Started today watching the memorial service downtown on television. When people started reading out the names of people who died, I felt sad, but then as the ceremony continued I started feeling like I was watching another family's funeral. As I did not lose anyone directly in the 9/11 attacks, I realized I needed to stop watching the television and tune into my own life and feelings, which is what I did.
I walked with my friend Julie to meet other friends and we all talked about what we needed to talk about that day. I then came back to the apartment and continued to work on an application for a teaching job for next year, and then had a long talk with my friend Masha, who I met on a bus from Long Island to Manhattan a few summers ago, and who happily has become a friend. She works in and between artistic and theoretical and real world and academic world, so we always have a lot to say. She was originally not going to come uptown on the subway because there were so many scary stories about what might happened (which she heard, as per usual, from people who were nowhere near NYC), but fortunately she did make it, and of course all is well.
We talked and ate diner food, then talked and walked on Riverside Park, looking at the - still weird to me as I have the 1970s toxic green-brown color seared in my memory - clean Hudson River, sat on a bench and talked some more about life, love, philosophy, writing, integration of emotions, body and ideas and the usual detachment among academics and how frustrating that is.
I then came back here, almost finished the application, was called on by friends Louise and Anne and went to eat some food and talk about family mythologies, stories and where we were all going next - as we are three well-travelled ladies - though Louise and Anne way more so than me - as we navigate our way through life.
Back here again and finished application, and glad to have done so. Have the usual feeling that it isn't good enough, but I've learned that no matter what I just have to send stuff out. I was reworking the thing to death and hope I didn't kill it.
I feel somehow whole today and like I can let lots of things go. I feel profoundly unafraid. Though I was scared earlier in the day, as it became clear we were safe, at least for today, I was relieved and then when I entered into my own life again, I was able to feel OK.
I am of course sad with the memory of the events of 9/11, but a fellow named Matthew Freeman wrote on his blog something important - that the private event we experienced in NYC was shared uncomfortably with the world and became '9/11' - and that public symbol bears no relation to the actual feelings, experiences and memories that we who were here have of that day. Those, he said, are private and are ours. I commented on his blog, because I think that is a profound observation, so beautifully said without the anger and self-righteousness with which I would probably have enhanced the sentiment. You can read his post here.
And finally, if you want to read No One the play I wrote in November 2001 in response to not only 9/11 but also the US' violent response, you can read that here.
Good night, practice peace however you can, and breathe from the inside of your own experience whenever possible.
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.