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.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Micro-history & Lack of Sleep

Some more good 'campaign'-related news!  I was invited to guest blog over at Women Writers online journal.  The piece focuses on the term micro-history, which I first encountered in an article by Jill Lepore from the 1980s "Historians Who Love Too Much."  A micro-history is distinguished from a biography by generally focusing on less well-known individuals, whose lives are in some way emblematic of a period of time socially and politically.  This term helped me frame The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani outside of the personal nature of writing about my grandmothers.

Check it out at Micro-history: Our Grandmothers, Our Selves

The crowd-funding campaign to help me finish this book is now 58% funded at the half-way point, and am continuing to contact folks and find people who are interested in this project who may want to support it financially and/or help spread the word.  To anyone who has already given of time and/or money: thank you, thank you, thank you!

I almost lost it last night when I sent out a newsletter update thing that stopped midway and had to manually send out the last mails.  It was 6a.m., I'd been up all night and the dreaded red notification arrived saying some addresses were deleted.  It was because I had too many old email addresses that weren't working anymore.  Dear Chimp Mail people: NOW I KNOW.

Then, this morning the intercom system starts making a mosquito-like sound that wakes me up.  I call the superintendent who informs me there is a guy fixing it.  Said guy comes up to my place, is confused and then disappears.  The super, Joel is pisstified.  I call the management company.  Someone comes back - many hours later - and Makes The Horrible Sound Go Away.

Result: I've had less than 5 hours sleep and therefore am a bit - well - slaphappy.  Remember that word?  That was a good word.  Let's bring it back: slaphappy.

OK, you get the picture...so I'm going to sign off, but first (in the immortal words of my mother and me: "one more thing" - which is what she thinks will be engraved on her tombstone...mine will say "she tried") I want to add these pictures of Dick & Jani.  They show a time period when their lives began to seriously diverge in the early 1940s...but also, check it out, they would only be in their mid-20s in these pictures.  In other words, the same age as the young women in Girls are today.  They look so much older.  I have to remind myself all the time how young they were.  And wonder about why we now just keep looking younger...are we less mature?  Do we need a longer kidulthood to navigate global late-capitalist weirdness or like what?

But here are Dick & Jani in the early 1940s: before Hiroshima, before most people knew about Concentration Camps - after WWI so there was a knowledge of crazy - but not the knowledge of Deep Dark Absolutely Incomprehensible Crazy aka Pre-Universal Irony aka a world I cannot possibly imagine and yet Must in order to write this book.

Jani in first public divorce battle & Dick, Jim & George at Westpoint 1941

Wish me luck!  I really, really want to give voice to these women.  Jani left behind lots of writing and Dick left behind lots of pictures with handwritten notes on them.  I knew them both, but the further I sink into this, the less I know...and that's a good thing.  The only place to be.  If I thought I knew anything, the book would die on the vine.

Thanks for following the journey.  It means the world to me that you do.

p.s. Jani's hat is the same style as Rosalind Russell's in His Girl Friday with Cary Grant.  1940.  About a female reporter (which she - Jani - was for a bit after Bob - her then husband - left for his training and deployment) and her charming, caddish boss.  Coincidence?  I think not.

p.p.s. The picture on right is when Dick, George & Jim were still the Bukoskis, before George had to clear a security check to be a secretary on the Manhattan Project (the office part that actually was in Manhattan) and became a "Barclay" so his name wouldn't sound "too Red" - NB: for my younger readers - Red meant Communist then, not - like now - Red State as in Tea Party as in - well you know.  The color Red has certainly changed meaning as well...

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