Apple Cider Cream Pie + Making My Soul Grow


I had a serious pie fail recently. I wasn’t sure how to tell you about it until now.

I have this tendency to think if I can’t do something perfectly, I shouldn’t try to do it at all. I spent a lot of years worrying about what other people think about who I am and what I do, and it’s still something I have to fight against, to be sure. As I continue to get older and know myself better, though, the less concerned I am with what other people think. This freedom is definitely one of my favorite things about aging, so far.

So this pie did not work out like I hoped it would. I burned the crust. I’m pretty sure the cider was still hot when I added the rest of the ingredients to it, so instead of a nice creamy custard I ended up with a sort of clumpy, frittata-like filling. I didn’t even whip the cream to put on top, because I thought it would be a waste. The pie tasted terrible, as you may have guessed from the photo. And I haven’t tried making another pie since.

Over the weekend, though, I got my pie mojo back. It was because of Kurt Vonnegut and a tap dance routine.

My tap teacher asked me weeks ago if I would be up for performing during Denver Arts Week with her and the other instructors at the studio where I take my tap class, and of course I agreed. I figured if I could learn the steps and have enough time to practice, I could probably pull it off.

But oh my, were those steps fast. And even though I’d been practicing, I didn’t feel confident about my ability to do the routine perfectly when I woke up on Saturday morning, so I practiced for a straight hour in my kitchen. At one point, someone banged on a shared wall, rattling my nerves and making me want to give up. I actually told Dann there was a tiny part of me that wanted to back out and just stay home. He told me to stop being ridiculous.

As I finished getting ready, Dann asked if he could read me this letter from one of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut. The whole thing is certainly worth reading but this is the passage that got to me, that gave me the courage to decide “I got this. It’s just a little tap dancing in front of strangers.” Vonnegut says:

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.”

I arrived at the performance ready to experience becoming, and I have to say, it was absolutely worthwhile. I didn’t do every step perfectly, but I did most of them and I truly had fun. People applauded and no one yelled at me and after we were done with the performance we WALKED ON STILTS. I think my soul grew three sizes that afternoon. 

When I woke up the next day, I decided it was time to move on from the failed pie. I mean, I made it, so it still counts toward my total of 100. Just because it wasn’t perfect and didn’t taste good and ultimately ended up in the garbage doesn’t mean it didn't happen. I'm thankful for all of these things coming together on Saturday, and I'm excited for the next pie, to experience becoming some more.