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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

'Art is a Guaranty of Sanity'

The title of this post is a quotation from Louise Bourgeois, artist extraordinaire, who made bigger and more wild works the older she got (she is most famous for her gigantic spiders).  And she is right.

After a day of stumbling from one thing to the next and receiving even more lovely emails, texts and phone calls, and thank God/dess being fed by my friends Lesley and Ian (or else, as Ian predicted rightly, I would have forgotten to eat), I got home and was able to finally focus on the project I am creating for Artside at Southend-on-sea on Saturday.  The title is from graffiti I photographed in Southend (see below) JUST KILL ME NOW!!! - the poetry of Southend-on-Sea.

the poetry of Southend-on-sea....

Beginning to look through the video and photos and thinking through how to present it gave me a window of sanity and some relief from the constant pain I've been walking through recently.  I only worked on it a bit as it was late at night, but at least it's a start and shows me my creative self is not dead yet.

If you want to come along and see this show (which will be a performance using photos and video I shot in June along with cut-up poetry from found text plus something else I haven't completely figured out yet, but will have something to do with Hazel the artist who showed me around and the conversations we had), it will be at 8pm on Saturday July 16 at Southend-on-sea at the Railway Tavern.  For details: Artside 2011 events

I wish I knew more technical things about how to edit photos into iMovie and such, but am sorting it out as best I can.  If anyone reading this does know iMovie and feels like giving me a crash course in editing still photos into it, please do get in touch.  Usually, I'm the text person and the director, and here I'm the text, visual, performer and director person.  Exciting but a little daunting.

However, it all means one good thing:  I'm alive, on the planet and still creating.  This is the sanity guaranty that Bourgeois means I think - plus the weird clarity when creating something you know will happen and become a piece of art, even if fleeting as in the case of performance.  It is generative and it is possible.

I hope to create moments of beauty as old fashioned as that sounds, but as Richard Foreman says finding the beautiful in the gaps of the not beautiful.  There is something about attention, focusing it on anything long enough and it changes.  I am using some video painting (long still camera shots of fixed areas) along with photos and words.  This expands my horizons and my vision.  It will be a rough cut most likely but this is where I will focus most of my energy like a laser for the next three days.

So, please come and join me on Saturday if you can and, if you can't, I'll put up some bits and pieces of it here as it evolves.  And please wish me luck as I really want and need to tap into this larger flow right now to lift me up.   As it's a new combination of media for me, I'd especially love your feedback.

OK, it's very late now so off to bed.  Much gratitude to all of you who are holding me now and lifting me up to make this new burst of creativity possible.  I love you all very much.


  1. Maybe I was born too soon. Perhaps all the artist needs is a room of her own and a damn good social safety net!

  2. Dear 'Ginny' (tho I Know who you are really...),
    You had 500 a year from your aunt, so you weren't born too soon, but the rest of us working bee women were...but you knew that. You were however born too soon for someone to recognize your illness compassionately and I'll always be sad you walked into the sea...but grateful for your many books and words you left behind.

  3. Love your perseverance. Great good luck with the new project...stretching yourself.

  4. Thanks Crosby, my perseverance is aided by support of close friends and new folks in my life thanks to this blog - like you. Had another big distraction today with work thanks to housing hoo-ha, but soldiering on now at 12:30am...But then again, as Louise Bourgeois said 'being an artist is a privilege' and she's right. So, off to be more privileged...