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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We really are the 99%

First of all, the important issue: New York Times answers the all-consuming question: what to wear to a protest? Click here for revolutionary fashion tips

The interesting thing about this mostly funny article is that it does not give an accurate representation of the diversity of the people at the protest.  My friend Christian made us crowns that said 'tax the rich,' which were a big hit, but there were some amazing signs.  My favorite was "I'll believe corporations are people when I see Texas execute one."  Nice.

The mood was happy, the music was excellent thanks to two kick-ass brass bands.  Marching for 3 hours is made a lot easier to New Orleans-style music.

We were all kind of amazed how many of us were marching, and I haven't felt this cheerful in a long time.  Again, I don't know what this will or won't accomplish but to see class trump race for once in the US is something I didn't think I would live long enough to see.  To see union members and trendy kids, all races and ages, artists and engineers, clothing workers, Teamsters, teachers and the Coalition for the Homeless all together was great.

I slept better than I have in ages afterward and taught the best class so far at BCC.  There is something cheering about saying the obvious with thousands of other people, namely: the rich are running this country, they are only 1% and we are 99% and that is wrong.  Most of the wealth of the country and all of the power devolves to this 1% and as mentioned in my last post: that is Not the American Project.

The American Project is: radical democracy - no one person or interest should run the show.  That's why there are checks and balances.  Even if that system has somehow managed to accept the idea that a corporation is a person, and therefore is protected as such, and that money is speech, which leads to all kinds of absurdities, there are mechanisms to upend those assumptions - because they are legal constructions.  And those constructions can be changed.

For all the cynicism and for all the problems caused by all the money in the political system greasing the wheels, in theory and in practice, if an effort is concerted enough, the laws can change.

And part of the way that happens is a turn of phrase, a moment of understanding and identification, such as: we are the 99%.  The fact we all are part of that 99%, well 99% of us are anyway, is a powerful idea and reality.  Understanding, accepting and acting on this idea could make significant change happen.

I also want to send a shout out of respect to the handful of people who have been occupying Zuccotti Park for weeks, who have been objects of ridicule and mischaracterization, and who have now been given respectability by virtue of the fact the rest of us got off our butts and marched.  I am also glad the unions have decided to support this movement, even though they know they cannot control it.

The use of consensus decision making is frustrating and can create moments that are downright silly, and can give one person inordinate power to block ideas, but it is a brave way of having the conversation they are trying to have down there about what next.

It is a red herring to ask for an agenda, because the fact is as soon as there is some 5-point plan, that will be used to dismiss this movement as 'impossible' or 'untenable,' etc. and the politics of the possible, meaning the politics of traditional politics will take hold.  In insisting the next steps be a conversation, this movement insists on representing what it claims to represent: the 99%.  99% of Americans will not easily agree on much, and obviously 99% of Americans are not marching right now, and some of this 99% includes people in the Tea Party.  So, it's not a simple thing.

On the other hand if the Occupy folks and the Tea Party people (meaning the people in the Tea Party not the corporations bankrolling it) got to talking about their various economic woes, we would all see soon enough how much in common we have.  We may not agree on the solution, but we could probably all agree on the problem, which is not a solution but sure as shit is a start.

A good start.

Both sides hate the fact that the banks got bailed out by the government.  Who in the Tea Party could not agree with the chant "Banks got bailed out, We got sold out!"?  Just for starters.

And so like maybe it seems obvious, but then again, no one has been saying it.  Most everyone in Congress is a millionaire, probably everyone is in the Senate.  So who is representing the 99%?  Good question, since Congress and the Senate also receive campaign contributions primarily from those huggable corporations, banks and their CEOs.

So, here's hoping we are going to embark on what one sign at the protest referred to as "The American Spring."  May a thousand flowers bloom and all that...except without reeducation camps and the nasty bits...


  1. Question from a Brit : What is a teamster ?

    This sounds great ! And I think it's true of virtually all protest ; we really don't know what it will achieve but sometimes it's just the best thing to do (in a world that will never be ideal.)

    best wishes to you and all.


  2. Ah yes, I'm already getting American-o-centric on this blog, apologies!

    Teamsters are a union of transportation workers in the US, truck drivers mostly. Historically, they were used by President Nixon to break up young 'hippie' demonstrators in the 60s and 70s, as there was working class resentment against the generally wealthier young people who did not want to serve in the Army to fight in Vietnam - and had access to ways to dodge the draft. This is why the Teamsters' presence, along with some Marines and veterans is very important in this movement. It means the usual pit-the-activists-against-the-working-class routine won't work, because it's so painfully obvious we are all getting royally screwed in the same way and by the same people. The Unions in general are amazed at the press the Occupy movement is getting, hence their joining of it, to add excitement to their own cause but also because they sincerely see common cause. There is some discomfort on both sides - the activists somewhat concerned Unions will want to take over and on the other hand more conservative union members a little taken aback by the young people's direct action and anarchist consensus decision making style...

    In other words - it's a minor miracle everyone's in it together right now - and long may it continue!

  3. Thanks for that. Yes, making common cause is rarely as easy as it sounds. The great challenge is to put certain agendas on the backburner, at least for the time being. . .I think the human being tends to be quite poor at this ! But when we can truly be bigger than our usual selves, more generous, more imaginative, great things can happen.


  4. Um, I am sorry but I don't at all get your "movement." Do you want Marxism or Socialism? That has already been tried. In regards to taxes, are you serious? Tax the rich? You really need to check your facts. Who do you think already pays for most of the taxes in this country? The nations 1% richest already pay 19% of all the tax revenue to the country. The top 10% pay 68% of all taxes of the nation (SOURCE: Internal Revenue Service, 2004).

    Now, to the "one person should not run the show" comment. As you recall, the US is a Representative Democracy, meaning we elect people to represent us, that is how we voice our opinions. It is not a straight were every vote is equal. It it was, it would be a state of "mob rule".

    Finally, there is HUGE fundamental that is SO WRONG with this movement or rather who it is directed towards. First, there are millions of people working of these huge evil companies that are providing for their families and paying taxes so that those who don't work have food stamps and government programs to help them. More importantly, if you are really mad at the evil corporations (that provide millions of jobs for people around the world), why not use the free capitalist market? That is, protest by not buying their products! Don't bank at Bank Of America, move your account to your consumer-owned credit union! (Side note: the only reason BOA is still open today is because the government bailed them out...in a free market, the bank would have closed and and bank or credit union would have come in take over, and would have been forced to provide better product in order to stay in business).