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

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.


Friday, July 5, 2013

I've really done it this time....

Yes, that's right kids, I got married.  Again.  Third time's a charm (!)  This time to my beloved Canadian at City Hall in NYC...so I married my beloved in my beloved city.  Or as he likes to call himself: my last, best husband.  Pictures to follow at end of this post, never fear.

We got married on July 1, which as any Canadians out there will know is: Canada Day.  That's like their July 4, except different.  It's about confederation rather than independence...but still involves fireworks.  John reasoned that if we got married that day whenever we were in Canada for our anniversary we'd have free fireworks - plus he got the day off work so could travel down to NYC to marry me.  Seemed like a plan.

We have been engaged for a long while now, but I have not mentioned any of this publicly for a number of reasons including my pending (now completed as of 6/20) divorce in the UK.  Once that divorce was completed, John and I were free to marry, which we did as soon as we could.  All of this happened quite quickly and was in process from about my birthday onward, which is why I was keeping radio silence on the blog.  We have begun immigration paperwork (a long and winding road of 7-8 months - the realities of post-9/11 life in the US) so John can move down from Canada.

In the whacky world of US immigration law, my now-husband had to go back to his home country after we got married so as to file paperwork so he can get a visa to live here.  There are less legal ways to do this and people generally get away with it, but we chose to go the ultra-legal way...which means of course it'll take us longer.  Because the law is written in such a way that it's actually easier to break it than follow it.  I doubt any immigration reform will address this, but kinda wish it would.  We have a great immigration attorney, however.  A fellow named David Katona (in case anyone's looking for one) who is known for high ethics and only taking people who he knows are getting married for real.  We are hoping this coupled with the entirely obvious fact to anyone who looks that we are getting married for real will speed along the application.  However, the word speed and US visa application are not synonymous and unlike in the UK where there is a possibility of expedited service for a fee, there is no such thing here....

So, wish us luck!  There is one possible visa that if it comes through on time John could move down in 4-5 months, but due to weird technicalities that one usually doesn't come through on time before the other one wends its leisurely way through the Montreal Embassy (a known site of visa gridlock for obvious reasons)...

OK, so back to the fun part, the wedding!

First of all, in case you are on the fence about how to get married, let me assure you that a NYC City Hall (technically City Clerk's Office) wedding is as good as it gets if you like the idea of being surrounded by lots of happy people of every possible description about to get married.  We took this route for efficacy's sake but it turned out to be an incredible experience in and of itself.  While we are going to have another ceremony after John settles here wherein we can plan and invite people, write our own vows and all that, this one turned out to be far more special than we could have dreamed.

The many reasons for this are: the aforementioned NYC experience, which now - happily - includes gay couples - so it's kind of like if you took everyone out of an average subway car and lined them up to get married.  This is a great feeling.

The next reason was my extraordinary friends, 8 of whom showed up with only 4 days notice on a Monday at 1pm: one friend, our witness (and my chief friend/ally-in-life), Julie, who came in from East Hampton for the day, two other friends, who I am referring to as bride saves (steeper qualification than bride's maids), Alyson and Rachel, who took half days off from work and managed to make me a bouquet, adjust my dress, take photos and help me shop (Rachel) and do my hair, make a Just Married Sign and be an amazing support (Alyson) and both of whom carried the rings for John and me.  Other photographer/videographer friends included Nina (professional photojournalist - you will see some of her photos below), Robyn (international editor and excellent friend), Elinor (beloved friend and ally), Christian (friend since 1986 - mentioned in this blog back in October 2011 when we went to Occupy Wall Street marches together - chief witness to my life since then and all round amazing human) and Diane (lovely friend who happily for me just finished the semester teaching and took a great video of the ceremony).  Without these extraordinary people, this event would have been special and wonderful because John and I are so in love, but it would not have been So Astonishingly Special and Wonderful.  Because of them, we were not only two people in love who knew we had finally found the one true love of our lives, but we were two people in love surrounded by a loving Community of people who wanted to share in this most precious moment with us and who enhanced that moment with their presence.  (Photos of all mentioned will appear below, never fear!)

Then, as if that wasn't enough, we ended up with James Mitchell, the extraordinary officiant who was profiled on Valentine's Day in the NYTimes.  You can read the article about him here.  He loves his job and perfectly captured the joy and solemnity of the vows with his oracular yet friendly presence.

We had found perfect rings in Portland, Maine at Cross Jewelers that frame our jade engagement rings (photos below).  Then, I found the wedding dress and shoes at Second Time Around on the Upper West Side - in about 5 minutes (Nanette Lepore dress and Prada sandals for $200 - amazing).  We found John's tux at Century21 - a Kenneth Cole for $250.  Only in New York...

OK, so that's the surround.  But here's the thing: I was getting married - as mentioned prior - for the third time.  This fact alone is incredibly embarrassing (and oddly in line with my family heritage - which makes it even more embarrassing).  But it's true.  So, how - many of my friends who have known me for a while naturally wanted to know - do you know this is a good idea?  You with such a bad track record of marriage.  And why on earth are you marrying someone so quickly?  Are you (they want to say and almost say but do not quite say) mad??

So, for these friends, here is my answer: I wondered some of this myself, of course, but then I meditated and sat still.  Every time I prayed or went to seek counsel from my trusted ally-friends who have some of the same challenges I face in life and with whom I have sought a spiritual solution to same (original typo was soulution, which I kind of like actually), I got the same answer: this is your one true love who has shown consistently through actions as well as words that he loves you unconditionally and without reserve.  You love him the same way.  There is no reason not to let this happen and receive this extraordinarily miraculous gift of true love.

