First, I want to announce a kind of cool event the day before the election in Washington, D.C., which is a staged reading of my play We live in financial times, Part 1: Blackberry Curve at Busboys & Poets with a very special guest speaker for the talk-back afterwards: the economist Dean Baker. He's the dude that predicted the 2008 financial crash/meltdown. Of course everyone thought he was Chicken Little when of course he was Cassandra (the chick who was always predicting disasters no one believed, but then turned out to be true - typical Greek tragedy stuff...).
So, it should be a rolicking good time. Busboys & Poets is a great series of cafes that host artistic, political and community events. My good friend-colleague Marietta Hedges has set this up and she will be playing a key role in the performance. I will be kind of parachuting in as director/writer working with people I've never met that Marietta has assembled (I trust her implicitly, so know that they will all be great but still it's gonna be a little like speed dating theater-style).
It is an exciting event and if you are in or around D.C. and don't want to spend the whole day before the election biting your nails or tearing your hair out or rending garments, this is another option...
I have been moving along down the road albeit slowly with the grandmothers. Go in and out of my ability to be in that territory. Just when I feel I may be trampled underfoot by depression, I have - thank God/dess - an acting class to go teach. The students and the work we are doing combined never fails to drag me out of the funk. It reminds me once again I most likely need to move between both these poles - the introspective, writing place and the play with others in a space place...
Meanwhile, went to a panel discussion last night at the Strand that including some very interesting authors, including Elizabeth Nunez (also a prof at Hunter) whose book Boundaries sounds fabulous (about the boundaries of expatriation/immigration, etc. - a subject close to my heart) and my old friend from high school, David Maine, whose book The Age of Madness I've written about here already. What was great about this panel was the questions to the authors were about their process as writers and because they all have a lot of experience and all write incredibly well their answers were particularly enlightening, especially in that they all have different processes. So instead of the weird sense you can get at these things that there is a consensus way to write, it became obvious that everyone has their own way, their own demons and their own ways to move through them.
Seeing Dave brought the usual strange nostalgia pull of The Past in all its weird semi-glorious semi-numinous sense of possibility and regret for paths not taken...and the simultaneous realization that those cannot have been taken because we are who we are, etc...(please see T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets for Far better description of this phenomenon than this hatchet job...)
Finally, it is autumn here in NYC finally. Still pretty warm but every once in a while the crispness of the season. I find it indescribably wonderful, to see leaves changing, smell that cool sharpness and see the colors against the blue blue sky.
I'm off to Kripalu this weekend to do a workshop with two meditation/yoga superheros of mine: Sharon Salzberg and Stephen Cope. Every time I've gone to Kripalu it's been life-altering. I doubt this time will be any different, even if it is only a weekend. I will be sharing a room with my mother. This was our alternative to go going to a spa in an attempt to heal from the trauma of losing my step-father/her husband, Tom. No idea how that will be for either of us, but it's worth the attempt.
Back to preparing for acting class with my lovely students, who are working on showing their dreams through objects...and can I say, doing it incredibly well.
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.