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, September 9, 2011

writing and watching balls batted around today

Watching the Yankees while writing, I confess to you, dear readers.

I spent most of the day writing for a deadline so am not going to write much here, except to say I am glad I decided to keep it simple and get the writing in as I had promised myself I would.  It was about the tricky subject of irony and so difficult to get right.  Not sure if I did.  Considering how much else I'm doing right now, it's a minor miracle it got written at all.

I also saw some friends, and my friend Julie, in whose place I'm staying, was in town with her husband and we had a lovely dinner.

Ah and I watched intermittently as Andy Murray beat Isner in the US Open.  This is a holdover from the UK, as I technically 'should' have been routing for the American, but having watched the travails of Murray (who is referred to in Britain as 'the Scot' or 'the dour Scot'), I was rooting for him.

So basically a day of writing, watching balls being batted around and dinner with friends.  Can't complain.

Tomorrow is all about another application.  Then eventually have to face the tricky issue of how to commemorate 9/11 on Sunday.

Angels just tied the game, it's 1-1 now.

Back to 9/11.  I know I am very emotional about it, and the terrorist threats, real or imagined are somewhat unnerving though you couldn't pry me out of here with a fork on the day.  That day affected me and my work a lot.  I think on Sunday my post will be a re-print of a piece I wrote days after the attack.

I do not want to be anywhere near a flag or anthems, just FYI, maybe it needs to be private, I don't know.  One friend coming up to escape downtown madness and we will have lunch and walk.  I may join another friend at her yoga studio.  That kind of thing.

I feel a bit foolish and like most people here are probably over it already as everyone else has lived here the past 8 years I have not, but I have not and it's only now I can begin to feel the impact of that day emotionally.

I am not talking about politics here folks, just to be clear.  No, I do not support the US wars all over the place or nationalism, etc.  But what happened here was real, painful and hard.  This is the aspect that affected me the most.  At the time I think I felt its importance as an event and felt the need to strategize my feelings so as not to be overwhelmed by propaganda.  I know that will not happen now so the grieving is coming up.  Weirdly in the NY Times map of  'how do you feel now', they offered: angry, fearful, neutral, hopeful but not sad.  I thought that was odd.  And typical.  You can be angry or scared but not simply sad.  Sad doesn't mean war or revenge or pre-emptive measures, it just means sad.

So right now, I feel happy and sad.  Happy to be coming home, sad at the memory of 10 years ago and sadder still that there is the 'credible terrorist threat' business.

So I sign off with the Yanks-Angels game tied 1-1, bottom of the 6th.


  1. Thank you Julia.
    I have been avoiding reading about 9/11 because I am so alienated from our culture's responses. But now you have given me the word "sad". Of course. That's it. "sad"
    I am so grateful to you because that is just how I have been feeling now and for so many years: sad for the awful immediate terror people had to experience; sad for the pandering inadequacy of our national leadership response; sad for the retribution it evoked; sad for the hundreds of thousands Afghans and Iraqis killed just to satisfy us; and sad that the voices of peace have been so ineffective.
    You have given me the word. I can't begin to tell you how comforting that is to be able to call these dark and swirling emotions by name. You give me faith to again listen to the gods and goddesses that are alive even in the ashes of our human intent.
    With love and appreciation,

  2. Thanks Tom. I was kind of weirded out that the NY Times did not include sad as an 'official' option on its mood of the country chart. I did notice when going through people's comments on their choices that many had picked, as I had, an 'emotion' that did not quite cut it and put in their comments 'sad.' So I think it's quite common actually.

    I will see if there's a way to get this info to the NYTimes anyway. Not sure it will be heard but worth trying.