A simple but close to perfect day - not for any whacky strange reason, just the simplicity and the agape love involved.
Before the activities of the day started, I found myself looking in the mirror after meditation and was surprised to see a relatively sane, composed person looking back. It was kind of surprising. I had the oddest, and nicest feeling after that, which was 'yes, I can' - not Obama-epic, but simple and sure. The feelings I get plagued with at times of fears of incompetence or being overwhelmed by emotions or daily tasks or tax forms or doing the dishes again seemed to vanish. The inner adult getting stronger - just a bit - each day. What a relief and surprise. Maybe I'm not the spazzy half-child I still have in my mind's eye when thinking of myself (back to Interpersonal Communications: that is Obsolete Information). Maybe I'm actually a relatively competent adult who is beginning to take care of herself like for real. (For some reason, tragically, whenever I've come out of long term relationships, I have to re-find this part of myself, because I seem to allow the other person to take over certain realms of competence - whether real or imagined - and/or assume I cannot sort out my own emotional equilibrium. The feminists back in the day called this learned helplessness and was supposed to refer to 'helpless' housewives. Imagine my chagrin that I too can be afflicted by such a thing. Yeah, again, I can recite chapter and verse about why this might be due to this person's abandonment and that other person's abuse when I was a child and blah blah, but now in my 40s: really? really?
Because I'm not utterly exhausted thanks to not pushing myself like a lunatic this past week, I was able to start the day by getting an application to Macdowell Colony writer's colony off without too much trouble - discussed how I'm beginning to see the Dick & Jani project as a stage text, hearing voices in the fragments and maybe that's where it wants to go. It would be a wondrous minor miracle to get in and have the time to write without interruption for 6 weeks. The reason I'm particularly pleased I applied is because I was rejected last year, but in a nice vaguely encouraging way (this is the life of the writer - as any writer knows - you look for the tone of rejection and find glimmers of hope there - sad but true). Usually when I'm rejected for something, I just throw up my hands and walk away, finding some snarky reason to hate said institution or whatever. This time I did not do that. I applied again. I have done this in a few other instances, but it's rare and felt wildly adult. The outcome isn't up to me, but you'll be the first to know if I get it, that is if I don't faint and fall unconscious with the shock of it.
I got that done before the sun went down - just - and went to finally pick up a coat I had repaired and keep forgetting to pick up, but of course the place was closed as it is Sunday and a holiday weekend - yet another thing, as if there weren't enough - to be grateful to Martin Luther King, Jr. Not the fact the dry cleaner was closed, the holiday.
I did go to the grocery store, and smelling all the fresh vegetable and herbs inspired me to make my famous lentil stew. The basics of which I learned from my friend Marietta but have turned it into a signature (read: one of very few) meals I make. I happily bought tons of fresh veggies, feeling righteous as I did so, filling my cart with healthy items all. The total at the counter was consequently smaller than usual - because it's always cheaper and healthier to make your own stuff - duh.
When I came into the apartment, there was a message from my new friend K. I called her back and told her I was making stew and watching Downton Abbey and even though it was ass cold, would she like to come over and join me. Much to my delighted surprise, she said yes. I then spent hours cooking - and I don't mean that in a bad way. It felt great. No rush, cutting veggies, soaking lentils, even - dare I say it - putting on the football game because I knew the NY Giants were playing - and they won. Big excitement here for that. I really don't care, but it was fun to watch anyway. I also vacuumed and played with Ugo who is having a chilled out day himself.
K came over and we chatted while half-watching the Golden Globe awards, then Downton Abbey. That led to a discussion of the class system here and in UK. Apparently, according to an article she read recently in the Economist, there is more mobility in the UK than in the US these days, which shows you how dire the US class system really is. It doesn't have hundreds of years of history behind it but it does have the decimation of real democracy in favor of a capitalist kleptocracy to blame: all in the name of - wait for it - freedom.
Enduring freedom. Remember that? That was the name of the first misguided attempt to 'avenge the attacks of 9/11.' As I said then and still applies: I don't know how much more freedom I can endure.
Then we talked health insurance, specifically, my lack thereof and alternatives, along with the usual invectives at the powers that be for the fact we don't have national health care, etc. K is a doctor at a hospital and she was explaining that one clinic she knows of has a sliding scale for doctor visits, but not for lab tests and such, so they can sort of care for people but then, if the patient can't pay, they can't order tests patients might need but can't afford. Nice, huh? I did show her the NYU free and sliding scale health care resource site and she was impressed. In case anyone out there might be in need of this, the URL is http://nycfreeclinic.med.nyu.edu/information-for-patients/health-resources/list-by-service. Check it out.
I know this, along with my taxes, are two things I need to sort out soon, but I will. Amazingly, I'm not even feeling freaked out about that. It will happen.
After K left, I did the dishes and began writing here. A lovely day all in all. I even managed to clip two of Ugo's nails. There are of course more than that, but it's a start and better than 0, which was historically the amount I've clipped.
So, for a day of small victories, incremental steps and making a ton of lentil stew for myself and an appreciative friend (who like me finds my apartment very cozy and warm ), even in a kitchen with no counter space, hooray.
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.