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.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some interesting acting student journals & flowers!

Can't write much because need to finish grading my students' journals (acting class) and exams (interpersonal communications) so can prep for interview next week in UK.

I experimented with bringing in my cutting it up techniques into the beginning acting class at Hunter and have just received, via a student's blog, the most wonderful affirmation of this work as not just specialist but useful for beginning actors.  The earlier exercises she is referring to were more traditional ensemble-building exercises, Chaikin, Meisner, Linklater, etc...

Here are two of Liz's gems:

"Cutting things up, whether they are words or actions, is downright enjoyable.  I feel like with some of the earlier exercises that I couldn’t lose myself enough in them to shift my mental state. Cutting things up, however, is just different and wacky enough that I was present throughout the exercises and completely lost track of all the inner bullshit going through my head."

...and this about the cutting up of cliche phrases, which touches on the political/philosophical bit:

"I think what this exercise taught me is that truly it is terrible to type by group and how important it is to think of people as dynamic creatures who exist beyond color and culture.  Beyond the statements of stereotypes, it was fun to see the brains of students working and putting things together.  There was a freedom there that was enjoyable, a critical process with some moments of brilliance."

If you want to read her blog about the class, it's at http://teaspoonest.wordpress.com/

Watching the evolution of students such as Liz was kind of astonishing.  I have to keep reminding myself that when she started, she was shy.  There were a few shy young women who walked into the class and walked out way less shy and knowing they can act.  That is truly exciting.

Oh and another student actually brought me flowers to our final evaluation.  That is a first.  Sadly, in the "no good deeds will go unpunished" school of life, she had her wallet stolen in the process.

I have to keep this brief but eventually will write more about the students' response to this class, because it was quite exciting, especially their making the connection between the class, Chaikin's writing and their own everyday lives.

This is just a brief proud teacher moment...shared with you...

So gratifying...OK, now back to grading...

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