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, August 13, 2017
GOP: to become the Party of Lincoln again, you need to do an LBJ
An open letter to the GOP,
So here we are, with rampant racism so public that even Klansmen don't feel the need to put on their hoods. An emboldened and toxic racism that ended yesterday in Charlottesville with many injured and a woman killed by a 20-year old white guy from Ohio who rammed his car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protestors.
This is on you, GOP. You who still claim to be the Party of Lincoln - aka the President who won the Civil War for the Union - and yet even now you defend statues and flags of the Confederacy, because LBJ (with a lot of pressure from Martin Luther King and hundreds of thousands of people who put their bodies on the line) finally did the right thing in the 1960s and got the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts through the Congress when he was President.
The Democratic Party, for anyone who doesn't know its un-illustrious history, used to support segregation and Jim Crow down south. Many Dems opposed what LBJ did, because they knew they would lose their majority in the South, which they did. Some Democrats until very recently were 'Dixiecrats' - still holding to the racist party line: senators like Strom Thurmond, who never really renounced his racism, to Robert Byrd, who did - and became a fierce civil rights advocate, even though he started out life in the Klan. (There is a life to emulate, by the way. Not the starting out in the Klan part, obviously, but the ability to clearly see and accept how wrong one was and then, you know, actually Change and act differently.)
LBJ, a Democrat from Texas, a good old boy who grew up poor in the rural south, changed all that, by supporting the Civil and Voting Rights bills effectively (he had been the Senate Majority leader before becoming VP and then President, and used all his political skills to make this happen). He took the flak for the fall-out and was rejected by most of his Southern peers. But while he flamed out in the searing heat of Vietnam War escalation, he was - for this civil rights legislation along with his 'war on poverty' - in many ways a great president. He was one of the first of our leaders to actually put the class and race piece together rather than using the divisiveness of race to cover over the way rich people were feeding off both poor white and black people by making sure they stayed at each others' throats (which is done - as we saw in this recent election Again - by race-baiting poor whites into believing even poorer African-Americans are their enemies rather than the wealthy land and factor-owners.)
So, my invitation to the GOP today is this: reclaim your mantle as the Party of Lincoln. Renounce your racist base, have the guts to make clear you do not want nor will accept their support in any way. Renounce our so-called president, who you know as well as I do doesn't care about the GOP anymore than he cares about anything or anyone else, and would happily throw you all under a bus if it suited him.
I disagree with your politics and your economics. I have for many decades, but I have not always doubted your fundamental decency as human beings.
But, when I watch you sit on the sidelines as our so-called president shreds the Constitution with his arbitrary Mussolini-like decrees, and when you do not even criticize him when he does not call out white supremacists, including one who killed a young woman in a car yesterday, I have to wonder.
However, for the sake of this post, I am going to assume some of you are fundamentally decent human beings even if you hold an ideology vastly different than mine. Therefore, I am asking you now to do an LBJ, and put yourself on the line, actually Risk something, to make a statement, to disavow the violent racists - not only the ones marching with tiki lamps, but those who are in any institutions - and any GOP policies that enhance racism, including the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act.
I don't mean just those of you in 'safe' seats either - though hooray if you want to join in - I'm asking those of you for whom it might cost to say something out loud and mean it. Then, all of you in Congress need to begin to find a way to remove DT from office, which would be as simple as supporting current investigations and asking the Cabinet to consider Amendment 25, Section 4.
If you don't do this, you will go down in history as impotent clowns who let a sociopath run our country into the ground because he was afraid of the power of white supremacists, a group of dangerous domestic terrorists, who seem to be the only people who support him anymore, and they are rising and rising under DT, emboldened to act in large and small ways, not even afraid of sanction - up to and including DT's encouraging police brutality. In other words, these white supremacists are a clear and present danger. Any of you who are fundamentally decent human beings must already know that. I have to believe you do.
You have to do this because it is you, as the GOP, who are the only ones who can bring the end to this racist organizing, because it is now in your party where these fools find sanctuary. If they had no support, they would whither and die on the vine. They are bullies and have no ability to win in a fair fight. They no longer have support in the Democratic Party, and if they tried to create their own party, it would fail. Don't let these racists win. This country was built on the back of that racism (much of it originally Democrat sanctioned and created - yes), but we cannot move forward with it. We need to evolve, become better than how we started, or we as a country will die. You can make that possible.
Dear GOP, only you can stop them by ending your support of the white supremacists in all ways. The Democrats are not without sin in the creation of this monster, but the monster is now being supported in your house, and I'm asking you to cast it out. For the good of the U.S., for human beings in general and - in the long run - for you, the GOP. Only then can you take back your mantle as the Party of Lincoln, who asked us all to act on "the better angels of our nature."