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 as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While was blessed for the opportunity, after four years of being an adjunct, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in NYC 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. As of 2018, I also started leading writing retreats to my beloved Orkney Islands. If you ever want two weeks that will restore your soul and give you time and space to write, get in touch. I am leading two retreats this year in July and September.

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 now work full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, editor and writing retreat leader. 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

In 2017, I launched a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. You can also contact me through that site.

In May, I directed my newest play, On the edge of/a cure, and have finally updated my publications list, which now includes an award-winning chapbook of my short-story White shoe lady, which you can find on the sidebar. I also have become a certified yoga instructor in the Kripalu lineage. What a year!

And FINALLY, I have created a website, which I hope you will visit, The Unadapted Ones. I will keep this blog site up, since it is a record of over 8 years of my life, but will eventually be blogging more at the website, so if you want to know what I am up to with my writing, teaching, retreats and so on, the site is the place to check (and to subscribe for updates). After eight years I realized, no, I'm never turning into One Thing. So The Unadapted Ones embraces the multiplicity that comprises whomever I am, which seems to always be shifting. That may in fact be reality for everyone, but will speak for myself here. So, do visit there and thanks for coming here, too. Glad to meet you on the journey...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Preparing for memorial service...

I haven't written since writing about my stepfather Tom dying because there was not much to say after that.  I just now wrote what I will be saying at his memorial service on Sunday, or some version of it anyway.  It's so crazy impossible to sum up 33 years of life with someone that I just have to know I'm going to fail and do it anyway.

As my stepsister says the biggest difference between preparing for a memorial and for a wedding is that you have a year to prepare for a wedding and about a week to prepare a memorial.  This is quite true.  There are so many people involved, so many emotions, so many ideas of who Tom is and then the details like: caterers, guest books, photos, set up, etc...I kick into some weird plane that can be summed up in one word: director.  As in theater director.  Which I am.  Sometimes I do this with grace, sometimes not, but if you give me an event where people show up and stuff happens to which they pay attention and sit in chairs while doing so, it becomes in my mind: theater.

That does not mean it's not sacred in any way, because for me the theater is the sacred-secular and because this memorial is happening not in a church but a maritime museum, it is that, too.

But it's real life.

And then again, anyone who knows the theater I do knows - not much difference there either.  My theater was/has been/does veer more and more in that direction as well.

However, I have strange obsessions about: sound, possible interference, sight lines, where will people sit, will they feel comfortable, who says what when...how is that structured/not structured...

And of course I am not the only one having these feelings, which is what makes this experience so different from when my father died.

When my father died, I was basically the only one who was left standing who could make decisions.  There were others involved, one a lot, but I was the only one capable of organizing myself out of a paper bag.  Hence, my role was clear.

Here, it is not so clear because I am not The Only One.  This is a good thing of course but it takes some getting used to, which sometimes I do with grace and sometimes not at all.

But I'm here.  And meditating and praying and doing all the Stuff I do to try to stay on the near side of sane.

I  had my hair and nails done today.  Always a go to place when all else seems nutty.

I still feel Tom's presence around and about, especially when things seem like they may be getting thorny.  I feel his compassionate tendencies and his ability to be discerning without being judgmental and I find myself surrendering to that slipstream...which works much better than forcing an issue with myself or someone else.

I spent a lovely evening at one of the many amazing wharf cafes in Maine, meeting and re-meeting members of the extended family, including many nephews last seen when they were quite small.  The person I spoke with the most was my stepsister-in-law who was born and bred in NYC.  Most people think I was mad to leave London, except people like her who love New York in that way that some of us do.  It's like a first love that never leaves you no matter if you split up or not.

Having said that, I am happy to be sitting here now in Maine listening to the crazy loud bullfrogs in the pond on a cool but humid night rather than boiling in my studio in NYC.

