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.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leaving the Hamptons...

I had a lot of ideas of what to write about today when I was meditating but they seem to have floated away in a fog of some kind of sore throat coldy thing.  However, I will say that I had a lovely birthday yesterday, including a spa massage, hot tub, sauna, the works.  Bill did get in touch and wish me a happy birthday, so was glad of that, too.

My favorite voice mail message came from my ex-step-father David saying “You can’t be 48, because that makes you older than meeee!”  I know what he means because I too am stuck in some time warp wherein he’s in his 40s and I’m in my 20s and I can’t fathom the fact he’s on the way to 70 anymore than the fact I’m on my way to 50, god/desses willing.

OK, but aside from all that, I had a lovely day, which included a very full moon and the knowledge if not the sight of a lunar eclipse in the UK.  The sight in moonlit silhouette on the flat water off Laos Point of people paddle boarding, which made them look like they were floating on the water, the warm-cool air, the vision of the twilight turning to gloaming during a meeting with friends in yet another church hall looking out at a cove.  Gorgeous and soft.

Below are some photos, one outside the spa with the rows of little umbrellas and the other of my lovely friend Julie, so you can see how lovely she is.  I dare you to guess her age, you will be wrong.  But I will never tell.

My friend Julie, one of the best people in the world...post-spa day on beach

little umbrellas in little rows on Montauk

I am now preparing, or trying to without success I should say, to prepare for meeting the Bukoskis tomorrow.  I cannot even begin to fathom the weirdness of this meeting and how much I do not know.  I do not know still how they all fell out of touch with my grandfather or, as I suspect, vice-versa.  I do not know what any of them look like.  I do not know what it will be like to be referred to perpetually as a Bukoski.  I do not know why my new/old cousin Patti wanted to know my favorite color.  She said I will find out later.  I still do not know the name or nationality of my grandfather’s mother, because she died after the first seven children were born and no one alive now comes from that pairing, as far as I can tell.  I hope that that cousin with the family tree can help me with this.  I don’t even know where my grandfather was born – in the US or Hungary or Slovakia?  I do know his mother died of influenza, before the discovery of penicillin. 

Will I feel more complete after tomorrow or in any way less lonely?  I have always felt this sense of not quite rightness since I can remember, but then again I only lived with my mother and father together for about two years.  But now this strange vacuum sealed existence of my grandparents makes more sense, because they had vacuum sealed it somehow, and I still don’t understand why.  I wonder how/why my grandmother changed so much from the intelligent, engaged person I see in the photos of her when she was young to the angry shell I knew as a child and young person.  It is so easy to judge her and so hard to understand.  Also, my grandfather and the now open question about why he did not fight in WWII, was it his physical stature or the importance of his job doing administrative work for the Manhattan Project?

I am on the bus now returning to NYC and outside the window are rows and rows of grape trees on one side and a vegetable crop on the other.  Rows are straight and orderly.  The town of East Hampton looks like nothing so much as an attempt at an English village, which made me laugh this time around.  I think I was somewhat intimidated by the staggering wealth and pretension visible here, but having lived in London for 8 years, this ain’t nuthin.  Also, there is the other strata of people, the ones who live here year round and have gruffer voices and more solid frames.  They are friendly and free of pretence, which makes the place bearable.  But what makes it amazing is the white sand, the wetlands, the gentle waters.  Where Julie lives is around the corner from the Krasner-Pollock house, which dark-humorously enough stands opposite a liquor store and auto collision shop.  (In case you’re not up on your abstract expressionist gossip/history – Jackson Pollock died in a drunken car crash driving a young woman Somewhere…)  My middle name is Lee after Lee Krasner, Pollock’s artist wife – the one who had the gall to live and only had a retrospective in her 70s or 80s at Brooklyn museum.  When asked how it felt to have this exhibit (which was great btw), she said “It’s about time.”  Bless her and all the women who have Lived long enough to be recognized for their work while still alive.

This also includes Louise Bourgeois and Alice Neel, the kick-ass women of modern art.  That I should live so long and so well, produce so much and be so strong, this I pray. 

My first name Julia is because in July Castro took over Cuba, and my parents met at a Young Socialist Alliance meeting in 1961 in Providence, RI.  My father disputed this history of my name but offered no alternative theory, so I’m going with my mother’s version on this one.  Sounds good anyway, no?  Especially from someone who has a fake last name of Barclay in response to the fear of ‘Commies’ during WWII.  It’s just too good to pass up.

Of course now the word communist is quaint and has been replaced by terrorist, but of course we can’t seem to live without someone to hate and fear can we?  Speaking of which, below is another photo, of the pavilion in the spa lunch area. 

note the flags...just in case you were lost...

Please note the American flags.  Why, oh why, I ask and have asked and continue to ask, do we Americans need to put fucking flags everywhere?  Do we not know where we are? 

OK, I’ll stop…but I challenge you, Americans reading this, to get through one whole day without seeing an American flag somewhere (including on ads, pizza boxes, TV, billboards, bumper stickers, t-shirts, key chains, flying off someone’s car, public transport, buildings, any building, ball stadiums, etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseam…).  One of the saddest things about NYC after 9/11 to me was the inclusion of American flags Everywhere.  It had been a relatively flag-light place…but no more. 

Having said that, I now live in a country with Queen stuff everywhere, and I don’t mean the band.  So, I don’t think it’s American-specific, I think it’s nation specific and the need to identify with something larger and symbolic.  What bothers me is how unconscious this is and how these ‘flags we rally round’ can become so dangerous and so easily used to promote wars for profit under the guise of so-called patriotism, etc.  I know none of this is news, but at least as I rant on and on you can see I was named correctly.  Though having said that I wouldn’t want to live somewhere that I had to see pictures of Fidel Castro everywhere either, just to be clear.  It’s the whole ‘Rallying round’ thing that freaks me out.  Period.  Like the brilliant dearly departed comedian George Carlin used to say:  people are fine on their own but when you get them into groups they kind of freak me out.

OK, I think I will wrap this up for today and see how I can post a blog on the bus.  Life is weird these days, isn’t it?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Julia, nice blog and I am getting a sense of excitement (maybe my own) of the thought that you are going to meet your new family. Good luck.

    PS I think your friend Julia is 60 looking 50. She looks lovely.