One late, late night many years ago (2002, to be exact, sometime in early May of that seminal year), I chatted on the phone with a guy I was dating at the time. It was well past midnight, and as I had just returned from a months-long backpacking trip around the world, my body was still shaking off the nasty effects of a particularly bad bout of jet lag. At the time I stayed wide-awake till the early hours of the morning, only to find myself literally falling asleep at the wheel of my parked car. It took a month for me to finally get back on a regular sleep schedule.
Anyhoo, back to the conversation.
Jim tended to go to bed late anyway, so we sat up and talked and talked, mostly about the kind of things you talk about when it’s one in the morning on a Saturday night. Favorite movies. Life philosophies. Jobs. Or in my case at the time, job hunts. Grammar. Words.
Jim was not a writer. Rather, he was a millionaire entrepreneur, but he also had a love of words that nearly equaled mine (we met in a bookstore, natch), and what I remember most about that conversation was a lengthy, lengthy discussion about the difference between the words precise and accurate. We didn’t argue or debate, we simply discussed it with the kind of keen interest that, say, anthropologists display when they’re discussing the discovery of a tribe of pygmies in Southeast Asia. This was truly fascinating stuff to us.
I sometimes think that that’s why I write, because few things in life — not movies, not jobs, not even life philosophies — hold my attention like words do. I’m good for little else, and when I’m really honest with myself, that’s enough for me.