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.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I have a cold so everything feels hazy...

Nothing brilliant or even half-brilliant to say because I am under the cold-cloud.  It's only a cold, but to teach with one is quite a chore and I feel only half-competent.  

However, Santorum has had another big night in Republican primary world, so I feel somewhat vindicated (see my post after Iowa: Watch Out for Rick Santorum).  I don't know if he will prevail, but he is the one I fear the most.

Other than that minor observation, it's all about: teaching, taking various anti-cold homeopathic cures, enjoying having dinner and tea with a new local friend at my apartment.  Each time I have someone here, I feel a little more at home.

I've got to sort out the health care thing.  Had a tumble on the sidewalk - no big deal, I'm fine - but it made me realize: oh dear, what if I had actually hurt myself.  So, on top of my list is signing up with a low-cost hospital network here in NYC.  To do that, need tax forms, to do that need to send that info to accountant, which means going through files...etc...

Which leads me to the other discovery of the past few days, a reacquaintance with Sharon Salzberg and her new book about meditation, with a horrendous title (Real Happiness) but great tips about meditating.  I meditate every morning and have done for over 15 years but to be reminded again of the basics and how focusing on breath instead of spiralling thoughts is a way to start over at any time of the day has helped me a lot recently.

For a variety of reasons, recently my thoughts have spiralled from one negative process to another, almost without respite and the simple instruction to - at any time of day - focus on my breathing - has been remarkably helpful.

Listening now to Pico Iyer on NPR.  He's written a book about Graham Greene The Man Inside My Head and I know Iyer from his book The Global Soul, which is a remarkable book that has resonated with me through my traveling.and years away from the US..and does now, as I find myself unable to settle 100% back home.  I understand now this sense of chronic displacement...which according to this interview Greene felt as well.  I understood why I felt it when living as an expat, but it's interesting and a little disturbing, though I had anticipated this may be the case, to feel it when I am where I feel - comparatively - most at home.  But of course it's not the same.  Not after 8 years away.  I feel I've written about this a couple times, but it continues and as this blog is a record of this time in transition, I sometimes do repeat myself, perhaps to see if this is changing - how I perceive it, etc.

What I do see now is that the idea of home will most likely remain elusive to me from now on.  Perhaps someday I will find a personal home of some kind, but the idea of a geographic home, I'm not so sure anymore.  The odd thing is when I read The Global Soul that was before all of my traveling and it haunted me, because it is not a happy-clappy book and talks about what is lost in this eternal drift as well as possible gains.  I have wanted so badly to ground again, and perhaps at some point I will, but I wonder if - as I fear - that will never be possible.  That once you know how arbitrary things are to some degree, you can't ever unknow it.  On the other hand, I don't have the low level feeling of being in the wrong place either.  Whatever the outcome of my having moved backed to NYC, I now know what it's like to be here again and don't have to be continually haunted by the dreaded "what if..." and that's important.

I also have a cold, so everything feels pretty hazy, I'm in a lot of emotional pain from my separation and have the financial insecurity of teaching as an adjunct and the inability to focus on my writing as I would wish, so this is all contributing.

I was thinking earlier today that I keep feeling this pressure with this blog to have a 'happy ending' - the part where it all falls into place, I say aha and leave us all with words of wisdom....but I'm not sure that will happen.  I don't want to say it won't happen either and indulge in a kind of low level chronic negativity thing either.  I guess here's the only reality: I don't know.

Ha.  There it is.  Thousands of years later and we're back to good old Socrates.  Well, there's worse things.

To sleep now...to slough off this dastardly cold...



2 comments:

  1. Somerset Maugham, in The Moon and Sixpence, Ch. 50:
    I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deeprooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.

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  2. Yeah what he said (Maugham). The weird thing is I really felt that rest in NYC before I left, so I think this 'rest' itself can shift for whatever reason. I do feel perfectly at home here but also, after the 8 years away, somewhat apart. I get the Maugham so well, though, because the England/Scotland thing definitely felt like the atavism he describes. When I went to London to teach the workshop where I met the man who I would eventually marry...etc...I remember the weird feeling: I get these people, I'm from here. It wasn't that I felt at home, but that I got it...and it felt like something ancient. Then on another whole level in Orkney - I knew I had been there before. I just knew it. Sounds weird but then discovered - yes you guessed it - ancestors who lived there...so, yeah...rest...we'll see. would love that, but for now, am seeking it in each new breath not geography.

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