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A Book You Can Sink Your Teeth Into — In a Manner of Speaking

Looking for a unique anthology of essays about food? Of course you are, and Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers on Food, edited by Peggy Wolff, is exactly what you want. In fact, you probably want one copy for yourself and five more copies for those friends of yours who love food as much as you do.

How fortunate that you are visiting this Website. Read on —

With its corn by the acre, beef on the hoof, Quaker Oats and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, the Midwest eats pretty well and feeds the nation on the side. But there’s more to the Midwestern kitchen and palate than the farm food and sizable portions the region is best known for beyond its borders.

Now, with thanks to the University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln and London, 2013), Fried Walleye & Cherry Pie will begin serving up heartland specialties from the heartwarming to the downright weird in November.

Thirty of us Midwestern writers — but not necessarily food writers — essayed our way in, around and though the gustatory pleasures and peculiarities of the region. We authors — some with cooking backgrounds, most without — share an interest in food as a “source of pleasure, sustenance, metaphor, portraiture or adventure,” says Chicago-based Editor Peggy Wolff, who has written on food and food culture.

Our menu is mobile: from the Thanksgiving table on an Iowa farm to opening a restaurant when one has no clue how to cook; from operating a food cart in a Big Ten town to nibbling through the Minnesota State Fair or working the boxed cereal line in an industrialized plant.

Some contributors are National Book Award finalists, Pulitzer nominees, New York Times bestselling novelists, four-star pastry chefs and Guggenheim fellows. Others (of us) are not. But hey, we’re all worth your time as a reader.

For readings and book signings, click on Workshops/Speaking.



Replanting George Ella Lyon's
Where I'm From
in Iowa Soil

elodie opstad
Elodie Opstad

Before you read any further, visit www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html. Lyon's approach to reflecting on what makes her her is so worthy of adaptation that I invite others (including you) to tell us where you're from in Lyon's format. Results are always rich. This piece, with visuals, is from Elodie Opstad of Indianola, IA

A line connects the generations
Cotton, tobacco and owner of human lives
Huoma, Louisiana – great great grandmother Elodie

White gloves and crinoline petticoats on stick horses
Charleston, West Virginia – grandmother Elodie

Wild parakeets present, gone and return near sandy beaches
Bellaire Bluffs, Florida – mother Elodie

Biking in bathing suits to the lake with sisters
Minneapolis, Minnesota – myself Elodie

Unsteady first steps to rising confidence
Dublin, Ireland – daughter Elodie


A circle embraces coincidence and serendipity
Leaving home for college as expected
Joining student government and finding my love

Moving away because we could
Monitoring babies breathe in the evening comfort of friends

Traveling abroad on our own
Guided by options not schedules to find unexpected discoveries


Intersecting triangles frame experience
Building gardens and finding room for surprising deviations
Trusting intuition in work and play

Finding joy in seeing and connecting disparate parts
Accused of thinking differently while silently pleased


Outbound points soar in remembrance
Managing grief from death’s brutal entry
Knowing life’s energy is not lost – it is only rearranged



A Host of Iowa Authors — Christian Schoon


Christian Schoon and his wife share life on their Shueyville pioneer-vintage acreage with critters. They volunteer with animal welfare groups and shelters, help rehab rescued horses and wildlife - and know some awesome veterinarians, which plays well in Schoon's first novel, Zenn Scarlett. On his website, he promises "discussions, news and ramblings - on about spec fiction, spec creatures, writing stuff for a living and that sorta thing." And of his next novel, he predicts, "And now: Cover art/synopsis reveal for Under Nameless Stars - Zenn's new adventure kicks your sci-fi thrill-o-meter into the red zone."

Really, readers, Schoon is so Worth Reading about. And while you're there check out Past Featured Iowa Authors. Iowa is such a rich state.

Some Food for Thought
Lynn Fleming

Retreat Leader Joyce Rupp and I will be offering another Writing from the Soul workshop for women in May 2014. Rich insight emerges from the experience. At one retreat, the morning's guided meditation was in response to the question: What obstacles are boulders in the steam of my life? Lynn Fleming (Naperville, IL) saw herself on a raft hung up on boulder. She was holding a large stone and sensed it represented her struggle with perfection. Then, she remembered the quote in her high school yearbook, and penned this piece.

Lighten Up!

This morning as I was kayaking on the Upper St. Croix River, I got hung up on a submerged rock just under the surface.  The worst of the spring floods were over but the current was still swift enough that my kayak spun around and I was facing upstream. I had misjudged the current, been mistaken about the depth, didn't pay attention to the ripples warning of the rapids ahead. 

“I should have known better! I shouldn't have gone out on my own! I didn't do this right!”

"Pipe down," a voice whispered.  "Lighten up!"  

"Lighten up!  Are you crazy? I could drown out here by myself!"

"Lighten up, lighten up!”

Noticing the panic in my voice, I instinctively grasped the stone hanging on a tarnished chain around my neck. I had slipped the chain on remembering the fun I had paddling this river with my high school girlfriends the summer of ’62. We had made the stone necklaces at our graduation all-nighter and had printed the quotes under our senior yearbook pictures on them. "Something worth doing is worth doing well," mine said.

"I don't believe that anymore!"  I announced to the trees.  "That's not even true," I yelled to the river.  "This stone is too heavy for me," I croaked to the wind. Impulsively, I yanked the 50-year-old totem from my neck and tossed it overboard. Within seconds, I felt my kayak rise from the boulder; spinning around, it headed downstream.  "I lightened up!” I nervously chuckled.

Below the rapids, I paddled onto a sandy strip of shoreline to sit and still my racing heart. Taking my journal out of my pack, I wrote, “What are the boulders in the river of my life?” I reflected on all the writing stored in my computer, all the essays and reflections I don’ think are good enough to share, much less publish. I made a list of all my “what if's.” What if my poems don’t have to be perfect? What if the process is as important as the product? What if I do something risky? What if something worth doing is simply worth doing? What if I stop calling everything a draft and finish a piece? What if lighten up and dare to share who I really am? What if I admit that I am a poet and a writer?

Please click on Workshops/Speaking for information on our next workshop.

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