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.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring, creativity, Jung and missing my beloved

Spring is here!  A number of gorgeous days in NYC, pink blossoms, green leaves beginning to emerge, white flowers and my favorite: lilacs.  Tulips of many colors and all kinds of animals mating (seriously, if you walk in the woods, you can't miss it - squirrels, birds, whatever...).  I will end this blog post with some photos of the Flowering...After so many summers that came on fast with little spring, many of us are delighting in this far gentler process.  Every day without air conditioning is a good day.

I am finally beginning to wrap my mind around this larger theatrical project (...whatever God is), which is exciting because I haven't even been able to conceptualize in this way in a long time.  I'm beginning to see how long it's taken me to get my creativity back...for many reasons.  But, I'm glad I didn't try to force a solution because gradually it's returning.

Speaking of lilacs, I will happily be going back up to Canada in a couple weeks to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens with John where there are apparently over 700 species of lilacs!  This is apparently the largest collection in the world.  So, will be with my beloved amongst my favorite flowers.  Nice.  Being apart from him is grating on me now.  I can sometimes manage to focus on my writing enough or taking walks, hanging out with friends, seeing shows, etc. but no matter what the lack of him is ever-present.  I suppose this is the flip-side of loving someone so much.  But I'll take it.  Still astonished we even found each other...and we are getting closer to the time we can spend more time than not together...just have to keep sorting through the many details to make that happen...in the meantime astonished I feel held by him even in his absence.

I've been having dreams lately, many of which have dealt with animals, which is not common for me.  In Canada, I actually had a bear dream (!), then back in NYC a dream of very colorful fish that had wings and were very soft to the touch.  Another dream included a wolf, perhaps a dire wolf (prehistoric, now extinct) because of its size that was butting its nose against a door inside a house, and I wasn't sure if I should be afraid or not.  Recently, a dream about bees, one with big dragonfly wings that stung me, because I didn't think it was a bee.  I kept waiting to see if the sting would be poisonous in some way, but it never even swelled.  Then there were a couple more bees, including one I tried to let go outside, but kept trying to wrap its legs around my finger.

After the wolf dream, I started reading Jung again... Memories, Dreams, Reflections, a collection of his later thoughts.  He speaks of the unconscious as this productive force that we touch in dreams and at times of intuition and premonition.  What amazed me is the similarity of this thoughts to William James' insights (which predate his by about 50 years) in regard to how we can be prejudiced against these experiences in the name of rationality.  Jung was convinced that by only listening to our conscious minds, we limit ourselves and our understanding, because the conscious mind can only understand a proximate, limited level of reality.  He's very clear that there are other dimensions only the unconscious can reach.  But, and this is what makes him a genius, he also knows that without the conscious mind to be able to articulate this experience in some way - our finite selves in other words - then this unconscious material ends up as amorphous as The Infinite and The One...which elude us entirely.

I love going back to these people who predate the more over-heated, polysyllabic philosophizing of postmodernism onward, to discover such humility and insight.

This is helping a lot with the new play and affecting it. Jung now making an appearance along with James...bringing in more dream material...not in a hooey oh wow isn't that weird kinda way but instead as these doors into something larger than our material world...but that reflects back.

Another idea Jung has, that I love, inspired by dream material, is that when people die, they look to the living for answers to things.  That death does not put you in some all-knowing realm, but if 'you' exist in death, it's somewhere approximate to where you were when you died.  He was talking about this near the end of his life and said that perhaps you have to be near the end of your life to feel comfortable talking about the hereafter, that while he could not prove or disprove life after death, that was no reason not to take hints, intuitions, dream material, etc. as a way to conceptualize this.  He mourns the lack of fables in the world and our hesitancy to mythologize, which he believes makes us poorer in spirit consequently.

I've known about Jung's basic ideas for many years, but this later writing I find so moving and human scale, moving most likely because so human scale.  I respond to people when they speak from the first person, less attempting to argue an entire methodology but instead speaking from experience.  Experience informed by knowledge and years of work of course, but nonetheless experience.  There is air and space in these thoughts.

Speaking of air and space, below are some images of NYC in spring:

the lilacs of 204th Street

Inwood street garden

cherry blossoms in Central Park

Saturday in the Park....

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