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.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Does 'micro-history' imply something small?

Quick update: getting lots of interesting answers to this question: keep 'em coming!

A new question that has come up in a discussion online about this project is about the term "micro-history" and if it somehow diminishes the subject. Does 'micro' imply minor? (Micro-history is a term that was coined to describe biographies of people who are generally not famous but are somehow emblematic of an historical period and that focus more on the social & political realities of the time. You can read my guest blog post about this on Women Writer's online journal.)

I mulled this over for a bit, because I can see the issue there and a possible connotation of 'micro' is small and less than. However, I think 'micro' also has a connotation of the possibility of careful looking to perhaps see something small and invisible to the naked eye (as in micro-scope). However, I am also interested in the 'macro' view as well, so began to wonder if a new word is necessary.

So, I leave this with you to mull over along with me - and I'm happy to hear suggestions - for new words that can describe a project such as this, which closely examine two lives in an historical context, using both research and imagination as guides. If anyone comes up with something I use, I'll come up with a special gift for you. I haven't a clue what that is yet, but I will. Promise (!)

In other news, we are in the middle of the campaign, but now with only 15 days left! So if there is anyone you haven't told about it that you had meant to or if you wanted to donate but haven't, this would be a great time to do that! I've heard these middle period of campaigns tend to be slow, so that's normal, but as get to the 1-2 week range, I'm hoping we can get closer to the goal. The link is here.

Thank you again for your support and for being part of this journey, whether by reading this blog or supporting this book or both. I remain moved by each and every contribution received so far. I promise you that no matter what, I will complete the book, but it would be great to be able to have the whole summer to finish the research and a draft for the agent. I'd love to see the book published in time for my grandmothers' centennial (2016). There's a goal I will work tirelessly to achieve!

Below are twos photo of Dick (right) & Jani (left) in the 1930s, when they were probably about 16. I love these two photos, because they are both beautiful and enjoying their new sense of self...even if that sense would be threatened or hidden away by circumstances over the years...here they are gorgeous and knowing it. Dick in a dress she designed for herself and Jani in a dress I am fairly certain her mother would have made for her (because Jani had no patience for that kind of thing).

early 1930s: Jani on left in Toledo, OH &  Dick on right in Seymour, CT

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