Tuesday, September 15, 2015

APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Jody Ballard


A connoiseeur of the human by profession, globe-trotter by choice, a woman of pure commitments by heart and always a free spirit from Montana. Everything she does, she does with love! Jody writes with the deep knowledge and experience gained from being a licensed clinical therapist for over thirty years. Raised with the forthright values and ethics of a Montana cowboy. Jody now lives in the Middle East after living in eight Countries. She and her husband raised three intelligent, kind, and thoughtful global nomads. 

APRI: What happens when you feel home everywhere and nowhere at once?

JB: I feel home when I am with my love. We travel frequently and have lived in many, many places. So when we snuggle to go to sleep that is home. I also feel 'home' when I feel a welcoming warmth from people around me.....this usually must be initiated by me first.

APRI: Can you tell us about a time that you seized an opportunity and really took the ball and ran with it?

JB: I am not a person confirmed by fear. If I find something interesting and challenging, I will take the ball and run. This occurs right before I begin an extensive research. Once I have made up my mind I want to achieve something it is as if it is done. Most recently (well five years ago) I moved to a place foreign to me. I had been living in Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, whose cuisine is laden with pork products. The women are fashionable and not afraid to express their femininity with revealing clothing and the countryside and climate was dominated by four distinct seasons and verdant rolling hills. I moved to the exact opposite environment and found myself in a 'new section of the library' I was excited, enticed and challenged. Not understanding the language was the least significant obstacle.

I began to read everything, study the pool and customs and courtesies. I was immediately enthralled.

Two months after my arrival I opened the National Newspaper in Abu Dhabie to see a half page photos of Adrian Hayes and two other gentlemen on camels entering the island by way of a historic route over the Matqaa Bridge. I was interested to learn about a yearly migration to Al Ain and a courageous expedition of Wilfred Thesiger. I was interested but curious and understood how the women of this region had faired in this Bedouin process. I decided I needed to walk this 140 kilometers across the desert. Five years later I led 33 women in this endeavor which has become a year trek.

APRI: Just as you inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

JB: Hemingway, the Old Man and The Sea (to dare to speak the unspoken fears of the mind in a clear concise manner); Henry James (to dare to focus our minds on the darker elements of man's existence that only by bringing into the light can we normalize human sexuality). Garth Stein, the Art of Racing in the Rain (to dare to give such a very different perspective); So African writer Nadine Gordimer (incredible character development; and Faulkner (psychological understanding, great prose).

APRI: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

JB: My best and most enduring accomplishment is my loving, intimate relationship of 35 years. At the end of my life this will be my joy; the connection at the heart, the heated passion, and selfless support of each other and the enduring depth of love and admiration we have for each other.

APRI: What's integral to the work of an artist?

JB: Pushing boundaries, setting fear aside to create that which comes from your intuition even when it is not validated by others.

APRI: What role does the artist have in society?

JB: To touch the hearts and minds of those around us. To tell a story or paint a scene to which people can learn and identify.

APRI: What's the strongest memory of your childhood?

JB: The overall pervasive feeling of being loved and nurtured.

APRI: What work do you enjoy doing the most?

JB: Nurturing or educating others.

APRI: What's your scariest experience?

JB: Three hours one night when I thought my daughter had been lost to me.

APRI: What is an artistic outlook on life?

JB: Artists look at the world in a different way. We take the time to not only appreciate the colors of sunset but to define the depth of hues interacting with each other or seeing a tree's leaves being blown by the wind and see it as soft or a grandfather's beard in the greying play braces of a tree.

APRI: What superhero do you have and why?

JB: My father....he was my super hero. He was kind and had the emotional intelligence of the most gifted therapist. He was morale and lived the values he exposed. He was a Montana Cowboy!

APRI: What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

JB: If you want something badly enough, do what is necessary to achieve it. Hold on and never give up.

APRI: Why do people ask stupid questions?

JB: Because we can never know everything adn you are wise if you are courageious enough to admit you do not know and seek answers from those who do.

APRI: What is essential to successful communication?

JB: Listening and connecting to the person to whom you wish to communicate.

APRI: What is your perception of life?

JB: Life is good and people are equally so.

APRI: When you have time to sit back and relax, what do you find yourself doing?

JB: Learning

APRI: If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read your work, what might you tell them?

JB: These are stories about life, you will see yourself in this work and might even find some answers to relationship questions you have.

APRI: When did you realize you were a writer?

JB: After years of working in a clinical setting as a therapist, then more years teaching and giving seminars, a lady approached me and said, "You need to write this stuff down. It will help more people." I realized most people appreciate a good story and we all learn from listening or reading about other individuals' trial and tribulations.

APRI: What makes you smile?

JB: Genuine playful outbursts from children. They are so pure in their reactions to a joyful event....adults can do this as well but have learned to suppress these spontaneous outpourings of joy.

APRI: What is your favorite word? Why?

JB: Kindness: something completely underrated in the world.

APRI: How would you describe your writing style?

JB: I write like I speak, I am told....style? What style would that be?

APRI: What question have you always wnated to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

JB: I don't believe I have ever not articulated what I wanted to say. Somehow I always find a way to get the message across...and always in the moment - by the seat of my pants. 



http://www.facebook.com/The SmellOfMud




1 comment:

  1. I have had the great fortune to know Jody and this is all her. She is rather seamless; her values and positive enthusiasm for life never change no matter she is doing, even just having a beer in a Montana saloon, which we have done together. Congratulations on a lifelong love with Roy and a beautiful family, Jody.