I was born in 1974, on Elvis’s birthday, in the ridiculously flat cornfields of Illinois. There wasn’t much to do and the sky was far too large. When I was six, I planted an evergreen tree in our back yard. I thought of it as my spirit tree. By the time I left for college, it was about twenty feet high and round as a dinner plate at the base. One night, a tornado touched down in our back yard and tore my tree away. I took this as a sign that I wasn’t meant to live in Illinois.
Since then, I’ve lived all over the place, including Galway, Ireland; Oberlin, Ohio (where I went to college); Minneapolis; Seattle; New Orleans; and Portland, Oregon. I’ve also worked a bunch of odd jobs—digging ditches, feeding wolves, teaching high-school English, teaching poetry to children, slinging coffee, and four miserable days of cleaning the fryer at KFC.
Currently, I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I teach creative writing and literature at Colorado State University. I live in a pointy green house with a hyper dog, extremely cool wife, and two wild daughters. I enjoy whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, dog wrestling, and surfing. I think squirrels are amazing. I dream of the ocean at least once a week. I think happiness in life comes from giving back more than you take away. I believe in the power of stories to change the way we think and act. And I spend a big chunk of every day alone in my basement writing.
My favorite book is always the one I’m working on. And I always think writing it will be simple, but it never is. That’s what I love most about writing—it’s full of surprises, agony, struggle, and occasionally blissful moments of discovery. If you’re interested in being a writer, please visit my website, toddmitchellbooks.com. I have several posts on writing.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. For my senior prom, I dyed my hair green to match my girlfriend’s dress because she refused to go to the dance with me (she was prom queen, and she went with the prom king instead).
2. I have video proof of surfing with a shark. (It came up right next to me).
3. My grandfather invented Poprocks (and Tang, and Cool Whip, and many other foods—and no, he did not get rich off his inventions).