I just wish there were other reasons for being here, and it's so hard to believe when I wake up again tomorrow morning that Tom won't be sitting in the chair in the den that I am looking at right now, smiling in his particular way saying sing songy when I trundle blearily down the stairs many hours later than he's woken up "Good morning, love."

But he's here, too.  I know that.  It's our loss he isn't here the way he was, but I feel he is somehow here even more powerfully.  Even if not in the form that can buy me a stuffed lion named Harold.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My stepfather Tom RIP 1930-2012

My stepfather, Tom, died peacefully tonight at Midcoast Maine Hospital, surrounded by his wife, my mother, Robin, his daughter Dru and me.  He had minutes earlier heard his sister's voice on his son Peter's phone.  We had had the horrible tubes taken out a few hours earlier and before he died he was breathing mightily.  After talking to Jody (he couldn't talk, but even though sedated, I am sure he could hear her), his breathing slowed, became quiet and he stopped breathing.

After that and some stillness in the room, I was holding his feet and felt wave after wave of loving energy, almost powerful enough to move me backwards.  Behind me was the statue of Ganesh that had been carved for him in Nepal, Ganesh the remover of obstacles, but a trickster, too.  Very powerful and Tom's favorite diety.  Ganesh is back in his place on the table next to me now in the home he shared with my mother.  I lit a candle in front of him that is still burning.

I wish I could describe to you how wonderful he was, but I cannot.  Fortunately, he just finished a book of his memoirs entitled Seeking Adventure, Finding Home that will be published soon.  When that happens I will give you links on this blog.  He was an Episcopal Minister, working in places like Colombia in the 50s and in South Africa during Apartheid (attempting to end it), then got a PhD in some new kind of social management, then was Commissioner of Education of Rhode Island, then worked for the World Bank and helped create primary schools for girls in Bangladesh.  At some point he was also in Nepal, where the Ganesh statue comes from.  He also breathed the air of many of these places and for years before he quit in his 60s, smoked cigarettes.  All of this led to COPD and then at the end ARDS.

In between, with his first wife Lucy he had three amazing children: Dru, Peter and Thos who in turn have had amazing grandchildren, Ned, Thomas and Ellen, Ben and Alison, Carson and Theo.  Midway through life he and my mother met and married when I was a teenager.  I was initially not amused, in fact I was downright snotty about it - not trusting he would stick around and not knowing why my mother had tried 'yet again' to marry someone.  Tom loved me nonetheless and over the years - and lo it was many years - he gained my trust and as I was doing my best to say goodbye to him these past few days, I realized even more than I already knew - that he had been my real father.  That doesn't mean my biological father about whom I wrote earlier was not important.  In fact his death a couple years ago floored me, but that was because I lost him twice, in life and in death.

With Tom it is so different.  He was real, he supported me in every way possible and loved me for real and without hesitation and without even the blood ties that I can only imagine being childless as I am.  I feel that lack of children produced by me quite profoundly now, mostly for my mother's sake, but also in this moment on this night, listening to the bullfrogs and sitting in this room, the den, where he spent so many hours, filled to the brim with love that I am sure is coming from him.  I can feel him, hear and even smell him.  His son Pete who was in the house when he died said he came through on his way out of the Building, and I believe that.

I know he is off the wheel of suffering, I can feel that.  I have never felt that so profoundly before and in fact have thought people were delusional when they said such things, but in his case I know it's true. I think you have to earn that, won't even attempt to describe what I mean by that but it seems to be the case.  He was a special man and I have not met many like him on this earth.  They exist, but they are not legion.

I feel deeply honored to have known him, so grateful to my mother for bringing him into our lives and amazed at my luck at having had him as a stepfather, who didn't even want to be thought of as a stepfather but instead as a father.  I fear that I am intruding on his biological children's feelings by feeling this strongly about him, but these past few days they have treated me like their family, too.  We never got very close because we were all older when we met, but Dru and Pete have been rockstars and I am beyond grateful for that.

