So, most of you reading this know me now from my personal life and the various dramas that have ensued therein over the past couple of months. I would like now to also introduce you to my professional playwriting. Three of my plays (!) will be published as part of an exciting project of nytheatre.com called Indie Theater Now. The project launches online next week and will include initially my first play Word To Your Mama and most recent We live in financial times, Part 1: Blackberry Curve. The next group of 9/11 plays will include No One. So, for a very small fee, you will be able to access these plays to read, though not reproduce. And if you like a play by any of the playwrights, you can contact the author directly and ask for a license agreement. I am very excited to be a part of this, and for the first time, the writers will also benefit financially. So, if you are just dying to read my work and don't want to buy a whole collection of plays, then this is your big chance.
In other news, I was chewed out even further by one family member today while two others told me they still loved me even if they disagreed with me. I feel so run-over by this whole episode, it's hard to know how to respond, other than to reiterate that when you break unwritten rules, you find out about them and fast. I know now why it's taken me so long to talk about any of this stuff in public, the sanctions are pretty severe. But I also know that this is where freedom lies. The amazing thing is that for the first time I am willing to risk disapproval from close family to say and do what I need to say and do and that is a miracle. I know for the first time ever that I will be OK no matter what or who approves or disapproves of my actions. My fear of people I love's anger usually makes me cave or at least vacillate and the fact I am doing neither astonishes me. Maybe I'm finally growing up at 48. Sometimes slowly....
Went to my meditation meeting today, which had its usual calming effect and talked with some folks having a harder time than me, and that always helps, too. It is hot and warm here, sunny enough to dry sheets, so I look forward to the clean air-dried sheet smell tonight when I go to bed, which is a small but lovely comfort. I am also happy to report I ate lots of good vegetables today rather than devolving to pizza or hummus and rice cakes. This is always a good sign of not only physical but mental health.
When I meditate these days, I feel a deep, deep calm, which is fantastic. It's like connecting with the ocean floor, even when I can see and feel the turbulent surface. More and more there is a feeling of a strength underneath me - a strength that comes from the very center of the earth, holding me up. It is both part of me and holding me. I am so entirely grateful for that. I meditate every morning and have done since 1996. This is the reason I have anything resembling sanity. Meditate or medicate is my motto. So far no medication, and for that I am profoundly grateful.
When I was at university in the early 1980s, Allen Ginsburg came to speak, read poetry and play his bongo drums - for real, he had bongo drums. I remember at the time thinking he was a bit dotty for singing over and over again "Meditation is the key to universal harmony." But that is all I remember from his reading and of course, now I agree with him. This is the man who called up William Burroughs when he (Ginsburg) was dying and said when Burroughs asked him how he felt about his imminent death, "You know I used to think I would be scared, but actually I'm kind of excited." Now that's a man you want to emulate. I mean, don't you? And there's no way the guy who wrote Howl would lie about that, not to Burroughs. I mean, OK, I wasn't there, but I have decided to believe this story. It gives me hope.
And Ginsburg, there's another one who bore his soul and life and everything for everyone to see - his vulnerability, his anger, his sexuality, his whole quivering, brave, scared being. It is the way to freedom, yes, it is. I will continue along this path, no matter how scary it is right now. No way out but through, no way to shine light onto the darkness without going into the dark places.
And now, on a much lighter note, it's time to watch Frasier. Yes, really. I am going to do that now.
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.