A good friend was in France when I dropped him an e-mail to tell him about the book deal. It turns out he is one of the lucky ones, with an aunt who has a home in Southern France, and a bookshelf stuffed with many great books including The Gastronomical Me, by M.F.K. Fisher.
"Should I take the book?" he asked.
"Maybe," I said, secretly thinking it was a very bad idea to potentially jinx my impending book by involving myself with theft. "Or you could just read it."
Then I told him that The Gastronomical Me is my very favorite M.F.K. Fisher book. In my opinion it is the best of her work, the book that made me fall in love with Fisher and inspired my soon-to-be book. I told him that Fisher loved France and considered Cassis, a tiny port town, her spiritual home.
It turned out that he was going to Cassis the very next day. We agreed it would be decidedly different in 2009 than it was when she first visited in 1929.
Then I said, "Send me some pictures, I'll use them for inspiration." I didn't really believe that he would, but he did. Lovely, foggy views of a southern French town in early February.
And yes, I am inspired.