I love words. Most writers love words….When a writer has given new life to words you've heard a million times or used words you don't use or ordinarily think of, but love, it's inspiring.
I love reading novels that send me to the dictionary to look up words. Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections did this. So did Don DeLillo's Underworld. I pulled out the Webster's to look up crepuscular. "Of relating to, or resembling twilight: active during twilight, insects." I can never look at fireflies, now, without thinking of them as crepuscular. [Come on. Comments like this set off my crap detector. No wonder nobody reads "literary fiction."]
Ann Patchett's Bel Canto yielded the word sangfroid: "self-possession or imperturbability esp. under strain." So I have sangfroid when I don't stress out if I'm late getting somewhere. [I avoid pretentious novelists who show off by using arcane words for simple things and ideas. This is bad writing.]
Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Pen on Fire, 2004 [Why didn't she call her book Pen in the State of Self-Sustaining Combustion?]