10 September 2012 - Dr. Judith O'Malley-Ford - GP, Author & Artist


Copyright - Clancy Tucker (c)

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Quote of the day:

"To reveal myself openly and honestly,

takes the rawest kind of courage."

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G'day guys,

Today I am pleased to introduce a good friend with many talents - Dr. Judith O'Malley-Ford. Judith is a hard working GP, but also a gifted artist and writer. I've suggested she retire and write full time, but my calls fall on deaf ears. Anyway, here is her story. Welcome, Jof.

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Dr. Judith O'Malley-Ford

- Guest author, artist and GP



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JUDITH, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.

Dear CT, great to talk to you.

My writing journey has been a long time coming to fruition, and not what you would necessarily expect.  Once upon a time, I was a child and my parents used to read to me. Something that I loved was bedtime stories. Then I was 10 years old, and we were always encouraged to write stories at school, compulsory as weekend homework and this went on for many years. It was good training and we were taught sentence construction, punctuation, grammar etc. How to develop a story line, a plot, a theme, and all the characteristic of story development.

 Then one day, I became medical student and had to write concisely about all sorts of academic topics, including one subject which was probably my favourite subject of the entire course, “social and preventive medicine”, which
was largely assessed by written assignments - my favourite method of exam. One notable assignment was on “respiratory medicine”... I can’t remember now how I managed to incorporate a research paper that I found in one of the journals on “dichotomous thinking and driving in young males“ into an assignment on respiratory disease, but I did. I received a high distinction for the assignment. Bliss for any aspiring writer.

 WERE YOU A GOOD READER AS A KID?

In a word, no. My parents always gave us books for birthdays, Christmas etc, and there were lots of books at home, but the schools had meager library resources, and there was no such thing as a community based library.  Into the bargain, in the early days, I was terrified of reading aloud in class, to the class, because of the tyranny of some of the class teachers that we had ... it wasn’t conducive to stumbling over a word. The harder you tried not to stumble, the worse it became. Later, I HAD to read fast, learn fast, retain and comprehend the information which was something of an achievement.  But I was always great at spelling, even from the earliest days ... but in more recent times, my splelnig hsa gnoe off a bti, paritclualry with the avdnet of Goolge. I’m sure others can relate to this.

 WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?

I guess I have always been a writer, as I have already said, always knew that I could write. It entertained me, and often the family too. An essay for homework every weekend for years on end was the training ground. These days, writing has become a passion, effortless and more enjoyable than ever, but now a writer in a different sense; any subject, anywhere, anytime.

 WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?

I enjoy  writing for writing sake, seeing a story on the page, having people read it, entertaining people, and of course myself at the same time. Sometimes I have no idea where the story is going; it just rolls off the fingertips. That’s not entirely true of course, because it does need some discipline to draw it together, but the little side journeys along the way sometimes appear from nowhere.

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Copyright - Judith O'Malley-Ford (c)

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WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?

The hardest thing is finding enough time to do all the things that I love doing. Writing is not the only thing that I love to do. There are other creative things that I love doing; painting and drawing for instance. These are all part of the same
creative ability, but totally different modes of expression. Writing tends to hype me up. If I’m in a writing mode, things often rattle around in my head day and night. But it’s very productive time spent. Sometimes some of the most
productive ideas come as I’m about to fall asleep, and I know that I just have to get up and write it down. Thank goodness for the computer, I say.

 WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?

A frustrated unpublished writer and medical practitioner. I’m now a published writer; something which happened almost by accident. I’ll tell you why and how this happened. I was talking to one of my friends one day, I can’t remember what about exactly. But somewhere in this conversation she mentioned that she had a friend who worked for a publishing company. My eyes lit up.

‘Really,” I said

‘Yes’ she said, ‘really, why?’

‘Well, I have written a story that I would love to get published.’
So to cut a long story short, I gave her the story, and she passed it on to her publisher friend, who said, ‘Yes, this is great, but you’re an unknown author. Would you be interested in a commission to write a medical dictionary?’ what aspiring author wouldn’t jump at a chance like that? And the rest they say is history - two commissioned works to date, but working towards even greater things hopefully. Some of it is being in the right place at the right time, and recognising an opportunity. Never missing an opportunity and, of course, lots of hard work. But it is fun, and so it should be if you want to be a writer and consider yourself a writer.

 WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?

I guess getting your work published is the pinnacle of writing achievements. But, when I completed a master’s degree some time ago, the dean of the course recommended my thesis to subsequent classes. I only found this out by accident; because two of my doctor friends did the course subsequently and both of them reported that my work had been recommended as a work of excellence.

 WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

At the moment, I have a manuscript ready for publishing. It has been written, re-written, edited by me, re-edited, and then professionally edited. I’m hoping for an international publisher to become interested as it has the potential to be a best seller, so I’m told. I also have 2 novels in rough form that need sprucing up, a few children stories, and a short story that I am writing with a group, for publication in a group anthology.

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Copyright - Judith O'Malley-Ford (c)

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WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Inspiration is all around us. It’s like climbing Mt Everest, it’s just there. Perhaps ultimately seeing your work in print is the ultimate goal. I dream of writing a best seller.

 WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?

Medical text to date - two with another two in the pipeline. Fiction, with a hint of experiential flavor.

 DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?

Write as much as you can every day. You shouldn’t need motivating; the motivation should already be there.

Join a group.

Get feedback from other people.

Don’t be shy to express yourself, and your ideas and opinions.

Write about anything, just for practice.

Technique is important, grammar etc, and sentence structure. If you have
difficulty with this, you need some tuition.

 DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?

No, not really. If I find that I have nothing to say/ write it’s more than likely from fatigue than writer’s block.

 DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?

Night time, when it’s quiet. Or alternatively, I find that when I’m at work (a medical practitioner); it is very productive time for ideas, any ideas. Recently, I wrote a limerick between patients, before morning tea time and was joint winner in the comp.

 DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?

My study at home or my office at work.

 WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?

Anthony Lynn, who wrote ‘Yes Minister”. Why, because it’s brilliant, it’s a great spoof on the public service/ political life, but with more than a hint of reality. Is this really what happens in public life? It’s entertaining, funny, and a great enduring statement.

 WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?

A good friend of mine, who shall remain nameless as he is a public figure / writer has said on more than one occasion that he loves my work. Coming from him, this is a big compliment.

 WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?

Interesting !!!

WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?

To some extent.

 HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?

Two and another pending, as we speak. Another to be self published as an anthology of a group and one in conceptual form.

 HAVE YOU WON ANY PRIZES OR AWARDS?

Apart from the unofficial endorsement of the Dean of the Faculty of Health Administration for my thesis, The Australian Society of Authors Limerick prize and The Royal Australian Society of Medical Administrators Essay Prize

 WHAT DID THEY MEAN TO YOU?

Validation, a huge buzz.

 OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?

Painting, drawing.

 DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?

Yes

 DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.

No such thing. There are always ups and downs.

 WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

At least one best seller, a major publishing award, don’t mind which…Miles Franklin, Man Booker or Pulitzer Prize. Ongoing work as an author.

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Judith's contact points:




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Thanks, JOF. Now, sit back and put ya feet up, Doc. Love ya work! - CT

Keep writing!

I'm Clancy Tucker.



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