which is of course a metaphor in and of itself...only got through about 8 more boxes tonight. I really can't seem to do a lot at a time, but somehow am almost half-way through, so the math makes no sense...
Tonight the thing that did me in was looking through my first art sketch book. It was a drawing I did of my mother, back when I was 13 years old. This was when it was discovered that I was "good at art." The drawing actually does look like my mother and it made me realize tonight I was actually quite good. This realization made me cry, because I know I did not know that or if any part of me did know it, it was only as an external validation, nothing I could own.
I'm watching a movie called The Station Agent as I'm typing this. It's kind of great - about a small guy (a dwarf) who inherits a train depot in Newfoundland, NJ and is befriended by a Latino hot dog vendor and a female artist separated from her husband whose son died a couple years ago who almost runs him over, then a young black girl who also likes trains and meets him while he's walking the track.
I love this kind of film, simple, human and hilarious and sad because the people are hilarious and sad - not fancy plots, just people. Nice.
So now during the commercial break: back to Julia and visual art. Because I was brought into the advanced art class at 14 (the one for seniors who were 17 or 18), I felt honored but also pressured and inadequate. And this is the real fact: at that age, I could not bear the amount of time I had to sit by myself to work. I was so frozen that there was no there there, only an ice cold tundra, so theater, the group sport, won out. I ended up directing originally before writing, probably for the same reason. Though I did write a lot, it wasn't with the same precision or skill and definitely not the joy that I experienced working in theater.
This makes me very sad now, to think that I made an artistic decision primarily based on the fact that I could not sit with myself for lengths of time. I mean I could and I did, but I did not enjoy it, it felt lonely - because I could not keep myself company. I could not because I had exited the building very early on to survive. I also did not understand myself as creative at all. I felt like a cipher of some kind - a very weirdly talented (because I was told I was tho I didn't believe it) puppet, basically.
I wonder if now the reason I am feeling more inclined to writing and photography is that I feel more and more comfortable within my own skin. I also don't feel like a puppet, certainly not empty or frozen. I don't feel the need to jump out of myself, and when I spend time alone, I generally feel better and warmer than when I am among people for too long. If I am too social for too long these days, I feel somewhat drained and diffuse. I do like seeing people, but there's something enjoyable these days about time spent by myself, especially oddly enough that I am now separated. Before when I was with B and he was gone, I would feel lonelier, because I was theoretically married, but I was alone. Now when I'm alone, it's me and my cat and that's cool.
This movie I am watching kind of deals with similar things to do with self-acceptance and social exclusion.
But here's what I find: when I am connected with myself, it's a lot easier to connect with other people and balance out the time to spend with and spend alone. When I'm running around too much or doing too much Stuff, I lose all that.
Note about TV commercials during holidays: there are an awful lot of ads for diamonds....B asked me to marry him close to Christmas in 2005, so I imagine this will continue to be lots of fun...this so-called season.
Just watched the end of the movie and it was as understated as the movie itself. Simple and nice.
My cat is lying next to me - he finally did make it up to the loft bed last night and slept with me for a while. It's just astonishing to me that this was the cat who would not leave the space behind the sofa a little over a month ago.
There's hope for us all, furry and less furry creatures.
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.