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.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Public v. private

So, the question remains open what is appropriate to say aloud and what should remain private.  What to talk about in a non-fiction context and what to shroud through fiction.  Had an interesting/difficult/good conversation with my mother about this in regard to my past and my blog.  I know it affects her, because she's human.  I won't go into the details of that conversation because it's between us as adults.

However, I think what I want to make clear in public in case I haven't already is that there are two distinct phases in my/our lives.  Childhood and adulthood.  This may seem beyond stupid in terms of obvious, but as she and I both changed our lives around when I was in my early 20s, there is a bigger division than usual.  However, the sad fact is, no matter how much healing and good stuff there has been since then, it can't erase the damage done from the past.  I wish it could.  She wishes it could.  It can't.

Being in my parents' house and writing this of course adds another weird element and pressure somehow.  I feel I am here as a guest, also a daughter, but an adult daughter and don't want to be cruel.  I don't ever want to be cruel but as someone who for so long was so loyal even beginning to utter some of the past can seem like betrayal.

And the present is so utterly different that it can almost seem like the past was some weird hallucination anyway, but it wasn't.  Not sure how I will resolve all these things, but there it is.

Now, in front of me are boxes and boxes of my grandmother (on my mother's side)'s writing.  And that is what started all of this, the desire to write her story and that of my other grandmother.  Part of the reason for that was to skip the generation and not be in the sticky place I find myself now between a desire to tell my own life story and where it runs up against my mother's sensitivities.  Now I feel I am somehow in a pincer between the two.

How do I find myself and my own way through all this without hurting someone else?  Is it possible?  Is that ever possible?  These are big questions.  I was about to move even this text to an anonymous blog but then felt like I was losing the ability to breathe and speak, so have put it back here.  This gives you the idea of how hard this is for me.

There is the past, which was lacking in most everything and there is the present where lives a very generous woman, who is my mother, who is happy to pay for my travel to and from the U.S. and help me in many ways, who is married to my step-father Tom who has equally been supportive since he's known me, both emotionally and financially.  The difference between the two times could not be more stark, and frankly I think I fear in speaking the truth I threaten the present and the good stuff and that fear sometimes drives me.

At this stage with many other writing projects in the past, I have stopped.  I have decided it's not good enough for whatever reason.  This time I feel that would be fatal, as I need to know I can move forward with this project wherever it may lead me and there is something about the public nature of it that is equally important.

I also know reading Jani (my grandmother)'s papers will be important.  My mother did not set out to do what she did in my childhood.  She too was abused and neglected in some pretty severe ways.  And this is why the whole truth telling business is always so tricky.  Where to start and where to finish.  In some ways there is no blame, as there are always reasons people behave the way they do and in other ways we need to accept and hold our own pain.

Also, my part in the dependence cycle is always being a broke artist, and therefore in need of financial assistance to travel and so forth.  I think perhaps in this cycle lay a lot of the push-pull of an old relationship based on me allowing myself to stay in the child role.  And frankly, at 48, that's just not good enough.  So, note to self: become more self-sufficient.

However, the deepest fear I have is of hurting my mother and I have to work against that to write any of this.  But, now it's time to start looking through Jani's writing because that's what I'm here to do.  Will probably need to be away from this house before I can get any of the above into perspective.

Also hurting about possible break up of my marriage and realizing I need to think about where to live and such.  This makes all of the things I am trying to focus on harder unless I can rigorously keep things in the day.  But then I wonder if I'm living in the present or just living in denial.

As Lou Reed wrote and sang "It takes a busload of faith to get by."

Yep.  Watching the inside turn outside and the outside fall inside.  And yet when I breathe into it all, I know I'm in good hands.  Call it God, call it the Universe, call it Whatever you want, It's got me.  That much I know.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, it's Elaine from Writer's Block.

    Read this entry and just had to respond.

    If your mom is truly sorry about what happened in the past, you can CHOOSE to forgive it-Think of all of us poor souls who confront our parents and get nothing, or, our offenders have died and we get nothing still.

    Will you cause pain if you write about things? Yes, is there a way to avoid it and do it truthfully? No. But a heart can break open as easily as it can shatter to pieces-this may be what you ALL need.

    As for your marriage, well, how badly do you want to stay married? In fact, how badly do you want to work on that book?

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