Feeling much calmer tonight most likely because I started the day with a yoga class and decided when I got back to do my taxes - well getting the paperwork together for it anyway. I had good talks with friends and at the end of the day talked to my beloved cousin Darcy while she attempted to cool down in Minneapolis in front of her air conditioner while her boys were playing in the living room and her husband James was attempting to get Leo to pick up cards strewn all over the floor. From the audible reaction, this was not going over well.
However, there is something very good about starting a day with meditation and yoga, bringing things back to breath and movement and then doing the next right thing, which in this case, is stupid paper work, because I am owed taxes back and need the money. There is something grounding about it, and even though I can still fall into anxiety, something about moving forward with this and changing sheets and beginning a little of clearing out of papers, etc. felt right.
Talking to Darcy I realized that the main instinct I have is to allow myself to feel through the various options and allow myself - however uncomfortable - to stay in the ambiguity of the situation. I am fairly certain this is the right option, even though I have many impulses to Go and Do Something in order to get out the discomfort of not knowing. When I can articulate this to myself and others, I actually feel calm because I remember there is some 'logic' to what I am doing or not doing as the case may be.
I am looking at options when I can, cleaning bits of the house when I can, contacting people with flats when I can and doing stupid paper work when I can...and of course the yoga and meditation. Last night I meditated in the evening as well as the morning and that was a good idea for that day.
Listening to the news from the attacks in Norway, you'd never know that the main person involved was Norwegian. The headlines from papers quoted just now on BBC make it sound like a 'foreign' terrorist attack, when it now seems pretty obvious it's home grown. It reminds me somewhat of the attack in Oklahoma in the US that everyone thought was Iran and it turned out to be 2 Michigan Militia guys, one of which was a Gulf War (1) vet. Don't know what happened in Norway, and no matter what it is or why, it's completely horrific. I spent some time in Oslo last year, so can imagine how shocked everyone must be, because it has to be one of the most peaceful cities I've ever seen, with calm, nice and prosperous people wandering about calmly and nicely.
The worst thing of course is the shooting of the young political people at the summer camp. This is truly creepy for anyone, like me for instance, who was highly political as a young person. On the other hand, I was way left of any normal political party and would have been - if anywhere - at some anarchist summer camp, if such a thing existed - which of course it didn't. However, I was in many large demonstrations against various horrible things, such as nuclear weapons, the Reagan administration (I am That old...), Gulf War I and II, etc. So the idea of idealistic young socially-minded people being gunned down, for whatever reason, is truly horrific.
I did send an email and found out - much to my relief - that my collaborator from last year Zoe Christiansen and her family and friends are OK. I feel sorry for her and everyone in Norway that they get to join the 9/11, 7/7, Madrid club. There is a level of safety you can never feel again, a sense of anything possible in terms of violence and all the attendant paranoia and lack of civil liberties that people decide is OK in order to perhaps avert another act of violence, but instead just makes us all more paranoid and potentially violent in response.
I now live in a country glutted with CCTV cameras, about 4-5 in any one bus alone, on every street, at every intersection, in every building, etc. I think an artist managed to get all the CCTV camera footage of herself throughout a day or week and made a piece from it. In theory you have the right to get any footage of you here in the UK. I think it's hellaciously difficult to get all of the imagery, but if you can find it, it's yours. Imagine - your every move supposedly alone walking through a theoretically anonymous city street, and it's All on Film...that just seems wrong to me.
There are so many CCTV cameras here in London that it feels freer in NYC, and that's saying a lot because there are tons of CCTV cameras in NYC, but nothing like here. And this includes UK villages and towns as well. I notice this in the US immediately - no CCTV in small towns. What a relief. In the US paranoia runs up against libertarianism and sometimes it can produce something like: less CCTV at least. We all know the problems with this combo, so I won't go into all that.
But for now, a moment of silence for Norway, for those who lost their lives and those who love them and for the end of their sense of peace and safety as a country. It's a shame because it is a gorgeous and deeply sane place in my experience, knowing of course I was just a visitor and therefore not privy to all the issues and tensions that are endemic in any country with a border that allows some and not others inside. In other words everywhere.
Speaking of which, an even longer moment of silence for the hundreds and thousands of people dying in Somalia right now because they cannot get enough to eat in 2011, due to a horrific combination of weather and politics, local and international. Of this we should all be deeply ashamed. I know I am. I gave my little donation to Doctors without Borders, will that help at all? I don't know. There are so many forms of violence though aren't there?
Well, on that fun note, I will sign off as I need to get some sleep. And a note of gratitude for my peaceful little house tonight, for enough food and air to breathe and to all of you who got in touch to tell me you were there, sending love and prayers and in some cases (you know who you are) pixie dust (!) I feel it all of your support and it is such a comfort. And to my yoga teacher Christina who teaches me over and over in her lovely French accent how to breathe.
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.