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.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Letting Go

I sent the letter tonight letting go of my husband.  It was painful and it was the right thing to do.  I sobbed throughout writing the letter, because I told him all the gifts he gave me, which were many.  He is not a jerk and no one did anything wrong.  I'm not sure if this makes it harder but it certainly makes it raw painful, because there's no bad guy to point to.

Because I know he reads this blog and some of you know him, I'm not going to say much more than that except to say it's very hard.  However, dragging it out would not have been any better.

My cat is fortunately being very affectionate and I was able to get to a meeting of friends of my friend BW, which was necessary, and also talk to some good friends before and after that.

I've never done this before.  I've never let go of someone and taken responsibility for that decision in the way I just did now.  It's because it's so painful and you don't get to place the blame on anyone.

Before that I had some good conversations with my students who are doing oral presentations next week, and some of the subjects include (chosen by them): Occupy Wall Street, discrimination against women (by a straight guy!), unfairness of taxation system, gentrification, high-school drop out rates, why gangs exist, the obesity epidemic, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Dream Act...among others.  This is a very politicized group of young people I am proud to say.

There is another story I cannot tell the details of right now because it involves a current situation, but I can say this: alcoholism kills people, for real and in many nasty, horrendous ways - ways that would be hard to imagine if you didn't know about them and leaves victims like children in its wake.   There are people in hospitals now in comas, with burns, kidney failure, brain damage, liver malfunctions, all with families, all about to die and no one can stop it from happening.  These people may have reeked havoc in their lives but no one deserves these grizzly deaths or to be on the receiving end of these peoples' chaos.  It is a whirlwind with no conscience whose major food group is self-hatred, which it generates and spreads like a fucking metastasizing cancer, clinging to every surface it can find, internal and external.

I am very lucky to be alive as are a lot of people I know.  I pray for those who are not as fortunate and kind of beg you all to do the same.  You cannot imagine, unless you have seen it, the horror wrought by the disease of alcoholism.   And even then sometimes you can forget if you haven't been caught in the cyclone recently.

Gratitude tonight for being alive, being present, my lovely cat, amazing friends and those with whom I meet to stay present and accounted for in this life.  Food, shelter, clothing, a meaningful occupation and Inwood Park. Thank you.


  1. Thank you for your loving solace -- you can express what I can only begin to articulate, for myself and my feeling for the extended family. It really helps.

    And always know you have full support and love from Maine, too.


  2. Hi, Julia --

    I found your blog with a simple Google. I am going through a separation, too, and I wondered if someone was going to write about it. I suppose others have, too -- I shall see.

    If you want support and comfort from a male stranger (one who's 67 years old) you can email me at mmmickey55@yahoo.com. I have a good idea what you're going through.


  3. Sending you love.-- Jenny Boylan

  4. Thanks so much, Jenny. Funny, I was just unpacking my stuff and going through old letter and poems written to you know who in 1980. Love's a funny old thing, isn't it? I'm in Maine right now visiting my parents, on bus to Brunswick. If you're around, give a shout. Would be lovely to see you.

  5. You know who is me. You should know I don't fly away from having been that lovely creature James. I know plenty of trans women who reject their earlier selves, but I'm not one of them.... That boyo and I are pretty similar, both the good and the bad. It's like groucho's line..."Outside of the improvement, you'll never notice the difference."--JFB

  6. That makes me incredibly happy, and it's good to know. Yet another reason I look forward to when we can finally meet up again. Congrats to your son Zach for his Vassar yes! I remember back in 1980 (again with the 1980...) getting the Wesleyan ED yes. So great.