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.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blog in transition...

So, like, after considerable thought, I've decided to shift this blog from the deeply personal with some professional to something more like what was originally intended, namely, professional with a little personal.  I will keep writing about personal stuff when relevant but if I feel it's too private, for whatever reason, that writing will appear either at an anonymous blog or in a book.

Like usual, I was too utopian in my idea of what I could accomplish, and once again, having discovered the world works differently than I had wished, am shifting gears accordingly.  But if transition is the theme, I've decided it's got to be OK to make this transition as well.  Live and learn, and sadly I learn at a glacial pace.

If you are interested in the personal side of my story for whatever reason and don't already know the address, you can contact me directly and I will give you the address to my anonymous blog where more of that content will be available.

But to inaugurate the new-ish focus on this blog, I will discuss for a little bit, where my writing and theater energies are shifting towards and what that may imply for the future.

Having seen The Belarus Free Theatre and being reminded how powerful theatre can be (see post regarding this from a couple weeks ago), I am now thinking about ways of creating new work myself.  I am not certain yet the form that will take, but am glad my plays are getting published and/or re-published on Indie Theater Now and hope that this will generate some new opportunities.

Interestingly enough, when that site launches on Monday We live in financial times, Part 1: Blackberry Curve, written in November 2008, will be published for the first time, and it has suddenly, thanks to the new financial crisis (meaning the old financial crisis, which was never solved but instead punted so now it's here again), become timely again. I hope someone picks it up and makes it happen, because it addresses the precise situation we are in right now.

I am also stating my interest in getting back into theater after letting go of Apocryphal, so if anyone reading this is interested in my writing, directing, workshops, etc., you know to contact me if you want to collaborate with, produce or hire me.

The other project I will be focussing on, besides Dick and Jani, is turning my PhD thesis into a book.  However, this feels like a whole other part of my brain so it's hard to work on both at the same time.  But I really should be able to get these proposals and sample chapters in by the end of the summer but I don't see how this will happen.

What happens at times like this is that my head starts to explode and I'm not sure where to focus.  If anyone out there works on multiple projects simultaneously that takes different parts of your brain and soul, I am all ears as to how you deal with that.

Also, as I know I've alluded to in an earlier post, when big things happen to me (like separating from my husband), I can't conveniently fall back into workaholism but instead have to (dreadfully) feel everything...hence the productivity nosedives...Unfortunately, my self-esteem nosedives along with the productivity, etc.  I know I'm supposed to feel good about being all integrated and self-compassionate and everything, but it still sucks that I have to feel pain AND not get anything done.

Yes, yes, I know this is all good for me, and that love has to come from within, etc...but still...

I did do some writing today, that may or may not be part of a book.  But, as usual, when writing about certain subjects, I get incredibly depressed afterward and am not certain I can go forward with it.  I feel somehow, perhaps masochistically, that I must get through this block.  I guess the other option is to fictionalize it, but I keep wondering if that's somehow the easy way out.  I'm not sure I believe in all the literary truisms about 'truth through beautiful lies' etc. ad nauseam.   On the other hand, I don't believe that my point of view has any inherent truth value either (beyond claiming my own experience), or anyone else's for that matter.  So where does that leave me?

This conundrum is in fact the crux of the transition I am in right now as an artist.  I don't want to be 'punting' into the land of fiction and/or cutting up all the time, but nor am I a big believer in straight story or narrative.  I suppose all of my work in some way has been an attempt to bridge this gap and find something resonating within it.

But I feel what I should be doing now as an artist in our lovely global capitalist world is consolidating 'my voice' and somehow be a recognizable 'brand' (oh what a horrendous word!!!) that is known and can be sold, etc.  Of course all of that makes me ill, so I can't do it.

The wages of continual self-interrogation is that you never have anything to sell.

Monetize this.

Yeah, you know, it is this way, and when I think about all the artistic stuff I've seen and loved, the artists care way more about the work than themselves and their reputations, are willing to make total fools out of themselves and risk everything for that moment, that moment anyone who's ever made work that takes real risks knows - when you connect with something way larger than yourself and yet are somehow present in the room in a grounded way at the same time.

I guess it is that kind of moment I miss when not working in live theater or performance situations, because no matter how risky my writing might be, in the end, it's on a page or screen and is replicable.  Whereas those moments in the theater or in any kind of live performance are not.  Even if they are recorded, that moment, the thing I'm talking about, is not recorded.  That is why, as the old saying used to go back in ye olde 60s, the revolution will not be televised.

Because it can't be televised.

In other words, I can see images of Syrians being slaughtered on the streets for protesting their government, but what I cannot see on those images is what drives those incredible (yet regular) people to risk their lives in the first place, the bravery, the courage, the integrity of their actions, nor can I feel what it must be like to be in those crowds together, or making that decision to walk out your front door into possible death because you just cannot take it anymore and have made the decision, even so, to act non-violently, to refuse outside assistance and make your way to the street.

That astonishing spirit cannot be televised, recorded, bought or sold.

I wish there was more of it around, I wish I could help create it in myself and others.  I am grateful for those that manifest it.  I hope I can find a way to bring more of that into my own work and life.

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