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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blogging from the air…and then on the ground in the Middle of America

So who knew that you could have an internet connection in flight?  I didn’t.  Interestingly, the connection doesn’t begin until we are up in the air, but have decided to start writing while waiting for flight to begin.  But will definitely take advantage of the connection to post when in mid-flight for the novelty factor.  I do think it’s a funny world wherein you can connect to the internet mid-flight but are no longer served lunch.  Somehow that seems like a sign of the times, don’t it?

Some things I did not have energy or time to write about late last night:

My friend Chris Campbell was also one of the original lab members in NYC.  She, like Renée from earlier post, was part of one of the most exciting times of my life, when discovering brand new theatrical techniques that still form the basis of all that I do in the theater.  She, Renée and Fred Backus were the core of people who spent hours a week in a room at the back of what was then The Present Company Theatorium, wherein we had to choose between heat and light, because if both the light and heater was on, the electrics blew.  In this inauspicious space, we discovered something I’ve used for years called levels of address, breaking down who the actor/player is addressing their words or actions.  These are to yourself, to each other, to the audience and to the grid (the rules of the room).  There’s a lot more about this on my recently disbanded theatre company’s website, which still exists for now.  From this core technique many ideas and tools have grown, including levels of presence, choreographic zones of address and the like. 

I think I am missing theater right now, so am thinking about these things.  I get so tired or working with others at times and want to retreat into my writing, but then when out of a rehearsal room for too long, I find there is something missing, too.  So, we’ll see if that comes back into my life sooner rather than later.  I’ll be performing a new piece in mid-July, and it will be interesting to see how that feels.

It is a strange time to be so completely unsure of what my future holds.

However, it is a gorgeous day in NYC, and I got to Laguardia Airport with no problem, a happy taxi driver whose son just graduated from high school and is on the way to Fordham University to study pre-med.  I’m always amazed when I see such tangible examples of the American dream coming true.  This fellow was from South or Central America, an immigrant, who was working hard as a taxi driver, and has three children. 

In flight…

OK, there is a child in the seat ahead with a really loud annoying song thing on some electronic device.  Ah well.  The seatbelt sign is still on and I need to pee, the joys of flying are endless.  Now the AC is on full blast as well.  On the other hand, it’s a sunny day and the usual retinue of puffy white clouds are below. 

So far, the internet connection isn’t working, but if it does, will post from the air…if not, will at least write up here and post later.  However, flying is having the usual brain death effect on me and sadly there are no movies to distract.  So will wait and see if internet connects again later and keep writing then. 

Aha, what was I thinking?  This is America and so of course the wifi connection is only available for a fee.  And the child ahead of me has a Christmas video on that is truly annoying. 

I think very little enlightening will be thought or written by me with the various distractions, though thankfully the seatbelt sign has been turned off so that is not an issue.  To Minneapolis….

So, here I am now on the ground, in St. Paul actually (the twin city to Minneapolis).  Still foggy from flight and heat.  It’s a lovely, leafy street, and the house is all nice and lived in with boys’ (8 and 11) toys all around, old family photos, a piano, guitars and a generally good vibe.  I will probably take a walk soon.

Right now in the eye of the storm before the boys come back.  I imagine they are quite a presence.  James, my cousin’s husband, picked me up from the manageable sized airport and drove me to this neighborhood with detached houses and back yards.  I’m so used to huge over-crowded cities, it’s hard for me to think of this as a city, but it is, which is cool. 

There’s this wonderful breeze coming through the house even though it’s hot, and you can tell these are houses built before AC, designed to be cool when it’s hot outside.  I just can’t get over how quiet it is.  I’m not surprised that it’s quiet in Maine because I’m not expecting a city, but this is surprising.

As much as I don’t want to be feeling this way, being in an area like this, which is clearly for families, makes me feel a bit freakish.  This is definitely not coming from my cousin or her family, but my own weirdness around being in families-with-children places.

I wonder right now, very much, where I belong, because talking with James, too, he said ‘America’s best days are behind it.’  This is a sentiment I hear from many people.  They are trying to figure a way to live at least a year away from the U.S. so the boys can see another way of life.  For James the biggest culprit is faith with politics, without any intelligence.  It’s what I was getting at in my other blog post about the difference between the US and UK vis-à-vis issues of God and such.  Here, not only is it acceptable to use in political rhetoric, it’s mandatory.

And only The Guardian is running the story about the women being put in jail for having stillbirths, some with life sentences, for ‘endangering the life of a fetus’ – including one woman who tried to commit suicide and failed.  What is wrong with this country?  Seriously, that is disturbed and worthy of a Margaret Atwood novel.  When I tell people here, they say ‘really?  I thought that was appealed and didn’t happen.’  Not only is it happening, it’s on the books in multiple states.

So, should I move back here?  Is it just like when I left NYC the last time (2003), because I realized that NYC was actually in the US whether I liked it or not.

Answer is hazy at this time…says the magic 8-ball in my head.

Boys just arrived plus friend, the older one Simon went off to the library – for fun!  Nika, the babysitter said they don’t have a TV, which is true and I didn’t even notice, because I don’t have a TV.  It’s great though.  Apparently they read all the time.  The younger one, Leo, showed me his Lego army of people from skeletons to Ouds to scuba divers and a guy on a horse who is ‘the leader’.  I asked him what they are fighting, and he said ‘oh, it’s just for display.’  Then who the other guy was on a horse.  ‘He’s just a guy on a horse.’  Love it.


  1. Something that particularly disturbs me about that stillbirth legislation (official term of which is ?) is how there are other WOMEN backing it. Of course, we get the very same phenomenon in the abortion debate, and I don't understand that, either. The desire of women (some women) to denigrate and condemn other women who, as far as I can see, have just not been as fortunate as they themselves have been.The cold callousness of the whole thing makes me shudder.

    I would expect this kind of thing in Saudi Arabia or Iran. It would be repellent anywhere. But in the United States ???? America, for all its failings, is better than that. . .isn't it ?

    It's situations like this that make me want to give up on the human race and turn into a wombat. Or a squid. Or. . .well, anything, really, anything that is not human.


  2. I'd love to say America is better than this, but obviously, if it is happening, I can't say that. Especially as news coverage here is so sparse about it, even in states where it's not happening. Scary really...