We all worked as a team these past days, each encouraging the other to care for themselves, kind of spectacular.  I never had siblings per se so this is a new experience and one for which I am profoundly grateful.  This is Tom's legacy of course.

I am very sorry for those of you who never got a chance to meet him.

Goodbye Tom, I love you so much it's impossible to say and I am not alone.  You are loved by so many, have touched so many in so many ways.  What an inspiration you are and were.  Thanks for showing us how to live better, love better and how to offer real wisdom, not smug certainties or glib homilies.  Thank you for embracing Robin and me into your life.

The bullfrogs are singing to you now.  I'll let them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reality Bites - Prayers Accepted

Today my stepfather's symptoms got worse and so I am staying up in Maine.  He has Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.  Hint: if you can avoid this happening in your life, it will be better for you.

There is not much to say other than it's not looking good right now.  There are miracles, all kinds of things could happen, but when the doctor says things like: initially when he came in, I thought the glass was half full, about now I think it's half empty, then you know things are not going well.

I am very sad because of all this and wish there was a lot more I could do.  In lieu of that I clean things and forget other things.  I sit outside and look at the stars, listen to the bullfrogs and have moments of peace in the aptly named Healing Garden in the back of the hospital.  I was seeing the big yellow butterflies, the bees pollinating the purple flowers, hearing the many birds and looking at the small woodland and feeling: it's all OK.  Not in a denial way but in an immanent kind of way...

I am being there as much as I can for my mother and others and also taking care of myself, because if I don't do that the whole thing falls apart.  Everyone involved keeps reminding each other to do so.  Some days are better than others for all of us.  That's to be expected.

My mother and I brought Tom his Ganesh carved out of stone for him in Nepal and photos of him when he was healthy and with family.  This is lovely and helps the staff remember he's a person.  I thank my friend Katie for this suggestion...among many she has made.

I want to thank all my friends for sending prayers and notes of love and support, and Team Ugo for taking care of my cat.  And of course Julie for being Julie...if I write more than that, I'll just start crying.

Please send prayers to Tom at Midcoast Medical Center if you would for whatever journey he is on, that it may be peaceful and full of love.  If there is a heaven and there's no place for Tom, then it's empty.  Seriously.  I wish everyone reading this could meet him and if you already have, you know what I'm saying.

Be well and much love.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Bloomsday (Joyce in the ICU)

So, another strange day at the ICU but the nurse, Murielle (from Montreal who used to live in LES of NYC in the 80s doing art and theater) came in to say that a friend of Tom's had called to say Happy Bloom-day?  I realized she meant Happy Bloomsday, because Tom is part of a Ulysses reading group called the Sleepless Joyceans.  As luck would have it, that was the same minute the WIFI worked in the hospital, so I quickly downloaded Ulysses and read it to Tom until my mouth was running dry.

He is sedated but there is much evidence that people who are unconscious due to drugs do hear and remember things, so it felt like the right thing to do.  His brainwave stats went down, which is always gratifying, because it means he is under less stress.

It was somewhat bittersweet doing this, however, because the first year together my husband-soon-to-be-ex and I read each other Ulysses two pages at a time, which took precisely a year.  That is one of my happier memories of our relationship and a few days ago was the year mark from when we decided to separate, so....it's all very strange.

However, in the moment of reading it, it felt quite good.  ICUs are peaceful on the weekend, at least in a relatively small town like Brunswick.

The prognosis is for a slow, with an emphasis on slow, recovery...so I will probably be heading back to NYC soon to get stuff sorted, go to meetings and do my writing until the next phase becomes apparent and I'm needed up here again.  I'm going to feel really guilty leaving, but it seems like a situation when pacing oneself is paramount...that is, if we're lucky.

So, more prayers if you believe in them to Brunswick, Maine...and/or read some Joyce to the air in honor of Tom...

Friday, June 15, 2012

So it's my birthday...and it's gonna be a weird one.

