OK, so having printed out the rough draft of The Book, I now need to read it. Then revise it. Because I'm more accustomed to writing stage texts, this part of the process is stumping me.
Because, if you're as lucky as I've been, when you write text for the stage, you get to hear actors read the words rather than simply read it over by yourself. Then you get to talk to those actors and maybe a couple other folks who are in your living room about said draft. Then you revise.
This is a book. There are 754 pages. No one could read it aloud in one evening.
So, I have to read it.
Some people have suggested I have others read it at this stage, but I don't want to do that, because I know it's not done yet. I know there needs to be at the very least one revision for the book to be constituted as a book I would be interested in getting feedback on...It's too raw and I don't want to be overly influenced right now by outsider readers' ideas of what 'works' and what doesn't, etc. Praise can be as destructed as criticism at this stage. There are parts that 'don't work' but that doesn't mean I want to lose them yet, and I don't want to be lulled by praise into not making something that might 'work' better...
So, I have to figure out how I'm going to do this. My instinct is to read it once over as much as possible like a reader. Take some notes but not get into minutiae. Then re-read it and at that stage begin revisions and add the things in I know need to be added, cut what needs to be cut, rewrite whatever is staying, etc...
I have done so many revisions on academic type things, shorter prose pieces, etc., but this is a different animal. I'll have to feel it out, I suppose. I kind of want something like angels with trumpets or something to start me off and then tell me when it's done...not that I'm grandiose or anything...
Meanwhile it feels like the world is going kind of crazy now that I've had a few moments to concentrate on it - Ferguson, weird ass weather, Republicans going crazy(er) and writing Iran, I mean WTF people?
So, I am grateful for this little pause in my life wherein I can focus on a writing project and that is all.
I apologize to all of my friends to whom I am not available and to everything/anything else anyone wants or needs from me. I simply don't have it. I have discovered a truth I am sure all writers of books already know: writing is a selfish business. It's like you have to eat the air or something just to survive the process.
I'm used to sharing the wealth of this selfishness with other people (aka rehearsing a play), so we can pretend we're not selfish, we're just Making a Performance Together. But when you write - alone - you're left with yourself, thinking about this thing you are making, by yourself, which takes fucking YEARS. And convince yourself the whole time that it's WORTH it. It's so weird.
But I also feel some kind of addiction to this process happening...in the very middle of putting together the draft I would have sworn to you up and down that I would Never do this again - but as I am now at this place, where it's about revision and Something Exists, I already have ideas for New Books.
Oh dear. Sorry, world.
OK, back to my few days in real life. The plan is to start reading by Sunday - having taken time off to do taxes, see friends, do some self care and just - well - rest.
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.