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Interview: Teresa Milbrodt

            On October 7th, the Creative Writing Program put on a faculty reading that took place in the LookOut! Gallery of Snyder-Phillips Hall. The two faculty readers included Kate Birdsall and Teresa Milbrodt.

            I had the pleasure of sitting down with Teresa Milbrodt a few weeks prior to the reading. Milbrodt is originally from Bowling Green, Ohio, having received both her BFA and MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University (BGSU). She also obtained an MA in American Culture Studies from BGSU, and a PhD in English, with an emphasis in Fiction and Disability Studies, from the University of Missouri. Making a return to the Midwest, she joined the College of Arts and Letters this fall as a new professor here at MSU.

            At five years old, Milbrodt remembers dictating stories to her father who typed them out for her, and alongside that love of writing came a passion for reading. A good student, she noted that her teachers’ main complaint was her inability to put down the books when class time arrived. Fascinated by the magical, she cherishes childhood memories of reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.

            Inspired by her early love of the written word, she now teaches Introduction to Creative Writing and Introduction to Fiction, as well as Introduction to Creative Nonfiction next semester. Her favorite part about the community here at Michigan State is the students. Deeming them enthusiastic, engaged, and receptive, Milbrodt has enjoyed digging into stories in her classrooms and exploring the page-to-stage transformation of the written word.

When asked what do you hope your students learn from you, Milbrodt responded: “That the writing process is a process. When you’re first starting out, write and write and keep writing. There’s often so much that you write before something really rings true to you.  You can’t be worried about throwing a lot of stuff out along the way.” She also hopes she can instill the knowledge that much of writing is perspiration, and that getting work accepted at literary magazines or by publishers is not instantaneous: “When it comes to publishing, it follows the old saying 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

            Working in both fiction and nonfiction, Milbrodt has published multiple short stories, essays, and short fiction collections, one of those being Bearded Women: Stories and Larissa Takes Flight: Stories. Her newest collection, Instances of Head-Switching, will be released in June by Shade Mountain Press, an independent feminine press. At the reading, Milbrodt shared a couple flash fiction pieces from both Larissa Takes Flight, and a short piece from her upcoming collection.

            Most of Milbrodt’s creative writing, and revising, takes place in coffee shops, or in the coffee shop section of libraries—as she enjoys the background noise of daily commotion. As we sat together in the Cyber Café at the MSU library, I could tell she was in her element.  

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