Student Voice


November 29, 2023




Wisconsin can't be blamed for writer's block

February 16, 2007

I’m pretty sure it happens to everyone. Usually, I’ve been immune, but now I have writer’s block.

Last year I was a columnist while studying abroad, and topics would float across the keys as I told about things I was realizing and experiencing while I was traveling across Europe. It was easy. The hard part was deciding if I should write about watching U.S. Olympians take gold and silver medals while in Torino or my constantly ballooning self-confidence in traveling by train across the continent.

While I can’t deny the outrageous fun and culture experiencing a road trip across the state of Wisconsin can be when done with close friends, it’s just not the same as seeing the sunset over Florence or riding on a carousel next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Valentine’s Day was.

And while the Olive Garden is one of my favorite places to eat, everything will pale in comparison to Mamma Mia smiling her scattered-teeth smile while ringing the dinner bell indicating the authentic Italian pasta was ready at our hostel.

So what now? I’m home and back in River Falls working on my final scholastic semester, laboring at my part time job serving popcorn in a bowtie at a movie theater as well as here, at the Student Voice. Sound mundane to you, too?

But that shouldn’t be an excuse.

If Europe taught me anything, it was to notice what’s going on around me, take it and lock it in my memory bank. Bad things happen, sometimes life is boring or you have to make priorities. But so many times are good, life is only as fun as you want to make it and rewards come from priorities. Any situation is worth remembering. I’m glad I can appreciate my super smart friend’s ability to dance on a pole in a bar, or the way my other friend can use a wall screw and pliers to open a bottle of wine when her new house doesn’t contain a corkscrew.

Even if I’m not looking out a window seeing fields of grape vines and botching pronouncing Italian city names the train stops in, I can see the snow-covered corn fields and slaughter the pronunciation names of towns and villages Highway 24 runs through in Wisconsin.

If I can’t be in Amsterdam spending my morning “learning” about the brewing process of Heineken beer, Chippewa Falls isn’t far and the Leinenkugel’s brewery opens at 9:00 a.m.

The point I’m making is, I can’t blame the area for not providing me with inspiring writing topics; it’s my own fault for not initially recognizing or embracing them.

It’s not the same as anything I did or saw in any European country, but it doesn’t have to be, because it’s not. It’s home and that should be enough.

Three hundred pictures of my friends and I in one weekend or 300 in one day of the ancient Greek temples are all photographs and still frames in my mind.

Keighla Schmidt is a student at UW-River Falls.