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.


Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm moving and that's eaten my life...almost

There's been such a long break in blog posts because the last one was about getting a new apartment, and this whole month is about moving into it - from a furnished studio to an unfurnished one-bedroom (happily in my beloved Inwood).  This means I need to decide on Everything on my own from flatware to a bed, wireless service provider to window blinds, how to ask for what and when from the super, what kind of towels to buy, dishes, desk, sofa, table, to TV or not to TV...etc.  And when to do what.

I am doing it and the experience is alternatively thrilling and overwhelming.  I've never had to do this on my own before, not from absolutely nothing.  Sometimes walking through stores I see what I want, sometimes I feel terribly lonely and sometimes it's both.

Before all of this, I had an amazing experience at a weekend Zendo retreat in combination with another spiritual practice, on a mountain in the Catskills.  Zen, if you don't know (I didn't) is Hardcore.  It's like the bootcamp of Buddhism...or perhaps more accessibly: the severe Protestant side of Christianity.  Tibetan Buddhists being like say the Catholics on the other part of the spectrum.  If I had known what it was before I went (for some reason I just said yes - which is not like me, but I knew I needed a break), I probably would not have gone.

However, having gone through the experience and followed all my responses, I am glad I did it, even if I don't agree with all their tenets.  It's a great experience to allow oneself to immerse in something foreign and then come out of it and feel the results, which were quite marked in terms of greater calm and a heart opening.  This came as a surprise to me, because I was silently growling at a lot of the practices (like highly regimented eating practices, too complex to summarize here).  However, because my other practice allows grousing about whatever, in those contexts I grumbled loudly after each experience, especially chanting stuff I didn't know what it meant, and because that was possible, the whole experience was possible.

The other interesting event was that a yoga teacher could not make it and I volunteered to step in and teach two one-hour yoga classes.  I'm not technically a yoga teacher (and told everyone this) but I've studied it for many years.  Using the basics of Kripalu yoga and some other things I've learned along the way, I led two classes that went very well.  I was moved at people's responses and it made me wonder: hmm, is there something in this, too?  Not sure what to do with that information now, but it's good to know.

Meanwhile, I am seeking teaching work when all I  want to do is to sit down and write, but that's on hold until the move is over.

Sadly, I don't have a desk/work surface yet.  Thought I did but I don't.  I know what I want but haven't found it yet...here's hoping.

The window security gate went in today.  Was surprised it wasn't there already, but it wasn't, so I bought one and had it installed.  This being Inwood and everyone knowing everyone else in my new hood ("East of Broadway" aka "The Dominican Republic"), this took all of about 3 hours from thought to completion.  I have realized something important (and blindingly obvious): if I am to live where I am moving with even a tiny bit of neighborly success, I need to learn Spanish.  I think I am the only person in the building who does not speak Spanish and many residents speak no English.  However, they seem quite nice so I want to communicate.

I also love that folks - whole families - ranging in age from children to older people - congregate outside on the sidewalk in their lawn chairs and shoot the shit.  Old men sit around a card table and play ritual dominoes.  Younger men hover and watch them.  It feels Very safe.  And like I wish I could speak Spanish so I could communicate better than smiling inanely as I bring another thing up to my new place inside their building.

Waiting patiently and then impatiently for a few details to get sorted like the brand new stove to get turned on, but because I have the luxury of setting up the place about two blocks from where I am now, it's not urgent yet.

The next Big Thing is the Ikea delivery tomorrow (which follows the Ikea Heart of Darkness in Paramus, NJ experience - shared stoically with my new neighbor and friend Russell who stayed in remarkably good humor considering).  Imagine if you will spending 9 hours in Ikea trying to decide what and what not to get for an Entire apartment (I did not, for the record, succeed, though I got probably 2/3 of what's needed in terms of big stuff).  The whole place is set up to make you want to buy too many things and wonder only after you've paid for it and the delivery, etc.: how on Earth am I going to assemble all that crap?  Answer: you call your friends and start asking for help.  Some of them say yes and you are relieved

Or, when you have stood for over 1-1/2 hours in line to check out and get delivery set up and realize the Last Bus Back to NYC has probably left: How the hell will we get out of New Jersey?  Answer: drug addled Taxi Driver meets Boardwalk Empire driver who gets you home in spite of himself and his basic inability to - well - drive...and for once in your life you bless the fact GPS exists so people who don't know how to take the right exit off the George Washington Bridge can still get you home...

So in summary: my artistic project for the month is: set up a good workspace.  My 'dramatic' problem is whether to put bed in 'living room' and use 'bedroom' as study or not.  Yes, I know, those are not real problems.  They are luxury decisions, and when I remember that, I'm way better off.

I will not bore you with more stories about moving, but will leave the post with some photos from the past couple of weeks' adventures....

Ikea - desolation at empty bus stop: 11:15pm, Paramus, NJ

amazing view from my friend Jill's sister's roof in Tribeca - one night spent chilling in luxury

Lake at the Zendo, to the left was the guest house where we stayed

Tabula Rasa 1: my future study

Tabula Rasa 2: my future living/bed/dining room or something...

Inwood Park graffiti (or: why I love this place).

Another reason to stay in Inwood, this view never gets old

Ikea Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Paramus (never again...)

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