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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Back from the Green Mountains of Vermont

Wow, that was kind of amazing.

Just went on a two week writing retreat at Vermont Studio Center, where I edited 80K words of my book in 2 weeks. I laid groundwork for this in NYC (about 50K in 6 weeks), but managed to really motor through a little more than half the book while there.

I wish I could have stayed for the month, because might have had an edited book at the end, but I'm hoping to use momentum from that extraordinary time to move through the second half. Also, hoping to get back up there ASAP.

I was affirmed, through the sheer ability to work so long and so hard, in the work itself, and also through meeting other writers with challenging projects, who were both inspiring and encouraging.

On Friday night, I read aloud a couple pages to my fellow writers, which was a first for this book. Haven't shown it to anyone for 4 1/2 years. I was moved by their response, and was taken aback by how emotional I felt reading the section I did. I knew I felt for Dick and Jani, but I didn't realize how much until I started reading aloud.

So, I feel much more confident, like I do have a book on my hands, and this is invaluable to see me through to its completion.

Wish me luck in keeping up the momentum (though I could not work at the level I did those 2 weeks here without exploding - I think I can ramp up my focus here). I don't want to dismiss the work I've done here in NYC either, because in many ways it was the hardest bit.  However, at the retreat I got through the section/s of the book I felt were going to take the most out of me emotionally, and that was a wise choice.

I hit a wall only once, and did my laundry. When I returned to the studio (after also having kvetched to some fellow writers) - bam - could work again.

Our studios looked out over a river, so with the window open, the sound of the water running through the stones and mini-rapids soothed my soul.  There is a deep internal expansiveness on offer at VSC, and I feel so grateful to have experienced it. They even offered Kripalu yoga two times a week, so I was in heaven. And good food!

I am now back in Inwood, it's hot and I left behind some folks I really liked meeting in Vermont (including visual artists - with some of whom I hope to collaborate on future performance projects), but I also returned to John, my beloved Canadian and Ugo, my beloved rescue cat. My little family who were happy to see me. That's truly special, too.

I'm feeling pretty damn grateful right now and just plain old lucky. There have been many hard roads leading to where I am now, and those roads are - whether I like it or not - why I can write this damn book in the first place. Those roads are also how I know what a gem John is - true love is the best gift ever. That combined with meaningful work is life's jackpot as far as I can tell.

Thanks to all of you have been and are supporting me through this process. I think I have one last push to get this over the finish line - at least stage one finish line - a readable draft.

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