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.


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars, meditation and the Beauty of Not Being Young

Watching the Oscars tonight was good escapist fun and in case no one noticed, most of the awards went to films by or about countries outside the U.S., which is quite interesting...The Republicans will now hate Hollywood with even more bile than usual.

I have been sick now for so long this was precisely my speed.  Yep, I was crying along with winners who were crying, the whole nine.

I still have a very low fever that comes and goes, the coughing has been tamed by Mucenex (sp?) and I'm sick of being sick.  On the other hand, I have been able to venture from the house and go to a couple meetings, buy food and watch dumb television.  Sometimes, I can have conversations for about 20 minutes before voice starts failing again...

I managed to figure out my acting class for tomorrow evening and hoping I'll have the energy tomorrow to work out some stuff for classes Tuesday afternoon.  The lecture classes are the hardest, for obvious reasons, because my voice is so weak.

I go between worrying this thing isn't gone yet and then remembering how many people have had it for ages.  All I can do is what I'm doing...rest, drink lots of liquids and rest some more.

One of the interesting things about all this is the amount of time I have to allow certain feelings and ideas to settle.  The most important one being, as I wrote about a few posts ago, I've had a lot of earthquakes in my life the past couple of years and so need to allow time before I can plow ahead full steam in any direction.  This notion is only getting stronger and stronger while seeming more and more like a gift.

A time to let go of all the ideas I have of who I am - every single one - and see what comes back to me, if anything and, if those ideas aren't there taking up space, see what new ones may arrive or may have never had air space because I've been clinging to some fetid carcass of an idea to which I have been unduly loyal.

My mother tried to tell me about this family characteristic ages ago (circa 2000 when I was separated from husband number one) and I heard her words but was not as aware as I am now of How Tenaciously Loyal I can be to certain ideas, when they may not be useful anymore, relevant or anywhere in the realm of accuracy.  However, no matter what, I don't know which is which right now, because I've been grabbing at all the shreds of projects and ideas I had from before the earthquakes and wondering why they won't reassemble properly, as if all of them were so many Lego pieces that can be put back together on whatever surface and don't change shape.

In June I will be 49, which is 7 x 7.  I have heard many times that every seven years all of our cells have changed, so essentially (at least cellularly) we are different people.  If that is so, 7 x 7 should be powerful.  Because I am in my 49th year now, this may be part of what all this is about.

Meanwhile, I am grounding all this with meditation. My favorite Salzberg meditation these days is on thoughts themselves.  Naming them, so I see them but de-identify.  It's powerful stuff.  I did it last night when I couldn't sleep.  Still couldn't sleep and had to put on the radio (which was happily the BBC World Service, which we get here late at night - a godsend to insomniacs - evenly paced, interesting when awake but will put you to sleep...thank you BBC!)...but when awake could stop the racing thoughts by naming them.

It's kind of thrilling to be my age and feel as new to the world in some strange way as a much younger person, but - and this is the best part - without being So Young.  I know that sounds strange, because the cliche is that youth is wasted on the young, but it's not true.  You just can't be where I am when you're young.  It's impossible.  And that's OK.  For a while I kept thinking where I am now is where others are who grow up in so-called normal families are in their 20s or whatever, but no.

I know what I know because of everything I've been through, all the deeply stupid shit I have done (most of which was done stone cold sober - double dumb...but also because done sober - here's the paradox - I can learn from it) and the mistakes made, emotional hostages held (especially myself), false dependencies on others to tell me I'm OK in relationships or work, waiting for this or that to fix me, thinking anyone or anything can (nope), thinking I'm self-sufficient (double-nope) while depending on one other person (fan favorite)...etc.

Nope, all this and more...all the places I've been, the dumb words I've written, the less dumb words I've written, the shows I've directed for better or for worse, workshops and classes I've taught successful and not (usually both), the marriages that have failed for a million and one reasons, some of which had to do with me, some with the other person and most with stuff way beyond anyone's control...

All that is why I'm where I am now.  And no 21 year old could be here.  Not a chance.

On Saturday, I will be celebrating a very big anniversary for me, which I may or may not write about here, still considering.  But it's led me to see what I've done in the past 25 years and the fact is: it's kind of breathtaking how much life I've lived.  On that day I will perhaps outline this if for no other reason to show anyone reading this, that even if you need to live life without a drink or a drug, it does not have to be boring.

For now, though, to bed....in hopes one day I will wake up without the Cold-Flu-Bronchial-Thing-That-Won't-Leave....

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