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.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A sense of exposure and clumsiness...

I'm not sure how transition turned so much into memory in the past few posts, but it certainly did.  I ended up feeling pretty raw and exposed after posting yesterday's blog and kind of wanted to hide under a rock.  The equivalent of one of those I'm naked in public dreams, except like a moron you Post it.  OK, so that's me.

And I should add here that the person who decided to 'follow' the blog yesterday made my day, so bless you.  Which reminds me, if you are getting the email updates, please feel free to also add yourself as a 'follower' too so I'll know who you are...and if you have any blogs you'd like to link to this one, etc...

The good side effect of the feelings of acute embarrassment and over-exposure was that I started by writing my book today instead of posting here, so it's a banner day of writing both the book and the blog (which may end up being a book anyway, who knows...though - message from ego again - if you are an editor, publisher or critic type reading these blogs, please know that I know they would need to be edited...).  It's odd to have two projects going like this, but so far it seems to be working OK.

So the thing about writing more than doing theatre is that I'm alone a lot more.  I actually don't mind that, but sometimes it does feel a bit stuffy inside my own room (not to mention head) for hours on end.  On the other hand, I find it hard to drag myself away.  I am going out less and miss it not very much.  I'm not sure if this means I'm misanthropic or focused.  I imagine probably a little bit of both.

Also, now that the flurry of supportive and interesting emails have subsided, I kind of have to cheer myself on and that's a good exercise in character building but also can be a little lonely.  Welcome to writing, I think I can hear all the writers reading this say as if in a collective sigh of sarcastic yet resigned weariness.  I have had such a hard time finding my own juice in my life that I think I've really relied in many ways on others being there waiting for me: either as a director, or a writer writing for the theater where there is a way more instantaneous feedback loop, or as the friend you can talk to or the family member you can rely on or whatever.  It's so much easier to show up for others than oneself.  Is that just me?  I'd love to know what others think about this - especially if there is a gender divide on that one?  I wonder if it's a cultural thing about 'being there for others'?  I honestly don't know the answer to that by the way, so like I said, feedback from Both genders is highly valued here!

Another thing I'd love to know from those of you who write more than anything else - do you always feel like you're crap at what you do or does that ever go away?  Just wondering.  Again, weirdly with my stage texts, I have more confidence, but perhaps that is because I was fortunate to get such a warm reception to my first play.  Would I have the same confidence had it been harsh?  I don't know.

With this new writing I'm doing, I feel much less 'masterful' and somewhat clumsy (as I described it to another step-father - the current one, Tom...don't worry if you get them confused, it took my therapist about 4 years...).   And I wonder: does that mean, go ahead you are challenging yourself in a good way or: dear God please stop and go back to your strengths!  What are you thinking???

But mostly the voice sounds like an array of harpies I had the displeasure of knowing when I was young (and who mysteriously reconfigured as various people in my adult life as well - amazing that!) who said basically 'Who do you think you are?' and 'You can't do that!' or 'How will you make a living???' or 'You're not allowed to talk outside the family'  In some cases these were overt comments and in some cases covert.  My favorite though was 'You're evil.'  Nice.  Got that from the psychopathic babysitter, which was bad enough but then once in college from a professor (who I hasten to add had many weird run-ins with people...well, female students that is) and a friend of the family's who had been like an uncle to me when he was blind drunk one night.  So, here I am then, sheer evil.  Figured, I should warn you in advance.  bwaaaahaaaahaaaaa.....etc.

OK, so assuming you're still reading, you get the drift in terms of the: don't you dare to tell the truth side of things.  This is not unusual, especially for anyone who's been abused as a child or an adult, of whom there are many...too many.  And in my case, I am relatively certain all the 'abusers' had been abused.  I seriously don't think anyone is born that demented, but then again what do I know?  Maybe they are.

Also, I feel such intense shame talking about any of this stuff directly it's kind of excruciating, which might lead the average reader at this juncture to ask: then why the hell are you doing this?  Which is a fair question.  And my answer is: yeah, exactly.  But it's necessary nonetheless.  And I think from past experience it can be healing for others as well as me, at least I hope so.

And the weird thing is I intended this to be, and it still is, a so-called 'professional' blog.  I now sign my emails with it.  It is what I have in lieu of a 'proper' website.  So that's weird, I guess.  On the other hand, what I do, how I think and write are all visible here, even if in somewhat rawer form than my published work.   And I think at this stage in my life I'm too old to work for or with people who cannot handle that.

So the answer to how transition feels today: raw as shit, awkward, uncomfortable and unbelievably embarrassing.

I will end this post here today as I need to now go meet some other folks who like to talk about this stuff as a way to help each other stay alive.  If you don't know what I mean by that, send a comment with contact info, and I'll tell you.  If you do, well, you know why it's important I do that.

Be well everyone...ah, and, before I go I will leave you with a favorite quotation from Kierkegaard:

"The true knight of faith is a witness, never a teacher, and in this lies the deep humanity in him which is more worth than this foolish concern for others' weal and woe which is honoured under the name of sympathy, but which is nothing but vanity.  A person who wants only to be a witness confesses thereby that no one, not even the least, needs another person's sympathy, or is to be put down so another can raise himself up.  But because what he won he did not win on the cheap, so neither does he sell it on the cheap; he is not to pitiable as to accept people's admiration and pay for it with silent contempt; he knows that whatever is truly great is available equally for all."

Amen Søren - the first christian existentialist.  excellent.


  1. I know what you mean. I feel that sense of exposure too. Doubly so for facebook. At least on my blog I know that no one is really reading it...;)

    just keep onward.

  2. Thanks - will do...and your blog will be on links list soon. As you know, I think Facebook is evil, but I know I am in a small minority on that one. But, so, make sure you put stuff on your blog too for dinosaurs like me!