As I stagger to what seems like the finish line of a very full year, I want to give some really nice news: was named (much to my surprise) one of the People of the Year by Indie Theater Now and inducted into the Indie Theater Hall of Fame. Don't believe me? I barely do, so here's the link: http://www.indietheaterhalloffame.com/Person/julia-lee-barclay-morton
That is a gorgeous honor to receive and I am in quite stellar company. If you haven't checked out this site, it's a great place to see what the vital center of theater in NYC is that isn't the more commercial variety. While there are much more well-funded avant-garde spaces (such as PS 122, The Kitchen, etc.), but what makes Martin Denton's site so interesting is his eclecticism and lack of a 'house style.' Before 1999 when Martin began reviewing the rest of us, many downtown theater types just came and went without a trace. Now our work is published, reviewed and acclaimed and many careers have begun thanks to Martin's initial attention.
In other news, I am quite fried, after a month (November) of writing 50K for NaNoWriMo, attending Ian Hill's amazing production of my play Autograce (a cut up of personal and political memories from 1973-74) and teaching. I am horrified by current national events, everything from Ferguson to Eric Garner to the CIA 'torture' report, which has me in what I can only refer to as an ice-cold rage. Then there's 'nice guys' who we have revered for years who have - of course - been sexually abusing women the whole time (current face of this age-old story: Cosby). Jaysus. Not to mention climate change. Oh that little thing.
So, with all that, my poor 51 year old body and spirit has shut down, so I'm taking it back to psychic home base, aka Kripalu (a yoga retreat place in Lenox, Massachusetts). My other psychic home base is in Scotland, but I can't afford that in time or money. I realized I had a few days between end of classes and my class's final meeting, so called and booked an R&R retreat for midweek. So incredibly glad I did. I feel like I'm running on less than empty right now and I can hear the gears scraping next to each other as the engine dies.
My first response to exhaustion is to work like a maniac, which I did for a few days, then start autistically flipping from Twitter to Facebook to email to NYTimes to phone to...anyway, you get the idea. By this point I know: OK, I am exhausted. I have been trying to chill out at home, but find everyday life quite distracting and am too tired to hold any meaningful boundaries. This is when I know I've hit that moment when I need a retreat. I'm grateful it's possible. I'm also grateful to my high school friend Ellen who helped me listen to the gentler voices inside and to my beloved Canadian John for supporting the idea when I brought it up as a possibility. He sees how brittle I am right now and how hard I've been pushing, and it's such a relief and a wonder to be with someone who understands what I need and supports that need. Real love, what an amazing thing. I hope I never take it for granted.
He also makes a mean carrot soup and is doing so right now. What more can a girl want?
I feel incredibly lame for not running around protesting all that is wrong, especially with police brutality, and I am aware that the fact I have a choice in the matter is proof of privilege, but I've got to make the less heroic, but more life-saving choice right now for health and wholeness.
When I return, I will have my final class with my lovely students this year, mark their final papers and journals and then go to Maine with John for Christmas with my mother and some of her friends.
After Christmas, I'll be back to the book as primary focus until it is finished - having put some gas in the tank. Sustainability is a real thing and a real need. I have spent most of my life working like a maniac so taking these pauses is extraordinarily difficult and guilt-inducing, but given my background, I think perhaps feeling guilty means there's a 99% chance I'm doing the right thing.
Oh - and last but not least - until December 19, you can read my synopsis for The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani at Medium. If you like what you read, please recommend it, so the synopsis may be considered for the final round of Medium's synopsis contest (for NaNoWriMo winners) and be read by some fabulous agents, editors, writers, etc. If the synopsis wins the final round, the manuscript will be read by these fabulous people as well. That would be great. So, if you want to help me get this baby published, taking a moment to read and recommend the synopsis would be a huge help.
Meanwhile, I wish for all of you for this holiday season: the pauses you need, some delight, some ability to breathe, create, make and receive love, and show your righteous anger at the many events that deserve that anger these days. I am a big believer in non-violence and hope that the protests go in this direction, not because there isn't a reason for force, but because it doesn't work in the end. Most successful revolutions are non-violent, especially domestic ones. Not telling anyone else what to do, just an observation.
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.