OK, so like my grandmother Jani, as anyone who has been religiously reading this blog may know, got a scholarship to Hunter College in the 1930s to study acting, which her parents would not allow her to take. (And I must interject here that having read some of her letters in her later years in which she made stuff up about her life whole cloth, this story about the scholarship may not be true, but because she told me this in a private moment the summer she was dying of cancer and we were alone in the cottage in Maine - I will go with it is true...or even if it isn't fact ... when she told it to me it was true)
Well today I was given the job of teaching acting (one class only, so still adjunct) at Hunter College. I find this to be not only great news in general but kind of moving because of the personal history here. I did tell the woman who runs the department about this when we spoke back in October. This was the interview, as some readers of this blog may remember, in which I realized after the fact that I had a small bit of blue toothpaste on my forehead near my hairline. So it is truly a miracle I was hired.
The even greater miracle is that the woman who runs the department, Barbara Bosch, was excited about the work I have created in NYC and in London in labs and saw, as I do, that this work can form the basis for acting classes.
So I'm quite excited about all this as it's a place I really want to teach, has an excellent program and is still part of CUNY, which means it is (relatively) affordable and therefore inclusive. As much as I am getting out of teaching at BCC, I will be really happy to be teaching in my own specialist field again. And in my beloved NYC and at a place with a distant family history (even if apocryphal...I'll never know...but as my theater company was called Apocryphal Theatre...do I need to know??)
I still feel a kind of dragging sadness about Vickie's death and an undertow of sadness in general. However, my experience is mostly of happiness. It is very hard to explain this so won't even try, but it's true.
Ugo continues to get happier and more affectionate. My good friend Shawn, who I've known for 30 years from Wesleyan, was over here today and played with him. We walked in drizzly rain (very London-like) to my favorite cafe and had lunch and talked for hours in the way you can only talk with someone you've known for 30 years and with whom you share some core values and experiences.
Taught early in the morning like usual so am crispy fried like usual while writing this...
But ending, as has become a recent habit, with a gratitude list: for the new job of course, great friends known for years and new friends, too, rooms to which I can go and heal for free with others who need to do the same, the ability to teach and give something back, my lovely cat, supportive parents and the guts I was graced with to make this leap to NYC...plus the basics: food, clothing, heat, shelter and good health (especially important when you don't have health insurance!)...and speaking of which: a city which does offer free and low cost health care if you hunt around for it...
Finally, a prayer for Vickie, that she is happy and peaceful wherever she is and in whatever form or formlessness she now inhabits. And to her family and friends that everyone can console one another and give love and strength where needed and hold space for grieving. I wish I could be there to join you at this time.
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.