I’ve mentioned Madeline L’Engle’s book, Walking on Water before. In it, she writes about how art, and writing in particular participates in naming the artist and the reader/viewer. The creative process is one of love, where we identify our selves more wholly with others and allow them to more wholly identify with us.
What are the books that have become part of your identity, that have helped name you? Rather than think about it in a continuum, consider taking a “snapshot” approach. Pick one time period in your life and ask yourself what books (or music, or art) were important in naming you.
The first time period that came to me was my first experience with books. What books named me before I could read them myself? In no particular order:
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper
The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde
Harold and The Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
The Monster at the End of This Book, Jon Stone
The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss