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


Monday, April 15, 2013

Back in NYC just in time for sad anniversaries (or T.S. Eliot was right about April)

So, I'm back home in NYC and glad to be here though am missing John terribly.  I will end this post with some photos from Brockville, because there were some truly spectacular sunsets and moments on the river.

But today and tomorrow are the hellacious anniversary days - the one-two punch of wedding anniversary-miscarriage - that I kind of dread.  The day I was married to my soon-to-be-ex-husband (divorce papers wending their way through the weirdly-endless-considering-we-don't-disagree-on-anything British court system) in London was bright and sunny - full of hope - my pregnancy announced (we thought safely after 12 weeks), happy families and friends all around.  There were the moments of weirdness with in-laws and such, but then when does that not happen?

There was the spotting of blood that night at the hotel and me thinking, hmmm.  Then there was the train ride to Cornwall the next morning.  There was a little bit of blood, then more...then more.  I was freaking.  We kept heading towards Cornwall on an endless train/bus excursion.  What were we thinking?  I wonder now.  But on we went.

We arrive in drop dead gorgeous Cornwall and get to our self-catering place.  I go to the bathroom and there is more blood and I am truly freaking.  There is the emergency room.  There is me looking out the window in the cab at the sunset on the ocean saying "It's so beautiful here" over and over again before we get there.  There are the nurses looking sad.  There is the brusque doctor.  There is the weary sameness of it all for the professionals.  Just go home, they say.  And it'll either come out or it won't.  We aren't really a hospital here.  If you need a hospital you need to go to Truro.  I despair.  We go back to a place we don't live and I don't even have sanitary pads.  Bill has to go upstairs and ask our landlord.  The wife of the landlord sends down stuff with him and her sympathies.  She too had a miscarriage.

I will discover this as time goes on - practically every woman you know who has been pregnant and/or has children has had a miscarriage.  One in three pregnancies end in miscarriage.  You don't find this out until you have one and join the silent grieving club.  Why the silence?  Why the shame?  Why does no one Talk about it?  Such a miasma of secret grieving.  I wonder will women ever be on par with men until we get to grieve our losses as loudly and without shame?  Soldiers die and everyone cries.  Miscarriages happen and everyone is silent.  It's a mistake, an accident, a sign of divine disapproval.  Something did Not happen.  You can Not conceive.  Something is Wrong with You.  There is the endless self-doubt - what did I Do Wrong?

There is the moment the little sac that should have become a baby comes out.  There is the confusion about what it is.  There is a lot of crying.  I cry.  Bill cries - something I've never experienced - his tears.  There is so much fucking blood you cannot even imagine.  And pain.  So much pain.  And despair.  Then shock then some weird calm.  Maybe I'll get pregnant again.  It'll be OK.  The next day the Virgina Tech mass shooting happens.  All that is on TV is mass killing.  The sun is out and it is relentlessly beautiful.  I try to take hikes and pretend I'm OK because I'm afraid of being alone with my pain.  But I am bleeding and bleeding.  There are weeks and weeks of blood that follow and growing despair and more hospitals and hospitals and hospitals...for weeks, months, years...Much of this when alone because Bill is traveling for his work.

Then not getting pregnant again.  Then there is the anger, growing, that I ever was given the hope that I could have a child at age 43-44.  Then - insanely - there is the hope - sometimes it seems cruel - that I could get pregnant even now.  There is desire and hope.  That is all.  My body will not cooperate.  Cannot.  Will not?  What is it?

So many dysfunctions of shape of uterus and such, it's endless.  And now?  Now I am 49 about to turn 50.  Who do I think I am to even try?  Crazy of course.  Going to an appointment with a gyn tomorrow to see how crazy.  Weird coincidence that the appointment is 6 years to the day of the miscarriage.

Now, after all this, I have found my one true love, who I had always hoped existed but despaired did not but shockingly he does and in a weird twist of fate we have found one another - which is more than either of us dared to dream - but we are in fact 49 and 53.  This means the chances of having a child are slim to none even though it's something we both want so much.  Life is so strange and this is why I do believe T.S. Eliot was right when he wrote "April is the cruelest month."  Because the great beauty that arrives and all the hopes that come with it cannot last forever.  All bright light casts a shadow.  That doesn't mean the beauty is a lie or the hope is a lie.  It simply means that all great love sets us up for great loss, there's no way around that.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not complaining.  I am deeply grateful to have found real love, to know what it is in this life and experience all that it means.  I would not trade it for anything.  Speaking of which, below is a hilarious photo that John took of us with a timed camera.  That is our last night at the B&B in Brockville.
here we are laughing at our own jokes...someone has to....

So, yes, dark is the shadow side of light but on the other hand if I only look at that aspect, I lose the enjoyment of the light.  So, once again, after allowing myself to be happy and having it yanked away so violently, I am allowing in the light again.  With a big difference this time.  The person who I'm letting in loves me unconditionally as I do him.  Not only have I never been loved unconditionally before, I don't think I ever Have loved unconditionally either.  It seems there is a symbiotic process here - or some kind of alchemy.  Whatever it is, I'm grateful for it.

Plus, and this is the weirdest outgrowth of the time in Brockville, I am now having really good ideas about my grandmother book and am raring to go with it for the first time ever.  John thinks it was research being in a small town and essentially being a 'mall wife' for 6 weeks.  I was cooking and such.  John was working at a mall.  I did some writing but it did feel weirdly house wife-like.  Also, I am not a small-town girl, so there was a sense of claustrophobia (not because of being with John but being in this small town where I could not do and be the things I can do and be in NYC).

So yes, the sense of compassion for my grandmothers' restricted lives is much greater and more experientially based, especially for my grandmother who I've had the hardest time cozying up to because she was so cold.  A sense of judgment that has lifted and feeling instead her sense of necessity in keeping her shit under wraps and under control and how threatening anything  that could elicit any real emotion (including classical music, anything out of order, Evangelical Baptism or a pubescent girl) was to her.  So not only did I finish a draft of a play and apply to a bunch of places, I was also - without realizing it - feeling my way deeper into the book.  This makes me very happy because it gives a sense of purpose to some time that had felt in the moment pretty drifty and vague...

Plus, there are pictures!  Here's some of them...from my last days in Brockville.  Because of exhaustion, I will let these images end this post:

my favorite photo from the whole time - that's NYS across the river

another drop dead gorgeous Thousand Islands sunset

same sunset...the colors are just astonishing to me








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