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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene, Irene who will you be?

So, here I am on the Upper West Side of NYC awaiting Irene.  Hurricane Irene, in case you live under a rock, or are in the middle of a war somewhere, like say Tripoli.  OK, but here, we have this hurricane.

Fact: NYC subway system will be shut down as of noon tomorrow.  That has Never happened before ever in the history of NYC ever, never.  Which makes one think: hmmmm.  This might be a really Big storm.  Or, perhaps Bloomberg doesn't want to see another Katrina in NYC.  But for whatever reason, there are evacuations, unprecedented and the mass transit system shut down.

As for me, I am in a non-evacuation zone, on a hill, on the 10th floor.  There is some back and forth about the wind 10 floors up and above, but I've decided to pretend that doesn't matter, because there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

What I do have, as suggested:

Flashlights (Brits: torches) with working batteries plus extra batteries

Radio that works with batteries

Old school phone that can work without electricity (learned that one during 9/11, when I had such a phone and was one of the only people who had a working phone as cell phone masts were destroyed)

Bottled water and water I'm putting in bottles so I don't have to pay for it.



Coffee that I have pre-ground (I learned that from being in SF earthquake in 1989 and electricity went out and all I had was coffee beans...so my then-partner and I were literally hammering beans to attempt to make them into shards we could then put in a filter to drink as coffee.  Yes, it was that sad...SO, this time, with warning, I have pre-ground the beans)

Friends coming over tomorrow evening for a hurricane dinner party and probable sleep-over, because if you're gonna have to listen to 80 per mile wind all night, it's more fun with friends.

Food - some perishable, some non-perishable - when shopping for this food, one guy ahead of me was staying with a friend and had bought himself some Fruity Pebbles.  His friend commented it was a small box, but he said well I'm not going to be with you for a week but the other guy said, yeah, but you can go through that in one night.  I asked him if this was his special hurricane food, and we laughed.  They had chips (crisps), Oreos, bottles of water and the aforementioned Fruity Pebbles.  These were guys in their 30s, I should add, not kids.  I confessed that my 6-pack of Diet Pepsi was 'hurricane food' - something I decided was OK because of bad weather...

Which leads me to the funny mix of fear and excitement that seems to be pervading the city.  There are people out of sorts and fighting for no reason (two over-dressed men at Food Emporium who decided to get macho over bumping carts in the aisle - this led me to leave said food store because the vibe was just weird), there is the Whole Foods, who, delightfully took 10% Off their bottled water, instead of jacking up the price.  Nice touch guys.  I also noticed that in general this store is not more expensive than regular grocery stores and was impressed with that.

I got my batteries and water and such at a dollar store so was not ripped off there either.  Also good.

So, we all seem to be like a bunch of kids with a snow day but no one is sure how scared to be or not be, and that includes me.  I'm glad to be somewhere that should be safe and out of range of any visible stuff on a terrace.  I offered shelter to friends who are in the lower lying areas but everyone has places to stay or has decided to wait it out.

And we'll see.  Right now it's hot and as humid as all get out, so am looking forward to the rain, but I'm sure after about say 3 hours of it, I'll be done and it won't stop apparently for about 10-12 more hours.  A lot of rain.

Before all this, I met the playwright Ştefan Peca, who wrote the play I raved about on this blog Nils' Fucked Up Day.  He is a very smart guy, as I suspected he would be and remarkably young.  I was astonished that he was only 29 and had written this play when he was 19.  But then again he was 7 when Ceauşescu was executed in Romania in his hometown.  He did not witness the execution, but his grandfather brought him to the spot where he was executed a few days later and showed him the blood that was still on the walls.

That must make an impression.

When I was 6, I remember my first step-father George, bringing me to see the remnants of a crashed car, to show me why driving fast was a bad idea.  A woman had been killed in the crash and I remember her white high-heel shoe in the car, with blood inside of it.  The sky was bright blue and there were seagulls in the air.

I still don't drive a car.

But tragically this did not lead to me writing brilliant plays by the time I was 19.

We discussed, Stefan and me, the various issues surrounding funding for the arts in our various countries, Romania, UK and US, comparing and contrasting the irrational ways in which all these structures work and bureaucracy versus commercialism in terms of which is more deadening to the arts.  We also talked about directing and writing and various things about NYC, the US, Romania and the UK.  A lovely coffee all round.  He will be working in NYC this coming year for the Romanian Cultural Institute, so that is good news for NYC.  Keep an eye out for his work, folks.  It's really good!

OK, it's time to log off and continue Storm Watch 2011...the excitement, the fear, the fun, the panic, the realization that it will probably All Be OK!

Stay safe everyone on the NE corridor tonight and sweet dreams to everyone else too...


  1. The image of you hammering at coffee beans to make them ready for a hot water infusion is pretty funny. :D -glad you are well prepared for Irene's Sunday night visit.
    My old bar is actually going to be open (the manager will be there sans staff) down in Hell's Kitchen. I can't help but think that however enterprising he may be, he might be in for a doozy of a night!

  2. Irene visiting Saturday (tonight) and tomorrow. I'm sure the manager of your old bar will be doing good business. Me, I'm inside with dinner and trying to work on my writing finally - composition books at the ready!

  3. Julia, you will have coffee and light at any rate. And lots of good wishes. . .

    Synchronicity: you write of meeting with Stefan Peca and how he was a child near to the place of Ceausescu's execution. And I have been writing a short poem about C's execution only this week. I suppose my thinking about THAT was kicked off by hearing about Gaddafi's overthrow in Libya, and hearing that he's disappeared (at least for now). How stuff links together. . .


    I'll email you the poem.

  4. oh lord or something/someone! please, please take care of yourself lovely julia. it is rather strange that my friend - the bosnian hurricane as some of us call her, Irena, has just arrived in NYC too. great big hugs and loads of love to you. stay safe! bib xxx