This is a question that is big for me right now for lots of reasons. It has to do with my husband of course and how long do we stay in the separated zone, when is it time to let go for real and what form does that take? It also has to do with other things, old ideas, dreams, desires...what stays, what goes...
What is still about me and what is about some Idea of me I've lugged around for decades and may be ready for a renovation?
A lot of my Stuff will be arriving soon. Movers will bring boxes and boxes of my books and papers and some clothes and linens. It will smell of London. It will make me cry. There won't be room for all of it. Then what? Storage? Throwing stuff away?
My books, my writing, my memories - these are the closest I have to a home town. I don't throw any of it away easily.
I don't throw people away either. Sometimes I cling to the wrong people. Sometimes I run away from the wrong people. Sometimes I just don't know.
There's a lot of change happening, that much I know. Transitioning to NYC artistically will not be like magic, that much is clear, too.
I have a meeting tomorrow with two people involved in the reading of We live in financial times, the director Rik Walter and the actor Marietta Hedges, who is also de facto producing the reading. I will fly back to NYC to this, which is lovely.
There are other places that are not being so receptive and I have to live with that, too.
I watched the video I made for Southend on Sea in July - showed it to my parents who were quite complimentary. I was surprised, not that they liked it, but that I kind of still liked it. I saw the problems, but am happy with this idea of video painting and want to see where I can go with that, photos and performance of text, etc.
This means letting go of my prejudice against video on stage. So many prejudices I've had to ditch recently.
I must add however that even though I bought the smart phone, I still am not convinced it was the wisest idea, since I can see how ADD it makes me. Hearing the little tinkly sounds when emails appear, "just checking", etc...I do that enough with my laptop and now there's another version. Oy.
Could not sleep last night, which was surprising, because I have slept well here, but tuned into the sound of the overhead fan below me and could not not hear it. I share with my mother and father before he died crazy-sensitive hearing. It's the horrible truth that when you Hear something you can't Unhear it...
Kind of like...well so many things...
On a positive note, my mother brought us to a beautiful yarn store today in Bath to pick out some yarn and a pattern so she can knit me a sweater. Isn't that amazing? Found a lovely rust orange wool that is very soft and a pattern for a hooded cardigan. I'm very lucky to have a mother who knits, that's rare. I am not one who knits, even though I hear it is becoming all the rage these days.
I am flying back to NYC tomorrow, to my cat - hooray - who according to Marietta has been walking around and even let her pet him. This is excellent news. I am very relieved to know he's not just huddled in a corner.
This will be the first time I'm coming back to where I live. Will be interesting to see how that feels. It was so strange coming to Maine and telling people I'm from NYC, no longer the one who came all the way from London. Not so special, just another American coming from the big city.
It feels both comforting and strange. Also weird was the feedback from a piece I submitted here (NYC) that it was too local to UK and "we don't see things like that very much here." That made me laugh. It is a local piece, made from found text from a building in Portsmouth, but the idea that I may now be too British for NYC is pretty funny in a sad kind of way. Also, that it is too visual art and not theatrical enough.
I am some weird hybrid now. This much is clear and it's not just about UK/US. It's about artistic work and academic work, writing and directing, writing and photography and now video. Various ways of going, labs and productions, plays and prose, philosophy and theater....I used to think all of these various paths were a problem, that adults Chose a Path and Followed It. Now I'm waking up to the fact that I am a multiplicity and that choosing one path would be like cutting off a limb...this means I may not be as far along as someone who is on a more straight-ahead or mono-focused path but it also means there is a richness to what I am, who I am and Hopefully what I create.
And then too there is this weird thing - this blog - that I don't even know what it is anymore, if I ever did. I write to you, who are reading it, but I don't know who most of you are. I know you are from many different countries on many different continents. I know some of you as friends and some of you who have become friends through the blog. Most of you are strangers. Who are you I wonder? What do you get from this? I am moved by you, you people whom I have never met that are reading these words and following my life as it changes. I hope it offers something. Please feel free whenever you want to respond. Or not. I'm just glad you're all out there reading...thanks.
My gratitude list for the day: my cat is OK with a new person, I have a gorgeous sweater coming my way, my parents love me and even get my weird art, I have great friends, one of whom helped me a lot today sort through some gooey emotional terrain, I have a reading of a play coming up, the house is warm, I have eaten well, I have clothes and the ability to travel, I do not live in a war zone and I am even employed doing something useful. Sometimes people even give me money to create my own work. Finally, I am alive another day and not killing myself through active addictive behavior, the primary miracle of my life is this: that I am alive. And my life, as a good friend ceaselessly reminds me, is none of my business.
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.