Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jane Schmidt and rural life anecdotes Not a Perfect Fit


Not a Perfect Fit: Stories from Jane's World

Not a Perfect Fit
Jane Schmidt

She Writes Press
April, 2017
Print ISBN: 978-1-63152-206-2
328 pp
Print $16.95
E-book
Buy on Amazon

Not a Perfect Fit: Laugh-out-loud funny one minute and thought-provoking the next, Not a Perfect Fit includes stories detailing everything from Jane Schmidt’s experience living off-grid as the only English woman in an Amish neighborhood to family trips that are remarkably similar to National Lampoon’s Vacation. Through it all, Schmidt manages to rise above the many challenges she faces, inspiring and entertaining her audience along the way.

When fitness instructor Jane Schmidt moved from the city to rural Wisconsin, stories of her “single-girl-gone-country” adventures helped her become an award-winning columnist for the Crawford County Independent and Kickapoo Scout—and now she’s taking readers on a candid, insightful, and hilarious trip into her world with her new book release, Not a Perfect Fit: Stories From Jane’s World featuring some of her most beloved escapades as well as over 30 never-before-seen stories.

My Review
I’m always happy to read fellow Wisconsin authors. When asked to look at Schmidt’s compilation of personal stories from her local newspaper columns, I was intrigued and occasionally giggling to see familiar roads and small communities through her eyes. As the author introduces her work, she shares her stories for her family and also for the rest of us who can say, been there, said that. We’re not alone, we aren’t the only ones surprised by life.


From the gradual refitting of her “cabin” with modern conveniences to the outfitting of her domestic zoo, readers are drawn into Schmidt’s exploits with language, snow, fitting rooms, and hiking in the rain. Her stories of neighbors, love of pets, surprise and joy of the beautiful natural surroundings of southwestern Wisconsin and quirky lifestyle will touch readers. Those who enjoy humorous and thoughtful real life vignettes will be in for a fun getaway of a read. Schmidt’s style is reminiscent of the old-time personal columns, such as Pearl Swiggum’s the Barn Came First, and neighborhood news. All seasons, recent timeline and occasional childhood memories populate the book. Poignant stories of pets are included—readers who are sensitive to the life cycle of dear ones will want a hanky. All brief tales old in down to earth occasionally self-deprecating but with genuine, earnest narrative.

About the Author
Jane A. Schmidt
Jane A Schmidt is a columnist and the owner of two businesses, Fitness Choices and Turtle Adventures. When not teaching her fitness classes or encouraging women to get outside, she spends her time backpacking in places like the Grand Canyon, Superior Hiking Trail, and Isle Royale National Park; biking across Wisconsin; hiking and kayaking in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve; or just hanging out with her animal family in rural Viola, Wisconsin.

An Interview with Jane A. Schmidt

When did you make the move from the city to rural Wisconsin? Why?
I moved to the Driftless area of Wisconsin after the hype of the millennium in 2000. I spent a lot of time driving in the country when my daughter was small. I'd see an old cabin or a house that was falling apart and I'd think, if only I could buy that place. My dreams were of land, out-buildings, animals, and a quiet country life. I longed to get out of the city and live closer to the land, where I felt I’d have more room for living.

How did moving to rural Wisconsin impact your life?
The impact was huge. I had to start all over. I had no friends here, no job, and after a couple of months I was living off-grid. The learning curve was not only steep but sometimes dangerous. I cooked with a head-lamp on in order to see. The “hot plate” was connected to a propane tank under my cabin. I lived in fear every time I lit a match. I thought I'd blow myself and the cabin up. Every day I learn something new. Like don't use the John Deere mower to blaze a hiking trail through your Amish neighbor’s hay field. Before moving here I spent all my free time getting away. I'd drive to the parks, small country towns, lakes, and rivers. I was camping out every chance I had. Now I live in the kind of areas I was always running too. I can finally slow down and walk!

What is your favorite part about living in the country? Is there anything you miss about city life?
I lived in apartments before moving to this area. I love the freedom of living alone, surrounded by trees and my animal family. Coming from apartment city living to my own home in the country is liberating. I feel I can live-out-loud better here. I miss ethnic restaurants, my family, and the many lakes I lived near when in the Milwaukee area.

How does your passion for fitness and wellness influence your stories?
My passion for a life lived outside has influenced my interest in fitness and wellness. I knew from the get-go that I needed to stay fit and healthy to live the life I wanted to. My stories revolve around my life. My passion for fitness and wellness is reflected in them.

Why do you think readers connect with your stories?
My stories are real. I talk about everyday happenings that some people would never admit to. Reading about walking through an airport with toilet paper hanging off my rear end or mixing up the words circumcise and circumnavigate allows people to relax and find the humor in their own lives. In the end, we're all just people trying to do the best that we can. Not a Perfect Fit reeks of humanness.