About

Welcome to my world!

Stay a while, read a few excerpts, find a poem, enjoy the blog, and contact me if you have any questions, I’m here.

Thank you,

Jude Ford

 

BIO: I’ve been writing since I was ten years old and wrote a series of stories about the adventures of Dynamite, my pet rabbit. My fifth grade teacher thought I needed some confidence-building so every time I wrote a Dynamite story she had me read it in front of each of the fifth grades as well as the kindergartens. It was a heady experience. The ladies in my mother’s bridge club started calling me a budding author. I don’t remember identifying with that, but maybe subconsciously.

In middle school I saw a movie about a child psychiatrist and decided that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. However, once I learned that psychiatrists had to go to medical school, I shelved that idea. I didn’t think I wanted to be in school that long. I also shelved the idea of being a full-time writer. By the time I was in college I knew that writers, like most artists, struggle to earn a living wage. So I got a degree in elementary education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and planned to write in my spare time. I very quickly discovered that I had no talent for classroom management. I was more interested in what the kids were thinking and feeling than I was in keeping them in order.

So, having learned that a social work degree (and a ton of post-grad training) was a viable track to a mental health career, I got an MSW degree, again at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and went to work at The Counseling Center of Milwaukee, an innovative (it was the 70s) no-fee, walk-in clinic, where I created a field placement for graduate students in social work and psychology. I loved that job. But The Counseling Center was a non-profit and I was never going to earn a living wage there. I went into private practice, eventually specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. I was voted one of the best eating disorder therapists in Milwaukee. I retired from being a psychotherapist in 2011 and finally had more time to devote to writing.

I never stopped writing, while in college, in grad school and throughout my therapy career. I wrote mostly poems (full of melodrama and pain) in my twenties and thirties. I kept journals too. Then in my 40’s I started working with a writing coach, Debra Kay Vest. Under Debra’s guidance I wrote short stories, essays, better poems, and produced a first draft of a memoir. I also studied poetry with the poet Martin Jack Rosenblum and spent many valuable weeks with Natalie Goldberg in meditation and writing retreats.

Marty Rosenblum and I published a small collection of our poems called Burning Oak. My fiction and poetry have appeared in many literary journals, and several of my essays have appeared online on RedRavine.com, LifeAfterHate.com, other online journals. I’ve been nominated twice for Pushcart Prizes, once in poetry and once in fiction.

In 2016 I earned my MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. My memoir, Fever of Unknown Origin, is now in final revisions, thanks to my current writing coach, Mary Allen, to whom I am infinitely grateful.

I married my second husband, Chris, in 1988 and together we raised three children and more than a few dogs. In 2016, after having lived my whole life half a mile from the Lake Michigan shore, Chris and I moved (with our neurotic beagle and very chill Shih Tzu/Westie pup) to Santa Fe, NM, land of sunshine and lots of people our age. Our lovely adobe house is at the foot of the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains and I hike nearly every day here in the company of chamiso bushes, cholla cactus, road runners, magpies and sweet little lizards.

 

 

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