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 as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While was blessed for the opportunity, after four years of being an adjunct, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in NYC 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. As of 2018, I also started leading writing retreats to my beloved Orkney Islands. If you ever want two weeks that will restore your soul and give you time and space to write, get in touch. I am leading two retreats this year in July and September.

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 now work full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, editor and writing retreat leader. 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

In 2017, I launched a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. You can also contact me through that site.

In May, I directed my newest play, On the edge of/a cure, and have finally updated my publications list, which now includes an award-winning chapbook of my short-story White shoe lady, which you can find on the sidebar. I also have become a certified yoga instructor in the Kripalu lineage. What a year!

And FINALLY, I have created a website, which I hope you will visit, The Unadapted Ones. I will keep this blog site up, since it is a record of over 8 years of my life, but will eventually be blogging more at the website, so if you want to know what I am up to with my writing, teaching, retreats and so on, the site is the place to check (and to subscribe for updates). After eight years I realized, no, I'm never turning into One Thing. So The Unadapted Ones embraces the multiplicity that comprises whomever I am, which seems to always be shifting. That may in fact be reality for everyone, but will speak for myself here. So, do visit there and thanks for coming here, too. Glad to meet you on the journey...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy 101st Birthday, Dick! ... plus podcast! ... plus maudlin reflections on process!

Hey, friends...

So, first the truly exciting news. Today, on what would have been my grandmother Dick's 101st birthday, a podcast of me reading excerpts from The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani and being interviewed by the lovely and talented Ilana Masad has been posted as Episode 57 of The Other Stories! So for all of you who have heard me talk about this book for Years, you can finally hear some of it - plus hear me natter on about its creation. Ilana is a really wonderful interviewer, so she made me feel smart and important. I also sound like, well, me...so don't worry.

I want to use this post, too, just to say some words - not too many - about process.

I finished the revised draft of the book in August. I began sending it to others to read and queries to agents and such. In this process, I revisited the book, made some slight adjustments, then made a big structural adjustment and now am thinking of maybe returning to something closer to the original - which doesn't mean the other time was wasted.

The point here being - this is a long process. Anyone who has already written a book through to publications knows this and is Laughing at me. That's OK. I understand. I was ignorant before. Now, I see.

I have to believe - lest I lose my mind in part - that all of this time and adjusting and readjusting etc. is worth it. Who knows, the form my change yet again.

The larger point is that I need to allow this process to take the time it needs and not "push the river" as Everyone I knew in the 1970s (parental like - you Know Who You Are) said. I find this at times frustrating, because I want a Finished Product. I want to See a Book on a Shelf and point to it and say: Hey Look I Did That!

And one day - I will.


In the meantime, I need to allow it to take the time it is taking (without tinkering forever either - the balance also important)...

And understand - and this is the hardest part - that it's not going to Save me.

I haven't written much this month because April 15 was the 9th anniversary of my miscarriage, the day after the wedding to my now-ex husband. As many of you know, I announced the pregnancy at the wedding, because I was 12 weeks along. Thought I was safe. Wasn't.

I bring that up in this context, because I've had to face this month the fact that some part of me thought this book - the completion and hopefully selling and publishing of this book - would redeem this experience somehow - or somehow make up for the fact I don't have children.

It won't.

I think this is part of the process, too. Understanding that. Because if I don't understand that before the book gets published, I will be in for a very steep fall. I do understand it intellectually, but as a friend of mine used to say ruefully "insight is the booby prize of the universe" and right she was.

I can "understand" something all day long, but until my body, soul, heart and Everything understands it, it don't mean a thing - just another idea on the clever-train...no thing.

So, this process is loooong for so many reasons.

A book, giving birth to one (yes I use that phrase advisedly), is a naked process. Unlike a child, the thing is from you and will always be attached to you - you will be blamed or praised for it - alone. Unlike a child, it won't grow into its own person. But, like a child, it does need to leave me at some point and have its own life with others. OK, I have strained this metaphor to death (happily not a real child!)

But in all seriousness, the sad and real part is: it won't save me. That's not its job.

As a referee for a residency to which I applied wrote I am "tantalizingly close" to being done. But I need to breathe and allow this journey to take its course.

Thank you so much all who have ridden with me. I so appreciate everyone's support, encouragement, time, energy, contributions and care.

I am just getting over a nasty cold so not going to go further now. But hope you enjoy the podcast!

And here's some lovely photos of Dick from the early 1930s...Happy Birthday again! I wish you were here to see this, even though you'd probably be pretty horrified to be getting this much attention (...though secretly, I think you'd enjoy it!)

