Excerpt from “The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani” by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton




Prose


 


Jani as a proud delegate for Wisconsin at the Democratic National Convention, July 11, 1972 in Miami Beach, Florida, where they nominated George McGovern for President.
Jani as a proud delegate for Wisconsin at the Democratic National Convention, July 11, 1972 in Miami Beach, Florida, where they nominated George McGovern for President.

Julia Lee Barclay-Morton will be reading from this work at KGB Bar on March 25 at 7pm, alongside two other writers from Paragraph.

More info here!

This is an excerpt from a book about my grandmothers, Dick and Jani, both born during WWI before women could vote, but who cut very different paths through the 20th Century. Whereas Jani crashed through three violent marriages and became an activist feminist-teacher in the 1970s, Dick had wanted to be an artist but swallowed that dream in order to work in a factory to help her family during the Depression. Because of this violence Dick did to herself in order to survive, I wanted to give voice to a part of her that I believe existed – even if buried nuclear-bunker deep. For each decade, I created an interlude using text experimentation from that era – in this case a cut-up from various public and private sources, including newspapers, letters, songs and soap operas, from the 1970s.
 

Photo taken by my grandmother, Dick, of her husband (my grandfather), George Barclay and me, circa 1974 at my father’s apartment in New Haven, CT.
Photo taken by my grandmother, Dick, of her husband (my grandfather), George Barclay and me, circa 1974 at my father’s apartment in New Haven, CT.

DICK
Neither here nor there
1970-1979

Absent Village
from the show in fact
the biological Heritage

Father faking his blindness

Cult of death killed The Peoples Temple – the remote commune
Mr. Ehrlichman was not certain from whom he overheard the confession
in a drunken stupor
and tortured

Why, the poisonings?
The truth about Americans came out:
atomized individualism

Mrs. Nixon extending farewells.
His death though entirely satisfactory despite the circumstances
Mr. Kissinger hugging two newspapers, pleading guilty to conspiracy

Farewells,
no panic or emotional outburst – people looked as if “in a trance”
Jonestown
South Yarmouth

Operation New Life
Operation South Vietnam
Operation end of the decade

If I leave here tomorrow,
would you still remember me?

You’re calmer than the Atlantic Ocean.
No insults, all morals.
A fine romance, my friend.

Then he truly became loving, a special assistant to Mr. Kissinger.
Haldeman’s answer had been “somewhat vague” and “not entirely satisfactory.”

“It seems to me and I want to be absolutely fair. The fields were plowed.
Banana trees and grape vines were flourishing
but nothing moved.”

Hillary became mystified, more and more of a villain, Mike was now livid.
A new character is introduced.

US started evacuating its bibliography to not alarm,
Would end up dying from Nixon’s sorrow, intelligence and “revolutionary suicide.”
Faking his blindness.

If we can make progress with this cluster of children in the bushes
(Roger’s on-and-off again tortured romance).

“The large central building was ringed by bright colors. It looked like a parking lot filled with cars. When the plane dipped lower, the cars turned out to be bodies. Scores and scores of bodies – hundreds of bodies – wearing red dresses, blue T-shirts, green blouses, pink slacks, children’s polka-dotted jumpers.” Some sunny day.

Oh take your time, don’t live too fast. Troubles will come. They will pass.

There is someone up above?

(Sun City)
(California)

The patriarch of the Bauers, the character of Roger Thorpe, of Senator Sam J Ervin, Jr., General Cushman, Neil Blake, Hope, Joe Werner, Mr. Ehrlichman, Charles McMahon, The Dobsons, the Nightmare, Haldeman, Mr. Dean, Tan Son Nhat, Hillary Kincaid, President Nixon, Sara-

The next writing regime is also the deadliest accident.

 

Dr. Julia Lee Barclay-Morton is an award-winning writer and director whose work has been published and produced internationally; in 2014 she was inducted into the Indie Theater Hall of Fame. Back in NYC since 2011 (after living, working & studying in the UK) she has spent the past five years working on a book about her grandmothers, The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick and Jani, while teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University.