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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

the madness of 'smart phones' and product displacement

OK, so like, I have a dumb phone.  I've been pretty smug about that, that and not being on Facebook.  But the dark side is luring me and I'm thinking: maybe I Too 'Need' a Smart Phone...what kind should I get?

And you know, with all the stuff I should be focusing on right now, what did I spend my time doing today on the computer: looking for the Right Smart Phone...and you know what that makes me: stupid.

My theory is that smart phones make you stupid, make you pay too much money for something no one on earth actually Needs, but which you start thinking because Everyone Else Has One (including all your students) that You Too Must Need One.

The Dark Side.

I did have some emotional experiences today, I did teach, I did share my story with some women.  I did all that.  But what took up all my spare time?

Right, you guessed it, the fucking phone thing.

Wrong.  It is So Wrong.

So, tell me people: am I delusional?  Do I 'need' a smart phone or should I just hold with my little red replica of a tin can sweet but dumb phone that has actually caused me no problems, heart ache or made me take up precious time on a computer combing through reviews, statistics and trying to sort out the Best Deal....

I think I know the answer but feel free to chime in.  I already feel like an idiot...

Oh but to something that actually means - like - anything - I received an email from someone I met recently through this blog telling me remarkably similar stories to mine regarding her various transitions through life.  We were marvelling how these things all seem to come together...Perhaps it is this time of life, perhaps it is coming from certain kinds of chaos plus this time of life, but no one I know around my age give or take a few years seems to be immune.  There are upheavals all around...

And of course, too, there is Vickie, who in this manifestation has had the final upheaval.  Which makes me realize there is yet another thing to be grateful for: I am alive, and as far as I know, healthy.  I can afford to eat and even bought myself a bunch of probably-little-more-than-placebo-stupidly-expensive vitamins, green stuff and herbs to combat nature's final trick on women: turning them - when they turn a 'certain age' - into the equivalent of steam heated NYC apartments.  One moment hot, the next less so and then finally, maybe even cold.  It is - um - unique.

I find myself hideously embarrassed saying all this, especially as I am 'only' 48 and it seems like this is coming on a bit early for my tastes and now I'm convinced no man will ever want to be with me ever again so telling myself I don't care, etc...hideous.  Speaking of which I spoke with my husband from whom I am separated (an unwieldy phrase that I have no other way of saying...anyone have a word for that?  if so, could you tell me?  we're not 'estranged' - we're not even particularly angry at each other - we're just separated and kind of sad about that but not sure we'll ever get back together...what do you call that?)...a good but sad conversation, some recognition, some forgiveness...can't really put it into words for a number of reasons...

So, like, why not care more about 'smart phones' - it's so much easier!  The great American past time, product displacement.

It's time to go take green stuff that tastes like crap, and lots of vitamins and pretend I'm not sweating too much and that it's just the radiator actually....denial...I don't even do That well anymore...sigh...

But seriously, I am enjoying this time by myself now - there are times of loneliness of course but there are also times of expansiveness and freedom.  It's a real mixed bag of tricks.

And ain't that just life...

Ugo is more and more playful by the way and it just makes me so happy.  Hooray for that.


  1. "Product displacement"....oh that is so great a summary of our culture's neurotic obsessions.

    (So...after all the research, what phone do you recommend for me?)

    See you tomorrow!!!

  2. Isn't it a great phrase...I think I may have to write a book or at least an article, maybe a play...not sure - but with that as a theme...

    don't know yet with phone - I got so disgusted I am now in love with my little red thing that makes me sound like I'm in Tibet...we'll see.

    We could always waste a lot of time together over Thanksgiving mulling this deep issue...along with contemplating the Thanksgiving dilemma du jour: to brine or not to brine....

    Oh I knew there was a reason I moved back here...(!)