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...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Waiting in limbo for transformation most likely

This is my: yes I am in the cafe at Kripalu waiting for my room post, but this time before yoga teacher training. So instead of waiting for 3-5 days of being here, I am waiting to find out where I will stay for 26 days, which seems not dissimilar to a rehab stay in terms of time. Never been to rehab, but this seems like a voluntary version of it.

Because I take the bus from NYC, I get here before they have rooms available. But there is a lovely cafe and I get quite a view while waiting.

I have never been here before when it is this warm. Even the first time I came here - in 2003 before there was coffee or locks on the doors - it was early May so not this lusciously green and as mentioned no coffee. Or WiFi. In fact at that time I didn't even have a laptop. So here I am now for better or for worse with a computer, WiFi, and coffee in a plastic mug (reusable - don't freak out).

Met a lovely woman on the bus then spent a lot of time looking at the trees and the lake as we passed by it, and also parts of Connecticut I know personally or from researching my grandmother's life. Seymour, Waterbury, the Housatonic River...It's a sweet, gentle day here. I know it's hot in NYC, though was even lucky enough to leave before that hit.

I have some idea and then No idea what to expect. It's the exciting, stomach churning feeling. What will this be like? Will the other kids like me?

I spent my childhood in New England, moving from place to place, school to school, and sometimes camps and summer schools, staying with different relatives in summers and for a couple years, everything shifting, and every change, I remember thinking: maybe this time it will be better! Where I got that optimism from is beyond me, but kids are kind of amazing. Perhaps needless to say it was not always better, though sometimes it was. But the idea was: This time I will get it Right. I will finally figure out the right clothes, attitude or whatever (I never did - you just have to trust me on that one - sometimes I accidentally got it right, but usually a day late and dollar short).

And so even though I am 55 and should "know better" (drum roll please...) I find there is still some of that. Though also and equally based on prior experience at Kripalu, knowing I can eventually lay all that at the door.

This is why I am here for yoga teacher training and not somewhere else, because this is the place I come to Lay it All at the Door. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but usually there is at least one moment this happens, and that moment is transformative. It's like a sober acid trip (without the acid, natch). A view into the soul, somewhere new, unguarded, unseen until that moment, and it's such a gift...

And amazingly that gives me a segue into writing about something I am kind of obsessed with but was not sure how to write about until typing the above paragraph:

Season 2 of Fleabag. If you have not watched Fleabag, do, and maybe read this after. This is full of spoilers and meant for people who like me have watched it and can't shake it...

Because season 1 was satire, very good satire, about how whack we get over grieving intense loss. Sounds unpromising but the young British actress/comedienne pulls it off.

But Season 2 is another thing altogether, because while it is incredibly funny, there are a bunch of set ups that make you think: oh OK I know where we are going, this person is like this and that like that but instead, in each case, even the most unlikely, that person, including our protagonist, finds themselves laid bare, vulnerable in a way as funny as it is heartbreaking and from there a big change happens in their lives.

I think this may be why we who have watched it were all riveted. I won't go into details in case you are still reading and have not watched it yet, but the larger point remains: grief makes you demented, but when you are grieving, you can also find parts of yourself hitherto unknown, and if it's not grief, maybe it is love or attraction or Something Outside of Your Control.

And the only way transformation is possible is by allowing yourself to unattach from your little stories about who you are, which are ultimately not only limiting but also to some degree or other delusional.

As anyone who knows me will understand, I am not saying this from a mountaintop (well OK I sort of am since I am in the Berkshires but not a figurative one) but as someone who has experienced and experiences this, because we are meaning making machines and so we create and dismantle and reconstruct ourselves all the time, minute to minute. And maybe the older we get the challenges to the story are a little harder to come by, or maybe sometimes when you just keep fucking losing people and things and ideas and etc, it gets easier when you get older.

But I am here now, and I am not the same person who came here in early May 2003. And I doubt I will be the same person who typed this when June 21 rolls around. I mean I will be of course, but have a feeling some things will have shifted, but here's the funny scary great - did I mention scary? - part: I don't know what this.a

Time to go check to see if my room is available yet.

***

And it was/is. Unpacking now, to shower and yoga! Posting now and if typos will fix later...

***

OK so it's a day later, and now posting because no WiFi in room. Which means I have kept my laptop until now in a safe. Yay me, and on our first day we were teaching each other a basic pose. So...I'm on the way and by afternoon taking a yoga class I would not have dreamed two days ago I could have survived. Even with shoulder issue, it turns out, once again, I am way stronger than I know - but also in some bits, so out of shape, but here I am. Still alive.

Favorite little snippet from today, Kripalu yoga teacher training leading us to be "a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage." This remains my favorite kind of yoga by a mile and one of my favorite places on earth to be. It's Day 1, though, so stay tuned...as they assured us, some days we will wonder why we are here. I imagine that is true.

But for now I live in a jigsaw puzzle photo...check out this view from outdoor dining area. I saw lilacs on the drive in, so hoping to find some of them, too.