I can't write very much tonight because I just spent the entire day writing an application for a lecturing post at Queen Mary in London. If you are reading this and like this blog and/or my work and know anyone at Queen Mary, please feel free to put in a good word for me! And if you are from Queen Mary and reading this, hello! Yes, I would really like to work at your lovely university!
I did some more reading of the Jani files last night after posting and she is a magnificent creature, having written lots of articles about teenage sexuality, the crisis in public (Brits: state) schools - she was a public (state) school teacher for many years, and about changing the Wisconsin rape laws, which she and her cohort successfully did back in the mid-70s. There are also hundreds and hundreds of letters, to lovers, friends and people in publishing. She desperately wanted her novel/s published, and while she got some interest, they never were and I believe this was a bitter disappointment. At some point, I am going to have to read them.
What I see in her and her efforts reflects back on/to me, and I see how I can learn from many of her mistakes, including a certain informality in her approach to people that I get a sense was premature. I think I do the same thing at times. She is also recklessly flinging herself as a disciple to various writers of books she liked, and it's hard to tell whether she's trying to make contacts for her writing or gain lovers, and from what I can tell, she probably didn't know either half the time.
The thing that comes off all of this though, especially her bravado, is loneliness at core, and this makes me sad. Even though she did find her voice and made her way, she paid a price in keeping herself at arms length from any true companionship. She has lovers who ask her not to call certain numbers or even write certain days because of wives at home. She has minions who help her do her "shit work" (her phrase) and admirers, but I don't sense any companions.
She was also an alcoholic, however, which means that it would have been virtually impossible to create a meaningful bond with anyone. I don't mean by saying this she didn't have friend or people who loved her deeply, because she did. And I know she meant the world to the high-school kids she taught.
I still think I got the best of her that summer on Peaks Island, Maine, and will cherish it always. And always be sad she was not allowed to go off to Hunter College on her theatre scholarship, and instead went to Tuscon State and met and married her first husband, pregnant first then married, way too young, which according to the announcement in the newspaper "surprised their friends and family" - horrified more like. I will find out more of this story when at Darcy's in Minneapolis as she has correspondence between Jani and Russell.
For now, I am indeed toast and must go to bed. More later with pictures and stuff. The good bit of today was eating lobster at a restaurant on the water (OK so I lied I did have one break...). But that will have to wait for tomorrow.
Good night everyone and please wish me luck on the application. I really, really need this job right now and the fit seems perfect.
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.