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.

I am now directing again, my newest play, On the edge of/a cure, and have finally updated my publications list, which you can find on the sidebar. Someday, I will have a website, but for now, you can find a lot about me on here. Thanks for stopping by...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

or not...

Alas. have to heal my super frozen shoulder that includes calcification - anywhere from 3-7 months to heal.

So...no yoga teacher training after all. Which is heartbreaking. I can of course do it again sometime. I hope. Depends on many things, including resources and time.

But there is a profound lesson here about letting go of plans and slowing the fuck down. Which I have not done in a really, really long time. So, there can be a healing journey - just not the poetic October in Kripalu one. Instead something less big but perhaps more durable? We shall see.

There is also anticipatory grief right now for someone who is dying, and one fear I had was that the teacher training would be too much with that happening as well. So, there will be space.

I can't type much without possibly aggravating everything so am going to keep this brief.

But here's to the kind of healing that is perhaps less visible but perhaps no less profound for that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Another healing journey...

A lot has happened since my last blog post, all the events listed were performed, and had a wonderful retreat to Westray in Orkney Islands. In fact, so good, that I have booked three more - for April, July and September. So, if you want to spend some time in a beautiful place, getting a lot of writing done, surrounded by serious writers who are super supportive, then get in touch.

But what I want to write about now is my near-future plan for October of this year...which involves spending the month at Kripalu - a yoga center in the Berkshires that I love - for intensive yoga teacher training. I will be there for a month.

Aside from the fact that the training itself will be transformational, and I will be certified to teach after over 17 years of practicing Kripalu yoga, this is also happening precisely 17 years after I was meant to spend a month at Kripalu doing a seva program. I had just begun practicing yoga and wanted to immerse myself in it. I was excited and nervous about the prospect of spending a month someplace I had never been, but I had been assured it was a great place. I was ready for an adventure after what had been a challenging year getting over a difficult breakup of a 13 year relationship, which had the effect of making me question Everything. I was ready for this new life, this new world.

Then less than a month before I was meant to go up to Lenox, September 11, 2001 happened, in my city. I have written about this many times, and if you want my best description, you can read it here.

But what happened after is, I could not leave the city. I was afraid it would disappear. Many were fleeing, but I was holding on for dear life. NYC was my home, the only place on earth that I had ever felt at home, and now all I could smell was burning plastic, metal and bodies - even up in Yorkville where I lived at the time. The smell made it up the East River. The smoke was visible, even though I was miles north of the attack. I had many friends who had been closer, some who lost people, and all of us saw the missing signs everywhere. People had tacked up photocopies of smiling pictures of friends and relatives, every fire house had at least eight photos up it seemed. There were candles under some of the photos in little planters, near trees, on steps up to brownstones. None of them were missing. They were all dead, incinerated.

I could not move. Would not move. Was not afraid, as far as I could tell, but of course I was. In yoga class, I felt the terror, but mostly was in a dissociated fugue state, that I arguably lived in for years, and to some degree even exist in to this day.

I cancelled the trip to Kripalu. I ended up doing a lot of other things, including moving to the UK in 2003 for what I thought was temporary stay that ended up lasting 8 years. I left in August 2003, right after the blackout, which ended the morning I flew out, I remember seeing a guy - probably drunk - stagger in front of our Super Shuttle Van at 4 am in Times Square. The driver swerved to avoid him, but it was eerie. My cats had looked at me bereft when I walked out the door. Everything was deeply weird.

I won't go into those eight years, because that's a novel in its own right, but the fact is I missed all the 9/11 anniversaries after the first one in 2002. And because of the way it was being used politically, I refused to participate even then in any event that showed my grief publicly. I was enraged that our grief was being used as an excuse to ramp up a war. So, I shoved it down. Then I was in the UK where no one wanted to know and most were cynical about 9/11. Individually some people wanted to know my actual human scale story but most decided to launch into diatribes about how it was an inside job and/or how Americans now know how it feels, etc. So, I learned to shut the fuck about it.

Then I shut it down into a tiny, hidden part of myself. Hidden even to me.

This part would emerge when I visited NYC and sometimes was near downtown and would see building going on and feel nauseous or start shaking, and I would have to leave.

I shut. it. down.

So, when I was back here in September 2011, realizing I was going to move back to NYC, and the 10th anniversary rolled around, I was kind of shocked by how moving it was to me, how emotional I got. I was wary now of saying this to my New York friends, because they had now been through Years of this grieving or ignoring it, depending on their mood or capability. So, once again, I kept it to myself.

I have begun to realize over the years of being back in NYC that some part of me is still damaged from that day, some part of me I have not allowed out somehow, a wound I have protected.

One of the original ways of shielding that wound was to Not go to Kripalu in October 2001.

So, when I realized I could go up in October 2018 for teacher training if I received a scholarship (which happily I did), I decided it was time to finally do this thing. While this won't heal everything, it's a start. I will finally allow myself the immersion I so craved then, but then somehow feared.

I don't know if the buried emotions will come up or not. There has been a lot of trauma in my life since then, including difficult losses, and there is one right now on the horizon. I have no idea what will happen.

But I am dedicating the training and any yoga teaching I do to people who were like me when I started yoga in my late 30s: scared and kind of suspicious and sure I could not do it. I want to work with people who suffer from PTSD or just plain old bad body image or a sense of being "bad" at physical things. And maybe people like me, too, who just can't shake certain wounds.

I want to embrace vulnerability, my own and others'. I don't know if I can actually do this or am just talking trash. In reality I hate vulnerability. My own that is. Total loss of control. It sucks. But it's also the only place life can become, well, life. So there's that.

We shall see what happens.

But this is a baby step towards healing. I was torn asunder on 9/11/01. More than I knew. I don't think I will necessarily get put back together, because not sure that's possible, but maybe, if I'm lucky, I can at least find the bits and pieces that were lost, even if they are in shards and make into some kind of whack collage.

There are worse fates.