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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

For the record: I'm writing & RIP Lol Coxhill (1932-2012)

I'm kind of silent on the blog because I'm actually writing my grandmother book every day now.  Not lots of time because I have a seemingly endless stream of crap to deal with at the same time: money stuff, housing stuff, etc.  I have a move coming up on September 1 and still trying to figure out where that will lead me.

Had a lovely evening having a total 80s flashback by listening to George Clinton and his Funkadelics on the river at Battery Park City.  Beautiful night, meeting my new friend Nina's friends.  Very nice.  Also struck by how many couples there were like everywhere and feeling pretty lonely in that regard.  Well, let me rephrase that: very lonely in that regard.  It's been a year since B and I split and I've been really good about not getting involved with anyone during that time because I knew I needed the time.

Not sure if I should be anywhere near anyone even still and I am enjoying my friends and the freedom of singledom...but sometimes, well, I wonder...will I lose touch entirely with this side of me?  I guess time will tell.  It's not like anyone is in hot pursuit, believe me.  I'm probably sending off death rays anyway.  I don't think I even remember how to flirt.  But then again I never really did flirt.  Oh the whole thing is dire.

I think I'll stick with the book and my cat for now.

On another note, a wonderful musician named Lol Coxhill died this week.  He played the wildest free jazz on his soprano sax you could ever imagine.  I met him in London at my friend Sarah's 40th birthday party.  I was feeling particularly blue - comparing and despairing, feeling like a failure, wondering why my work wasn't as successful as some other people's and why did I have to be such an experimental whack job etc., etc. when Lol began to play.  The piercing yet gorgeous sounds he made hit some part of my soul, or was it simply my body or was it the ever-elusive body without organs Artaud was on about...no matter - away went the despair and in went these sounds.  I was brought from despair to the sweetest kind of joy - the joy of recognition of some kind of music - not a melody, not something you can hum and indeed nothing you've ever even heard before but you know it.  I was not alone.

I pretty much ran up to him after he played, and happily for me Sarah introduced us without telling me until after the fact that he was a legend.  So I got to talk with him artist to artist without feeling like an ass.  My favorite thing he said when we were talking about the relation of our work to the 'normal' (his to melody, mine to narrative drama) "I can play everything you know, all the traditional jazz stuff, but I don't want to."  I laughed and said "Yes, I know.  I'm the same way."  I hoped from that conversation onward that we'd have a chance to play together someday.

He was even beginning to falter physically back then, I think it was 2005, but he would go anywhere to play with people he liked or solo.  I had the great, good fortune of working with him on a piece of mine in 2008, a solo piece I was creating for a crazy show on a bus in Colchester as part of a project called Rules & Regs wherein artists are invited to created work in a month using given rules as parameters.  Somehow I ended up making weird guttural sounds and wearing a Clint Eastwood mask after trying to levitate an old London red Routemaster bus...as you do.  And for some reason, I thought, right: Lol.  He'd be perfect for this, and he was and he got it.  He kept asking me who I gigged with and if I had any records.  I hadn't even performed anything in years and had never done anything remotely like this in my life, so was overwhelmed by his compliments.  But that was Lol, always crazy generous, loving anyone or anything that took things to the edge, walked over the cliff, jumped and let the universe pick us up.  During the intervals before and after performances he had a tendency to wander off and I would go find him.  He was listening to his own music...sometimes voluntarily and by then not so voluntarily.  But no matter what his state, his music was perfect and he, too, wore a Clint Eastwood mask and was delighted to be involved.

This is a man who was asked by Jimi Hendrix to play with him back in the day and right to the end showed up for the monthly London Improviser's Orchestra shows at Cafe Oto.  He was a complicated guy and I don't know the ins and outs of his relationship with lots of people but to me he will always be a super-hero and I only hope he and my stepfather Tom hook up wherever they are to unite in mischief, joy and creative havoc wherever they are.  Another wonderful soul I am grateful to have met and as Sarah says his existence was/is a wonder.

Here's a picture of Lol and one of me doing 'You're Dead' as part of Rules & Regs in Colchester 2008. Pics were taken by Seth Kriebel:

me wanting to be Clint in The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - in UK

Lol Coxhill: jazz superhero (1932-2012)


  1. Stumbled on your writings about Lol by accident. Having played a number of times with him, I too found him generous with ideas and time. Unlike you, I first dicovered him via his recordings back in the mid 80s. I doubt that I would be playing the saxophone without first having heard Lol's sound and understanding what the instrument was capable of. I met him wandering around in Aylesbury in 1990. He introduced me to the LMC, we played duo concerts around London, I arranged a few things in Aylesbury and Wiltshire. The last time I played with him was in 2010, a concert in Aylesbury. I suggested he came down early and we could record in the afternoon. He couldn't do this as the medication he was on only allowed him to play for short periods and he needed to time this correctly for the concert.

    Mark Browne https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Crush/347435088629590

  2. Hi Mark, thanks so much for sharing your experience with Lol. He was an amazing man and a true gift. For anyone reading this now, you can just put his name in Google or wherever and find recordings of his. They are spectacular. Though live was even better.

    Not sure if there's something on your Facebook page you wanted me to see, but FYI, I am not on Facebook so won't be able to use that link.

    Be well, Julia