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.

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's &^5*^@* Hot Here!

OK, so I'm in Minneapolis now, a northern state, in the North and it's close to 100 degrees F and I am dying here.  OK, so I'm exaggerating but still. 

It is so hot that I just helped James drag AC from basement to living room, this indicates that I am (a) desperate for relief.  Have spent late afternoon huddled in their bedroom reading through yet more letters of Jani's (who is also Darcy's grandmother).  One letter is the one she wrote her parents before leaving Vienna.  I will probably type out the contents soon, as it is quite telling, but then again, perhaps only in context.  For instance, her recollection of Robin (my mother)'s state and my mother's memory of same is opposite.  According to my mother, she was upset and traumatized, which since she was 8 or 9 and leaving a place she knew as home with only her mother on a boat across the Atlantic, having seen her parents having a fist fight on the streets of Vienna, makes sense.  According to Jani, Robin is 'delighted' to be coming home and seeing her grandma, etc.  So, there you go.  My mother and I also have divergent experiences of each other at crucial times as well.  I think this is perhaps an epidemic problem (a) in my family or (b) in all/most families where traumatic experiences are involved or (c) with everyone period (Brits: full stop).

I was feeling very depressed about my own impending separation, or I should say actual separation as there is a good chance my husband will have already moved by the time I return.  A bit surprising to me, but then again, so is everything right now.  And reading Jani's laments and her lurid poems to husbands and complaints about exes, etc. was not helping.  Then my wonderful friend Sarah sent me an email that just made me laugh my ass off about everything, and for that I was grateful.  I once heard a definition of unmanageability as losing one's sense of humor and I know for me that is true.  I hasten to add here however that that does not mean laughing off other people's or my own pain, but it does mean getting a good perspective on certain things that might otherwise make you want to (a) kill yourself or (b) kill someone else.  Yes, I mean this metaphorically.  No, no one is going to die, including me - right now, that is, violently, by my hand - of course we all eventually will die, and people are this moment doing just that while others are being born, etc.  Just to clear that up right away.

I saw the Walker Art Center today, watched Nan Goldin's 'Ballad of Sexual Dependency' slide show, which is incredible - taken in NYC primarily from 1982-1996.  If you haven't seen it or her photos, go find them.  She is relentless, honest and an amazing photographer.  I like her more vulnerable photos of herself and others more than the really sexually explicit one, as they are haunting in a good way.  All are naked photos even when fully clothed, sometimes more so.  Her pictures of young children were particularly riveting as they were neither sentimental nor exploitative in any way.


Had to take a break right after writing above to help James install above-mentioned air conditioner as I was not exaggerating about the heat apparently.  The heat factor was 105 degrees and it was over 90 degrees in the house.  Hoping my room will cool down before I go to sleep.

I have brought to the young people of this house a new series: Dr. Who.  They are riveted but one episode has scared the older one somewhat.  I did, I must add, first vet the idea with their parents.  It is interesting to watch this series in the US as so many of the references are British and I had to explain a lot of details, such as the meeting of "I'm a chav." (Americans: this loosely translated would be: 'white trash with attitude' - peroxide blonde, stone-washed jeans, etc.)  I am not saying that because I believe people are either 'chavs' or 'white trash' but for translation purposes only - just so you know.

Also explaining what a police box is and the like...

Now sitting inside at night, listening to the constant drone of fan and AC, and watching James with Simon at the dining room table.  Darcy went off to bed early, I think perhaps I wiped her out with the Nan Goldin and the old family photos.  I seem to have this effect on people these days - in my relentless search to see/find/express something as close to what one could call truth as possible.  Emphasis on relentless.  Probably lightening up is in order - as Sarah's email showed me.

However, one of the things Darcy and I talked about today (during our breakfast-arts center-coffee hide from the heat day) is our experience of being considered 'too much' so I am probably taking this on like usual...I feel pretty raw and rejected right now in lots of ways and notice my instantaneous desire to blame myself for that.  A kind of default position that I hope/pray etc. is getting close to its sell by date.


Just had a charming conversation with Simon, who was scared by the episode of Dr. Who, about how it's just a TV show and why some things are scarier than others and why.  He's an amazing kid who can articulate that he feels scared and why.  I'm truly impressed.  I love the fact that with both Leo and Simon I can just talk to them, they don't want to be talked to 'as kids' and that's nice.  Nor am I talking to them as if they were short adults, but they understand really complex stuff, so not condescending either.

I never understood how good for the soul hanging out with an 8 and an 11 year old can be.  Especially if they are lucky enough to have Darcy and James as parents.  It's amazing to see kids who are actually given boundaries and rules and go along with them - yes they push and the rules and boundaries are flexible when necessary but basically they are in place.  Case in point: I was able to meditate today in a quiet room today because Darcy asked them not to bother me in that room, and they not only didn't bother me, they stayed quiet in the house.

So, it's quite a healing place to be for many reasons.

I will end this post tonight with some recent photos from the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis:

store front in St. Paul - old school signs probably from 60s or 70s 

by artist Mike Kelley in Walker Art Center exhibit curated by John Waters

name of above picture - please note American 'junior high' specificity

Darcy and her friend Becky (seated below) enjoying their boys' soccer (rest of world: football) game 

view of downtown Minneapolis from Walker Arts Center sculpture garden.

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