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.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy (belated) New Year!

Much horrendous shit has happened the past couple days, most notably the killing of 12 people guilty of making cartoons in France and (while no one was looking) the bombing of an NAACP headquarters in Colorado, ton which no major media outlet has reported, though I could be wrong,  Fortunately, no fatalities there. The New Republican Congress is doing its best to dismantle everything Obama has done and there's endless slaughter in Nigeria, so what the hell is Happy about this New Year?

Well, on the personal good news ledger, I have been working on my novel every day since January 2 as part of an at-home writing retreat, which I plan to continue until the draft is done or the money runs out, whichever comes first.

I was fortunate enough to welcome in the New Year meditating with three wonderful people, friends Russell and Sharon, and my beloved John. We spoke about the year from about 11pm until 11:50pm and meditated through to 12:10 am. When all hell broke loose at midnight outside the building: fireworks, salsa, Sinatra, sirens...we were silent. Russell said afterwards he could feel the stillness between us and in the building all the way to the ground.  We spoke after the meditation about our hopes for 2015. That whole experience was magic, and up there with best New Year's Eves ever. A new ritual has been born.

The next day John and I volunteered at the St. Mark's Poetry Marathon on New Year's Day, where we saw lots of wonderful poets, new and old, including the venerable Jonas Mekas - still at it after all these years. I posted that video on Facebook. The link posted here is of a wonderful poetry, singing, saxophone, double bass quartet dedicated to Amiri Baraka.

The artists are:

Margaret Morris, Vocalist
Michael Bisio, Bass
Thomas Sayers Ellis, Poet
James Brandon Lewis, Saxophone

This was recorded on a phone and there is shake to the image consequently. I may be able to clean that up at some point, but wanted to post it now, because it was a great performance and to me embodied the spirit of the Marathon - edgy, political, smart, angry, funny, experimental, multi-disciplinary, multi-ethnic and just a damn good time.

So in the midst of the chaos and horror, take a moment to experience some artists rocking out in a jazz-poetry kinda way...(Remember kids, if you don't, you let the terrorists win...)

Or, as seen today:

"It is no surprise that danger and suffering surround us. What astonishes is the singing." --Jack Gilbert"

Here's the link to YouTube, because file to big for here: Amiri Baraka tribute.

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