The answers to the big questions are always both complicated and simple. There was a tipping point and there were countless things that nudged me toward it. I needed every person, every conversation, every book, poem, and word, every mistake. I needed the hands of thousands of others who'd gone before me, pressing gently on my back, lifting my feet, catching my falls.
I'm one of those annoying people who never shuts up about books. And it's not because I've read so much (I haven't, relatively) but because words are my primary map for life. There are hundreds of books that made a mark on me, but the ones on this list are those I return to again and again and recommend to others most often.