It started with the movers showing up at the improbable hour of 8am. If you knew movers were driving from Pennsylvania and you had not been given an ETA, would you think they would show up at 8am? No, me neither. So I drag myself out of bed (a loft bed, so it's a maneuver), answer the doorbell to the building, throw on some clothes over my nightgown and answer the door when this older fellow rings that bell telling me he's got a delivery. I am bleary and still cannot believe they are here. He comes in to look at the apartment, thinking - as I did in advance - there's not enough space, then leaves to 'prepare the delivery.' I run into bathroom in my 5 minute window, throw on regular clothes and make coffee.
I then 'supervise' the arrival of 53 items, mostly boxes and watch my studio apartment transform from living space to storage facility. The guys leave and I give them a tip. It's New York, you have to tip. They seem charmingly surprised, but in a mannered 'we have to pretend to be surprised' way - but also seem grateful, too. This paid off when the guy returned with two boxes we had both forgotten.
Then I started pulling out clothes and such, thinking that would be the easy part. That was the dumb part, because the London smell came out of the boxes with the clothes and linens. Then I could not figure out what to do. I managed to leave the apartment only twice, and of course ran out of cell phone minutes. As the day wore on and I tried to find places for stuff, I cried more and more.
For some reason, even though I had shelves at the ready, I could not open the book boxes. I did after talking to a friend who asked me what I could do to help myself, as by that time I was freaking out, crying and not knowing what to do next. I said I wanted to unpack two boxes of books so I could see the TV and zone out. She said that sounded like a good idea, so I did that, then went for a walk and talked to my good friend Julie and proceeded to sob while walking and talking in Inwood Park at night. (Don't worry I was on well lit paths)...I realized that books were so potent because when things were good with my husband, we shared ideas and our work and that was very important. We met when he took a workshop of mine in London. This was a huge part of our relationship.
So somehow unpacking the books, just two boxes, brought all this back and I cried and cried, wondering how something that had been so magical for a long time could turn so...what is the word? I don't know. But to the point where we have separated and will most likely end our marriage. That just makes me so incredibly sad.
I have put the duvets on my bed and wonder about my sanity, because the London smell is still there, but I can't stand one more night of sleeping with something that is not 100% cotton. I know that sounds snobby but my skin is dry...OK, either that or I'm insane. I don't know.
I did talk with good friends, one of whom Nicole listened lovingly and then distracted me by making me talk about my acting class at Hunter (she had some good ideas) and told me her good news about her impended NYTimes by-line...check out the Neediest Cases story tomorrow - it should be hers! Congratulations, Nicole! She has worked so incredibly fucking hard for this and I don't know someone who deserves it more. And on the off-chance someone from NYT is reading this: promote her from clerk to reporter you fools.
It's late now and especially because I barely slept last night, I'm off to bed now. For the record, I still have 30+ boxes as yet unopened. This may seem like a bad thing but for this overachieving, workaholic this is victory. I stopped, ate take out food and watched silly television. This for me was the right thing to do.
Tomorrow is another day and hopefully some more boxes will be unpacked. The sadness will continue, but hopefully some happiness, too. All of my life's possessions are in one room now. A strange thing to say at age 48, but there you go. My friend Julie said: when you return to the apartment, bless it all. It's all part of you, the mess, the stuff, everything. Bless it. That made me cry even more and then I did what she said.
Ugo the cat has been particularly loving today, which is sweet. He also gets a little antsy when I don't play with him so did that just now before writing.
I am all in now...and home. The dream is over...(in the John Lennon lyrics meaning of that phrase...as in: the illusions are gone...or that dream is over...) I am very sad. It doesn't matter if it's the right thing to do, it sucks.
But as someone said at my writer's meeting yesterday: So, I woke up today, like usual, suicidally depressed...and then it was time for lunch.
Here's to making it to lunch...and speaking of which RIP Christopher Hitchens. Another person taken too early for reasons I think I understand only too well...though the presenting issue was cancer. God bless. Even though he'd hate that - the God part - so never mind - secular blessings...whatever...
But for those of us who are alive: let's try to make it to lunch...
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.