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....
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.