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. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.

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 having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.

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


Saturday, May 2, 2015

In praise of slowness

So I did get back to the editing. It's going more slowly, but I'm also happier with the results. Been combing through the first hundred pages over and over again - kind of like a knotty bit of hair - needs to be brushed a number of times through to untangle, but if you pull too hard it'll just resist. The returns need to be gentle. The hand needs to be patient. Then the strands gives way.

I've found more cuts, added some bits, and am hearing Dick & Jani's voices more clearly with each pass. I don't know if this will make the rest of the book editing go more quickly or not, but I've surrendered to the pace.

On what would have been Dick's 100th birthday (April 27), I was accepted to Vermont Studio Center for a residency. I could only accept the two week slot (May 10-23), but after panicking about it (what I have taken to referring to as New York agoraphobia), I said yes and then was - and am - delighted at the choice. Everyone I know who has been there, has loved it - it sounds like Kripalu for writers and artists. Will tell you more about it when I'm there, but this opportunity feels like a huge gift from the universe.

I am now preparing for that retreat time, which will be more of a sprint than a marathon. I realized that to be able to do what I want there, I need to be well-rested going in - and need to prepare my papers and such to bring up what I need. I put together a PhD in four weeks in the Orkney Islands in Scotland in 2009, and the first two chapters for upgrade (which I then revised entirely) I wrote in two weeks in September 2006 (also on the Orkney Island)s. Vermont is not nearly as remote, but on the plus side, all my meals will be taken care of and there's a yoga studio, meditation room and a bunch of other weirdos running around. I hope not to be distracted by same. I can find a certain kind of focus when I am all alone that I'm not certain I ever find when anyone else is around, but will do my best. When the balance of alone time with people concentrating on their creative tasks, there can be a kind of wind underneath one's sails, which I hope to experience. I've never been on an art/writing retreat before, so we'll see. The other ones were self-made and done alone.

I would love to finish the revision in Vermont, and hope to make a lot of headway, but need to remember what I've written earlier here, that some of this just Takes Time and two weeks isn't a lot of time.

No matter what, I am fairly confident I'll get a lot more done there when that is all I need to do and surrounded by so much beauty and quiet. Or maybe I'll just fall asleep. Who knows?

In other news, I've had an endless tooth odyssey, which involves waiting for a root canal and such, when all I thought I had agreed to was something much simpler...I won't go into all the gory details, except to mention that the filling that was removed and is in process of being restored was put in in the 1970s, around the same time of the material in the book that I am editing. This has had an interesting effect emotionally - not all pleasant - but of course any openings are good - even they involve teeth and pain. Thawing frozen places is not pleasant whether physical or emotional and sometimes they seem to weirdly intersect.

Spring is springing, and that, too, is generally a bittersweet time (touched on in last post), but overall it is quite beautiful after such a long, hard winter. Now to take a walk in the sun with my beloved....

Speaking of which, I want to give a shout out to John, who is supporting my retreat time even though neither of us like to be separated. I've never been in this situation before, where I can both leave and know someone will be home when I get back (and not have gone off with someone else) and know that the person at home will care that I have returned and have missed me when I'm gone. This may seem like a basic thing, but for me it's a first, and a deeply healing one. Love is an astonishing thing.

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