So, having restrained myself from acting on self-hating needs to Do something for the past few days, today I woke up and wanted to write, so I did. The whole thing had a lovely, easy vibe to it. I'm scared to write this, lest I somehow then make it a mandate. Because mandates never works for me. I'm one of the few writers I know who hates a deadline. They make me freeze up. I need to Not make myself do anything for anything to come through me.
After writing - and I stopped myself after a bit so I could do the other things I needed to do - everything else went more easily.
I was having lunch the day before with my friend Dana (who writes the Momover blog - see link on blog roll) who reminded me of the principle of detachment. Somehow, it stuck.
I got all the paperwork done I needed to do and prepared the apartment for the movers coming tomorrow. I have shelves up and ready for books and a closet almost empty for boxes.
The moral of the story here is: when you need rest, rest...even if imperfectly and even if watching TV. The old pseduo-Buddhist cliche someone scrawled in the tunnels below the dorms at my college holds true: don't just do something, sit there.
For me, all creativity has to be voluntary. I cannot do it under any form of duress or pressure. It just won't budge. Some people can, but I am not one of those people. Something in me dies inside and I just feel beleaguered. I hope I remember this, because it's important.
Other things that don't work for me: formulas and rules. Sometimes guidelines can help, but only if they are flexible.
If I am being paid to do a specific job, like teaching, of course there are parameters and that's fine. But if I'm teaching something on my own, like a workshop, the same principle of radical flexibility apply.
The other thing I'm happy about today - the writing gave me the sense that I only used to get from directing - namely a calm sense that things are OK. Not a big whiz-bang sense of exhilaration - just calm, which is so nice.
I think I should stop writing about this, though, lest I turn even that into a formula of some kind and labor under certain emotional expectations. There is a very thin line for me between allowing myself to work and tipping over into workaholic, expectation-driven activity and I need to steer clear of that.
Literally Everything I've ever created worth a damn has worked outside of that driven state, and Everything I have ever created within that more dogmatic, externally-focused way of working has been deeply flawed or just plain bad.
The first play I wrote, I wrote blind with no idea what I was doing and thinking I'd gone kind of loopy but knowing it was meant to be though I didn't know what it was. The theatrical techniques I created with a handful of actors and artists in labs started in labs with no expectation of anything coming out of it other than exploration. As soon as the expectations began, the process dried up in some deep way. Almost invisible this subtle killer of creativity (external motives - away from intrinsic value), but nonetheless deadening.
I want to keep following the voice inside me that said "leap and I'll catch you" and brought me back here to my beloved city, without knowing how the fuck it was going to work. And it did. That trust, that soul dive, that's the only way, The Only Way anything ever works for me.
Hopefully I can remember this more and more as I continue on with this life thing. The less I force, the happier I am. Thanks, Dana, and all of you who have listened to me recently and over the years, who have reminded me of this.
Oh and finally (and male readers, this last section for you is strictly optional), I have been dealing with peri menopause and have discovered a miracle 'cure', which is maca-based, called Femmenessence. I am so not being paid by them or anyone (and refuse in fact to 'monetize' my site - by selling ads - because I'm a crappy capitalist and because of the aforementioned expectations thing), but it works and I was suffering, so feel kind of ethically bound to share this info with anyone in the same boat. No more hot flashes and all kinds of stuff I thought died seems to be kind of waking up again - anyone going through this will take my meaning. I'm also drinking a "Green Stuff" mixture, taking Black Cohosh and calcium and a multi-vitamin. Can't say enough good things about having this turnaround, because wild horses won't make me take hormonal supplements, which just have cancer written all over them as far as I can tell...plus hormonal alteration stuff makes me crazy and I mean Crazy...But before addressing the symptoms, it was like living life with PMS. No fun for me or anyone else...
OK end of female-health hour...
Wish me luck with the Stuff from London arrival tomorrow - expect it will be emotional, but also will be glad to finally have my papers and books. Scared of the smell of clothes and sheets...smells are my madeleine...and London smells very different from NYC.
Time though for bed so I'll be ready for the movers...though God Herself only knows when they will arrive...
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.