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 12, 2012

Why I heart the Jeremy Lin phenomenon & finding the perfect friend with whom to share it

I am writing this post while watching One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest on PBS.  I don't know how many times I've seen it, but the film never gets old.  The only thing I find is that I wish the 'bad guy' wasn't a woman in charge, which was kind of a trope in the 1970s - I wonder sometimes what kind of unconscious misogyny lies beneath this choice and how much it affected my idea of being female - as I watched many of these films and can't remember one example of a powerful woman who wasn't somehow evil, bad, wrong or ridiculous.

Nonetheless, I can't turn it off.  The scene where Nicholson creates a fictional World Series while watching a blank TV and brings a bunch of the guys on the ride with him is spectacular.

So, I'll watch 'crazy' people on TV and write about watching the new NY Knicks sensation, Jeremy Lin, on TV for the first time.  In case you're not in NYC or the US or are not Asian American or Chinese, I should explain that Lin is a Chinese-American basketball player who attended Harvard and was not drafted out of college into the NBA, was brought in to play briefly and cut by two other NBA teams and was brought into the Knicks recently and only allowed to play off the bench.

Then last week, because of injuries and loss of players for various reasons, he was given the opportunity to start the game, and ever since then - over the course of 4 games, the Knicks, who had a losing record, have been on a winning streak and he's the first guy in NBA history to have such consistently high scoring in his first 4 starts.  Now a 6'3" Asian-American is the toast of New York and has created a kind of wild excitement in the Asian-American community and among all the basketball fans of the city that is kind of hard to describe.  And this has all happened in one week.

Before this week, he didn't even have a contract and was sleeping on a friend's sofa on the Lower East Side.  Now, he's a superstar.  The improbability of all this has left many sports writers speechless and the rest of us just excited to see how life can suddenly turn so good so Fast.  It's also the beginning of the end of prejudice against Asian-Americans, because the only way to get real respect in this country is to be good at some major league sport.

So, that's great.  But it even gets better in my little world.  I had told my new, lovely friend Tamara I would come to her place to watch a movie, but wanted to watch the game, too.  But I went to her house as planned.  I told her what was happening with Lin and it turns out she's a big basketball fan as well, so we watched the game in and between the movie, high-fiving each other and screaming at her computer screen.

She was already an amazing new friend, someone I met at yoga, my age, an actor, a great person with whom I have a lot in common and then this: huge basketball fan.  Some days are just like that.

I started the day with the meditation CD doing sitting and walking meditation and simply cannot say enough for what that is doing for me.

The sad news of the day is of course about Whitney Houston, who was my age, and died suddenly at a hotel in LA before the Grammys.  No one knows why yet but I would imagine it has something to do with her issues with drugs and perhaps alcohol.  This makes me incredibly sad.  I saw a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow a few months ago called Country Strong, about a woman who is a famous singer trying to recover from her addictions and stage a comeback, too soon, and kills herself.  It was a riveting performance that chilled me.  I can't help but think of that now, because I think the way the fame machine works coupled with addiction is a literally fatal cocktail.   I found it even weirder that the party at the hotel where she died went on, so there was a police crime lab van and people walking in to a party at the same time.  That kind of says it all, doesn't it?  As in, oh well, that's sad, where's my agent?  The other weird thing is that there appears to be a bank of ready-to-print obits whenever a celebrity dies, which seems to imply that as soon as you're famous there are vultures waiting for you to die.  So, here's hoping Whitney has been released to somewhere less vampiric where her spirit can breathe more freely.

Speaking of which, back to the Cuckoos Nest...


  1. The obits written ahead of time aren't so much vulturism as because newspapers, and TV I suppose, need to have the information ready just in case -- if a famous star dies, they don't have time to put together more than a few facts. Obits are written ahead of time and updated periodically, which allows inclusion of nice comments from friends and even thoughtful remarks from the subject.

  2. Yes I understand that, but this 'need' for an 'instant obituary' is strange, isn't it? Why so fast? What on earth is the rush. We have lost all perspective on how to grieve, the real time involved and what a life means. In the case of a 'famous' person, it's even worse - they have been turned into a commodity that must be commodified even in death. Of course now everyone with Facebook and whatnot has done this to themselves. It reminds me of a report on the news in the 1990s, which included some corporate coach saying "you have to think of yourself as an optimistic product." This is what I object to - this 'branding' of ourselves, each other and the famous to a whole other degree - to the point where we become more attached to our instant obituary than our own lives. Very strange...and of course inevitable in a global capitalist world. But, I have faith it can change...but only if we want it to change.