So, I'm now officially 49, the clock is past midnight.  49 is weird because it's the year before 50, which is big and kind of scary, as in WTF, how did that happen scary.  But 49 is also 7 x 7 and 7 is an interesting number...every seven years our cells regenerate, so this'll be the 7th time that's happened, etc.  Mystical 7...and the like.  I have some vague belief in numbers that I could not even begin to explain to you in a logical way, but somehow it seems important.

Meanwhile my stepfather Tom is still intubated and we're now in wait and wait and wait and see mode as far as anyone can tell.  The desire to Know Something is fairly enormous while the Amount Known is relatively miniscule.  There are an ever-increasing amount of plastic bags with stuff running into him, everything from food to super-sedation to every antibiotic known to Man, tubes that take out bad fluid in the lungs and the tube that helps him breathe.  It looks really fucking uncomfortable.

Then there is the weird event of Everyone Who's Ever Known Him deciding to visit in the ICU, which is just weird.  Can someone tell us - we - his family - are wondering - when did it become acceptable to roll up into the ICU if you are a casual or long-lost friend of someone who has not been invited by a family member?  When the person you are visiting is unconscious, in desperate need of rest and the family is doing everything possible to keep it together amongst themselves?  Hint: to anyone wondering - it's not a good idea to do this.  There needs to be a new Emily Post of ICU etiquette.

I spent a goodly part of the day running interference between my mother and a host of well-meaning people walking into the room.  Bless then, I know their intentions are good...but, please, know that the woman needs some space, not to mention Tom...or anyone else you may be considering visiting.  Ask first.  Accept answer given.

OK, end of rant.

I cannot write my book up here, not yet.  Not sure if I can at all.  It's the weird limbo state of hurry up and wait and not knowing what to do, feeling vaguely anxious but ultimately being helpless.  I find myself turning into my mother and cleaning things.  Over and over again.  The blessed illusion of control.

I do not feel in a birthday mood, in short, and perhaps that's what this birthday is about.  Who knows?  There is a running theme, with my writing and this birthday and life in general these days: it's not about me.  I don't mean that in a mean, self-hating way, just in a - hmmm, isn't that interesting and kind of a relief way.  A sense of connection is permeating my being/becoming...wherein 'me' is not as interesting as this web of connection.  That doesn't mean I abdicate the need to take care of myself or merge cult-like into some inchoate Whole but it's about interconnections, something new...something that ironically cannot happen unless you are first connected to yourself in the deepest possible way.  You can't surrender something you don't own....the cells begin shifting...something/s new is/are born...

49...let's see where this molecular multiplicity takes us....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Back up in Maine - stepfather in ICU

So today they had to intubate my stepfather and so I came up to Maine.  I got the last seat on a JetBlue flight (unpaid endorsement: JetBlue = great) - ticket was remarkably cheap and the staff were uniformly helpful.

Was met by my stepsister and stepbrother Dru and Peter, and we had a dinner before going to the hospital.  It's so strange to be suddenly in each other's lives in the stressful time but everyone's coping well.  We all fell into each other's lives when we were young adults so there is always a bit of a dance in attempting to find connections, but they are very good people.

I'm delighted that I can be of use and support to my mother, that we've been around the thousands of blocks necessary to make that happen...and we have and so it can.

Seeing someone you love hooked up to machines and unconscious is horrendous, as anyone who has had this experience knows.  Fortunately, he has color in his face and his vitals are OK, but the fact the doctors aren't sure why certain things are happening is always somewhat distressing.  On the other hand, the fact they are honest about it, is encouraging in terms of their trustworthiness.

Because I'm insane, I brought my writing with me.  If I do any of it, that will be a minor miracle but I don't know how long I'll be here so it seemed the right thing to do.

Speaking of which:a shout out to Team Ugo - my friends in Inwood and Washington Heights who are taking care of my sweet kitty while I'm away.  If this isn't a testament to this neighborhood, I don't know what is.  I moved in in October and have a whole group of people willing to take care of my cat in June. That's amazing and beautiful and why I love NYC and at this moment in time Inwood in particular.

