It was one of those London spectaculars. The sun shining and mild breeze so met my friends Antonia and Jennifer at Hampstead Heath, which is as wild as an urban park can be, spent hours talking, lounging under a tree and just watching the world go by in front of us.
I thought I was tired after that, but went to have dinner with my friend Bib and talked about various ways we are working on our respective art forms and went to see our good friend Alison Blunt play her violin and multiple household objects and children's toys with David Leahy on double bass and household objects and children's toys. I cannot begin to explain how magic this improvisation was between them.
This was their first public gig together, they call themselves Lode. They were playing at a new venue in Dalston - a part of London that used to be scary but is now so hip it's almost nauseating, though it has not quite died yet...There are many jazz venues there now, and it's a good place for them.
The music was magic because they are both virtuosic on their instruments (both classically trained) but also playful and without pretension. They listen to one another and respond off of each other, neither competing for center stage.
But more than that, I could tell that something has changed in Alison, her presence is stronger and this is Her thing now...it's her music and she's embodying it. Perhaps hearing of someone playing with the mixture of virtuosity and experiment, including playing a pan of water played just right may sound like a pretentious thing, but it was not. The room was electric.
Alison said afterward that she felt naked and like she was 'coming out' - because this is her working with her stuff in the way she works in her music room at home. Well, this proves to me that as I suspected being 'naked' in this way is a strong position.
She has also gone through many things in her life in the past year and had to endure a number of profound losses, and this has enhanced her music and her, in a way that is wonderful to behold. Because of where I am these days, it was particularly lovely to see and hear.
It is late and I am tired, so I won't say more but if you see anywhere that 'Lode' is playing, make your way there, it's quite special. You can link to Alison's website from this blog or click here
Oh and one more thing, to clarify my discussion in the last post about the lie I told myself about my father not mattering sounds as if I was saying others made me tell myself that lie, including my step-fathers. While I did feel pressure as a child, the 'big fat lie' I was referring to was the one I continued to tell myself as an adult. The risk I take in finally allowing myself to feel and see things from my own point of view instead of dissociating and trying to see it from everyone else's is sometimes I may get it wrong. The second risk is that I am writing about it. I apologize if I am clumsy as I stumble towards my truth, especially if it unintentionally hurts anyone.
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.