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

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.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Quantum levels of not knowing

There is so much I don't know now about even the next few months of my life, it's kind of startling.  I do know that as of now, I need to move out of my sublet on June 1, but am not sure where I will go.  I have a couple options, mostly temporary in nature but I have a lot of stuff.

So, you ask, why don't you just find a more permanent place?  Reasonable question, but the other level of quantum not knowing appears to stymie the answer, namely, that I have so many teaching applications outstanding right now, some of which include jobs in the UK, that I don't know where I will be.  And, even if I stay in NYC, I'm not sure where I may end up teaching/working, so not sure in what neighborhood it would be best to live and that I can afford.  I also have a cat, which complicates things.  Though he is lying next to me now having little cat dreams where he moves his mouth, eyelids and paws when he's asleep, which is so insanely cute, I could never live without him.

This on top of the fact that all I want to do this summer is write, and not be hassled with looking for a place, setting it up, etc., makes this all seem a bit crazy to me.

The other reason I have not written in a while is that the teaching work, plus applications, has been staggering.  I kind of despair as to when I will have time to do my own creative work, and the only way I've managed to get through this is thinking: in the summer, you will have time...and now...hmmm....

The exciting news is that I got a sign of possible interest on one application, which involved sending in a lot of my stuff, in order to be considered for the shortlist.  I hesitate to even write this on the blog in case I am not shortlisted and the shame, the shame...on the other hand, I'm so happy to have finally gotten some interest, I do want to report this.  But, because I don't know how sensitive these things are, I will not say where this place is.

I do know that all the not knowing is difficult.  For someone who attempts to live the proverbial one day at a time, meditates and does yoga, I'm still pretty crap about really not knowing.  I'm also in a constant struggle to sort out what I am supposed to accept and what I am supposed to attempt to change...the so-called wisdom to know the difference sounding at these moments like a fortune cookie or teabag truism.

On the other hand, I went through a process last Friday of speaking with someone in confidence about my own resentments and how they affect me, my part in them and how to allow for the willingness to let go of the parts of me that are deeply unhelpful - to others and me - and this was powerful.  I am still walking through the emotional/spiritual resonance of that event.  This is a process I have undertaken 3 prior times since 1987 and always find world shifting.  This time, probably because I am rawer and more awake to my feelings and parts of myself I had hidden from view, it has felt more discombobulating and more clarifying in equal measure - a paradox I will not even attempt to unpack because the words will fall around me like so much useless confetti.

I did have a conversation with an amazing woman the next day who was able to witness some of the deeper feelings that emerged from this process, without judgment and without trying to fix me, and for which I am wildly grateful.  There are times when the right person just happens to sit next to you in a room of many people, someone you sort of know but not that well and that person can have a powerful effect.  It was one of those experiences.  She, not surprisingly, is someone who has suffered in similar ways and has walked through a lot of pain.  These are the spiritual warriors, there is no other way to describe such souls.  And when you are at the end of your rope and can't play nice anymore, if you are very lucky, one such person appears to allow you to go through some messy feelings without asking you to clean it all up and put it into nice little boxes at the end of the conversation.

In other news: I got my hair done (sounds stupid, but does improve my mood considerably) and managed through waves of fear to write the brief things needed to supplements the material that needed to get sent along for further consideration of the application.  I had no idea how badly I wanted this particular job until they told me they may be interested.  I have a knack of pretending I don't want things I don't have or don't think I can have or for whatever subterranean reason believe I don't deserve or all of the above.  So, if something weird happens that threatens that narrative (to use the word du jour wherein everyone has turned into post-structuralists overnight), I kind of get body checked by the emotion that gets unleashed.

Because I am nowadays more awake to my feelings, when this happens, it can be quite destabilizing... or I should say: it feels destabilizing, because my actual actions are not weird at all.  I did what needed to get done, managed to feed myself and my cat and get the laundry taken care of while doing it.  I felt fear and freakiness but acted normally.  I think earlier in my life it was the opposite, I felt normal or comfortable and acted like a whacko.

Someday when I grow up, maybe I can have both at the same time.  Crazy talk, I know.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to apply for jobs and put out feelers for more independent work.  I continue to love my acting class at Hunter and have been asked back to teach in the autumn, which is great.  I hope this summer among other things to find a way to write about this acting class and what I have learned teaching it.  I think I am formulating a method that is not entirely from my own theatrical tool kit, but that borrows from traditions I respect, is rigorous and prepares actors for any kind of performance/theater, not just naturalism (which in the US is Still the prevailing wind - if you can believe it....).  But, here's the thing, this method can be used for naturalistic performances, too, because it's a kind of molecular practice. Before the cells of a particular style or story are created, there is this work...which can then lend something to any performing and also to life.  Not bad, eh?  So, both for my own teaching but also to articulate this as some kind of research, I hope to get on this....which reminds me of a paper I need to propose....soon.

Hmm...think I need to get on that now, before I forget...so, welcome to my world of molecular thinking and quantum not knowing...off I go...

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