by Kathy Busch
Recently the English Department spoke with Liz Breazeale, a 2012 graduate with a focus on creative writing. Breazeale works as a technical editor at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where she edits technical reports, journal articles, and other documents written by researchers, as well as outreach materials such as brochures, posters, or fact sheets for clients. Her time at MSU helped prepare her for the position. Breazele shared, “My background and degrees are in creative writing, so I’m no stranger to editing and revising. The big difference at my day job, thankfully, is that I’m editing work other people have written instead of my own.”
After her time at MSU, Breazele earned an MFA in fiction from Bowling Green State University. She’s served as an editor for numerous literary journals, including the Mid-American Review, Blue Monday Review, and The Adroit Journal. In 2018, she received the Prairie Schooner Book Prize for Fiction for her first short story collection, Extinction Events.
Breazeale was awarded a 2020 Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. When asked to describe this experience, Breazele said, “In a word? Amazing! It’s been amazing. With the grant, even though I can’t travel for research or attend writing residencies (because of the pandemic), I can take more time off from my editing job to write. It’s an absolute dream to have the funding for working on my next book. It’s also extremely gratifying to have people so excited about your work that they throw money at you to finish it. It’s a huge responsibility–but an exciting one.”
In addition to her editorial work, Breazele is also working on a new book, which she described as “feminist body horror.” Breazele explained, “These stories grapple with the horror and disgust of the female body that lead to the restricting, policing, and attacking of our bodies on a daily basis.” Additionally, the book will address “the horror that comes with inhabiting a female body in a society that constantly controls, violates, and commits violence against us.” However, fans of traditional horror will not be disappointed, as the book will also feature “disturbing transformations, frightening mutations, and the occasional story about a woman turning into a dinosaur.”
A Piece of Advice
Find a day job that pays the bills and provides health insurance so you can do what you’re passionate about (in my case write) from a place of relative security.
Breazeale offered advice for current students: “Find a day job that pays the bills and provides health insurance so you can do what you’re passionate about (in my case write) from a place of relative security. The ‘starving artist’ myth might sound glamorous, but it’s really, really not. You need an income, so being practical will serve you well in the long run. That absolutely doesn’t mean you should give up on your artistic and creative dreams! I’m saying the opposite, especially when you’re just starting out. If you don’t have security in other aspects of your life, it’s nearly impossible to create and focus on your art.”
Breazeale was recently part of the Fall 2020 Moon City Virtual Reading Series, organized by Moon City Press and the English department. She currently resides in Denver with her cat April, whom she shared is the only one excited about the colder weather.
About the Author
Kathy Busch is a first-year graduate student in English Education from Russellville, AR. She is a graduate teaching assistant and an advisor for the English Education program.
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