Two years after my piece ran in Gastronomica, a friend introduced me to Kate Lebo via the letterpress zine A Commonplace Book of Pie. Kate Lebo was an MFA student at the University of Washington where I worked so I looked her up in the directory and invited her to coffee.
That first coffee turned into lunches a couple times a year, often at various haunts on University Way. We talked about food, writing, and, of course, pie. I introduced her to the editor of Gastronomica, and they later published her poem “Rhubarb.” I cheered her over kabobs when Chin Music Press offered her a contract to expand her zine into a book. It was released to the world in October 2013.
Kate toured heavily to promote the hardcover A Commonplace Book of Pie. She invited me to co-host an event at the University of Washington bookstore that would primarily be a conversation like the many we shared since meeting.
The evening was terrific fun. Our easy banter mixed well with a full house. Students from Kate’s brought pies they baked for attendees to sample while waiting to have their book signed. Chelsey Slattum, Kate’s publicist, even slipped me a business card for Chin Music Press publisher Bruce Rutledge.
It sat on my desk for four months.
Chelsey reached out in April. Bruce wanted to meet. He had been in the audience that night and later read my blog which, by that time, now had more than 50 entries.
Lunch was scheduled for May 6, 2014 at the Banana Leaf Café, blocks away from Kate’s event that started it all