No day anymore seems to be entirely one thing or another and I suppose that means I'm growing up.
Today was my friend Vickie's funeral and I could not be there with her friends and family and that is sad. If anyone was there that is reading this, please know I am sending you all my love and Vickie, too.
What I did do after teaching, which does feel like service, which is a good thing in my world, btw. I don't say that to sound martyry or like I'm waiting for violins but as an indication that what I am doing is something - hopefully - that is more about the other people involved than it is about me.
The second act of service was meeting my friend Eva to help her with her baby while she had an appointment about her breast reconstruction surgery. So I got to play kinda-mom, including one of those little pouch things. It was an odd and interesting experience. Her son Oliver is a joy, and just seems happy most of the time, so it wasn't hard. The one moment of possible temper tantrum (he's only 4 1/2 months old) was averted deftly by a great man on the subway who started talking to Oliver in a way that made him laugh. This guy said he had grand-kids and did the same with them. It was kind of great to see the 'it takes a subway car to raise a child' thing kicking in, like I always assume it will in NYC, but then when it does, it's kind of great.
Eva is doing well considering all the things she's been through and Oliver is the cherry on top of the Sunday. It was funny to be regarded as the mother of a baby. Eva was there but Oliver was in the pouch on me so there was some confusion.
Here's what I noticed: you get a seat on the train, but the person with you, in this case Eva (the actual mother), does not necessarily get a seat. Teenage girls find babies and mothers annoying and ignore you and your need for a seat. Older people of all races love babies. Babies are heavy. I am way better with babies than I thought, though I still don't think of myself as having any natural maternal skills.
I went back to Eva's place in Brooklyn and watched her be a very good mother, then watched her husband Stu follow suit by being a loving father. It's these simple things that astonish me.
I read The Liar's Club all the way home and it continues to rock the house. No one should be allowed to write a memoir before reading it. However, given the contents, I both love every minute and I find it dragging me into dark places...
I wish for Vickie safe passage on her journey. I wish Eva long life. And for the record I still hate cancer with a particular dislike reserved for breast cancer that has taken or affected way too many people I love. Stop it. Just stop it now.
This is causing a kind of depression-exhaustion in me, this grieving, these mortality fears and many other losses on the way or in mid-stream.
Gratitude today for my cat, Ugo, who is getting braver and more affectionate, my most excellent friends, a job that (hopefully) means something, good books to read, family members that love me enough to be honest on all levels, food, shelter, clothes and the fact I am back in NYC even after all that...and for the ability to have my own adventure, even if it has taken this long...a bed that I will be inhabiting soon...all of you friends of BW and LW out there - thanks for keeping me alive and some degree of sane.
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.