Today was one of those days where you resolve to do a lot of things that don't get done, but instead end up in a pile of old letters and photos of your grandparents or something like that.
I needed after this long week teaching to not be doing that but I also wanted to get out and walk in the amazingly gorgeous forest under the cloudless blue sky. Instead I saw some of that from my window while rifling through genealogies - one of which finally answered a mystery about why I feel so at home in the Orkney Islands (I have relatives who settled up there circa 1600s - one of whom was the 'Bishop of Orkney' and left a bunch of land to his younger sons in Skaill, Breckness and Graamshall) The mansion that was owned by these ancestors is now for sale I discovered as I tried to find where these folks had lived. If I only had £250,000, I could buy back the 6 bedroom with many other rooms mansion. Tragically, many people exist between me and those days and most of the family drank away whatever fortunes may have existed, then someone made another fortune, then it was drunk away...rinse repeat. Etc. By the time I was born it was a myth...but now here there is this mansion, that and another one which is a big tourist attraction, Skaill House, which I've never even looked through when I've visited, because it seemed too expensive (!) Well a lot can go wrong in 400 years...
But it makes me understand why I had the astonishing, never-had-it-before-in-my-life feeling of having been in Stromness (the first town I saw from the ferry when traveling there in August 2003) the moment I saw it. I suppose memory can be genetic among other things. It also answers why, when I never felt at home in England, I always felt at home in Orkney. So strange.
But what I was Supposed to be doing was taking a walk, reading some old writing to send off to someone else, sending off links and attachments to people with whom I interview 3 weeks ago, etc., etc.
Life is Always what's happening to me while I'm busy making other plans, to paraphrase John Lennon. What I did finally manage to do that I had wanted to do since I last went to her class almost a month ago, is return to this lovely yoga teacher, Ola's restorative yoga class. That happened. I almost found an excuse but hurled myself out the door instead and re-learned again how to fucking breathe. Jesus. But like I always need to learn and learn and learn again...
Then it turns out she's another one of the Washington Heights Cat rescue women who knows the other person with whom I have been talking about adopting this certain cat - Hud. Hud was rescued this winter and when I saw a picture of him I knew he was meant to be mine...and I think he is. I also met the woman who rescued him in a totally different context at a meeting of friends of BW. So, I don't know what is up with this cat, but I know he's supposed to be mine. However, I'm waiting for them to make sure he's comfortable enough to be adopted. And I'm not in a rush...
I also farted around on the internet in the endless ADD spiral that is now part of my life: email, twitter, blog, twitter, news, email...some random search...oh but what about...and then there's....oh, back to news, twitter, email, blog....etc. And I'm not even on Facebook.
So, here I am blogging tonight as I signed up for a blog everyday thing on BlogHer - with which I have an ambivalent relationship as I don't think what I write about really chimes with any of their discernible focuses, but whatever. I'm female. I blog. I guess that qualifies me. The focus for the month I believe is blogging for blogging's sake, which is fairly broad and seems kind of self-evident...but it's obviously part of what I do, so here it is...my daily post.
But I'm getting screen fatigue now so will sign off as all the good yoga work on my shoulders is now being undone as I sit at the computer and type.
I am now off to read the writing I meant to read earlier in hopes I can send it off to someone I met earlier in the week with whom I may be collaborating soon. She and I have many similarities, an eerie amount in fact, so much so that by the time we met, we felt we already had...so strange. So hopeful. There is a project I wanted to do very badly with my company in London, but then we disbanded. That was the right decision but the project remains in my heart and I hope to share the idea with someone and get it moving ahead. She may be that person. We will see.
Enough for now...
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.