Jan. 27, 2016
In the last hour I’ve refilled my water glass, gotten a new box of tissues, eaten an orange, texted with my daughter about her hair, washed my hands, put on hand lotion, read some email, monitored my heart rate and stared at my computer screen — a lot. Yep — I’ve got a serious case of writer’s block. I suppose it’s not really accurate to say “writer’s block.” I know how to write. I haven’t forgotten how to put words together. It’s probably more accurate to say I’ve got idea or story block. I’m fresh out of ideas and can’t think of a single interesting story to tell.
Novelist Elmore Leonard once said, “I don’t believe in writer’s block or waiting for inspiration. If you’re a writer, you sit down and write.” So, here I am. I’m sitting. I’m writing. (I just put more lotion on my hands.) It’s crazy to me that I can’t think of any good stories, because I’m in the middle of one of the best places on earth to find incredible stories – the MSU campus. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone here, or connected to MSU, isn’t doing something cool or inspiring that is worthy of being shared with an audience.
Just this morning, it was announced that Mona Hanna-Attisha, assistant professor of pediatrics in the College of Human Medicine and director of the pediatric residency program at Hurley Medical Center, has been named a member of the governor’s Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee. The committee will set in place long-term solutions to Flint’s water system. This is the same pediatrician who will lead a new health initiative to support the health of the children there. She’s worth way more than just a story. This Spartan is truly making a difference where a difference is desperately needed.
Four incredible undergraduates have been nominated for a prestigious Goldwater scholarship. Michigan’s University Research Corridor — that includes MSU, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — released a report showing Its economic impact in the state. MSU advertising profs are gearing up for their annual project to rate the Superbowl ads. Researcher Kay Holekamp confirmed that species with larger brains relative to their body are more intelligent. And, hello? An MSU biologist was part of a team who discovered a new bird species — that has an Adele-like song that sets it apart.
Well, look at that. I guess maybe I did have something to say after all. The motto of the state of Michigan, (that celebrated its birthday this week) is “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” I’d say MSU’s could be, “If you seek a really cool story, look about you.” Really, all the inspiration I need is just outside my office window.
Katie Wozniak knows all about writer’s block. She’s a senior majoring in microbiology and a College of Natural Science Dean’s Research Scholar who admits she suffered from it but found a way to break through it by remembering how she stepped outside her comfort zone. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Step Outside Your Zone, to learn about her experience.
Julianna Wilson had the opposite of writer’s block. She’s the tree fruit integrator/outreach specialist in the Department of Entomology at MSU. Last September, she penned an article asking people to help report sightings of the stink bug. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Stink Bugs Go Viral, to learn how one article went viral and helped her track this orchard pest.
I guess it’s pretty impossible to have writer’s block when you work at Michigan State. There is always an amazing story to tell when there is a Spartan involved.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner