of which, today is her birthday and I imagine most of you who are gathered today were at her 50th birthday party last year – what a beautiful celebration that was!  We were all so happy to see Vickie so radiant and Alive.  I thought she had beaten her horrendous illness, and being an American, I’m addicted to happy endings, so that’s the one I wrote for her.

And even though she did die later that same year, the fact is on that day she had beaten her cancer.  That day she was radiant and grasping for every moment of life given to her and damn what courage that took.

That’s another thing we all know about Vickie: she had courage, even when she was afraid or angry or sad, she stayed present for it.  She did not duck or dive out of her disease or her life just because she got handed a horrible diagnosis, a reprieve and then a return.  She was so honest about where she was whenever she was there.  She sought treatment aggressively even when she didn’t want to fight anymore for the sake of those who loved her.

The thing I miss the most about Vickie, however, is her irrepressible sense of humor even in the darkest circumstances.  What I remember every time we talked was no matter how many tears or fears or angry feelings we shared, by the end we were laughing.  This was not the laughter of denial but of a kind of joy, a realization that in that moment no matter what we were both still alive and sharing that time together, along with the absurdity of whatever situation had befallen her or me or us both.

Because here’s the thing, no matter how many happy endings I want, we all die in the end.  That’s about all we do know.  Vickie got ripped away too young and the anger and sadness I feel about that is close to limitless, because it never seems fair to me when someone so vibrant, so beautiful and so hungry for life who has family, friends, a husband and especially a son who love and need her dies.  But the way she faced it and the way her courage inspired courage in those of us around her to all face her mortality (our mortality) is the gift to us all.

That gift cannot replace Vickie, especially for Joe and David. I know that.  I am not certain it’s a gift I particularly even want, but it is a gift nonetheless.

Thank you Vickie for having graced us on this earth and shared your precious time with each of us.  Thank you for showing us all how it’s done: how precious our time is, how precious we are to each other and what love really means.

Good-bye my dear friend.  I will never forget you.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this Julia. You may have heard that it was read by the rather wonderful Rev. Andy, an American, who gave your piece the right cadences and rhythm. It captures Vickie so beautifully. Catherine xxx

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  2. Thanks so much Catherine, I'm so moved that my words were used and to get your account and Hilary's, Lesley's, Gordon's and Joe's...plus the Man City win on top of it all. Gorgeous. Hope to see you soon one way or the other.

    love, jx

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