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. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.

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 having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.

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


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring happens

Hello after a long pause.  I am still not entirely sure what to say right now, but have some photos of early spring in Inwood and that seems of note.

I have an ambivalent relationship with spring because it leads inexorably to anniversary of April 14, my wedding day followed by April 15, miscarriage day.  While this was five years ago, I still have no children and that's a wrap, and now I am separated from my husband, mostly likely for good.  This is my first year facing these days without him.  Because of the miscarriage, our anniversary was never just an easy day, but I had been looking forward to the time when that would change.  But now, that won't happen.  On the other hand, because we are not together, I don't have to pretend to be happy on April 14, so I guess that's a grace note.

This is the general tone right now, hence the reason I have not written in close to a week.  I don't want to just be a purveyor of sadness or violin background music.  On the other hand, I can't pretend I'm not grieving.

I have spent this past week meditating and making up teaching work left undone because of a month of being sick.  So part of it is simply tiredness.  And let's face it, I'm also depressed.  And no, I don't want to take fucking drugs for that, so please don't suggest it.  I'm not suicidal, I'm just really sad.

At random, I picked a PJ Harvey CD from my collection To Bring You My Love and am listening to it now.  I have not been able to bear listening to this album for years, because it reminded me of a time when I was way more open with myself and with B (our first year together - somehow we seemed to be falling away from each other for all the subsequent years even though we tried the getting married thing - didn't help - not really...I have some suspicions of why this is so but will not recount them here).  I spent the rest of the years trying to pretend this part of me that Harvey's music touches didn't exist.  I didn't do that consciously.  But I did it.  I knew there was a loss.  I probably blamed it on B, on the UK, whatever.  But the fact is: I was the one faking myself out, not anyone else.  No one forced me to stay in an untenable situation.  That was all me.

Dear God, I never want to do that again.  I feel like it's Groundhog Day as I write that.  Said it after my first marriage, too, for slightly different reasons, but not That different.  So, how do I trust myself ever again in relationship world?  Not sure I do.

But this I am doing differently: I am not even looking to be involved with anyone else right now.  Not even looking.  Seriously.  I know this and only this much: I am damaged, I need to heal.  I don't mean damaged by B to be clear.  I just mean damaged by the whole experience much of which was by my own hands, though of course we were both there.  Not to mention all the childhood stuff, etc.

After my first marriage while I didn't go flying out to find someone, I ended up in various romantic-ish intrigues fairly soon - some of which were real, some of which were loosely based on fact (like a hack job bio).  When B and I first separated, I felt like I should go find someone new right away, even though that wasn't 'healthy' mostly because I was sick to death with always trying to be 'healthy' which seemed to have produced nothing but yet another failed marriage, a kind of endless grieving process over a miscarriage, my father's death and a sense of chronic dislocation...etc., etc...Years of therapy and various recovery processes and where was I?  Sobbing in my bed at 2am.  Fab.

Quickly, however, cooler heads (mine) prevailed and I realized: You Are So Not Ready to Be With Anyone.  And so here I am - still alone.  No prospects.  I'm assuming B is with someone by now, but don't know for sure.  But then again, I always assume stuff like that.

This album, the one I have on now, I sent to him after our first 10 fall-in-love-like-in-a-movie days together in NYC, for Valentine's Day.  Up to that moment, we seemed to be on the same page - open and absurdly in love.  Then his response to this CD was somewhat muted and I was - secretly - crushed.  I didn't say anything of course, but I felt what I continued to feel for 10 years: I'm too much for him.  I have to back off.  I'm too intense.  I'm too....fill in the blank... Be careful.

10 years.  Be careful.  I'm too much.

See?

Who would do that for 10 years?  Whose fault is that?  B's?  Nope.  Mine.

Until I can honestly say to myself that I will never sell myself down the river like that again, it's me and my cat and a cup of tea.

I can't tell myself that honestly until I know in my bones that I am worthy of taking up space on this planet.  I would like to tell you after my 5 million years of recovery/therapy etc. that I can do that, but honestly, I'm not sure.  Sometimes I fear I am irrevocably damaged and real love is just a bridge too far for me in this lifetime.  Maybe that's true.  I don't know.

I do know I feel real love for a few close friends.  I have acted in moments out of unconditional love for a handful of people.  Those moments and the relationships that include those moments are the most precious things to me in the world.  Unlike all other transitory happiness, the memory of those times and what has resulted from that never dies.  There's a saying where I hang out a lot: you've got to give it away to keep it.  Yes.

I don't know if I will ever write something that I feel is what I could do if only....If only what?  Not sure...Had enough time, wisdom, real ability with words...was better, more observant, richer so I had that sensibility...more something.  Too much of that, not enough of this...etc.

But for all that, spring happens....not only in nature.  In me.

I love this PJ Harvey album tonight.  I am Not afraid of this part of myself tonight, the part with passion, love, need and that can cry it out loud.  I am reclaiming her.  Thank God/dess.

It's tentative like the buds on the trees in photos below.  But she will grow back, re-emerge.  She's not dead.  Because I have the opportunity to start over again - even if it feels a bit old at 48, here I am.  Again.  New again.  Spring again.

Yeah, there's grief.  Yeah it fucking sucks.  And yeah there's spring.  Spring tears my fucking heart out.  I want to cry all the time, but I will walk around in the woods.  I will breath in the new plants.  I will love the shit out of it even if it rips my guts out.

I don't want to ever feel like too much of anything ever again.

The beauty of NYC remains: it is impossible to feel too much of anything for this place.  That includes my friends here and everything I've been doing so far - teaching, friendships, readings, writing...etc.  If anything, I feel I have to get bigger, learn to take up space again.  I spent too many years trying to get smaller.  As my cousin Darcy's mother said to her once about trying to make yourself 'fit' in a relationship: "You can never be small enough."  She was right.

So I will leave you with some very early spring photos on this Daylight Savings Time night in the US.  The one good thing Bush did as president was move this day earlier in the year.  More sun.  Good thing.

Here's to never being too much....and to PJ Harvey.  An excellent British export.

no matter what...spring happens




relentless buds...





grass returns pushing away dead leaves






profligate yellow defying the brown (a lesson...?)

Ugo chillin'


ducks chillin'



3 comments:

  1. Doughnut holes for my lady of courage.

    Ganesh

    ReplyDelete
  2. You might not think this helps anybody, but it helps me. helps me to know that this kind of searching and sadness is not just mine.

    And Ugo is lovely. Love his name too !

    Panther

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Panther that means a lot especially coming from you who are such a gifted poet.

    As for you Ganesh, it's up to you to buy me a new wardrobe I can fit into after the doughnut holes.

    ReplyDelete