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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Perfect days in NYC: discovered String Orchestra of Brooklyn & an apartment

Have had some lovely days here in town and today the heat broke, so was particularly lovely.  Went to my friend Eva and Stu's son's first birthday party in Prospect Park, which was lots of fun.  Saw friends I haven't seen in ages and gave my well-received present of clothing that I had been particularly pleased with finding (hipster orange plaid shirt with orange cargo pants - tres Brooklyn).

Then I went to Fort Greene Park to have the revelatory experience of seeing the String Orchestra of Brooklyn (hilarious acronym: SOB) perform Beethoven's 5th Symphony, outside and for free.  It was the least yuppie classical music situation I have ever had the pleasure to experience.  And they were Good!  I know they are technically amateur musicians, etc., but this was a special performance.

I was joined there by my new friend Nina and her friend Koren, who is now quickly becoming another friend.  We had a blast.  The sky was perfect blue, sun setting, a cool breeze, beautiful music played with heart and what more could you want?  Afterward we decided to take pictures of each other, which started because Nina needed a new photo for her Linkedin page, but as she is a professional photographer, she then took photos of me and Koren.  I took some photos of that interchange and the orchestra, which are below.

The beauty of the time with Nina and Koren was we all - 40-something single women - somehow managed to access our inner 12 year olds.  So great.  I don't think I've laughed like that in ages, just giggliness.  No drugs or alcohol involved, just a great day, great music, serendipitous moments and admitting to instantaneous crushes on various members of the orchestra and/or noticing how a trombonist was crushed out on a French horn player (I'll never tell who said what to whom).  I was transported back to my days in Band...learning clarinet (I still have my clarinet!) and playing - not incredibly well - until I was about 16.  Band was in middle school and then quartets and such a little later.  When in Band at Middle School I had a crush on the 1st Clarinetist whose name was Robert I think.  I wanted to be the 1st clarinetist as well but mostly stayed 2nd.  I also remember marching in a dismal rainy Memorial Day parade in Waterford, Connecticut or maybe New London, with music attached to a mini-music stand clipped onto my clarinet...I was about 9?  Ah memories of geekiness...endless, it's just endless...

But here are some photos from the lovely day:

Nina taking Koren's photo after the concert.

we were right next to orchestra -
gentleman in orange jacket was sideline conducting
 - smiling arms waving, lovely
just so you can see the crowd - this was when orchestra was playing with younger students

Beethoven's 5th - SOB Brooklyn style - Fort Greene Park (it used to be dangerous...)

July 15: Woody Guthrie's family celebrating his 100th in Central Park
(because I forgot to post about that...)

Yesterday was a banner day, too, because I was offered the apartment I wanted up here in Inwood, so I can stay in my beloved new hood.  I am so delighted that soon I won't be subletting and will be able to have my own furniture and my own rent-stabilized lease (if you are not from NYC, what this means is: the increase on your rent is regulated each year by the city, so you can't get gouged if neighborhood suddenly becomes popular, etc...in other words it's a guarantee if you can pay the rent when you get it, you can pay it as the years go by...).  I lost my last rent-stabilized lease back in 2006 because I was in London.  I do not plan to make the same mistake twice.

The apartment is on the 5th floor of a walk-up so I'll never have to join a gym but it is a real one-bedroom, which I so wanted and there is a real kitchen with counter space and new appliances.  All this for less rent than I'm paying now.

This is because I am moving (drum roll please) East of Broadway.  I wrote a long post about the idiocy of the West/East Broadway divide a couple months ago so will not repeat it, other than to say because I am not freaked out by living "East of Broadway" my rent is going down and my space is expanding considerably.  I'll take the trade.


  1. Nice pictures from Fort Greene Park - me on clarinet. Glad you enjoyed!

  2. Thanks so much, we all really did enjoy the concert a lot. And you as a clarinetist reminded me of my 'Band' days.

    But more than that, really, it was a wonderful event, so full of life and a really kick ass version of Beethoven's 5th. Please send my appreciation to the whole orchestra. You all now have 3 new superfans.

  3. FYI: String Orchestra of Brooklyn is performing (indoors) on Saturday, December 8 in Brooklyn Heights: www.thesob.org.

    will be a great concert!