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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to thank all of my lovely friends who carried me through a very challenging year, which included the death of my beloved stepfather Tom and brought with it many losses, and to those same friends who are now rejoicing with me in the most delightful and unexpected part of 2012, falling in love in December with my wonderful, brilliant and gorgeous Canadian.

I look forward to 2013 now with wondrous expectation, especially since a relationship begun on Skype (!) has already born fruit in terms of my grandmothers book.  This is because the material is dark and I was muscling through it in the context of five years of grieving and cascading losses.  This was in some ways a dangerous and dubious proposition for my mental and emotional health.  Having John in my life, who is determined to lighten my load in any way possible, has given me space in real life to work on the book without worrying I will get lost in the quicksand of the material.  Or, more accurately, it allows me to get lost in the quicksand, because I know someone - in this case, John - will be there to pull me out if necessary.

Before this extraordinary human entered my life, I had a friend who said I could send her a text before and after I wrote, which I did for many months.  This was incredibly helpful because there was a remote witness.  Another friend suggested I write for 15 minutes a day, which freed me to work on the project slowly.  Yet another friend was very supportive of my writing in general.  A writing mentor read the first few pages and gave excellent feedback.

This is all by way of saying: we never really write alone.  What I am learning by having John in my life is how much I no longer have to do alone, including finding all of my own inspiration and emotional fortitude and strength.  I've never been with anyone who I felt had my back in this and so many other ways and I already see the positive effect not only on my own self but on my writing.

I've been able to reread about 2/3 of what I've written and see what is there, to affirm the multiplicity of voices and the shifting line between fiction and non-fiction rather than conform it to what I think maybe it should look like and begin again to feel, hear, see my own voice and process as a positive thing.  I feel alive and vibrant again as an artist and it feels wonderful.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I wish, pray and hope for you the love I have found in this life with my beloved John, which is something I frankly did not know existed until now.  It just puts everything else to shame.

As a wise Yogi tea bag (!) said yesterday "When there is love, there is no question."


1 comment:

  1. Hello to all of Julia's friends, and a Happy New Year to all of her blog followers! I'm John, that person who has suddenly appeared in Julia's life and mysteriously worked his way into her recent blog posts. I'm sure some of you who have been following Julia's writing for a while are wondering "Hey, who is this guy?" so I thought I would save Julia any difficulty explaining my presence in her life by briefly introducing myself to you.

    First of all, Julia and I are bother academic outsiders of a sort; and, we both share a passion for post-structural philosophy. You are no doubt familiar in part with Julia's background in this area; so by way of introduction I will say that I was a student of Constantine V. Boundas (a noted translator of and commenter upon Giles Deleuze's philosophic works) in the early 1980's, and, a contributor to Semiotext[e] Canadas (under the pen name Lon Cayeway) in the early 1990's.

    Julia and I both share a joyful interest in what might be described loosely as post-structural meta-linguistics; and this shared interest is offset just enough to open a very fertile "in between" which we will be exploring at length in the future. For the moment, though, we have barely begun to scratch the surface of that expansive plane of co-investment; instead, we have been amazing ourselves with all the other shared interests that out lives have been defined through.

    Philosophy; photography; writing; poetry; environmentalism; social justice; meditation; the list just keeps getting longer and longer! And all of our coincident interests are offset just enough to open new spaces between what we have been doing, and what we will be doing together in the future.

    I am sure that some of the people in both of our lives have been thinking, "Oh but you should leave your options open - think of the alternatives you are passing up!" but to me, that's exactly the same as telling a gold medalist at the Olympics: "Well, really, shouldn't you consider what you are missing by not coming in fourth or fifth in the standings?"

    Um, no; that would be very far beyond silly - very far, indeed. Julia and I have both very quickly realized that nothing in any possible lives we could lead would be better than our having found each other as we have now.

    So, for those of you who wonder about the degree to which Julia can trust me to 'have her back' and support her in whatever projects she decides to undertake, I'll just mention that: No, I am not a Native New Yorker and have never been to your city before (although that is soon to change). In an earlier manifestation of my life, I was the photo editor and environmental columnist of an alternative newspaper in Vancouver Canada called "NOISE"; and I was at that time also an ardent outdoorsperson, who loved nothing better than to get out into remote mountain areas and go climbing for days at a time. In such conditions, when lives often hang upon very precarious finger and toe holds, failure to support a fellow climber is most absolutely not an option regardless of the personal danger to life and limb that might ensue.

    Julia already knows that in being there for her as she proceeds into the material of her current writing project, I am entirely committed to seeing her safely through no matter what I need to do in ensuring her safe passage to its completion.

    I am that one person who is there at Julia's side no matter what; and that is something which is not going to change.