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...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shit day with grace note/s

So, today was grey and rainy and included writing yet another application for a university post.  Two in a row, as anyone who has done these things will know, is hard.  This was for a playwriting lectureship in Birmingham - so hello lovely folks in Birmingham if you are reading this - please shortlist me!  Yes, it is this sad.  One of the many implications of the separation with my husband, which is definitely happening - at least for now - is dire finances, and I mean dire.  So, if you like this blog and think the book about my grandmothers sounds cool and you want to support the writing of it or give me an advance, this would be the time to get in touch!  Yes, sirree, get in on the ground floor of the Support the Writer campaign.  I promise you a cut of any proceeds, when they materialize.

This is the kind of time when I wish I had the balls of Wallace Shawn.  In case you don't know who he is, he's an excellent playwright of such plays as Aunt Dan and Lemon and The Fever.  He was also the fall-guy in the movie My Dinner with Andre.  Anyhow, when he started out, he asked people to give him money as an investment in his future and that he would pay out dividends as his writing started selling.  It worked.  People gave him money, he succeeded and they got their dividends.  Any takers?

Which reminds me of seeing My Dinner with Andre...no, it reminds me of seeing Andre Gregory (the movie being eponymous) talk at some anti-nuclear talk at St. John the Divine, it was in the early 80s and I was with my friend Sherrel.  We had gotten off on the wrong subway platform and were walking along East Harlem rather than West Harlem.  If you don't live in NYC, here's the deal:  West Harlem, even then, near Columbia, was walkable for hippie looking white girls in long purple skirts smoking clove cigarettes.  East Harlem not so much.  Sherrel was getting a little nervous, and I was like usual oblivious.  A police car came up next to us and asked us to get inside.  Me, politicized, but pea-brained me, started yelling at the police and asking them to stop harassing us and where did they get off telling us what to do (I probably had pot in my bag at the time, which may have added to the paranoia).  Sherrel kept telling me to shut up and get in the car, which I eventually did, glaring at the police and Sherrel.  The cops said, didn't you see what was just about to happen to you?  No, I said, because I hadn't.  Sherrel had and was grateful.  They kindly drove us to St. John the Divine and we got out to hear Gregory and a bunch of other left-wing folk talk about peace in the nuclear era.  One of those low-key gatherings where everyone agrees with each other but knows they/we represent about 1% of the whole population but we pretend someday-it-will-be-different-and-they-will-all-see-the-light...etc...

I don't know if it was before or after that I had an inane run-in with a cop on a platform in a subway at 2am.  I had just stubbed out a cigarette and gotten into a subway car - this was 1981, so the outside of the cars were covered in graffiti, they were hot inside because air conditioning had not yet been installed and where there are now billboards, there were instead blank black areas where Keith Haring was beginning to draw his chalk babies with their glowing halos and other mysterious things.  Except we didn't know who he was yet.  So anyway the cop decided to haul me out of the subway car back onto the platform, I'm pretty sure it was Astor Place and give me a citation for smoking.  At the time, believe it or not, there were no 'no smoking' signs, which I pointed out, most likely drunkenly and arrogantly, to the policeman, who said ignorance of the law was no excuse and handed me the citation and let me stand on a subway platform alone for about 20 minutes until another car came.  I was 19.

By the way, I proceeded to ignore that citation, until about a year later when I finally paid it, and by that time it had trebled with fines on top of fines.  I was living in Connecticut then, back at Wesleyan, and why I decided then to pay it is beyond me - maybe the notice was particularly scary and mentioned jail.  But this is was a typical way of dealing with things when drinking, ignore until fear takes hold, then pay with interest.  Fun.

I took a walk this evening along the broad Main Street, which runs in front of Bowdoin College up here in Brunswick, so perhaps this is why the Wesleyan memories are beginning, or college in general.  While walking in my mauve colored rain coat and dangerous-to-wear-in-New England NY Yankees cap (New Englanders are big Red Sox fans, FYI to others outside the US who could probably care less about US baseball teams), I passed a young woman who seemed like a Bowdoin student, because she was reading a thick book while walking.  We both smiled and greeted each other with what seemed like recognition.  I don't mean as in we knew each other, but that we knew each other.  I could see me in her from years ago and she could probably see in me either herself in the future or perhaps a professor-to-be.  It was a pleasant moment, and it brought me back somehow, but in a nice, gentle way.

However, I kept walking determined to stay bereft and kind of blue.  I saw glimpses of flowers and smelled the pine needles and some wood chips, admired the huge houses, with high ceilings and big doors that are probably a couple hundred years old.  My brain was rolling and rolling with money concerns and practicalities, wishing I had more profound thoughts than 'what will I do with my books and can I afford storage?'  Fun stuff like that.  (And if you are on a hiring committee for either job I just applied for and are reading this, yes, it is that bad, please interview me, I'm an amazing teacher and have a great sense of humor plus I'll be insanely grateful - a great combo!  OK, is this pathetic, I'm sorry...I'll stop now.)

Jani's papers are sitting in front of me waiting for me to read them, drumming their papery fingers impatiently.  They do have a presence and have been ignored now for over a day and a half.  It's time, past time, to go back into the maelstrom.  Having written this post, I feel somehow able to face it.  It's time to get into the poetry and the chuckpark letters (long story I need to sort through but includes according to my mother an entirely invented persona by Jani to somehow impress this guy...doesn't surprise me, but still...will be interesting to see how long she keeps it up in the letters).

I will end with some photos of yesterday in Maine...today was too grey and rainy...but I did hear lovely chimes on my way back home and saw the drops of rain on the pond earlier - far enough apart to make individual impressions and seem somehow beautiful and melancholy...reminding me of that silly song 'Raindrops keep falling on my head..."  That kind of rain.

But from our trip to the lobster restaurant yesterday...some silly family snaps, why not?  Plus the required gorgeous view shot.

this is what over 30 years of being together happily looks like

restaurant with a view - Dolphin Marina, Harpswell, Maine

how uncool can a person be?  hopefully this will make you feel better


  1. you are my new best friend. thanks. I must be incredibly cool right about now then by your calculation.