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 1, 2013

Nostalgia, Memory, Small Towns & Snow (or: Blame Canada part 2)

So, it's been a while since I wrote anything here.  Why?  Well, in part because I've been trying to wrap my mind around Brockville, which is a small town-city both so similar in ways to places I grew up in New England and experienced in England (old school) that it feels familiar and yet being in Canada is wildly different.  I am aware now that this is the longest time (a month) I have spent in a town this size since I was a child.  As readers of this blog will no doubt have surmised my childhood was not very fun so the memory resonances are not the greatest.  Among many issues I had as a child, one was continually being the "new kid" at various schools in small to medium sized towns where there were very codified sets of dress, behavior, expressions, etc. that I would of course not know and/or to which I could/would not conform because of either (a) not knowing said codes and/or (b) having parents or caretakers of some nature that were not of this place so having no access to required clothing, attitudes, accent, etc…

If the above paragraph does not make it clear why I live in NYC, nothing will.  In a place like NYC, (and in my experience so far on earth, only in NYC), can I be who I am without any editing necessary and be accepted as such because really, who cares?  The place is huge.  There's room for whoever you want to be.  I realize more and more that in many ways it's a city of misfits.  There are exceptions of course including those I refer to as fair weather New Yorkers who are there to succeed in something and having succeeded or not at a set task leave for the suburbs or elsewhere as soon as possible.  There are people born there who wish they hadn't been and would leave if they could.  Then there are the rest of us, those drawn to this city because it's big enough, beautiful enough and multi-faceted enough to contain the restless misfit soul.

So what has this month been like?  Well, I've finished a draft of a stage text, sent out applications for jobs and funding, publications, etc., sent off final paperwork for divorce in UK (with minimal fuss, though with annoying delays due to international nature of things and whatnot…but that's basically done, and now it's a waiting game) and the rest of the time is spent time with John, my beloved Canadian, when he has time between work and dealing with some complex matters that are best not written about here.

I've also been taking lots of photos and video….The St. Lawrence River, which I can see from where we are staying, is gorgeous.  The sunsets while cold as shit have been beautiful.  John, who is an excellent photographer, has been patiently showing me how all the bells and whistles work on my digital camera.  As anyone who has ever tried to teach me anything can tell you: this can be trying.  He assures me I am not as grouchy as I know I am…bless him.  But slowly, slowly I'm learning.  Also collecting video paintings for: what?  I think probably the stage text recently completed as draft…but maybe something else…I'm still in divining rod living mode…feeling out next steps one at a time…

The nostalgia element of things here has to do with the weird echo of childhood, but also listening to music with John, which at times (when listening to e.g., Genesis, Talking Heads, etc.) brings us both back to our teens and 20s and this odd way in which we can envision having met one another back then (there having been at least two times in our younger lives wherein we were tantalizingly close - but not quite intersecting) so there is this odd parallel world in our not-memory (yet this not-memory has an inexplicable resonance) in which we met then and have been together since that time.  It's really hard to describe this, but it's quite precise and strong.  Of course in reality we could have driven each other nuts if we had met earlier and the people we are now we are because of past experiences, so it's a weird thing to contemplate, but somehow impossible not to have some weird nostalgia for a past we did not live…

Meanwhile, in real life, we have been together for four months and this month has given us time to get to know each other a lot better in real time and space, which has been invaluable and kind of amazingly great.  There have been bumps and learning curves but we have dealt with each of these events with grace and without causing each other any undue anxiety.  We seem to be able to focus on whatever the presenting issue is and move on.  I've never found it so easy to communicate with a partner like ever.  It's a revelation and a truly positive one.  This is why I secretly (not so secretly) believe if we had met earlier in our lives we would have fallen in love and still be in love.  There is a very deep sympatico that is so effortless that I have a feeling it would have been there from the beginning no matter when that beginning may have been…but that kind of thinking is clearly impossible to 'prove' and of course presents the even more problematic issue of non-acceptance of my actual past as it was lived…so the only truly affirmative way of looking at this is to say: yes to the whole thing...

So in lieu of continuing to whitter on in such bizarre hypotheticals, I will leave you with some photos of my time here.  Where, for the record, it's still Really Cold…But at times also astonishingly beautiful… All of these photos are taken during various sunsets, which bring to mind Artaud's observation that "the setting sun is beautiful because of everything we lose by it."

St. Lawrence Park


reflection in river of sky and trees from Block House Island

sunset reflections from Block House Island

seagulls of Block House Island with Canadian Air Force plane 



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