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 as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While was blessed for the opportunity, after four years of being an adjunct, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in NYC 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. As of 2018, I also started leading writing retreats to my beloved Orkney Islands. If you ever want two weeks that will restore your soul and give you time and space to write, get in touch. I am leading two retreats this year in July and September.

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 now work full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, editor and writing retreat leader. 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

In 2017, I launched a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. You can also contact me through that site.

In May, I directed my newest play, On the edge of/a cure, and have finally updated my publications list, which now includes an award-winning chapbook of my short-story White shoe lady, which you can find on the sidebar. I also have become a certified yoga instructor in the Kripalu lineage. What a year!

And FINALLY, I have created a website, which I hope you will visit, The Unadapted Ones. I will keep this blog site up, since it is a record of over 8 years of my life, but will eventually be blogging more at the website, so if you want to know what I am up to with my writing, teaching, retreats and so on, the site is the place to check (and to subscribe for updates). After eight years I realized, no, I'm never turning into One Thing. So The Unadapted Ones embraces the multiplicity that comprises whomever I am, which seems to always be shifting. That may in fact be reality for everyone, but will speak for myself here. So, do visit there and thanks for coming here, too. Glad to meet you on the journey...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Serendipity on the Northeastern Corridor

After a lovely night talking with Renée about our various life changes and having a sleepover in my hotel room (which felt delightfully adolescent at age 48 and 50), we had breakfast in New Haven at Claire’s Corner Copia (see picture below)

Renée looked this way at 19 too - some people Never change, hooray!

Claire’s has been around since 1975 and I’m fairly certain I went there when it was smaller back in high school (1978-81).  What was the dive bar next store The Anchor now looks like a relatively respectable restaurant, but I’m fairly sure that’s where we drank underage when I was 16 or so, escaping good girl-itis and getting away with it - usually after enduring a poetry reading at Yale or some such act of cultural enlightenment so called.  These vague memories of that-which-is-Connecticut.  For anyone who doesn’t know Connecticut, all I can say is: class.  It is riven with class and race differences, status envy and wild discrepancies.  New Haven is the apogee of this divergence of fortune being one of the 7th poorest cities in the U.S., which includes one of the most prestigious universities, Yale, that educates many of the richest students.  It is a small third-world-like high-walled ivy covered compound in the midst of a sea of public housing projects and run down houses.

I was going to start writing this earlier but on the train sat next to a young woman who turned out to be an experimental playwright on her way to Providence, RI.  The ‘what are the chances’ coincidence of this is off the charts.  We talked as if we’d known each other for years and exchanged cards and email addresses and will most likely be in touch for years to come.  Her name is Adara.  I was going to ask to take her picture but then thought that might seem weird from someone she just met so did not.  However, it was as deeply wonderful as improbable to meet this young playwright, who also creates ‘fractured plays’ that her college professor told her she will not be able to sell in the commercial world.

Between coughing and the foggy brain caused by my cold, I was able to give her whatever shreds of wisdom I could from my 30 years in this world, 25 of which are professional.  I look forward to reading her work and will keep you posted on any developments from this meeting.  And, if you’re reading, hi Adara!  It was great meeting you.  Keep up the good fight, which I already know you will because you are clearly as far gone down the road of real risk and experiment as I already was at your age.

I am on my way to visit my parents in Maine, which is probably one of the reasons the cold has kicked into gear, since my body knows I am going somewhere it is possible to crash and stare at a ceiling and drink hot tea and not have to ‘be’ anyone to anybody.  I  have had issues with my mother over the years but ever since she was able to turn stuff around for herself, which included getting together with Tom, there has always been a room with a comfy bed I can fall down into and that is a good thing.  I also fear, almost every time, that I will regress into a surly teenager and lose my identity but in the past years this has not happened, so hoping this trend can continue.  

Speaking of which, one of my favorite phrases in the British shipping news (which is broadcast every night at 12:45am GMT on the BBC) is the description of a waning storm as “losing its identity.”

Perhaps that could be a theme song for my life right now – losing my identity.  But like it’s a good thing. 

[Hilariously after having written the above, I watched 'On Golden Pond' on the bus from Boston to Maine, which is about the same thing.  So think of me as Jane Fonda...please.  That'd be nice.  And pretend I have her body and am about 30...dreaming, dreaming...]

I don’t have much to say right now, as I feel I talked myself out with Adara.  So just a few highlights of that conversation, in terms of what we agreed on:

-       any good play/theater event cannot be transferred to film
-       women’s voices are silenced in many ways including being funneled into stereotypically ‘female’ topics
-       people, especially those who run theater venues, say they want risk and innovation but are actually scared of it
-       if when watching a show you don’t feel you need to be in the room for that show to happen, then it's not meant for the theater, it's meant for film or TV
-       Chaikin’s quotation about self-hatred is true,  "a person’s self-hatred is a measure of the effectiveness of the oppressive system under which he lives."
-       V.S. Naipaul is full of shit (see earlier post in re this)
-       we are not post-anything
-       Facebook is creepy and we are all victims of ADD thanks to overzealous social networking
-       on the other hand the internet can connect people and introduce long form thought if used properly…but that’s hard.
-       working part time is a necessary precondition to create your own work outside of money work
-       we write fragmented non-linear stuff not to ‘be experimental’ but because it’s how we see reality.
-       meeting each other by chance on this train was whack.

Renée and I also talked for hours, but as we have known each other for 30 years and have not seen each other in a long time and therefore had a lot of intimate stuff to discuss, the highlights of that conversation will remain between us…for public consumption is the fact that we are still as connected as ever through both the back channel of strange childhoods in the 1960s and 70s and the open channel of theater wherein we both began a creative/spiritual search through the detritus of the 70s to now, sometimes together, sometimes apart - always in conversation and so much less alone for that.

Words fail here as in so many places….and so - perhaps - silence….[in which of course so much can be heard…like for instance the Incredibly Loud tree frogs outside the window now I am in Maine.  They are the size of a small finger but louder than an ambulance siren.  Who said nature was quiet??]

A suggestion for anyone who hasn’t done it: take a walk for 25 minutes without any goal or destination.  Listen, watch, and turn off your phone.  Enjoy.  If you make work, write or whatever, note down the sensations afterwards, you may be surprised at what comes up.  If not, just enjoy.  If you want to share with me your impressions, I'd be delighted.  If you're into yoga, you can call this a surrender walk, if you're into Situationism call it a dérive.  Either way, it reveals more than it conceals and can be done in rural or urban environments.

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