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


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas blues and prayers for something like joy - like, say, joy

Was plowing along today getting stuff done and happy with myself for doing it, up to and including see the show at Gagosian Gallery of Rauschenberg's private collection.

Then watched a silly movie called Kissing Jessica Stein - the subject isn't that important except that it deals with relationships, identity and being true to yourself and the last song was about letting someone go and it just made me feel very sad about the separation with my husband and it hit me again like a ton of proverbial bricks that this will be the first Christmas in 10 years I have not spent with him and that when we first got together was Jan. 11, 2002 and I knew he was arriving that Christmas, so was happy and excited that he would be visiting me in NYC even in 2001.

Now I am going up to my parents' house tomorrow alone and it kinda sucks, like a lot.  I should be asleep but I can't stop crying.  Will hope that at some point that shifts, because I do need to get up relatively early.

I really wish at times like this that I was the kind of person that could glide into a new relationship quickly, but I'm not.  I was even saying earlier today to my friend Nicole that I feel OK about being alone and like I never want to be with anyone who has any doubts about being with me.  I felt it at the time, now it just feels like brave talk.  That's not true, though, because I know there has been a change.

But that doesn't take away the raw, horrendous pain of the sadness of grieving.  But I just read something today in a book's epigraph, which I hope proves to be true:

The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Take joy.

- Fra Giovanni Giocondo

I feel I have been very long in shadow.  In yet another book today, I read an Emerson quote about blocking the sun through one's own shadow.  So, maybe there is a theme here.

The sadness is real, yes, but I need to be brave enough, some day to take joy.  I will need a lot of help with that.  It does not come naturally.  It's scary even.  I hate admitting this.  I really do hate it, because it feels like I'm short-changing grief.  But am I?  Has pain just become a habit?  Have I simply experienced so much loss in my life, it's grooved in like an old pair of shoes?

Dear God, Goddess, Whomever/s...if this is so, please help me surrender this habit.  Please, please, please.  Show me the joy within my reach and help me to take it.  For some of us who did not have real childhoods I think this may be harder than for others.

On the other hand, in going through old papers, I stumbled upon something truly astonishing - a photo of me lying on the bed in the cottage in Maine - a bed on the sun porch.  I have two kittens sleeping on me and I'm reading a book, but I've taken it away from my face to smile - sincerely - for the camera.  I can't quite place my age in the photo.  But the obvious thing is this: in that bed, with the kitten and the book, I feel safe and happy.  I think I may be 12 or 13.

I loved the cottage, and I always felt safe there.  I was always safe there.  So, maybe there, maybe the memories of that cottage are the place to start.  Not to wipe away the other stuff, but to remember this part of me, too, the part that survived, thrived even.  I fear writing this, I really do, like I'm somehow diminishing all the other crap.  But perhaps not.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps happiness and even joy is not a fake.  Perhaps it is the shadow that is the illusion.  Wouldn't that be amazing.  Wouldn't it just?

I have a feeling the reality is somewhere in between, though.  Because in the same way you can't have life without death, you can't have light without dark.  The contrast is what defines the essential nature of the other.  But I have been spending a lot of time in the dark.  Maybe it's time to let in a little light and see what happens - hopefully I haven't just atrophied into a fungus.

We can only hope.

OK, really gotta get some sleep now.  Next post will be in Maine...

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