So, after a ridiculous conversation with my landlords, which ended with at least a promise of getting my deposit back no matter when I move, with or without notice, I decided to take up my friend's offer to live in her apartment in NYC for a month, and will be there from mid-August to mid-September. Hooray for that! I will work on my grandmother's book and aim to get the proposal and 50-100 polished pages to the agent who has expressed interest in reading it.
I forgot to mention yesterday, because I posted what I wrote on the train to and from Southend, that when I got off the train I felt a desire to dance, which I haven't felt in ages. As in going out dancing. I haven't done that in so long and instead of tired after a long day, that's what I wanted to do. I went home instead, as I had a computer and music stand with me, but the feeling of it alone made me happy.
I realize something happened last night in Southend that may be more important than I realized, something about connecting, about being OK with performing, about being myself in public and that not seeming traumatic or weird in any way, it actually seemed quite normal.
I've had a nice, calm day today, and feel weirdly free even about the housing situation. Something about knowing I can stay or leave here when I want, and don't even have the month-notice pressure is a relief. I am very much in the mode of throwing the spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
I may have already said this, not sure, but the thing I am realizing now is that I have this amazing opportunity to look at every aspect of my life afresh and make decisions about where to focus my energy, where to live, what to do and how to do it. I can't control other people or who will or won't hire me or pick up my work, but I can re-look at everything.
It reminds me of a dream I had once, and wrote about in Word To Your Mam, in which I said to my friend Beth "Anything is possible" and meant it - I was looking, in the dream, at the universe like it looks through the Hubble Space Telescope - all those colors, planets and gases exploding, and my ex-step-father David was on a screen in the dream, a little blurry but present.
And I am so glad to be going back to the city for a month where I had that dream and more often than not feel that feeling. I don't know if it's where I should live, maybe after a month there I will be able to feel into that decision better. I do know if someone offered me a job there I could do happily, I would probably go as quickly as Christine Lagarde left Chicago to go back to work for Sarkozy's government in Paris, so quickly she left her glasses behind. She now runs the IMF in case you don't know who I mean - one of those impossibly beautiful 50-something women with white hair, an impeccable figure, an astonishing demeanour and gorgeous clothes. The kind of woman I just kind of stare at and wonder: how, how, how do you do that?
I am not one of those women. I know this comes as a great shock to all of you reading this, and I am sorry to disillusion you, but it had to happen some time. On the other hand, she is twice married and twice divorced, so we may have something in common after all....except I don't think I will suddenly have a Corsican boyfriend drooling over me any time soon. Ah well...details.
I think I will leave this post here, as I want to just keep the relaxing business going...and maybe dance around the house until I figure out where to go dancing in the city. I am just so happy to not feel excruciatingly sad that I feel kind of thrilled. I'll enjoy it while it lasts. Even if I am Not Christine Lagarde...not French, not tanned, not 5'10", and not, thank the gods for small favors, running the IMF.
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.