Pie Again

In honor of Pi Day (3/14), I’m writing about pie again.

And (because of the way I am) if I’m writing about pie, that means I’m also writing about words, too. For me, baking and writing are nearly inseparable. They are both things I enjoy doing and experimenting with, and while only one can actually be eaten, both can be consumed. They can both show care for others, bring warmth and comfort, and nourish the spirit.

In my opinion, both are absolute necessities.

Writing is a lot like baking. So much of the language overlaps: we gather, experiment, measure, double-check, adjust, and above all, wait. We wait for dough to rise, for story ideas to percolate, for the timer to tell us the cookies are done, and for plot threads to set up. All the while, though, we are preparing. For pie, we’re cutting up apples, sifting characters and motivations, digging the pastry cutter out of the drawer, and mixing the crust. It’s a process, and if this pie is going to turn out, we need to go to work.

When it’s all done, we wait for answers in our inboxes, someone telling us that what we’ve made is exactly what they needed. This, perhaps, is the hardest kind of waiting.

This year, I’ve put a new pie out, one I haven’t made before. As with so many of the other things I’ve made, I’m waiting to hear from someone who says, “This is delicious! Can I have more?”

Until I hear that, I still have the joy of creating something, even if it’s only for me. If I am going to hear from that someone someday, I need to perfect my recipes and test new ingredients. I need to make a mess. I need to try. Some of them will turn out. Some won’t. But I’ll learn through them all what tastes good and what doesn’t. What sounds good and what doesn’t.

I will only get better if I bake. I will only know how to make a delicious, flaky crust if I knead it myself. I will only get better if I write.

In honor of Pi Day, I am going to bake today. How about you?

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