(L) Dick w/George in Milford, CT & (R) Dick w/friends in Seymour, CT 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Breaking free from Rich People Stockholm Syndrome, or why I'm voting for Bernie Sanders

I am a New Yorker who will be voting for Bernie Sanders on April 19 in our primary. Because of the arcane laws of the State of New York, I can only do that because I am a registered Democrat. If I wanted to vote for him and had not registered as a Democrat before October 15, I would be shit out of luck. Thus begins my list of reasons for voting for Bernie:

1. Voter suppression. It's real. Yes, it began with the GOP and the Supreme Court vacating the Voting Rights Act. Yes. But the Clinton camp has done very little to avoid the issues that have been revealed as people in state after state have been disenfranchised, due to odd rules, their party affiliation switching for no reason, too few polling stations, too few ballots, and the like. The only people I saw in New York before the registration deadline registering voters were Bernie supporters. This fact speaks volumes about who wants to bring new people into the political system, and who is attracting those new people.

2. There is so much money in elections, most of it given in form of Super PACs and most of that given by about 50 billionaires, who have effectively held this country hostage to their own interests. This is true on the Democratic and Republican sides. The only person not taking this money is Bernie Sanders. This matters. He is raising enough money to stay competitive in his primary battle by small donations, the average of which is $27. If you think this doesn't matter, then ask Hillary why she won't release the transcripts of her speeches for which she was paid 225K each by Goldman Sachs. That kind of money buys influence. There is no planet on which Goldman Sachs or anyone else pays that kind of money for a 20 minute speech unless they get something for it. The fact is we live in an oligarchy right now. Princeton University came to this conclusion, not just me. There is - no conspiracy about lizards necessary - a small cartel of very rich people who own our political system. It's not rocket science then why we have the greatest income inequality in the US since the 1920s. Only Bernie is not beholden to these donors and their banks and corporations. This matters. This means he can ask for - and when he wins the Presidency - have the mandate to demand changes that need to be made in the tax system and the way in which we spend our money to be more fair.

3. The climate is changing Now. Coral reefs are bleached Now. The Arctic Ice Cap is melting Now. Not later, not 50 or even 20 years from now. Now. In other words, we need someone who is not beholden to fossil fuel companies who can implement bans on fossil fuels, promote sustainable energy solutions (we have the technology - we've Had the technology - we just haven't had the political will, because fossil fuel industries have bought all the politicians), institute a carbon tax and ban fracking (which is also contaminating the water supply - water being the next resource that will be as valuable as oil has been). We cannot be incremental about these changes. We can't wait for agreements with all the other countries. We need to lead, and we need to do it Yesterday. If we want a livable planet for not only our children, grandchildren, etc. but also our own old age, action must be taken urgently.

4. Much is said about how much more pragmatic Bernie's opponent is, but I don't know what she has accomplished with all this pragmatism. Part of this idea is drawn from Kissinger's 'real politik' doctrine, which is basically a fancy way of saying the ends (world free for rich people and capitalism) justify the means (killing whomever gets in the way - leaders, people, animals, whole ecosystems - whatever). I reject this idea. So does Bernie Sanders. No, you don't send children back to Honduras to "send a message" (Clinton). No, you don't kill people in Cambodia to get points in Vietnam War negotiations (Kissinger). The list goes on. The constant war footing we are on benefits exactly no one except a few wealthy people who own weapons' manufacturing businesses and fossil fuel companies who then mine resources. The end. Why do we not have "enough money" for national health care, free college, food for our own children who live in poverty...look no further than All War All The Time.

5. Israel and Palestine. Bernie Sanders is Jewish, he lost family in the Holocaust and lived in Israel as a young man. He supports Israel's right to exist. He Also supports the Palestinian people's right to exist in dignity. He can call out disproportionate responses (as with Gaza) when he sees it. He could be the honest broker we desperately need to help negotiate a lasting peace. Remember that this conflict is what recruiters to fun organizations like ISIS and Al Queda point to as proof of why we are the Great Satan, etc. It is in their interest as much as wealthy people here who want to be on a constant war footing that this peace never happen. It is in the interest of the Vast Majority of the Rest of Us that it does. (p.s. Bernie has done more for returning Veterans than almost anyone else. That is why so many Vets are supporting him.)

6. Bernie has been for $15 minimum wage from the beginning - for all states. The Fight for $15 fast food workers proved that if you ask for what you need and deserve to live like a human being rather than a feudal slave, you can get it. If you commit to your action and don't waver. If you act like Bernie has his whole career. You don't back down. You don't say, oh maybe we'll just...No. You fight, because it's right and because of the crazy level of income inequality. You fight because if you get $15/hour from giant corporations, then the rest of your fellow citizens don't have to pay the taxes to support the Food Stamps necessary for the people working full time to feed their own children.

7. This leads to ending Corporate Welfare. It's time we stop having to pay for the upkeep of employees of corporations who won't pay their workers enough to live about the poverty line. This is insane. Think about it. How much money does anyone need? The super rich are still lobbying to get even more super rich. Meanwhile, their employees don't have enough money to feed their children. This is insane. We are paying money to the Walton family of Walmart to pay their employees starvation wages so their family (of 8 people) can own as much as 150 million other Americans.

