Went down to see how the revolution was going today down at the corner of Liberty and Broadway, and the answer is: just fine, thanks. Folks on top of sleeping bags, a make-shift library, a food pantry, medics, a press area, brave young people finding a way to survive being 'occupiers' without being allowed to pitch a tent or have any privacy since interested, supportive people like me are tramping around, along with literally bus loads of tourists taking pictures in a mixture of bemusement, support and mild shock. The encampment in Zuccotti Park is legal because it's a private park that must be open to the public 24/7 unlike, ironically enough, the public parks upon which the city can impose a curfew. Because of this odd legal circumstance, the police stay outside the perimeter looking in. There is a police observatory tower competing with large antennae of various news organizations.
The tourists are everywhere because appropriately enough Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) is only about 2 blocks away from the Ground Zero memorial. This seems so right for so many reasons.
Everyone wants a piece of this action now. Even Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher who everyone loves to hate and love again and hate again, was a speaker today. There is a broadsheet with articles by Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein. And there are the open forums and general assemblies. It is wildly admirable.
A veteran protestor/political activist and boyfriend of my good friend Marietta is somewhat cynical about their chances, fearing - perhaps with cause - that as soon as the weather gets colder and wetter and there aren't scads of folks paying attention, they will be swept out of the park by the police. He may be right. But then again so much of what these folks have done already is so beyond what anyone thought possible, who knows? It may go differently this time.
It felt like a time warp being there - like I'd walked into a documentary about the 60s, but at the same time felt vital and of itself. It's fascinating that way. The police seem kind of mystified and pisstified. I wonder, as do many, if they realize that they too are part of the 99%. And what of the multi-million donation from JP Morgan to the police department a few days ago? It seemed absurd to me that a city agency can accept such an enormous contribution of cash from a financial institution and wreaks of bribery pure and simple.
But this is the interesting thing: it's being called that by the protestors, but even the mainstream press are questioning the donation.
And this, if nothing else, is already the amazing victory of the 99%/occupation movement - they are affecting the conversation we are all having about the nature of reality, the economy and our lives. This is extraordinary and a huge relief for those of us who have been saying this stuff for ages and have felt like we are talking to so many brick walls.
The reason for this I guess is: (a) non-violence as a tactic so there is nothing else to talk about than what they are talking about, (b) they aren't going anywhere and are remarkably resilient, (c) the insistence on conversation rather than a list of demands opens up dialogue with many people and (d) they aren't going anywhere.
However, when I was in the park for about 1/2 hour I got my usual response to crowds, which was low level panic and had to flee back uptown to my peaceful little Inwood. I'm a crap revolutionary in this sense. I like time by myself and a certain level of peace and privacy.
But when I got uptown, I immediately felt lonely - this is probably also due to sense of dislocation as I just got here a 9 days ago and am still not sure where I am, who I am and what my relationship is to the many friends I left 8 years ago for London and to the friends of mine in London who I've now left to come here. I began wondering, as I knew would happen at some point but was surprised how soon it did happen, if I'd made a very bad choice to come back here.
However, when I was able to sit with myself, cry a little and do some basic things like put away laundry, pay bills and clean some weird gunk off the kitchen cabinets, I felt better about where I am now. I talked with some friends, which helped, too.
I am living in a neighborhood where I know very few people, though friends have come up to visit and now again tonight I can hear crickets, smell the clean night air and again think: yeah, this is a good place to live.
No matter what, though, I have separated from my husband, and I am in a new/old place and this will all take some getting used to. Also, it's turning into real life, not just a holiday, so there's that.
What's fascinating to me is the peaceful place inside me that seems to exist underneath these feelings that is saying to me it's OK and I'm OK. So glad of that.
Finally re-opened the suitcase with the photos and papers of my grandmothers. This is important, as it's the first start to getting back to that project. When I am involved in my own creative life, I feel the most whole and least lonely, no matter where I live.
As usual, I'm writing this while tired and have a day ahead of me of working on my teaching, so will end here. Batteries died in my camera so still no photos. Not sure what that's all about but eventually, there will be photos!
In the meantime, if you're interested in the Occupy Wall Street movement, check out http://occupywallst.org/ Zizek's speech is up right now, plus their schedule and such....
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. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
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 having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
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.