I'm listening to bullfrogs in the pond out back, hearing crickets and smelling the sweet air that only smells this way in Maine...something about pine trees, moist air, cool breeze and whatever else makes up the sweet smell...it even is noticeable in the airport.

I'm on the blow up mattress in the den, feel like a little kid again, which when about to turn 49 is (to now turn entirely British) no bad thing.

OK gonna try to get some sleep now in preparation for Whatever....prayer gratefully received.  If you are into Hindu deities at all, Tom (my stepfather)'s favorite is Ganesh.

Still writing...

That's about it.  I'm writing.  It takes most of my day and then I try to do other stuff around it.  It still feels like eating a brick each day when I'm done.  A kind of tightness and sorrow.  It'd be a lot more fun if I just made it into fiction but it's not that.

Also praying for my step-father who is in ICU now in Maine and glad that by some miraculous serendipity my cousin Jonathan is a night nurse at that ICU.  I am not sure if/when I will be going up to Maine myself, it depends on a lot of factors.  If you believe in such things, please send prayers to Mid-Coast Maine Hospital for Tom.

In the meantime, on Friday it will be my birthday and I've cancelled my first set of plans in case I need to travel suddenly and also because of an offer to visit my good friend Julie in East Hampton if I don't need to go to Maine right away.  As you can see, especially if you've been reading this blog for a while, my life is divided a lot like this: deep sadness on one hand, gorgeous invitation on the other...one thing my life never, ever is: boring.

Honestly, since I stopped drinking and drugging back in 1986 until now, I've never been bored.  Not once.  It's kind of shocking really.  I have also never felt the kind of existential loneliness I felt before I finally reached out for some help with the stopping drinking then.  I have felt lonely.  I have felt a lot of things but not that kind of lonely.  If you've ever felt it, you'll know what I mean and if you haven't, just consider yourself lucky.  It's definitely one of Dante's circles of hell and I wouldn't wish it on a soul.

I got some good feedback from the writing on Saturday when I saw a lovely woman who ran a writer's group in London and now has a number in LA.  Her name is Jill Robinson and to know her is to love her.  She was quite positive about what I read to her and - most importantly - told me she felt it sounded like it was from a different time.  This is wonderful because I'm writing in 3 different 1st persons, two of which are my grandmothers, starting at about 1919.  I am working to create/re-create their voices, one of which I heard for many years and another of which I heard some but have examples of her writing to draw from, including poems she wrote from age 19 to 60.  A gift.

I am living in and breathing their analog world and glad of it.  I hand wrote the writing I am typing up now in a crappy notebook with a crappy pen.  I am editing a lot to update material in line with my research.  People keep saying: well you can just make it fiction, but I keep saying: no, it's not entirely fiction.  It's about these two very real people, allowing for their voices to emerge as much as possible.  I don't believe the truism that fiction is truer than fact.  I think fiction is fiction.  Most history of so-called facts is also fiction.  The real challenge is to get away from story telling in order to get somewhere near reality.

This is of course totally impossible because we are story-making machines.  I could write ninety random chance words now and you'd make a story out of it.  But I want to show this mechanism in the writing, as I do in theater.  Allow for the machinery to operate but consciously.  The reader will not know which part of the words came from my grandmothers and which ones I wrote.  They will be aware that they do not know.  This is a start.

But the reason the emotional weight is so profound is that there is a lot of sadness in both of their stories and I think I've been carrying that weight a long time, as the Beatles sang...a weird nature/nurture inheritance...this bit of the story is more about me, though.  What showing the work to Jill proved to me is that it can resonate past me and that's what interests me more...

Also evoking a different world with a different set of values and a different time scale...the grandmothers' childhoods and then the rapid shifts throughout their lives, WWII being a huge one, smack in the middle of their adulthoods, shaking up everyone and everything, including who women saw themselves as or didn't.

