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. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.

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 having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.

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.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today I was in Southend-upon-Sea


One of the nice things about the UK, is they name some places based on where they are, such as the Southend upon Sea.  I was visiting for the first time at the invitation of Michaela Freeman to collect material to create a new piece 'of poetry out of Southend' for Artside in July.

Michaela saw my performance of a piece I created from found text at the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth, which I collected a few days before it was demolished in 2004.  Looking at all the graffiti and signs for old shops that were part of the building and its history, I became nervous about the fact that all of these words would disappear, so I set up trying to save them by hand writing them in a composition book I had with me.  The Tricorn was a brutalist concrete shopping centre built in the 1960s (like me, I ruminated darkly, darkly...) and was hailed as a modernist masterpiece at the time, but had recently been voted the Ugliest Building in All of Britain, so was being demolished in 2004, much to the consternation of a small but vocal minority of residents, mostly people who had hung out there in the 70s, 80s and 90s, listening to Punk and New Wave music, and according to the graffiti engaged in various illicit activities, meeting friends and in some dire cases memorializing friends who had committed suicide by jumping off the top deck of the car park (which was covered in Samaritans signs imploring depressed people to call them first).  However, most Portsmouth residents, including Bill's father, were glad to see it go.

So, from these words, I created a cut-up. The artists I was with, Paul Burgess and Simon Daw were creating video and taking photos with my husband Bill as a performer (Bill who as a native of Portsmouth had obtained the crucial permission for us to walk through the derelict space before its demolition - which took place, initially, with the 1812 Overture playing, btw...)...They then created a slideshow of these images along with cut-up photos between this and the computer generated future of the Tricorn and we made a show with me reading my text in rhythm to these photos, which are projected with 70s slide projectors onto an old fashioned pull up screen.  I wear clothes and jewellery from all four decades when performing...

The performance Michaela saw took place in a pub in South London as part of Exploding Cinema, and I was furious during most of the performance as people were nattering away at the back of the bar, so I spoke the (very crude as it comes from graffiti) text louder and more angrily until there was stillness.  Hence, my amazement that Michaela liked the performance.  I suppose loud anger using crude language inspires respect in pubs.

So, today, in order to gather material for another site-specific text, and create the visual elements (another part of this transition: taking my photography and nascent videography more seriously), I walked around Southend upon Sea with Michaela and a lovely art student Hazel as my guides.  As I took many photos, this post will be mostly made up of a few of these, as I was there all day and the sea air has gone to my head.  However, I should mention that the beginning of the adventure began in a derelict building where we were almost arrested for trespassing, which we found absurd as there was easy access and no signs saying it was illegal to enter.

Southend impressionism


We then went to the seaside and I took a lot of still-camera video footage of the beach, a train out to the long pier, the amusement park through barbed wire and the sea.  I also wrote lots and lots of words down from graffiti, signs and overheard conversation.  The resulting piece will be performed in Southend on Bastille Day (July 14).  If you're around, come on down, it's kind of beautiful there - a mixture of Portsmouth and Brighton - a somewhat tatty place attempting the dreaded 'regeneration' but the charm is still there even so...Artside runs from July 1-16 so check it out....In the meantime, insert yourself here:


Hazel's favorite image - the missing fisherman

and I bid you good night from a place as strange as England, where we always remember:

It's all fun and games until Someone slips on the deck boards....

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