While the study is still filled with boxes and Ivar shelves are only half-way constructed (because books not all yet unpacked...etc.), the living room/bedroom/dining room is shaping up and Ugo the Cat and I are feeling at home...so all else seems possible.
A good friend showed up on Friday and helped me hang pictures, pictures I haven't had up on a wall since London. She also suggested I start writing my book before study all the way done for 15 minutes a day. This was genius, because 15 minutes isn't even real time, so it's of course do-able. And I did it, yesterday. Tonight, I plan to do the same. Yesterday, the 15 minutes became 45 and then I had to leave for a meeting.
Another friend said I could contact her before and after I start and stop writing, because the material - about my grandmothers - is so fucking dark. It's deep sea diving and it's nice to think there will be someone there at the surface aware I just went under.
I love my friends.
I am blessed with a number of unbelievably great friends. Just a moment of gratitude for them all:
________________________________________ (that is a blank space of gratitude where no words can express what these folks mean to me - you all know who you are)
In terms of the shelves: I thought I had put all my theater books up and then thought the total looked smaller than I remembered, then found more books, so my clever shelving scheme was totally fucked. I have too many options here: Ivar shelves are like Legos. All those damn Scandinavian option-givers. So, while I can make it "however I want it" I am in the Devo (80s band for anyone too young to know who the hell I'm talking about) dilemma of "Freedom of choice is what you've got, freedom from choice is what you want."
So my head almost explodes and I stare catatonic at boxes of half unpacked boxes that friends helped me pack (bless you each and every one...) but so I don't know what's in the them....
But....and this is the most important news: it is moving forward. Not on MY schedule, but it's moving forward. And because of my friend Katie's suggestion, I did indeed start writing on September 1, even if on the 'sub-optimal' dining table in a less than ergonomically correct set up because my desk and desk chair are now firmly established in the Room of Chaos.
Had a lovely walk today in the Park getting to know someone new, which was a delight. I love sharing Inwood Park with folks and it is always a privilege to be allowed into a new person's universe, especially someone with whom I have a lot in common. Long may it continue.
Ah and lest I forget to mention: started teaching acting again this week at Hunter and LOVE it, again. I am so happy to see that - so far - it wasn't that last semester was a fluke. The Hunter student body - at least the folks who decide to take theater in the early evening - are kind of great and it's like teaching a NYC subway car in terms of diversity - even if that subway car may be a little younger and smarter than the average. So many students have never taken acting in their lives, so are curious and open. The conversations about Chaikin's 'Present of the Actor' (the core text in my class) are great and if I've done nothing else, I've hipped them to this brilliant theater artist/philosopher who was wildly under-appreciated in life. I'm happy to do whatever I can to keep his good name alive. That and teaching my own stuff, which is a privilege...Just so, so happy I get to teach this class.
OK, time to do my '15 minutes' of deep sea diving. Wish me luck. And let me say again: Inwood is the best.
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.