But besides the huge historical stuff are the smaller changes and the ways in which one molecular construction moves and changes one way and another another way....and the discovery of genealogies including medical histories written by Jani's mother Ida going back to the 1800s, family members poisoning each other, nervous breakdowns, alcoholism, abortions (mentioned without judgment, I might add), hearty characters, 'bad characters', cock eyes, knock knees and bed wetting...nervous temperaments, creeping paralysis and a whole strain of women living into their 100s, a young man dying in the gold rush, another who was sheriff in the midwest and on and on and on....you just cannot make this shit up and have it be so mind-blowing.

So, wish me luck as I continue working through this stuff...so that one day relatively soon, if the gods are good, The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick and Jani, will be completed and published....any donations to the cause accepted at any time (!) seeing as no one is advancing me any money for this adventure as of yet, you can be the first and you can be sure you will be mentioned in the intro!

I'm getting punchy now, so goodnight...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Writing again!

Hey folks...

Radio silence because had to recover from UK trip and now working intensively on my grandmothers book.  Doing the turn the internet and phones off thing and researching-writing for as long as I can - usually for a few hours at a clip.  But somehow, given the subject matter, I need a long time to decompress.

There's some admin stuff backing up and a bunch of applications I have not done consequently, but I've decided to go on an at-home writer's retreat from now until the end of July.  After that I have to search for another apartment by September 1 and pack up this one and then most likely I'll be teaching again...and when I'm teaching this level of writing focus is virtually impossible.

Tomorrow I will be seeing the woman who was instrumental in getting me back on the prose track when we were both in London and I promised her some new pages, so that kicked me in the butt to get re-started.  I have a lot of work already written, but it's handwritten - so I'm typing it up and while typing I'm editing - a lot - because I wrote a lot of the early stuff before the more advanced research of last summer.

The stuff I have, the original poems and other writings and photos and documents from both of their lives are pure gold...just breathtaking stuff.  Working on it feels great but afterwards I feel like I have swallowed a brick, a kind of emotional weight that is almost unbearable comes over me.  This is the treacherousness of this terrain and the way I am working - mixing original stuff with fiction (my imagination working with given materials)...I am going to persist though, because I know this is what I am supposed to be doing right now.  Everything else feels like a major distraction.  I don't mean by that people, but instead admin crap and worries about this or that thing or the supposed 'need' to get back to people right away, etc...the fake urgency of the 21st Century virtual.

I also have photos - lots of them - backed up on my camera and phone but have not downloaded them to get them onto this blog and for that I am sorry.  Also still terrified of my fancy new camera.  Someday I will sort this out but for now...it's all about the writing.  I really, really want a draft of this book done by September 1.  I don't know if I'll succeed but I'm going to try my damnedest.  Until there is a draft I can't begin to show it or work with it in the detail that will be necessary...and there is So Much material.

So, I'm excited, a little overwhelmed and wish it was a more comfortable process...but this time, this time, this time...I don't want to be a slave to my emotions and let that stop this writing.  The feelings say: stop, it's too hard.  The heart of hearts, deeper intuition - call it what you will - inner voice, guidance...says: do it.  It's hard, it's almost impossible, it will feel like shit, but do it.

Dear God/dess, I can only hope it's worth it..and I don't mean just for me.  This fucking thing is not meant to be a private art project.  I can only hope it doesn't end up that way.  But whatever its fate, until I finish it I don't think I'm allowed to do much else...so wish me well...this is gonna be quite a ride....

Friday, June 1, 2012

Back in the UK - didn't get job but have something way more important

So, I didn't get the job for which I was shortlisted.  I am sad about that on the one hand and kind of relieved that I get to fly back to NYC and live there for real again.  Being in limbo is a strange place and while I thought I would have liked the job, the fact we didn't click means it wasn't for me.

Minutes after hearing that news, I was offered an exciting opportunity in NYC that I could not have accepted if I had gotten the job, so I wonder, too, what forces are at work...

