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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scary Newt and the wit and wisdom o' Inwood

So, to start...here's the weird sign I saw on the street leaning against a lamppost on 207th Street walking from the 1 train.  Wisdom?  Google Translate? Inwood Confucianism? You decide:

I am really not sure what to make of this, is a bad lie one that works or does not work?  Is a fast cart something that gets you somewhere or refer to the people who sell things off carts on the street?  In any case, I could not help but stoop down and get a blurry photo with my half-smart phone.

After the relative calm of seeing this and spending time with friends today, one at a local cafe, from where you can see the below body of tidal water...(I can't help myself taking photos of it, especially as the seasons change...something so gorgeous about this area in January - stark but lovely...again, sorry for the phone photo but gives you an idea...one of the many things on my to do list is to get a better camera for these photos and video work I'm starting to do...)

But so...after this calm, I managed to shatter it by watching the Republicans debate in South Carolina.  I haven't managed to sit my sorry ass down and watch one of these things all the way through until now.  Whatever hope I've had about Occupy Wall Street was severely threatened by the whoopin' and hollerin' for Newt Gingrich speaking in blatantly racist terms about the economy to the African American reporter asking him a question...then watching the African American female anchor on FoxNews Live Stream pretend she had not written the word 'condescending' to refer to Gingrich by half giggling saying "I don't why I wrote that" followed by Ed - I'm such a racist and wish I was Dick Cheney - Rollins snorting "Oh you meant the reporters!"  She laughed a little too loudly - all the years she must have taken of god knows what abuse to have her anchor position at Fox news live stream flashing before her eyes - uh yes, that must be it, she said.  Bull shit.

I swear to God I was waiting for the pan out to that audience to suddenly include white pointy hats.  But no, they've got 'em stored away in the basement or attic somewhere...you could just see the Aura of it - all that pent up resentment at having to have an African-American president bursting out the sides, a barely contained riot of approval for the fake-academic Gingrich tut tutting all those people on food stamps.  I thought I was gonna hurl.  So instead I started tweeting madly - the modern version of pathetic protest.  I did have a good tweetversation (is that a word yet?) with a fellow in Memphis about all this - someone else who had moved back from Europe and is still reeling with the raw horror of these very scary men - and their even scarier supporters (mobs).

If you think I am exaggerating, by the way, just go to the Fox News channel website and I'm sure you can watch the whole thing again - if you can bear it, and I warn you: it's ugly.

The only tiny consolation I have is that Romney will most likely be their nominee and attacking his idiotic record will be like shooting fish in a barrel, and he does not have the horrifying populist demagogic power of Gingrich or the weird Cameron-like smoothness of Santorum or the righteous Texan religious thing of Perry or the racist anti-semitic dressed up as radical thing of Ron Paul.  Who are all these people?

I say that and yet I know....I grew up among them, I was an Evangelical Baptist at one point when a teen.  The world is so black and white.  White is Jesus and the Church, black is both racial and the Godless Government, etc., etc.  The belief system is incredibly insular and totalizing, which in these days of anxiety and economic meltdown ironically is more comforting to these folks than oh say an actual social safety net.  Nietzsche was right about this: Christianity does valorize suffering as the entry fee, which can cause a weird idea of what the social should be.  We reap what we sow.  He also said, and I agree with him on this one: Christ was the only Christian.  Amen that brother Friedrich.  Yeah, yeah I know he hated women - hold the comments.  Still he got some stuff right.  And it was his sister that was the anti-Semite, not him...he hated everyone.  Kind of like Lenny Bruce except he was a 19th century philosopher.

In summary, for today: friends: good.  Republican presidential candidates: bad.  So, there you go, I am now oversimplifying with the rest of 'em.  Reminds me it's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I should be better than that.  He is right that you can only get rid of darkness with light and hate with love, but tonight I cannot find any love for Newt Gingrich.  No, actually, weirdly that's not true.  On some deeper level I can, even for him, which is kind of fucked up, but I can...but on the level of presidential politics and the real world, no, never.  He is my enemy in that world.  Yes, I would like to have a dialogue and yes I'm aware we are all too polarized, but a dialogue can only be had in good faith and  stirring up white resentment and fear under the guise of rational policy is horrendous.  It needs to be called out for what it is not lauded like the idiot commentators on Fox News were doing oohing and aahing over his 'passion' and how excited people in the audience were.

Dear God/Higher Power/Whomever, please help us all...It looks like we aren't doing a bang up job ourselves right now.


  1. I'm guessing that your Inwood sign might have come from a golfer. Faster cart = getting to where the ball is and perhaps "adjusting" it before the others get there? Thus, no bad lie. But bad lies aplenty from SC, as you've found out. We warned you, those of you safely across the seas, what the political climate had become Over Here. Terrifying doesn't begin to describe it.

  2. Aha golfer wisdom...and yes, I was here over the summer before I moved so was aware of what was to come, but sitting - voluntarily - for over an hour with Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-demagogue was chilling - the audience most of all. I still have my indefinite leave to remain visa for UK so have escape hatch - was feeling homesick but not suicidal. These guys remind me of Handmaid's Tale (Atwood's great novel about a government that say, oh, Rick Santorum would probably set up)...eek.

  3. It's difficult (understatement) to have any dialogue with people who are, at base, not rational.It's like someone whose only language is Mandarin trying to engage a French person who only knows French. Whatever a woman says will be sneered at and dismissed (openly or inwardly) by a misogynist, and a black President will be derided by racists for the simple act of breathing.

    But how do we deal with such people as the racist and the misogynist ? Given that they too have the right to express opinions, hold banners, and vote ?

    Show them up for what they are, I suppose. Again and again and again and again. In the hope that the slightly less misogynistic, and the slightly less than completely racist, will eventually see these people for who they are.


    love and best wishes, Julia.


  4. It sure as heck is scary and only getting more so as the economic situation continues to go further and further south, with the split between well off/rich and working class/poor gets wider, like some 3rnd world country. Why that is so in this country, I don't know, but we sure have a long history of moving right/populist/demagogic during times like these.

    Love the tidal picture. I could have been taken up here -- complete with the rocky shore line and boat dock.