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, January 31, 2014

I am writing and teaching writing and that is all

I have not written on this blog for a while because I am fully engaged in my grandmothers book.  I work on it 3-7 hours per day depending on if I need to teach or do something else that day.  I've been ordering my grandmother Jani's files and reading her massive amount of writing (3 drafts of books, one complete, 2 incomplete, articles, correspondence, poems, stories, projects, etc.)  It was left in a mess so just getting dates right (while reading through some very personal material) while also figuring out her handwriting on her mountains of legal pads...is a journey.

John has been a great help keeping me grounded and making sure I have food and am somewhere near sane.  Our love continues to grow, though why on earth he puts up with me is beyond me.  Seriously, when doing this kind of work, I am no fun.  He claims I still can be.  That's probably why we're together and so in love.

I am also teaching writing again at Fordham, which is lovely and also grounding...in the present.

Last night, I saw a friend from high school, Sue, who I haven't seen since the 80s.  She lives in California but was visiting and we finally connected after all these years.  Here's a picture of the three of us: John, Sue and me at the W. 4th Street subway stop.  We lived one year in the same weird little George Washington slept here clapboard house at a tony boarding school (I was there on scholarship - see early blogposts for examples of my true dorkitude at that time).  Sue was someone with whom I connected in my senior year when I was quietly imploding.  We were both having a hard time.  I don't think we ever talked about that but somehow intuited another struggling soul.  And here we are now - lo these many years later at the subway station that was nearest my first apartment in NYC in the early 80s.  We're older, more mature and have been through a lot.  But here's the really true fact.  We're alive and that's good:

yes the dreaded 'selfie' x 3, but there we all are - Sue looks as gorgeous as I remember her in '81

yes we are still this silly happy with one another - and feeling so grateful to be together now
Other bits of news include having had a reading of an excerpt from my on-going, never-ending, someday to actually appear in the world William James project...the excerpt was illuminating, especially the conversations it generated.  Hoping now to find the right place for this to happen.  More on that as I know it.

The biggest news for me is once again Jill Lepore-related.  Her book about Jane Franklin is genius and is giving me the courage to keep going with my grandmothers book, knowing by her example how important it is to give these neither rich nor famous nor infamous women voice.  I think, given her definition of it in an article she wrote about the subject, that what I am doing is perhaps closer to 'micro history' than strictly biography or fiction.

The courage to keep on going with a project I have now worked on for over 3 years with no end in sight (research alone is taking me ages) and knowing I will continue thinking and rethinking it...that most of the hundreds of pages already written are destined for the trashcan...etc...is necessary.  What I can't believe now is how willing I am to do all this groundwork, the ordering, the endless tasks of figuring out dates and details, etc.  It's like a weird detective story (which is what Lepore says the best micro histories are) and I'm no Sherlock Holmes...just a kind of bumbling I'm not sure who or what...but it's happening and this sense of quiet accomplishment is growing inside me.  Shhhh.  Don't say it out loud a voice says in me...but well there it is...

So, back to work now...it may be a while before I post again.  My goal is to get most of the documents written by Jani read by the end of February.  I've read a ton, but there's a ton more.  However, NOW, it's all - basically - in chronological order....please wish me luck.  Send blessings, prayers, vibes, dances, whatever you believe in...that I may push through onto the other side...




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