I told John when he proposed to me (about 2 weeks into our meeting) that I wasn't sure because while I may have another marriage in me, I know I don't have another divorce in me.  In case you haven't gone through a divorce, let me assure you, it's soul-crushingly painful.  If, like me, you said vows meaning them, the idea that they can be severed comes as a rude shock to the system.  I am now of course glad both those divorces happened because it has allowed me to find and marry John, but if I could have my choice, I'd rather never have married either former partner, simply because now that I know what a real marriage feels like, those former marriages feel deeply unreal.  I am not blaming either former partner for this by the way.  I'm the one that should have known but didn't.  True love is so unique and rare than until you experience it, you don't know you haven't experienced it.  It's that simple.  So it's not a blame thing, it's just the facts.

However, now I know what it feels like to say vows and have them said to me at a time and in such a way that it feels almost redundant.  That commitment to each other started almost immediately and shows no signs of abating.  Instead, we simply feel more and more committed to one another as time goes on.

Because of my experience of having a miscarriage the day after my last wedding, I was also shit scared that something horrendous would happen on July 2.  But it didn't.  I was so scared before the ceremony because I felt perhaps I was missing something or making a mistake that somehow I couldn't see, but then as soon as we said the vows and went to Nha Trang restaurant (Vietnamese place around the corner) to settle in for a late lunch, I knew it was all right.  My friend Julie says I have never been or seemed happier since she's known me and I know she's right.  The photos show the face of someone I barely recognize because I don't remember ever smiling this broadly or feeling so at ease with another human being with whom I am in an intimate relationship.

What makes John so special, among many things, is that when I remembered the miscarriage experience while sitting on the sofa waiting our turn in line to get married, I could whisper this fear into his ear and hear loving words back, be held a little closer and given support I needed so much in that moment.  From that moment on, I knew it was all OK.  And it was.

Finally, as you will notice, I have - for the first time ever - changed my name.  John and I both have changed our surnames to Barclay-Morton.  This is a huge step for someone who had three stepfathers and was married twice all without changing her name.  This is the outward sign of the deep love we feel for one another and the way we feel our lives are intertwined forever.

Even now that John has gone back to Canada, I can feel his presence strongly.  Last night he appeared to comfort me in a dream, so I know it's very deep this feeling - not simply a conscious choice but one that has penetrated my whole being and becoming-in-the-world.

July 1 our wedding day was also the one year anniversary of the memorial service for my beloved stepfather Tom.  I did pass this by my mother who said she felt Tom would be deeply happy for this confluence of dates.  That he and his patron saint-god Ganesh would be delighted.  My Ganesh, given to me by my mother, sits in front of me now on my computer, along with a stone given to me by a friend and a little porcelain frog given by another.  I am truly blessed, surrounded by love on all sides.

My mother was very sad not to be at the ceremony, but she is fully in support, having met John in Maine and happy to have him as a son-in-law.

Below are some pictures to give you a flavor of the day (photos by Rachel, Elinor, Christian & Nina):

love this cheesy backdrop at Marriage Bureau - feel so proud to be a New Yorker importing a Canadian
beginning of ceremony with bride-saves Alyson & Rachel


friend & witness Christian - since 1986 - seeing each other through It All


we've got a ticket to marry - woohoo: C714


'showered with blessings' - butterfly umbrellas purchased in Montreal at butterfly exhibit

with James Mitchell City Hall officiant extraordinaire

John & me with my grrrl posse: Robyn, Alyson, Diane, Elinor, Julie, Rachel, Nina

Julie being our witness - officially(!)

the ring bit - which was just lovely

my ring..as I was saying vows to John

I have never seen a photo of me looking happier - after telling John about my fears before ceremony - you can see why he's the man for me.

5 comments:

  1. John is truly the Real Deal and I'm thrilled to call him son-in-law! Julia is happier than I have ever known her to be. It is a complete and total joy to be with them. The love is deep and wide. It radiates any space they are in -- as it continues to do in my heart since spending a special five days with then a couple of weeks ago on Peaks Island, Maine. I would have been in the city to support and celebrate her wedding but physically unable to join them. My spirit was definitely present, as was Tom's. All very, very good. Love you both, Robin xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. So happy to read all this - what a day, what a union! Looking forward to meeting John someday soon. Much love to both of you in the meantime! darcy

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much Robin and Darcy. You are my closest family and so lovely for both John and me that you are so supportive and welcoming. Love to you both!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would like to take a moment if I may away from spending time on Skype with Julia to express my deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks to all of Julia's friends (who are now my friends, too) who made such extreme efforts on such short notice to attend our somewhat sudden wedding.

    Thanks also to my friends, who have sent their congratulations; and apologies that the suddenness and short window of opportunity offered us for the ceremony left many uninvited who would otherwise have a de facto standing invitation.

    Above all, I would like to thank Julia for being the love of my life, and for welcoming me into her life and her heart. I do not think I shall ever cease to be amazed at having had the great fortune to have connected with Julia; and as those of you who have followed this blog by now know, we really only needed the momentary chance of a passing glance in order to begin realizing we could indeed be immensely happy in our lives simply by virtue of being together. This realization has gathered us up and holds us together in a love which neither of us could easily have conceived before it happened to us: a love for which we will now accept no substitutes.

    Finally, I would like to thank Julia's mom, Robin (with a big hug), for being so very supportive of Julia's and my efforts to be together.

    My apologies to all involved for being Canadian, for not (yet) being a New Yorker, and for having certain matters which require my attention for a time here north of the border. I will be in NYC permanently with Julia as soon as certain issues here are resolved, or sooner if at all possible!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Okay that was me, Julia's husband, John Barclay-Morton; Lon Cayeway is the pen name I used for a Semiotext[e] Canadas article and I have yet to change the name on my various email accounts (such as the one I signed in from to post the above comment)over...

    ReplyDelete