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.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Meteor showers, moonlight and lack of skin...

Summary of Wandsworth Council rationale for evicting the mother of son who was accused (not yet convicted) of participating in London riots:  when people cross the line, they know they've crossed a line and if you don't punish them they will continue crossing the line.

So, according to this logic, should we not be evicting bankers from their mansions?  Or make them pay like anything for their looting?

Does this point even have to be made?  Apparently, yes.  Because of course if you are 'too big to fail,' you are also too big to be evicted, punished or have anything bad happen to you when you 'cross the line.'

But if you are poor, you get the rough justice being doled out here in the UK.

OK, so this all seems absurdly obvious to me so will move on...as the sirens continue...

Today met via skype with some folks who are all independent researchers in the arts.  We are putting together a collective, with a great name, that I will refrain from sharing until the blog is set up.  When that blog does exist, however, I will link to it here, because it's an exciting idea.  We are seeking to legitimize research in the arts that happens outside of the institutional academy, but that can be permeable in connection to both professional artistic practice and institutional research.  It's an interesting group of people, with a wide variety of disciplinary specialties.

If you are reading this and live either inside or outside the UK and are interested in joining such a collective, do get in touch as we aim for this to be an international group.  I will be meeting up with people in NYC about this collective, as we are setting it up now, so those who are interested can have a big impact on how we organize it.

As of now, our focus is on the interdisciplinarity of ways of research (for instance practice-as-research along with more traditional research, and how the creative process itself can be considered research and/or scholarship), and looking at what is the most useful way this group can form to benefit the members' artistic/research pursuits.  We are seeking out words to describe ourselves that do not have academic baggage but that can be integrated into academic understandings of research as many of us have PhDs or do PhD level research in practice.

This may seem fairly specialist, but the basic goal, for me (not sure this is a group goal yet) is that the creative process itself be legitimized as research.  That was the whole focus of my own practice-as-research PhD, and it is a long-term goal of mine.  In fact, this reminds me that I am supposed to be getting a proposal for a book into a number of publishers on this very subject.  I hope my brain will start functioning again on this level long enough to do this.

My brain - by the way - is still not functioning well.  I mean it functions well enough to write this blog, but this is about the high water mark right now.  This frightens me and I am hoping that it comes back.  I know I need to be patient, but I am scared, because when I was young and even into adulthood, the way I got myself out of bad and scary situations was through achievement, but I am still doomed right now to feeling everything.  Great.  Feelings.  Feelings do not equal getting anything done.

But, then again, I did walk out to the back garden to see if I could find the meteor shower, which I could not but did look up at the stars and had that amazing feeling of knowing that each one was a sun for someone or something else and that the universe is infinitely large and that therefore my little brain plans are meaningless in comparison to that so perhaps my desire for brain function is just a silly feint at control of that which cannot be controlled and thank the gods and goddesses for that, because imagine how sad and small the universe would be if we could control it with our petty little plans.

I love the Hubble Space Telescope images because they always remind me, oh my god look at all this!  This is amazing and the fact we are any of us here is a miracle and how do we get to witness this and I am lucky to simply be alive...and I really am lucky to be alive because actually I should be dead by now, but instead I am alive and sober and alive to all this including the dreaded feelings...but because I am alive to all this, I am alive to ALL this and that is great.

I don't sense this all the time, especially not when I'm crying in despair, but the fact is because I can cry, I can also feel this and I know they go together.  And so if I can finally let go of the rope in my sad attempt at holding on to fake control, maybe, just maybe I can create/think/write something that actually matters in the greater scheme of things.

Right now the best I can do is write this blog and show up - usually in some state of emotional meltdown - for my life.  I get it together for skype conferences with academics and such - but then just fall apart and then I talk to my friends who assure me it's all OK, it's normal and I don't have to commit myself to a mental institution for feeling a lot of stuff.  One friend today said to me she was glad to have gotten to know me so much better these past few weeks.

And that made me remember the weird reality that it's only when you really fall apart that you get to know people.  At least for me that's true.  Maybe for the rest of you, you can get to know people well without spilling your guts out on the sidewalk (pavement), but somehow perhaps because I was an only child, I am fairly self-contained most of the time.  But now, now I have no skin.  It's like walking around flayed.  Very uncomfortable, very exposing but I suppose/hope in the end very healthy.

But I will be happy, I can tell you, to have my skin back.  Or a new skin, whatever the fuck is supposed to happen - the skin Thing...would be nice.

In the meantime, wishing you all sweet dreams from the skinless and brain challenged one of Walthamstow...

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