The true nature of pie

In times of chaos I’ve discovered that I bake. It suits me to be up to my elbows in food dust and goo, walking my brain through steps I’ve scribbled in a sometimes-sticky Ann Taintor journal. I made pies last week (many, many pies) to perfect my gluten-free crust. I think I’m finally happy with the outcome.

At a recent event, an unnamed, not gluten-free Texas man (who knows his wine, pie and food) complimented my cherry pie’s crumb.I will be sharing the complimented crust with you as soon as I hear back from a few more of my real-world testers, once I’m positively sure that even you can do this. Since I’m not dishing up the recipe just yet, I have something else in mind for this post. Fair warning: this is another rare personal post. Pass on by if you were hoping for only the light-hearted side of pie.

I find that pie actually has a darker, deeper underbelly. In this case it happens to be paychecks. I find myself recently without the anticipation of expecting one. I’ve been incredibly lucky as a freelance grant-writer thus far to have had steady clients. Alas, tides shift and orgs restructure.

The past week has had me treading water in the waves of uncertainty, half panic, half exhilarated. It’s something so many of us deal with at some point in our lives. My mom, my hero, made do during a couple uncertain years when I was in middle school (with many more expenses than I presently have). She left her high-paying professional job on principle and when no other jobs of the sort surfaced, she cleaned houses.

I’m sharing all this with you not because I want you to feel sorry, but because it seems like no one ever talks about reality. I’m sharing this because I want you to know that there is actually empowerment to be found in the face of uncertainty. (Not unlike the time I spent weaving the lattice top on a parchment-papered cutting board, and the moment I flipped it, a swift turning-a-page-in-a-book flip, onto the unsuspecting cherries.) It’s funny the things that get in your head and stay there. Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous directive, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” is pushing me forward, poking me every time I feel scared and start to pick apart my abilities.

I often get the question “What do you do for money?”, and let’s face it, writing books, these kinds of books at least, is not enough money to pay the bills. One day, with continued support from all of you (I’m entirely humbled by the kind of response I’ve received thus far), maybe it will be. While penning words to help non-profit orgs raise money has been a steady source of income over the past few years, I’m exploring new methods. I’m bulking up on my class offerings, including a new small-batch preserving workshop for parents and kids. I’m also working with my first home consultation client, helping him develop the home he has in mind and ways to live better in it.

My uncertainty pie is filled with a pared down scale of needs vs. wants. I am piecing together a roof of income like I patched together the portions of lattice that broke off. I’m sticking it in the oven and hoping for the best.