As my old friend Jill said today when we spoke after many years "2011 can go fuck itself" and frankly, I couldn't agree with her more and - ha - it's Over! For her, it was a year of many deaths, for me many losses. But also - for me - the beginning of many openings to new delights as Rumi would say....
I am back in my beloved NYC, I'm working and beginning my writing again, have teaching work I enjoy and a great cat. I also feel lonely and a little empty tonight, but that's normal, I guess, as I am "alone" (as in single not as in without friends...)
I didn't go to the meditation day or retreat - decided I like the way I meditate and not really interested in hearing what I'm supposed to be getting out of it. I would have gone perhaps, still, except for the weird New Year vibe was obvious on the street and the idea of meditating for 2 hours and then attempting to navigate back uptown felt somewhat daunting.
Instead after a lovely Sri Lankan dinner with my friend Christian in which we discussed the varied ways in which our spiritual paths have wended their ways throughout the years we've known each other (over 25!), I came uptown to have tea and chocolate covered berries with my new friend Tamara. We chatted about all things from love to theater and back around again...then watched the ball drop in Times Square (on TV)...then I came home. From when I left her apartment, the empty feeling emerged.
I'm a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't take the time I hoped I would earlier in the day to review the year in some way...but on the other hand, it's all here, in this blog...at least the second half of the year.
What I want to do is: put myself first this year - which probably sounds incredibly selfish and strange to civilians, but it's deeply important, because I'm the kind of person who has a default self-obliteration setting and have to work against that. If I don't, everyone around me pays and someone has to clean up the mess...it's not pretty. I've probably written this before, but as this is the New Year round up...here it is again.
I also want to give myself space to do my own creative work - in whatever form that takes - at the beginning of each day before I get into the admin of life and all the outside obligations. I want to walk through whatever deep fears of success in terms of working on certain projects. I know these fears are there, even if this sounds like a horrendous cliche, because parallel to the self-obliteration default setting is the self-destruct button - that is cleverly disguised these days as intellectual justification, subtle snobbery to cover abject fear and judgments of myself or others that result in my not completing large projects that take time and grunt work.
So, instead of some profound ending to this post, as I hoped to give you, I'm gonna let my good friend, amazing writer/artist/theater maker Chris Goode take us out. He wrote some great stuff about this very blog in his amazing blog Thompson's Bank of Communicable Desire. While it was in his last post, it's worth doing a survey of his past blogs if you're interested in cutting edge performance/music/writing and culture generally. He writes about such a breadth of things with such depth it's kind of astonishing. I think of him as my private Best of British - a kind of modern Victorian polymath - kind of like Trollope who wrote tons of novels and invented the postal system at the same time - except of course he writes nothing like Trollope and there's nothing nostalgic in him...but to be that broad and precise - to care about so many things, people, ideas, art forms...is just astonishing to me.
The first line of his last post is, appropriately enough "The trouble is, nothing is irrelevant" - a sentiment with which I could not agree more...and you just need to go read the blog post, because it's amazing. If you're interested in his thoughts on this blog it's point 35 on the post. If you search for my name and/or Apocryphal Theatre on the whole blog you'll see all sorts of artistic dialogues we've had over the years. I don't miss London, but I do miss Chris and some other amazing friends. It reminds me that I do want to make sure not to lose touch and take any opportunities I can to visit and keep up those fruitful artistic and personal connections...
Let us all go forth and create in whatever way we do so...let's allow serenity, courage, passion and wisdom into 2012. Love deeply, live lightly, dance freely...sing badly or well and remember: anything worth doing is worth doing badly...Do not stop because of illusions of perfection...Your life is none of your business, just show up, do the next right thing and let God/dess take care of the rest.
And finally, I pray to remember to be grateful for even the seemingly littlest thing: like a place to live, heat, food, clothes, health, friends...Saw a guy sleeping on a subway platform tonight, there are many such people - others who are probably homeless were sitting on benches, checking each other out - seeing who was in the most need. This makes me remember all of my problems these days are luxury problems. My prayer for 2012: remember this and be grateful every day for that luxury.
Peace out and remember: if you wear your PJ bottoms outside, you are now officially cool.
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.