Welcome to my blog..


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

When I started this blog in 2011, I was 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 met in 2011. 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 is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features 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 2012 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.

I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. 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. While felt blessed for the opportunity, after four years of this, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in my own apartment and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again.

I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with a new book recently completed.

I am now working full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, and editor. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.

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.

For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani

Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now. You can also contact me through that site.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another day...and another process...


Hello dear readers,

I have been amazed and delighted at the response this blog has received today and decided, inspired as I am by that to attempt to write something every day on here.  I cannot guarantee it will be inspired writing, but you all have inspired me to continue.  That and the idea that if this is about the process of transition, then really I should somehow comment from day to day to give as accurate as possible a picture of what that is.

Some details...if you are reading and this is the first blog post you are coming to, you should start with the first one, as they will build on each other and there's lots of information.  Also, there is some problem with the comment function that Google assure us they are 'aware of and are trying to fix' so after asking you all to join in and comment, you couldn't...so instead I got a lot of amazing emails today.  Which is great, but probably would be best for a conversation to ensue, so here's hoping it gets fixed soon.

Today was mostly about getting the word out about the blog and wondering if this process will eat my writing project.  We'll see.  Hopefully not. I'm hoping they will feed into each other...

But as I suspected many of you are in some form of transition yourselves or resonate with the idea somehow...and the many ways I heard of today include: becoming a mother and dealing with all the ideas and realities attendant with that...going from being incredibly angry with someone to waking up after a 'day of solo rage' to realize the anger had disappeared, somehow burnt out...and also something to do with climate change.

I am thinking right now of the transition from having a fixed identity as 'Artistic Director' of a theatre company, one that I founded, and then suddenly that's gone (April 2011).  Also, having been a PhD student and that project finishes (December 2009), the death of my father and the finding of this new family and name.  But as these are all big, and the one I feel I dealt with the least in the last post has to do with the theatre company, I will meditate on that for a short while.

First of all, I disbanded a theater company in NYC in the 1990s, so I have a sense of deja vu. But that company had involved my now ex-husband and so there were many dynamics at play there.  In this case, I only have myself to blame (and a good thing that is!)  Also Apocryphal emerged from a lab in London...In New York, I created a lab in lieu of the last company...well it started as part of the company but survived it and became just the group of us, with me directing it.

In both cases of running a company I made the same mistake: taking on too much administrative responsibility, not delegating enough and basically being process-based in theory but control freak in fact...then feeling sorry for myself.  great.  This did not have a future.  The work itself was collaborative but in the end the decisions were mine.  This was a known thing, but still there were irreconcilable tensions in this set up.  This plus how hard it is to fund a small lab-based theatre company anywhere, but especially in the UK or US.  And the fact I love directing and writing but I truly hate producing.

So, I find myself, suddenly without a fixed identity.  I am not a 'PhD student' or an 'Artistic Director' who can point to the company website as if that will explain my entire life.  It worked surprisingly well - pointing to the web site.  People would look at it and be very impressed.  I got work from that and wrote my PhD based on the work we did.

And now all that's gone.  Well, no it's not.  The work is not gone.  I am not gone, nor is anyone who worked with Apocryphal in London, the labs in NYC or Monkey Wrench before that.  It's actually a cumulative process.  But there is no short-hand for it now...

And I am aware that I am getting incredibly tired so need to sign off now.  Just want to quote though my dear new/old Great Uncle Ed, so give you an idea of why I am so amazed at finding my new Hungarian-Slovak family:  

"Thankyou for the e-mail of May 24TH, 2011.  Our Family will be waiting with great joy for your visit on the 17th and you can count on it that it will a great pleasure for ME AND FAMILY to WELCOME you  I look forward to escorting you around our town so you will get to know where our lives began, andyou to see where and how we lived, all sides of our family tree.  You will be adding that SPECIAL MOMENT in our lives.  We have much Joy looking to the day you arrive.  God Bless You, Again, you have made it a grest day for me."

How can I not be moved by this?  How welcome can anyone be?  How totally unlike anything I ever experienced as a child is this?  It's breath-taking...

And finally, where were these people?  They were taken from me by US paranoia about 'Reds' and my grandfather's job working on the Manhattan Project as an executive secretary.  I don't think the name change alone did it and I don't know if I'll ever find out the true story, but it makes me beyond sad and also makes me cry with joy (and I mean cry like for a long time...) that I found at least some of them before they all died.

Blessings abound...tomorrow, if you're really lucky, you'll get to hear about my Last Therapy Session.

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