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.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gretchen Peters' music and interview reminds me: earthquakes are disorienting

Just heard Gretchen Peters' music and interview on NPR...she's kind of great, had a crazy ass year in 2010 and her album is called Hello, Cruel World.  Sounds melodramatic but her songs and voice are not...somehow seems to relate to a project I may be creating ultimately from this blog...

Also had a revelation listening to her, as she described event after event as 'disorienting' - Oh, Yeah, that's what it is...my life in this case I mean, disorienting - That's why I haven't been able to move forward like a shot through this or that project I planned, writing or otherwise.  There have been massive tectonic shifts and I can't just expect to build the old designs on new ground.  That's why I haven't done these things yet, not because I'm a slug...anyway, this is an important thing somehow...also I think we are doing a good thing looking at this project from many perspectives...because the ground is still settling or has re-jigged.

If anyone out there has been in an earthquake, I know you can understand this metaphor...Gretchen Peters experienced a flood in Nashville, the oil spill in the gulf and her son telling her he was transgender (he was born female but she refers to him now as her son, which is just great).  I think there may have been other things, but this is what I remember.  She has already managed to make an album from all that (not literally but working with emotional reality of this), and at first I was about to go down the envy road, but then realized I've had tectonic shifts going on for a couple years now, and the ground is still settling.

These changes, which are so profound and involve things like who I am on very deep levels, are going to affect how I make work...and as these changes began right after my PhD was complete, affects even the so-called more straight-forward academic work, it even affects that.  Until listening to Peters, lying down and doing some minor league yoga, I had not really appreciated this.

Who knew a country music star would affect me so much?  Fantastic surprise.

I think this realization may also be another benefit of working with Sharon Salzberg's meditation book, which encourages a kind of spaciousness when encountering emotions or thoughts, which involves Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation and Non-Identification.  Not that I was doing that directly but had been last night while snuffling and coughing and I think that may have opened me to this moment.  This ability to see something from a different angle.  It's also a product of working on detachment in a certain group I attend where that is the watchword.  Not detachment as in: I'm not here, but as in that spaciousness, that ability to choose, to not be a victim of emotions or thoughts nor to repress them or judge them as wrong or bad or best and good...but as the proverbial clouds in the sky, which is not, ever, The Sky...but are always part of it...and give it its unique flavor...

I'm still coughing away, fever down, voice now audible but quite literally sotto voce, but managed to make it out of the house for a short walk and bring my laundry, which may also have helped open my mind...However, walking along consisted of moments of coughing fits that made people look at me like I was a tubercular lunatic who managed to escape from the 19th Century...but the laundry lady gave me a lollipop, which in my dazed state seemed quite nice.  Mind you, I had not seen another person for 2 days.  If I didn't have Ugo the Rescue Cat, I would have probably stark raving mad...but he's here, sitting next to me, purring away.  He deeply prefers when I type on the sofa rather than the ergonomic desk area.  Ah...cat love...(hey give this to me folks, it's all I got right now...)

1 comment:

  1. You are so NOT a slug!! Let's here it for Ugo and your recovery.

    Love, Rxxx