In the miracle that is modern travel, I can blog on the train. It is drop dead gorgeous outside the train window. Sunny, mid-winter side-lighting - the train goes by the ocean (Connecticut Sound), which is as still as a lake. If there could be such a thing as crimson blue that would be the color of the sky - not red but a depth of blue. There probably is a word for that - vermillion is it?..but then it resolves into pale blue with clouds in between - I'm forgetting the name of these kind of clouds - they are long and flat, dark on the bottom gently white and puffier on top. Whispy streaks of light cloud between. Trees without leaves making outlines in the skyline. No snow at all, not a smidgen. Ah yes, now the pylons and eletctric grid, now a wetland and houses on the Connecticut Sound, all the little colonials dotted along the water.
Yesterday saw Rauschenberg's private art collection and it was truly astonishing to see what he surrounded himself with because of course looking at it all together, you see one of his combines - everything from John Chamberlain's twisted car metal (and weirdly Chamberlain died yesterday just as Nicole and I were admiring his constructions - 1924-2011 - a good run and RIP - gorgeous work he made) to John Cage and Morton Feldman's scores. Also one of Stockhausen's miraculous musical constructions. Merce Cunningham's notes, lots of Andy Warhol's work and even, Even a 1986 construction by Damien Hirst that had Soul. I was shocked, shocked. There was a Calder chicken - lovely, a number of Duchamps, of course, a Kurt Schwitters collage and Jasper Johns...also a Joan Jonas drawing of a wolf-like creature that was magic. There was, too, an amazing black and white photo of the New Jersey skyline from Manhattan circa 1980 while Battery Park City was being built. I can't remember the name of the photographer but wrote it down somewhere because I want to see more of his work. The sky, similar clouds to the one I described above - the photo was about 3-4 feet long... beautiful.
Ooh now there are swans. I think we are close to Providence, where I was born. Where my father went to RISD and aspired to being an artist. He was an artist, I wish he had pursued it more. Is that why I stopped? Because of the connection with him? I don't know.
Yes it's Providence, and the train is making that lovely train whistle sound - the one I can hear from my apartment in NYC as well, because I'm close to the Hudson Line. It's a haunting sound, whether you hear it from far away or are in the train. Something about train travel has soul - it means something. Why? I don't know, but there's a rumble to it - something about tracks meant only for the train, these bridges, this water, this blue, this pale sky. The water. God, I love the water, tidal water.
Providence, what a name for a city. Some abandoned warehouses - so many of them now have been colonized and turned to 'good use' as software companies or art galleries or whatever. I know that's good but because my childhood was spent going up and down the Northeastern corridor on Amtrak, I miss the abandoned warehouses. Something about the resplendent nature of the dilapidated 1970s before everything had to get so godforsaken Done Up for the 1980s onward.
Something about a world that was Not seamless. Remember that? Before we were instantly reachable, GPS-able and able to blog on the train - back when people who were reading, read you know books instead of iPads, Kindles or whatever.
What are we losing? Something about the tactile, the visceral even, smells, tastes...I say this typing on my Macbook with my smartphone next to me, FYI, just so I don't sound like I'm trying to pretend I'm anywhere else than Right Here With Everyone Else...though I can't seem to get into the reading on a tablet thing. A friend leant me his and I haven't used it yet. I went to B&N yesterday and bought a bunch of books. I counted and I have at least 1000 books in my studio, at least. Already filled 3 7'- shelves and can use 2 more. I love books, as in printed books.
I say this and then remember I should tell you that three of my plays are now available online. They can be purchased for a little over a dollar at Indie Theater Now. They are all listed on the publications list to the right of the post. The new plays, some of which have not been published elsewhere are: The Jesus Guy, Besides, you lose your soul or the History of Western Civilization and Future Worlds: Tricorn Init! If you like my writing on this blog, please do check out this site and maybe download some of these plays, because unlike any other publications so far, for these I can actually get paid a small royalty for each purchase....So, support an experimental playwright, go on! There are lots of great playwrights on this site, and I think there may be some way to get a subscription as well...
So, having just waxed poetic about hard copies, I now tell you to buy something online. Oh well. Anyone who has been reading this blog will not be surprised at a lack of consistency. Anyone who knows any other human being in any depth at all will also not be surprised at a lack of consistency.
By the way, when I thought I was close to Providence, I was wrong. I think we were in fact close to New London. There was a Block Island Ferry, which means of course: New London. You can retrace back to earlier posts for grizzly details about my time living in Waterford and New London. Basically think: Liars' Club meets Connecticut Valley (the Valley, btw, is Not Cheever country or any of those other writers who write about Connecticut, meaning suburbs of NYC - the only well-known writer who had even a slight bead on the Valley would be Richard Ford - it's a class thing...)
I think I may wrap this up now and read an actual paper book...something crazy like that, as the woman next to me texts like mad, eats chips (UK: crisps), wipes grease on her trousers and listens to her iPod while also looking at her iPad.
Wish me luck!
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.