One idea that I have come back to again and again is the idea of how literature works for me. For me, a really extraordinary work is one that comes into my consciousness like a bomb. It explodes, shattters me completely, so that I have to rebuild myself, and I have to take a closer look at everything I know about myself, everything I know about my world, everything I believe. I have to confront everything I am, good or bad. Literature is both a mirror in which I see myself, and a lens through which I view the world around me; each book I read alters the way I see both completely, forever. I suppose it is like love, if only you are lucky enough to find a person who makes you challenge everything about yourself, everything you know so that you might see it all more clearly.
All the books I have loved most have completely changed me. Again and again, as I come back to them, I have been changed by other books which, in turn, make me view the previous one in a completely new way. I will not come back to something I first read at sixteen and see it the same way; at twenty-six I am not the same person, it will not be the same story. The truths remain eternal, but certain subtleties, ideas, take shape, form in ways you weren't capable of recognizing before. Like a series of lenses, refracting, changing the lights and shadows that flicker across my mind. Think of what happens when you look into a kaleidescope (as I come back to something I wrote last night), the way the patterns shift and change as you turn the tube against your eye. One movement and the previous bright pattern is changed forever, gone forever, replaced by a new one that is, in turn, replaced by the next one.