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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

old friends

Today I got to see my friends Renee and Shawn, both of whom I've known for 30 years.  And I'm back in touch with another friend, Spencer, who I've known almost as long as that.  There were other people at Renee's party who I knew in college, and the sense of continuity is wonderful.

As my life changes and changes the grace note is always the same: old friends.  I mean we are now actually getting older, too, so the meaning is a bit double-edged.  But that's not the emphasis here.  For me it's about knowing people I've known for that long - knowing how much we know about each other, which is a hell of a lot.  Knowing the many struggles, the joys and the fucking tenacity in some cases that has gone into making the lives we have now.

I am so happy to be back in NYC, for one thing these people are closer.  But even more than that, there is something vital I am drinking in that is hard to describe but I am not sure I would be getting anywhere else.

I miss some people in London very badly, but I am very glad to be living here.  I think I have said this before, but it is just becoming more and more the case.  I am happy to be happy to be where I am, which I don't remember feeling since the last time I lived in NYC, which kinda tells you something.

I also had a meeting this afternoon with Mac Wellman, who is a very interesting and kind of wonderful playwright, who very generously gave of his time and ideas to help me figure out places to go with my work and for teaching, postdoc work and the like.  Usually when I speak with people about this stuff, they want me to narrow my focus, and it was a relief to speak with someone who seemed to understand all the worlds I am straddling and had a natural affinity to the level of experimentation in which I engage.  I cannot tell you how rare that is these days.  Usually after these kind of conversations, I feel - well - tired.  And after this one, I felt energized.  So, if you're reading this by any chance, thanks, Mac!

Meanwhile, in NYC there are people drumming in front of Bloomberg's house and multi-faith services happening in support of the Occupy movement.  I hope the ball keeps rolling, because it's one of the most exciting things I've seen in ages.

There are also leaves falling everywhere, beautiful yelloworangereds...have they always been this beautiful?  Is this simply the first autumn I ever noticed it?  If so, that means my 8 years in the UK was worth it if for no other reason than to keep me away from this beauty long enough to really See it for the first time.  There is really gorgeous stuff in the UK, too, but this Northeastern autumn thing is special.

I imagine everyone feels that about wherever they grew up though....that That's the one that matters.  So far I've had these conversations with numerous people who grew up elsewhere and they say, well I grew up in the _______(south, midwest, Seattle...) and Nothing Beats the Autumn There...But never mind...for me, it is here and that is all I need to know for now.

There is simply nothing as moving to me as this time when there are still some brightly colored leaves on trees, but also bare branches, the last vivid colors before winter with its paler palate.  It's like nature's poems instead of prose...those little bursts here and there.

And here is Ugo...finally, thanks to photobooth...as amused as I usually am to be photographed, but for those who have asked....


  1. That is one good-looking cat!

    Happy Greetings from SE London,

  2. Yes he is, isn't he?! Thanks for the compliment, I will pass it along...be well and greetings from Inwood!

  3. Handsome Guy! And very much a boy cat.

    Old Friends... What a gift. Truly.