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 as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While was blessed for the opportunity, after four years of being an adjunct, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in NYC 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. As of 2018, I also started leading writing retreats to my beloved Orkney Islands. If you ever want two weeks that will restore your soul and give you time and space to write, get in touch. I am leading two retreats this year in July and September.

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 now work full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, editor and writing retreat leader. 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

In 2017, I launched a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. You can also contact me through that site.

In May, I directed my newest play, On the edge of/a cure, and have finally updated my publications list, which now includes an award-winning chapbook of my short-story White shoe lady, which you can find on the sidebar. I also have become a certified yoga instructor in the Kripalu lineage. What a year!

And FINALLY, I have created a website, which I hope you will visit, The Unadapted Ones. I will keep this blog site up, since it is a record of over 8 years of my life, but will eventually be blogging more at the website, so if you want to know what I am up to with my writing, teaching, retreats and so on, the site is the place to check (and to subscribe for updates). After eight years I realized, no, I'm never turning into One Thing. So The Unadapted Ones embraces the multiplicity that comprises whomever I am, which seems to always be shifting. That may in fact be reality for everyone, but will speak for myself here. So, do visit there and thanks for coming here, too. Glad to meet you on the journey...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

So much useless beauty...

lilies at Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton, Ontario 
So here's the thing, modernism and postmodernism gave beauty a bad name.  What I mean by beauty is natural beauty - as in stuff like flowers, sunsets, mountains and the ocean.  Stuff like that.  Stuff that the Impressionists and post-Impressionists liked and then just kind of got thrown under the bus after WWI and then re-run over after WWII.  It makes sense.  Those wars were horrendous and we did a lot of beyond-imaginable shit to each other as human beings.  Nuclear weapons, the testing of them and nuclear power - not to mention oil, etc. have poisoned the earth and the ocean, climate change is now unstoppable, we are over 7 billion people etc.  We know this stuff.  So any art that shows beauty seems I suppose somewhat superfluous or at the very least for rich people who don't have to face the grit or for people who are just not - you know - very smart.

Why am I launching into this?  Well, because I've taken to photography again and -  as you may have noticed - I like taking pictures of flowers, the ocean, birds, sunsets and what may be considered cliché beautiful things.  And part of me is embarrassed by this turn of events, as if I am not suitably gritty anymore.

However, I have been somewhat emboldened by the reverse experience of being with my beloved in the Met in January after looking at black and white photos and following him into the Impressionists room, filled with - you guessed it - flowers and beautiful colors.  At first I thought, oh I don't know, but then looking around me I was astonished by the depth of the beauty.  I was unexpectedly moved, especially in the middle of freezing winter in NYC. The next room was filled with the post-Impressionists like van Gogh and Cézanne and I was speechless.  I had forgotten this world of almost hallucinatory color existed.  I forgot I used to paint with those colors.

I realized I had drunk the Kool-aid or the Too Kool for School-aid wherein this kind of beauty was suspect.  I am now kind of sort of reasserting (while still somewhat embarrassed) my right to love all things beautiful - knowing that yes of course to some degree this is a construct because yes I've read Bourdieu and know the relation of class to taste, etc.  However, it is that very class consciousness that is leading me back to beauty.  Because it was when I went to the fancier and richer schools that I learned that beauty is suspect - oh precious irony.  Being schooled in post-Marxist taste by the Trustafarian class...so sad...

Reminds me of the story of how there was an attempt I think in the earlier Soviet days, either the USSR or East Germany, can't remember which - to make prints of tractors and such on curtains so the working class would have class conscious linens.  Perhaps needless to say, this did not go over well.  There was a revolt and the flower prints returned.  The working classes weren't having it.

Having said all that, what I love about NYC is its gritty beauty and I'm a sucker for decay with surprising grace notes.  So I'm not saying we have to go back to something old-school.  I'm just thinking perhaps it's time to give beauty a chance...wherever we find it.  While I can find beauty deep down in a subway tunnel in the way the light flickers between cars as a strange instrument is played on the platform by someone from perhaps Malaysia while someone else dressed as God knows what walks by twirling a hula hoop, I can also find it now in botanical gardens...

So, take what you like and leave the rest, but below are some pretty pictures of flowers and such.  Thanks to John (my beloved Canadian), I think I'm raising the technical aspect of my game.  Still not using Photoshop so these are just raw photos, but finally getting a handle on my digital camera, which I am beginning to use with the ease I had done with my film camera.

Perhaps it also helps that I'm stupid in love...but in fairness - as readers of this blog may recall - there have been photos of beautiful places and things even before meeting John...as I was falling love with Inwood.  This also may relate to an observation I made a while back that I was beginning to believe my shadow side was light...

So here's some dispatches from the shadow.... all taken at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario in May...of lilac groves and lilies and tulips (oh my!)....

oh and of course, here's John with his beloved Nikon preparing for a series of landscape shots he will stitch together as a panorama (they're gorgeous!) and a random-chance close up of us:


  1. If I hadn't allowed myself beauty in various forms I think I would have totally cracked up at some point. Life would have been too dismal, too dark. I love your photos -- always have. And, yes, you capture that moment -- of light, of clouds, of sky, of trees and flowers and water...of the earth... Rxx

  2. the work of artist Carol Bove is intricate, performative, slow, it requires you to spend a long time with it during which it's potentiality and meanings will shift forth and back. And it is incredibly beautiful!


    miss you

  3. A few years ago Uzee and I went to the Tate Modern in London. I had read something about it and was psyched. We walked through room after room of unbelievably ugly shit. Everything was gray and black and cracked and broken and ugly. As in, piles of gray ash on the floor, squares of black paint on the walls. Installations made of garbage. I was like what the fuck. I know I don't know anything about art but Christ, at some point ugliness for its own sake is just as stupid as oil paintings of bowls of fruit. I just don't understand the point. So yeah, I take pictures of flowers, and stuff, and even try to grow a few now and then. Life makes me happy, as does color.

    The Trustafarian class... love it.