You know, what I realize is this: if I'm willing to accept the sadness and darker feelings when the arrive at my doorstop unbidden, then it's OK to do the same for times of relief and even lightness. My first instinct is to think: why is this happening now and try to analyse it. But today I stopped myself from that - and thought - no, just let it be in the same way you let yourself cry earlier when certain tax items reminded you of happier times with your husband...let it be.
The day started in a somewhat lighter way than the last few because I did sleep last night - hooray! - and so woke up feeling relatively rested. I also started watching a US sitcom last night called Frasier. I live under such a rock from the mainstream culture that I had never seen it before. My friend Jason gave me the box set telling me it's how he got through the break-up of his marriage. I thought perhaps poor Jason was a little sad for that at first. But then I started watching it last night.
Now, first - what's horrendous as with all US sitcoms - the laugh track. Why oh why Dear Jesus do Americans need to hear other people laughing - Recorded Canned Laughter - in order to understand a moment is supposed to be Funny. OK, so ok, so ok, it's horrible.
BUT, having survived that horror and watching it, and getting over the semi-crap replica coffee shop set, etc., I started to understand Jason's point. The main character (who most of you probably already know so I apologize upfront for repeating probably stupidly obvious things, but who knows maybe a few of you out there are like me and have never even watched Friends or Seinfeld)...is a guy named Frasier, who is a shrink with a call-in pop-psychology radio show. Not surprisingly, he's not the most together guy, nor is his brother the even more 'serious' shrink, etc., etc. The thing is, the conceit of the show is he's moved back to Seattle after being out east having recently been divorced from his wife. And he has to reconnect with his screwed up family somehow. It's all on a very silly level, but somehow - given my state of mind - is moving in a kind of ight way. Which is - again given my state of mind - kind of great. So, perhaps this had something to do with the lightening of mood, I don't know. Or maybe just switching my over-active brain off, which is always a good thing.
So, I'll keep watching it and see how that works as an antidote to too much thought, despair, etc.
But back to more serious culture, since the Belarus Free Theatre run is over at the Almeida, just to say the other thing I liked about it is that - like the theater I attempt to create - the physicality and visual field was equal to the text. Neither was subordinated to the other, and this is the most impressive thing when it happens. And now a rant - I read Lyn Gardner's review in The Guardian and would not be surprised if there are others like it in the British press - condescending, non-comprehending and attacking the piece for being 'too ambitious' but applauding the politics of the theatre company and their bravery, etc. (pat pat pat on the head - you can practically seeing the head pats!) Why the critics here seem so unable to comprehend theatre that is for real challenging, dark, funny, sad and intellectual, I will never understand. It is a continual frustration for me. Not only has my work been uniformly shat upon here by mainstream critics, so has most all of the work I've seen here that I like. I simply don't get it.
And, as per usual, the more academic or journal-writing types liked the show, because they know and/or at least comprehend the various avant-garde traditions that inform it, I suppose, and the fact that there is a big wide world out there, with different countries and languages and ways of doing things and everything!
End of rant. But, please, if you read any of those reviews, disregard them, they are wrong. And go see whatever they are doing in Edinburgh, it'll be worth it, I'm sure of that. They are truly great. Believe me, I do not say this about many companies or much work. I mean like practically None.
So, there you go.
OK, back now....
The rest of my day was dealing with the Council office - a whole crazy thing I will not bore you with and more taxes - most of day dealing with that - will be done by tomorrow. The never-ending paperwork festival...
Then to a meeting with my friends of sanity born out of insanity and throughout the day receiving lovely texts and messages from many friends, including one about light and serenity from Scotland - that may have been the turning point in the day, as from then on the lightening did begin, and I love Scotland more than practically anywhere else, so it seems reasonable that my good friend Antonia sending her energy from there could have affected me. I know that sounds quite woooey, but there you go. I have a woooey side. Horrors.
The other thing I am doing is beginning to tell people I will be in NYC and I think this is helping, too. I am very much looking forward to a whole uninterrupted month there in an apartment on my own, writing, living and also reviewing for FringeNYC. Two of my plays will have just been published as part of the Indie Theater Now project, and it'll be the time to be visible and present I think.
Having seen Belarus Free Theatre I know now I need to be making theater again and soon. Not sure how this will happen but want to find a way. There is something that can happen in that space that happens no other way. Paul Eluard said something along the lines that the proof of great art is that it makes you want to go out and make great art, too. He's right.
I feel energized and ready to go. With the writing and the theater making (which could be someone else directing one of my plays or me doing it, I don't know...or creating something from scratch with a group...), and I'm on the hunt for where that should be....feelers out, feeling...feeling....kind of emotional/spiritual diving rod of some sort...
And a sense today, right now, that it will happen, I am being guided, I will find the right place or places, I am being held and taken care of...such a lovely feeling, and I'll take it. Who knows how long it will last? But at least for tonight, a welcome reprieve and sense of optimism. Nice.
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. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
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 having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
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.