The Correct Way to Eat Pie and Other News From the Front

I made a strawberry-cherry pie this week; nothing extreme, just canned strawberries and cherries with a Pillsbury crust. The pie isn’t as good as grandma’s but not half-bad considering its humble roots! Anyway, before I ate my pie this evening, I sprung for the deluxe treatment and capped the pastry with slices of Colby cheese and nuked it.

The result? Deliciousness. Cheese stacked on pie might be a Wisconsin thing—one of the many home-field strategies to help Wisconsinites consume more cheese. I wouldn’t put it past state lobbyists and lawmakers. After all, the state legislature banned yellow-colored margarine in the state in 1895 to protect dairy farmers’ interests.

“It all began in 1895 when the State Legislature passed a law prohibiting the manufacture or sale of yellow-colored margarine, also called “oleo,” because it was believed to be a threat to the dairy industry. It remained illegal for almost 75 years, until margarine was finally decriminalized in 1967.” –

The quoted article is a fun, short read. I’m sure I could get to the bottom of my cheesy pie mystery, but some things, such as the Bermuda Triangle or what Nessie drinks on Sundays, are best left in a mystical state. Seriously though, does anybody else eat their pie with a little cheese on top? Carolyn thinks I’m crazy! Shoot me an email. I need some backup!

Other News From the Front

The PCVI Summer Writing Seminar begins tomorrow. I’m feeling confident. This evening, I reviewed our reading for this week and moved Joan Didion’s “On Keeping a Notebook” to the optional section. I don’t want to overwhelm students. Ann Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” moved to the top of the list for mandatory reading. Her short essay is funny and will hopefully give students confidence and energy to get words on the page. They’ll need it.

I’m kicking them out of the nest day one and demanding they bring back a story draft by our next meeting based on something they witness out in the wild. This exercise, called “I Am a Camera,” is pulled from our text, The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante. I want students to get points on the board early in terms of finishing a draft. I’m sure the experience will be terrifying for some students, but once they reckon with the fact they’re surrounded by narrative arcs and intriguing characters, well, it might be all they need from me. The rest will be heaps of cheese.

Delicious, melted cheese.

The PCVI Summer Writing Seminar is an awesome learning experience for me, in terms of both instructional design and my writing. It feels good to perform little tweaks on this hotrod of a class—take a steel brush to the spark plugs here, grease a spring there. I hope it doesn’t explode upon takeoff!