On the other hand, I am enjoying visiting London and my travels up north. I'm seeing people I haven't seen since October and also have made some new friends.  I'm going to be able to celebrate some milestones with folks this weekend that are pretty significant and that's a bonus prize.

But, having said that, with the exception of the first day I got here, it's been cloudy and/or raining the whole time.  I am reminded of the simple joy of living somewhere (NYC) where the non-event is the sun (because it's so common) and the event is the rain.  Here it's the opposite.  It's also incredibly lush and green because of that, so it has its benefits.

I am staying with my friends Luis and Nancy and their children.  Their neighborhood is quite leafy and lovely.  We were discussing how, being in London, NYC feels so far away, which is does.  They are Colombian and Colombia also feels far away.  I've only been here for a few days and NYC seems almost like a mirage.

The same thing happens to me in NYC, London and everywhere else seems very far away.  Something about these big cities with their ecosystems that are so total they make other places seem remote or even fake.

I'm pretty much ignoring the Queen's Jubilee as much as humanly possible.  I would do the same in the US for the equivalent flag-waving event, so it's not anti-British...it's just anti-flag-waving.  Happily most of my friends seem to be ignoring it as well and living as most of them do in the East End, this is remarkably easy.

Because of preparing for the (relatively traumatic) interview I missed writing the blog post I wanted to write memorializing the one year anniversary of this blog (May 23).  I am sad about that because I wanted to have a snapshot of the year...but best laid plans and all that.

I find it amusing and somehow typical that at the year mark I  am still to some degree in transition or at least without a Hollywood ending.  I think I may have fallen in love with this recent job prospect in hopes I could end the blog on a flourish, but secretly I knew that wasn't going to happen because nothing about my life or this blog has been like that so why, magically, at a year would there be a big swooping Answer to Everything?

However, what has happened this year, which is frankly Way more important than this job is a sense of myself that has grown from the bottom up and feels strong and organic.  A friend of mine last night dared me to think of all the things I had done right in the job interview, because even before I heard the official news today, I knew I hadn't gotten the job.  I could just feel it and was doing the requisite sobbing when I got back to the hotel.

So, I reluctantly took her suggestion and realized something incredibly important: during the whole job interview process (which was Long....6 hours long), I was myself.  I never once even thought of trying to be someone else.  This might sound like a small victory or seem painfully obvious, but in the past when I have sensed disapproval, I have either shrunk to nothing, given up or become hopelessly obsequious or in some cases hostile in response.  I did none of these things.  I just kept showing up for one task after another, answered or presented honestly, did my best even as I sensed: hmmmm, this isn't going over very well, is it?  I was afraid at times.  I did doubt myself at times, but I never ducked or hid.

That is a victory and it comes from this: from having had everything stripped away from me that could get stripped away.  When this happens, whatever is 'you', which is not 'you' but is you on a deeper level, something else I can't describe, remains.  There is a security there that is indescribable and is in fact unshakable because it is real not simply a construct created to agree with someone else's idea of you or in reaction against someone else's idea.

I am in fact whole now.  I am no longer broken.  I never thought I would feel this way - ever.  I thought it was a feeling only people with normal families who didn't have 'issues' got to feel.

That is no small thing and if that means I don't get a certain job, so be it.  I doubt I would have gotten it broken either.  But now even if I have random feelings of failure, some sadness and some ego burn, at base I know I'm still OK.

I am also proud I let myself want the damn job even if I didn't know I would get it.  I was in fact terrified that I wouldn't get it because I wanted it so much, but then: I didn't get it.  And instead of my having wanted it making that disappointment harder, it somehow made it easier.  Why?  Because I was myself throughout the whole thing.  My sadness does not have to coincide with the emptiness of self-abandonment or, to be less poetic - bullshitting myself.

And now...I am quite tired so I'm off to sleep so I can get up and participate in some really lovely human activities tomorrow with my dear friends.

Blessings all.