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, November 27, 2019

Yoga for Writers and (over)Thinkers - an invitation to a workshop

Integrating my teaching of writing and yoga has been a goal of mine for a while, since yoga has been of incalculable benefit to my writing practice. Yoga in the broadest sense of that word, including the various paths described below that include not only asana and pranayama (postures and breathing) but also meditation and intellect/self-study. Below is the flyer followed by a long form invite to this workshop, the first of which is happening December 8 from 1-4pm. If you are interested, get in touch, because it is a small studio and space is limited.

Yoga for writers and (over)thinkersstrengthening the container, cultivating the witness

You are invited to participate in a 3-hour workshop that integrates a number of yogic paths in order to give you as a writer or (over)thinker resilience as you move through your writing or any intellectual/creative practice or perhaps simply a thorny life issue.

At the beginning of the workshop we will focus on asanas and pranayama (postures and breath) to give you a series of techniques that you can bring with you to integrate into your every day. You do not need to be an experienced yogi for this workshop. These will be simple exercises and movements, that when repeated throughout the day can have a profoundly strengthening effect. This can help your body from seizing up into writer’s ‘slumpasana’ and all the attendant aches and pains that can go along with that. As anyone who writes (or works in an office) for a living knows, this seemingly un-physically challenging position of sitting and typing can create issues in our backs, necks, shoulders, wrists and legs, especially as we get older. There are simple things you can do throughout the day to loosen your body and breath practices to aid in concentration and also undercutting stress response. This section is considered Hatha Yoga, the path most people think of as yoga: the body as a mode of transformation.

We will then work with forms of meditation as ways to settle into and receive answers for any knotty questions about your writing or other life issues. This is Raja Yoga. This will also be where we begin to cultivate the witness. The witness is that which watches us think and act. In Kripalu yoga we talk about cultivating a compassionate witness; Swami Kripalu (1913-81), the founder of this lineage said: “Self-observation without judgment is the highest form of spiritual practice.” This self-observation applies to the pranayama and asanas as well, but in meditation we are engaged with this task in a direct way. We will also discuss tools for actively cultivating the witness in order to ‘ride the waves’ of intensity that can emerge in writing and in life, rather than jump off into the many modes of distraction and diversion.

Throughout the workshop we will also be walking the less well-known path of Jnana yoga, the intellectual path of self-study. This is when the writing comes in more directly. Throughout the workshop, you will be invited to write and engage your mind in what your body and heart are discovering on the mat. 

If you have a pre-existing writing practice, I encourage you to bring whatever it is you write on or with (assuming it is not WiFi dependent) and even some of your work. There will be opportunities to investigate any rough patches you may be having either with the content or process of your writing. I will invite you at the beginning of the workshop to set an intention regarding any of these questions, so the questions will be brewing inside you throughout, with a chance to invite new perspectives on these questions throughout the various stages of the workshop. If you do not have a writing practice, these exercises can be applied to any thorny issues in your life or other creative/intellectual endeavors. 

We may have time to read some of what you write to one another, perhaps in pairs, perhaps to the whole group. One way of strengthening the witness is allowing another to temporarily act as your witness; the experience of conscious listening can be quite transformative, both as the receiver and the listener. This can include reading writing or simply speaking, then hearing from the listener what they received. It is not a critique session but instead a way to simply hear, after you have spoke or read, what another heard from you, and to hear yourself either read or speak aloud, without interruption. 

What you will come away with after the workshop are some tools you can use in your everyday life to ground your body and breath, thereby strengthening your ability to write or create in any way, which manifests as enhanced resilience to continue creating and living through rough patches. While this workshop will be focused on yoga for writers, these tools can be used in relation to other forms of creative and intellectual endeavors, including writing as a form of self-study. The practice of cultivating the witness is useful no matter what you do in life, as it offers methods to move through even the most challenging times without checking out. 

If interested, please reserve a spot, as the studio is small and space is limited. 

Sunday, December 8, 1-4pm, Inwood Movement, 5030 Broadway #613. 
Subway: A to 207th or 1 to 215th.

Fee: $60 advanced payment/$65 at the door (assuming there is space). Contact me at andwearebreathing@gmail.com with any questions. If you want to attend but money is an issue, get in touch. I don’t want to turn away anyone for lack of funds. In relation to this, if you can pay a little more, please do, so I can subsidize a spot for someone who cannot pay the full amount.