So, today, well this week in general with my second group I'm teaching has been going a lot smoother and I'm actually enjoying it. Just assigned them the 'go down to Zuccotti Park assignment,' after having a really good discussion about what 'intercultural' meant, different co-cultures and how cultures are created by perception and definition - by people. We talked about the Arab Spring and what's happening here and how if people created 'it', people can change 'it' - and they seemed to get it, the students.
These are the moments you live for if you're a teacher. And so I felt cheerful after even if tired. Walked back across the bridge and marvelled again at the color of the woods I could see as I walked, happy to be doing what I'm doing and feeling proud to teach at BCC.
Came back home and Ugo the Rescue Cat was wandering between the cat litter box and the window sill. Tonight we had a lovely time with me petting him for a long time and earlier we played. He's eating and now wandering around the living room and exploring more. It's little steps day by day, but each day he seems more present and a little less scared, which is great. I've had him since Sunday night, so this is night 4.
I spent my fun and exciting Thursday evening walking past the salt marsh, and saw what was either a loon or a heron, not sure which - then to the Cafe I like and marking papers. From my first class.
Did as much as I could then came back here and listened to a lovely NPR radio series hosted by Tina Fey called "The Hidden Life of Girls," before devolving totally into TV watching - a real rarity. But needed. Just good old fashioned crap TV, including one show with an actor I used to work with on experimental theater and another one, which is attempting to Americanize Prime Suspect. Needless to say, no one can replace Helen Mirren. It's just not possible. But it works as crap television.
In the midst of that I had the nice cat petting session with Ugo - whose name I just discovered today - originated from another cat who had the same name, looked just like him (my Ugo) but had died the year before. The first Ugo was much loved, so much so that the woman who had owned him could not bring herself to adopt my Ugo because they looked too much alike.
I found this out talking to the original person, Ellen, who was feeding my Ugo, because I found out through my yoga teacher cat rescuer that she - Ellen - was a massage therapist (who was voted best massage therapist in the world by British Vogue don't you know), and I needed a massage. Tragically, her room was too crowded with stuff from her apartment being re-done so through other connections have another massage set up tomorrow. Somehow my shoulders need to be unfused from my ears. This would be helpful.
As should be obvious by now, the world is very, very small...at least up here in Inwood-world.
I made a big decision today to Not direct the reading of my play We live in financial times, Part 1: Blackberry Curve and instead hand it over to Rik Walter, who I know is an excellent actor and have a good feeling about as a director. This feels So right. I so loved watching the reading last September and getting to be a 'real' writer not a one woman band.
So, January 20 and 21st at The Brecht Forum kids, be there or be ...well..somewhere else...
Feeling more and more each day: just let it be - do the next right thing - follow what's in front of me - all that seemingly bogus 'now' talk - but it seems to be real at this stage.
Finding myself forcing stuff less and less and breathing more and more...and the salt marsh (that I've been calling a tidal basin) just makes me so happy, smells like real tidal water, and all the ducks, geese, seagulls and this loon or heron and the egret...I love it so much. It feeds my soul that has felt parched of beauty - for a long time now - lots of other stuff was available but not all this natural and urban and urban-natural beauty. London is a lot of things, beautiful is not one of them, not in the areas I lived anyway - there are little pockets but it never sang for me, as much as I tried to hear the tune, it just didn't.
Inwood feels like a little piece of heaven handed to me for no reason at all. Just like the little pieces of hell that preceded it. You just never know what's coming. That's all I know at this stage.
Oh and my final image of the day I will leave you with - walking in the park, a few strong gusts of wind and leaves falling everywhere like snow, but they were colorful leaves, a blizzard of leaves - and little kids screaming, but in a happy way, a delighted scream - scared-happy-delighted-amazed and the rest of us so-called adults smiling.
Ugo says good night, too. He's begun meowing - but it's not a meow, it's hard to describe. But he's making his little noises.
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.