8. While there are many more reasons to vote for Bernie, breaking free of Rich People Stockholm Syndrome is where I will end. I watched Reagan get elected when I was 17 years old. I cried. A lot. I saw what was going to happen as a consequence, and tragically, I was right. Everything I feared and more occurred. The worst of all these things in relation to America's domestic situation was this: poor people went from being considered unfortunate and probably in need of assistance to lift them out of poverty to being considered "sick, criminals, lazy, welfare queens, frauds, bad, addicts..." etc. An entire group of people were shamed and convinced that their lot was a "bad lifestyle choice." This idea then gradually morphed into the working poor, and the working class. Those 'poor schmucks' who thought that they could have a factory job that could support their children found themselves downsized into poverty and desperation. This trend got a big assist from Bill Clinton's administration, which with a lot of soaring rhetoric in effect completed Reagan's agenda, with disastrous trade policies such as NAFTA that actually rewarded corporations for dumping American workers and going overseas or to Mexico to hire people for pennies an hour. Bill Clinton also created 'welfare reform' - the effects of which are visible now - with many millions of children undernourished and many single mothers or poor parents desperate for help. I say visible, but should say invisible. Most of this poverty is Not visible to those with money because a lot of this poverty is rural or in neighborhoods in cities people of means don't ever see OR the very people who need help the most stay quiet about it, because they are afraid of the stigma of even asking for help or seeming as if they need it. Now, even middle class children are affected, because college tuitions are soaring and even if they can get in, they come out in debt, crushing debt and unable to find decent work.

Most people I know (and I'm 52) can't even dream of buying a home. Even if you have a Ph.D. (like I do), most of us can look forward to working as an Adjunct College Professor (like I do), which means getting paid essentially minimum wage, with no job security and no office. Over half of all teachers are adjuncts now. So, this mindset has even seeped into higher education. Students pay more money for less. Most professors work for a pittance. Meanwhile, college presidents and administrators make very large salaries. In other words, over time, every institution has been taken over by Rich Person Stockholm Syndrome. Health care is considered health insurance. Think about this for a moment. If you call the police, do they ask if you have crime insurance? Does a firefighter ask to see if you can pay for their services? Asking someone desperately ill walking into a doctor's office for their insurance information first is equally insane, especially when most all other countries in the world guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege. But we don't see how crazy, because we are all victims of Rich Person Stockholm Syndrome. Having been hijacked by rich people and corporations to do their bidding and see their way, we can't see outside this box. Therefore, when someone like Sanders comes along and calls bullshit on this for everyone else who doesn't benefit, the first impulse is to attack or belittle him. All he is saying is: this system is crazy. He is asking: why as a democracy are we being controlled by 50 or so rich people and their agendas? This is a legitimate question. A good question, and not one to be dismissed as "populist rhetoric."

And let's take a moment to look at that phrase: "populist rhetoric" - what is the point of it? The point is to belittle the speaker and to employ classist shaming techniques. A perfect abuser move. Oh, you think you have a point? No, you don't. You're "over simplifying". You're "over reacting". Dear, dear, you're hysterical! In other words, anyone who speaks up outside of the narrow frame of rhetoric that doesn't threaten the status quo (which primarily benefits a very small group of billionaires), is sidelined as a crank, a whacko, an idealist or - horror of horrors - an ideologue! As if capitalism isn't its own ideology. I mean, please. No. No. No. To point out the inhumanity of a system that places profits for a few over the very lives - never mind well being - of the many - is not ideology. It's reality.

So, I urge you - if you believe in Bernie's ideas, then vote for him. We have a chance to remake the political map. Remember, too, in the 1930s, we elected FDR and Germany elected Hitler. We got the better deal. Desperate times require voting for someone who understands how desperate the times are and can act accordingly. Acting accordingly requires seeing clearly.

Finally, for those of you who say but Bernie can't get anything done with this Congress, a gentle reminder: neither has Obama and neither could Hillary. Moderation is getting nowhere as a strategy. What we need to do is elect a new Congress. That is basic. We get to go to the polls for everyone in 2016, not just President. For those who say Bernie's not practical, go look at his record. He's been at this game since the early 1980s. The reason people are telling you he can't do what he's saying is because they are scared witless that he can. The same 50+ billionaires also own all the main stream media, don't forget. Read any newspaper or watch any TV and you will see the bias.

So, for all these reasons (including the fact he is far more electable in the general election than Hillary, since he's killing it with the independent voters, which are the biggest voting block in the country), I'm voting for the guy who has broken free from Rich People Stockholm Syndrome and is helping others do the same. I'm voting for Bernie Sanders.