Today was kind of lovely even though, thanks to daylight savings time, it started late. I slept well and when I woke up managed to do some typing up of the beginning of the two notebooks filled with my Dick & Jani book/project. It's rough but it's a start. I wanted to do more but had told an old college friend I would meet him to see a concert of a composer friend of ours that was happening - happily - right here in Inwood. I spent a couple hours watching new music compositions, enjoying some of it more and less but grateful for the fact that we are so spoiled here that we can attend such concerts for free.
Had a nice, super-cheap Dominican dinner, came back home and sent out a zillion invites to the workshops I will be teaching at The Brecht Forum in April and May (see side column for details on the blog). I did this while watching some movies on TV, so the tediosity was diminished.
I am reading Doris Lessing's kind of amazing book about her parents Alfred and Emily, which includes a fictional past for them that she believes could have occurred if WWI had not. She then follows that with the WWI reality. Given the mix of fact and fiction in my grandmother project, I am soaking in Lessing's amazing feat. She is a master storyteller. I am so glad I discovered The Golden Notebook when I was young. I really am not sure how I could have handled parts of my life if I had not read her wise words about smart yet emotionally vexed women. Her ability to grasp all the political realities while zoning in on the most detailed emotional micro-scapes without losing the one for the other is nothing short of breathtaking. She is a deeply feminist writer simply for this reason even though I am fairly certain she would bristle at that description. No matter. She is also a practicing Sufi, which makes sense of her earthy transcendence.
Happily, I feel I suddenly have time again. The extra hour of sun makes everything seem more open. There are daffodils and crocuses blooming. I am almost happy, but way too anxious and suspicious of that word to allow myself to say that without cringing and waiting for a thunderbolt to come out of the sky.
I wonder if I should stay in the US. The presidential race has made me painfully aware of the psychosis of our body politic. That and the fear of not having health insurance.
But I have a feeling the simple reality is that I will feel weird wherever I go, and if I don't stay here for a time I won't really know what I can do here or not. The world is now larger for me so no one place will ever feel like The place. Probably from hereon out there will only be places.
The other problem with moving yet again is that I can fall into a pattern of blaming place rather than acknowledging that - as said in the wonderfully absurd 1980s film Buckaroo Bonzai: wherever you go, that's where you are.
I do want to spend some time in the UK/Europe in the summer to see how it feels now that I've been gone for a while. With luck, I will work that out. I'm hoping teaching these workshops again can get me started teaching my own work in various venues, including the UK.
Teaching acting at Hunter continues to be a joy. I am surprised each week by how gratifying it is to teach basic skills to people without much training but with enthusiasm.
Meditation continues to be the cornerstone of my day, today was about emotions and thoughts, including positive emotions. This is why I am so aware of how afraid I am to allow myself to be happy ever again.
Must end here as it's incredibly late thanks to the extra hour of sun....
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.