As I attempt to write this post, which is about - wait for it - being happy and falling in love (!) after a long, long time of grieving and loss, I am wondering if blogs are designed for this. Perhaps they are meant more for either intellectual/artistic pursuits, specific interests or - well - painful/difficult journeys.
Well, perhaps at least I can focus on the New Victorian aspect: namely, that I am engaged in a courtship on Skype and email with John (the brilliant Canadian heretofore mentioned in my previous blog post). I now have a very, very special place in my heart for Skype, by the way. Because while not ideal, it is possible to get to know someone in a way email or phone without video would be impossible. Oh and also Canada, just because John comes from there. Yes, I'm that far gone: blame Canada.
New Victorian because this courtship has been based, initially, on ideas (a love of photography and post-structuralism), followed by gradually realizing there may be more ways of connecting beyond that, then "seeing" one another on Skype and engaging in endless and free-ranging discussions that move between all aspects of getting to know each other, sharing more than either of us could have ever imagined possible with one other person in terms of ideas, feelings, life-long projects, modes of being and so much more. If I go on, I imagine it will make people somewhat nauseous, so will restrain myself.
As some of you who have been reading this blog for a while know, I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor and so the physical aspect of my romantic relationships has been colored by that in many and complex ways, but issues of trust loom large. So, this enforced extended - non-physical - courtship has provided us with a platform to get to know each other, with growing attraction, but without jumping to this part of a romantic relationship. Because I frankly don't think I would have the self-discipline to do this on my own, it feels like an (albeit at times deeply frustrating) gift.
John will be visiting me at the end of January, and for the first time we will be in the same room. This is because he needed to reactivate his passport. This delay I could do without, but believe it will continue to give us time to build a foundation of growing trust and just getting to know each other, which when you are in the middle of life means filling the other person in on A Lot.
There's a lot more to say than that, but because it feels so new and personal and kind of astonishingly beautiful, I don't want to say much more, afraid that I will somehow devalue this experience by over-describing it. I am aware that I am so much more reticent to share joy than grief, but please understand: this is such a new experience I am still wrapping my mind and heart around it. It does feel though like an enormous gift, bigger than I could have expected. In fact, it is the last thing I did expect.
There is one more thing, though, which is that falling love at 49 and 52 is very different than when you are younger. At the middle of life, you know what you want and you know a lot about yourself and the mistakes you've made. It becomes very obvious if the right person comes along, it is shockingly uncomplicated. My older friends and family who have experienced just this understand my experience more than my younger friends who seem a bit taken aback by the whole thing. There is also instant karma here, because I was so distrustful of how quickly my mother and Tom came together at the wise old age of 17…so here I am, of course, having a similar experience. Not in the same way on many levels, but still. Beware any teenagers what you judge now, lest you become it later on…!
In the meantime, you will be glad to know, I have gone to work, taught my students, been gradually organizing my office for writing - after having printed out the draft of what I have written of the grandmother book, as I follow the next steps on the grandmother book and other projects. I look forward to sharing more about all this with you in future blog posts, but for now figured I'd change it up a little and share the love…
Oh and hooray, it's the Winter Solstice! Despite made-up Mayan predictions about the end of the world (which the Mayans don't believe, btw), we're still alive! Once again the end-of-the-worlders have to go find another date on which to fixate their twisted death wish for the planet. Sorry kids. We're still here!
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. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
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 having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
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.