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Friday, May 1, 2015

Le Fond

It was le Fond!  Le Fond!
My wife gets after me from time to time to tidy up my desk.  Books I've partly read, am re-reading, or intend to read, lie amid loose papers with notes, doodles, and idle jottings.  Also notebooks with annotated manuscripts waiting to be tossed into the trash.  Not to mention occasional newspaper stories and magazine articles that caught my eye for Lord knows what reason.

It's a mess, alright, but in the throes of the creative process I find myself thinking, "There was a passage in that book by what's-her-name that had a very similar scene - and I'm off looking for another book to add to the pile - or an idea will hit me, and I think, "I can't use this in this scene, but maybe later on..."  And I scribble myself a note to remember.  More junk.

Really, Nancy is a lot more patient with me than I deserve.

I get up early and write before going to work.  When I get home, I sit my lazy butt in a chair and type or send emails while she makes dinner.  This is not quite as male-chauvinist-piggy as it sounds.  I can put a meal on the table, but Nancy happens to be a really incredible cook.  She can do things just by sauteing chicken parts that would make you weep, they're so good.  And her breaded pork-chops!  I chop onions and bring things up from the freezer, but cooking while Nancy's in the house is like offering Mario Andretti a ride to work.

I do clean up afterwards.  I do that much.

Sometimes, though, I get in dutch even doing that.  Seeing a skillet with drippings and little scabs of meat and flour in it, I helpfully washed it out in the sink.  This was something I shouldn't have done.  "It's le fond!" Nancy says angrilly.  "Le fond!  Le fond!Evidently, in high-tone cooking such as Nancy does, this residue of scraps and drippings is a highly-prized ingredient to be combined with other ingredients later for that touch of supreme deliciousness.

So now I pretty much stay out of the kitchen until after dinner.  Then I clean up.  And not very well.  Like I say, in the evenings, I'm pretty tired.

Pretty soon I'm going to have to summon the energy to tackle my desk.  Start cleaning up and putting away.  There's only so much  Nancy will put up with, after all.

But all those jottings, scribbles, dog-eared books, and pored-over pages, aren't just clutter.  They're the bits and scraps of other ideas.  The scrapings and residues that I will combine to make a scene or character.

How can I explain that to Nancy?

It's le fond!  Le fond!

(Originally posted 2011)

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