Wow, I cannot even begin to explain how great Inwood is. I did not bring my camera with me tonight when walking with my friend Kevin in the park, but I will do. The nickname for this area is upstate NYC and I get it. There is old growth forest and in my little studio I can hear crickets outside - crickets people - in New York City.
The forest and the wetlands up here is where the Native Americans 'sold' Manhattan to the white folks for some shells. But rarely do you hear the other part of the story: they had no rights to the land they sold, which makes it the ultimate NYC real estate deal...Still, it was here that it happened. To see such breathtaking views minutes from my apartment is just amazing to me.
The studio itself is bigger than I remember it and just gorgeous, the building is pink and peach granite in the Deco style. I have a view of the park from my window - except where the crappy building next door was built - but you can't have everything.
The fellow renting the place to me even thought to bring in extra bookcases and leave a little Italian espresso maker on the stove.
But, so you know it's still New York, the faucet has a leak (need to talk to super about that), and the refrigerator vintage WWII still whines. On the other hand, I have WNYC on the radio, New Sounds with Jonathan Schafer or something along those lines and listening to old swing tunes. No, actually WFUV...whatever it is, it's great...
I am in heaven.
I'm also anxious about my first class tomorrow, teaching interpersonal communications...I have a plan but because I've never taught it before or at Bronx Community College or well anything like it - I am feeling both adrenalized and let's call it challenged.
I did however do the crucial thing - got a manicure from a nice Chinese lady on 207th Street. She has lived here for 7 years when she moved from Fujian Province and her son is 15 years old and a real American teenager, who is driving her nuts. She is happy to be here. However, she was taught about London in school and wants to go someday, she thinks there is still fog all day long, which I explained had been smog and caused by coal...but she was not deterred.
I have met a number of people up here already and feel quite connected. Another friend I met through meditation showed up and we meditated this afternoon at my place. It feels quite solid. Just right.
I simply cannot believe how right everything feels. Apologies for repetitiveness, but it's just astonishing.
This all after the 3 leg journey here via Iceland Express - which I will heretofore refer to as the Iceland Local - a tiny plane (26 rows), which flew across the Atlantic but had to refuel in Goose Bay Canada. The only advantage was: there can be no pretention on a plane which is more like a bus, and which everyone is flying for one reason: it's cheap. And we all realize simultaneously - you get what you pay for.
But I did arrive eventually, in the pouring rain, and was driven to my friend Shawn's place, many hours late, only to wait up more hours for the keys to this apartment. It was a comedy of errors.
But with a happy ending. Because of jet lag, though, am feeling tired even this early, so will wrap this up and finalize class plan and get a nice long sleep.
I also will write in this blog now perhaps less frequently. I feel the need to allow simplicity back into my life and somehow writing here every day has felt like a pressure.
I am home now, in a place as gorgeous as Inwood, so the transition may not be complete but something profoundly good and settling has happened.
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.