Am doing the holiday at my parents' place in Maine melt into non-specific goo thing...it's sad as I knew it would be because my husband is not here and there are other family memories that come up when tree decorations that go back many years come out of the box.
On the other hand, last year my step-father Tom was very ill and so Christmas, while meaningful, was also very sad and kind of scary. This year that is not what is happening, so while I have loss in one sense, it is not that kind of loss for which I am grateful.
I'm watching Christmas episodes of Frasier now - in between writing this. Our tree is now decorated with the usual mix of ornaments from 100-5 years ago. My parents are in bed and I'm about to go upstairs and read. I come up here thinking I will find time to work on things but then end up in this haze, especially around Christmas.
I think that just kinda has to be OK, though. Today did some errands with my mother, which was pleasant. In places like Maine, though, I feel the fact I can't drive. I'm so used to cities and such, I'm not used to the feeling of being stranded unless someone drives me. Note to self: re-learn to drive.
I am though OK, that much I know. Was feeling badly but then talking with my mother found myself saying: you know, I'm really OK. And I am. And this is the constant amazement - for all the loss and things I want to do that haven't gotten done, etc., at depth I feel deeply OK. Like the opposite of falling apart.
There is a really weird ad on TV for Marc Jacobs - a designer I presume? Then an ad for exposure to asbestos law suits. Late night TV is weird. (OK, you really needed me to tell you that, I know, I know...)
It's also odd watching a TV show go through its seasons through Christmas specials.
I'm noticing now some of the really weird stuff about American culture, that I kind of knew before but having lived out of the country for long is now so blatant, like, for instance most all TV shows are cop shows or some form of crime fighting thing. The subtle or not-so-subtle message now is that forms of violence for the 'right reason' is OK in pursuit of so-called justice. This has shifted somewhat in recent years in that now torture is OK and there are more women who are cops and detectives, not just secretaries or assistants. The groups of cops/lawyers/detectives are generally multi-racial. But there is a basic line of law enforcement: good (except for corrupt ones) and everyone else: either naive or bad. The truth is out there and one of these people will find it.
In other words, all the humanity is on the side of the cops/detectives. When I was very young, I remember TV shows like 'It Takes a Thief' with Robert Wagner, which was a thief's POV. I had a weird attraction to this show, but for the life of me I can't remember why...but I did. I ate dinner in the living room to watch it. There were movies like Bonnie and Clyde and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Even the Godfather films were from criminal POV. Now it's all about the cops. The difference in the culture between the 1970s and now. We are now inflicted with post-9/11 TV. Of course this was the trend anyway, but now it's a solid. Get behind the law, trust it and know It's All For Your Own Good. Scary, right? Right?!
OK but true confessions: I do like the show Frasier, which follows a divorced psychiatrist who has a radio show, in case you, like me, didn't know that until recently, even though the show ran for years and has been re-running for even more years. At least it's not a cop show. It's silly but enjoyable for someone like me right now...for perhaps obvious reasons...
Well I hope you enjoy the holidays, whichever ones you celebrate. I think the biggest lesson for me this year and what this season can be about at its best is simple: go where the love is and stop chasing it or demanding it be or pretending it is where it's not. Sounds simple, right? It hasn't been for me. If it has been for you, I commend you. If it hasn't been easy for you, I understand. Here's hoping it's that kind of year for us all.
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.