Let's talk about pie

My mother-in-law makes great pie. All sorts. Strawberry pie in the summer. Coconut cream and pecan pie at Thanksgiving.  Oh, and delicious grasshopper pie (which is usually in a cake pan but that’s not the point).



What makes her pies worth writing about? Well, for one thing, she makes the crust from scratch.

 

She starts with flour, salt, and butter-flavored crisco. She blends it with a pastry utensil until the dough is pea-sized or smaller. Then she adds egg, vinegar, and ice water, mixing it all up with a fork and her hands. If there's time, it gets wrapped up in saran wrap where it sits in the fridge. It needs to rest.



When she’s ready to roll it out, she sets the dough on the counter and gets to work with her rolling pin. She leans into it, spreading this way and that, working out from the center to get that nice circular shape and even thickness. For good results, you need to work outward from the center in many directions. If you roll only one way, you’re going to get a rectangular-ish shape, and that’s not what we want.



When she has the wide circle ready, she can lay the dough across the tin and trace the edges with a knife. The scraps can be woven across the top or simply sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sugar and baked for for snacking.



It’s a simple, reliable process that produces delicious results



Lately, I’ve been returning to a story idea that came to me a couple years ago. It’s a big story. REALLY BIG. So big in fact, I’ve had a hard time grasping the overall direction of the story. At times, it's kept me from writing at all. But I know I’m onto something, because I keep coming back to it in between projects. I mean, I can sense the rough shape of it all, but it isn’t a complete story quiet yet. Lots of the details are missing. So much of the plot and world building is still a mystery to me. If I had to write the tale from point A to point B, I just couldn’t. And that is pretty darn frustrating, because that’s how I usually write. 



Fortunately, with encouragement from my Mississippi Valley Writer’s Guild friends, I’ve gotten the confidence to get over myself and just start writing in order to figure out where the story wants to go. And recently, I realized that the story might be a little bit like Marie's pie crust.

 

It had to rest until it was ready, and even though I’ve got it out on the counter, I’m still not able to work in one direction stretching it out from beginning to end. Instead, I’m following the different ideas as they come, moving out from the center.

Maybe sometimes we just need to find a new way to think through our ideas and be OK with the writing process even if it isn’t what we're used to. The story may not make sense right away. But as long as we keep working at it, writing through the darkness, it’ll start to take shape.

 

So, I keep writing, even if the plot points aren’t lining up yet. I’m optimistic in the end, I’ll have things smoothed out into a large enough area with even thickness. I’ll trim the edges, and those scraps might get used or they might not, but hopefully, what will remain is a well-rounded, completed story.



In the end, I’ll see the whole for what it always has been and enjoy sharing it with others just like a nice slice of strawberry pie in the summertime.

 

(photo below: My mother-in-law's pie recipe taped inside her kitchen cabinet for easy access)

A piece of paper with writing on it

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UPDATES: 

My newest novel, “In Wells' Time” is out now and will soon be available as an audiobook!!! See the links below for all the fun things. 

 

I recently released a song called "Lorraine" which is about a character in a yet-to-be-released short story. More details to come on that as we get closer to 2026 :) 

 

In Wells' Time: Amazon Link (print and e-book)

The Man in the Pines: Amazon link (print only), Audiobook (Read by the author - me:)

Short Story “Catatonic Survival” included in the What's in the Body Bag anthology: Amazon Link

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