Had a very hard time sleeping last night after writing the post about the anniversary events of these past days, but today - even though hard to rise for its beginning - was lovely.
My friend Nathan helped me pick up two free file cabinets from a Freecycle donor, who turned out to be none other than the writer Katha Pollitt, which was quite a pleasant surprise. Nathan and I know each other from university days and it turns out her daughter also graduated from Wesleyan (a mere 20+ years later but well anyway...) so we had a nice chat. This is one of those only in New York experiences that I cherish.
We (I should say Nathan) dragged the file cabinets into my apartment, then went to eat - at first to Indian Road Cafe, which is the local coffee house/organic restaurant of choice, which was too full, so we diverted back to Broadway and decided to check out the $3.95 chicken lunch special at a Dominican cafe called La Ceniza. Well, let me tell you, we got amazing food, a lot of it, and kick-ass cafe con leche, all for a whopping total of $12 for us both. We sat there for ages while some older regulars watched soccer (aka to the rest of the world outside US: football) on television. We were welcomed as if we were long lost friends and asked to return. This place's opening hours are 3am-6pm, so we decided it's for the transit workers - we are at the end of the A train and a bus depot - and the folks who have to get to places really early in the morning (aka the cleaners). So, if you're looking for the best deal in Inwood, I think we found it.
We had a long, winding conversation - the kind that you have every day of the week if you are in college or your early 20s and work in a bookstore, but that feel luscious and extravagant when you are in your late 40s and 'have busy lives'. While we have known each other for years, it is only now I am back in NYC that we are reconnecting and it's a real bonus, among many, in my life today. There is also something unbelievably comforting in talking with someone you have known since you were 19 or 20, the shared history, generational, political, artistic, spiritual aspirations, questions, concerns, delights...nice.
After that, talked with another friend on the phone, sharing some issues that were plaguing us both, helping each other as best we could through the darker patches of our lives, shining the kind of light only a compassionate other can shine. We all have blind spots, no matter how supposedly self-aware, so these friends of mine who tread a similar path are a treasure.
Another friend was coming over for our new Sunday ritual, i.e. Dinner and Downton. Was about to start that cooking for that when my lovely, amazing, talented, wonderful friend from London, Bib, called on Skype and we talked about the opening of her gallery show, which sounded like it went beautifully. In case you are in London, the name of the show is Noisy with Appeals to Silence at 31 Shorts Gardens, Covent Garden and runs through February 8. Bib worked with me as part of Apocryphal Theatre and her visual work has been deeply affected by her time with us creating living sculptures as part of and for our improvisational theatrical creations. In turn her work deeply affected the way I viewed and view theater. She is exhibiting alongside Agniezska Stone whose work is also bold and stunning. Go if you are in London, you will not be disappointed. These two artists are both breaths of fresh air.
Talking with Bib was lovely, about her opening and our lives here and there. I was telling her that she and all her European friends could probably never comprehend the depths of stupidity in the electoral process here or else their relatively rational/socially-minded brains would explode. As anyone reading this blog knows because of my periodic outbursts, coming back here has given me a new appreciation for the brazen idiocy we are privileged to endure. (Enduring Freedom, remember? The name of our first attack on Afghanistan...sigh...)
Katie arrived soon after for dinner, I made risotto with kale, prosciutto and olives, which I don't mind saying came out pretty damn well, especially considering I have zero counter space. It's amazing how much you can chop on a 9" x 6" cutting board on the side of a sink. I'm an expert! We had our usual fun time together chatting and wondering about the fate of fictional aristocrats and their servants during WWI...if anyone had told me I would consider that fun even 10 years ago I would have told them they were insane, btw...
No files have yet made it out of a box and into file cabinets, but I did place them in a good spot. I did final prep for teaching my first acting class at Hunter tomorrow and for my BCC classes that start on Tuesday.
There are numerous things I feel I 'should' be doing/have done, etc. But needed deeply this connecting with friends after a night of feeling excruciatingly alone, which was of course waves of childhood/adolescent pain/numbness washing over me in yet more "healing" balm...
Final rant: healing sounds so nice. Healing actually hurts like hell. This is as true of physical healing as it is of emotional healing. It just sucks. But it is necessary. I hate that shit. But, like, big deal. Doesn't change a damn thing.
One of my best friends Julie reminds me of this a lot, for which I am extremely grateful. Otherwise, I would think I was losing my mind or was going to always feel like the Swamp Thing. But no, just part of the process...the infernal Process...which leads to..um..feeling basically OK enough to not want to jump out of my skin in some explosion of self-destructive activity...woohoo. But yeah, even for that, I'm grateful. Sad, isn't it?
Now, soon, earlier than I've managed...a little yoga and then bed, please dear Jesus, to sleep....
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.