Not A Perfect Fit
by Jane A. Schmidt
Genre: Heartwarming Humorous Short Stories
Not a Perfect Fit is a collection of stories that are laugh-out-loud funny one minute and thought-provoking the next. Stories range from 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, she manages to rise above the many challenges she faces—inspiring and entertaining her audience along the way. Filled with animal antics, gratitude, mishaps, and madcap adventures, Not a Perfect Fit’s tell-all, single-girl-gone-country, down-home stories give readers permission to laugh and cry—and, most important, to carry on.
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As I read this book, beside laughing and groaning and at times being brought close to tears, it reminded me so very much of my own days gone by. Jane and I are of a close age and both grew up in Wisconsin. We both have a desire to live a bit remote from close neighbors, although I have never gone so far as to go without indoor plumbing for months at a time. I feel that if we should ever cross paths, we'd be talking for hours!
This is a partial memoir, told in nonsequential order. Just as thoughts pop into your head and topics come to mind, this book jumps from story to story and somehow it all fits together and works.
The result is that you'll want to read more of Jane's work.
Jane has a special relationship with words. Sometimes she doesn't use the conventional ones used by everyone else. She has a special relationship with animals, too. She even lets a few write their stories in her book. You will have to read about her special relationship with cars and the local sheriff department.
There are lessons in this book, such as learning the difference between a want and a need, the many difficult ways one can be compassionate and remembering to always get back up after a fall.
It is a bitter sweet tale of struggle and survival based on learning to know oneself and care for self and those around you.
I know Jane has at least a dozen more books in her and I will eagerly read them as I am able.
I may just sit down and write out a few stories and memories of my own.
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.
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An Interview with Jane
1. 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.
2. 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!
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.