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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

buried treasure...

It's amazing but true that when you go into the darkness, you will end up finding light.  I have found the inverse to be true as well.  If am only focused on the light, shadows can overtake me unawares.

But last night, after raging on and on about the past and issues of ownership thereof, etc., I was putting away a duvet and discovered in the way back of a cupboard I have not looked into for a long time because it's too high for me to use without a ladder, a quilt that my mother hand made for me in 2002.  She makes beautiful quilts, and this was primarily made in my favorite color: green.  She had carefully hand sewn my initials into it and written me a lovely note in the corner.  This made me cry.  I felt, for the first time in a long time, how much love she had put into this and into so much she has done for me over the years since she was able to do so.

I also cried because that year, 2002, was the year that Bill and I got together and were very, very happy.

Next to the quilt was a gorgeous tapestry that my step-father Tom had brought back for me from Bangladesh, I believe it was a gift for my university graduation in 1986.

So, there you have it, love received as well as all the anger, hurt and sorrow.

And for some reason it seems the only way to find these buried treasures is from where I am in the moment, even if it is, at that moment, darkness.

Today I am quite sad again.  I imagine this must be tedious to hear day in and day out, but there it is.  I continue my relentless quest to make this as accurate a record as possible of life, which today still includes grieving.

It also includes three of my plays being published again soon, too, though, so don't want to make it sound worse than it is.  The link to find those and other excellent Off-Off-Broadway plays is Indie Theater Now .

After a conversation with a friend and in the heat, will post this soon.  Need to go and get my eyes examined (!) and then off to meet some friends at another sanctuary of sanity.

I wish I could focus more on my 'proper' writing but between my emotional state and the heat, I am in a haze.  Am hoping NYC will have the usual salutary effect and kick my butt into action.  However, if heat makes me hazy then...my decision making process to go to NYC in mid-August leaves something to be desired.

Hey I know, I'll live off past achievements...below is an excerpt from Word To Your Mama, my first ever play, that after I wrote it in 1999 stayed in a file tray for over a year because I didn't know what it was.  The young woman who ended up with my first husband was the one to assure me it was a play and gave it to her friends at Screaming Venus who then produced it with me as the director.  I was lucky in that it got an excellent review from nytheatre.com and they decided to publish it the next year.  Had that not happened, I don't know if I would still be writing plays.  I remember a great line from a movie I saw years ago, wherein this shy man asks out a woman he likes, and adds quickly after "I'm the kind of guy who takes no for an answer."  Unfortunately, I can be like that, too, with my own work.  I wish I were not so easily discouraged, but I can be.  Luckily, I've gotten enough encouragement at crucial stages to keep motoring through.  Apparently this is the trouble with women writers, though - we accept rejection more readily than men, and do not resubmit work again and again, which is of course what it takes.  This gap in persistence mirrors the gap in published texts apparently....sad but interesting...

So, now that I can feel self-righteous about it, here I am now female and self-promotional - a small step for woman-kind, etc...an excerpt (and you can read the whole thing on the site listed earlier in the post if you're interested):

WORD TO YOUR MAMA (excerpt - copyright 1999)

In the dream, we were in a space ship.  In Zero Gravity.  I saw pictures from my past on video cameras - a blurry step-father on one screen.  A small child on another - me, probably - very colorful but hazy.

And outside?

Outside the window, the planets were exploding, yellow, pink, orange, purple, red gasses forming a new universe.  Right before our eyes.

She said to me: anything is possible.

She said: let’s go there....instead.

She asked me: Are you ready?

In the Movie a man sits in a wheelchair.  He has had a stroke and can barely speak, but is watching coal miners being rescued from a collapsed tunnel.  As they emerge from the mine alive, he whispers to his son, the deconstructionist, God is here. 

God is here.

Again with nothing.

I saw-

Don’t say it!  Don’t say it!

I saw God while I was waiting at a bus stop. 

For a moment. 

Blasted out of the universe, like in the last scene of 2001 - faster than the speed of anything, I was shot up off the planet, saw the stars and the rest of the universe disappear rapidly behind me - then I was outside of everything - for a moment - and I was shot back as quickly as I left.  My body never left the ground.

At the bus stop, a Mother was yelling at her Son - a scene that usually disturbs me, but didn’t.  It all had to happen that way.  I could see that.  Even as my thoughts said otherwise. 

I don’t like this part of the story.

And I got on the next bus.

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