Apologies for not keeping up the blogging recently, but life has just been getting better and bigger and - well - busier.
Good news in terms of my body-mental health is that I have been going to yoga weekly and that has made a huge difference. I am hoping to graduate to twice a week, but am glad to have at least followed up on such a great experience. I've been told that when you have studied yoga before, which I have, if you start up again your body snaps back into shape pretty quickly, which has been my experience. So grateful for that. Also love that I am happy being challenged and feeling my body getting into better shape consequently. But, because the teacher knows the spiritual side of yoga as much as the asanas, this is not some glorified pilates class either. (Nothing wrong with pilates! It's just I like my yoga connected to its source is all...)
The other kind of amazing news is that I was hired this week by Rena Gill, the widow and literary executor of Stefan Brecht, to edit her late husband's writing on Richard Foreman into a book to be published by Methuen next year. I cannot begin to explain how much this means to me on many levels, especially because I have known since I was approached about this project a few months ago, that this job and I are made for each other.
I read and enjoyed Brecht's writing when in college in relation to research on The Open Theater and The Living Theater. I love Foreman's work, which I know quite well (and have discussed in this blog) and interviewed him for my Ph.D. (in which I argued that theater can be an act of philosophy). That interview will be published soon in Foreman's Manifestos & Essays.
This job requires editing down 800,000+ words to 200,000 or less words for the book, which is not dissimilar to the issue I faced having to pare down my own Ph.D. to 60,000 words from who knows how many (in the British university system there are word limits unlike in the U.S.)
This editing job is also of enormous interest to me, because Brecht had a Ph.D. in philosophy so his intersection with Foreman who is a deeply philosophical artist is golden from my own research-perspective. The writing is about the earlier period of Foreman's work that I did not see (early 70s-mid-80s), because I was either too young or - in the case of the early 80s - too ignorant. Brecht's writing is documentary in its detail, so I am excited to view this period of Foreman's development through such a sensitive, observant lens.
However, in the end, I am deeply humbled by this task and the fact that Rena has entrusted it to me. I do not take that trust lightly. I finally feel that there is a reason I went through the hell of the Ph.D. process, because it prepared me to for this job. If I hadn't gone through that editing, pruning and refining process (which was excruciatingly painful even if necessary), I would never feel confident enough to take on this task. So, in case my poor, endlessly patient supervisors ever read this blog, thank you Jane and Franc for seeing me through!
Because of all this, the last excellent news item - saving the best for last - is that John can visit more often and for longer now because we can afford it. He is transferring to work he can do in Canada but in the virtual world so he can travel more easily, so while I have a kind of humongous task ahead of me to complete in a very tight schedule, I will also have the love of my life here with me for much of that time. This makes us both deliriously happy and grateful.
Love, art and philosophy prevail! It doesn't get much better than this.
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.