I think I was probably older than most writers are when they first realize that literature is not just books–that it is a system of ideas and ideals, a paradigm, a way of being.
I was 18 or 19. It was the middle of July in a steaming, sucking, temperate summer, and I was in northern Minnesota at a cabin my family has rented every summer for as long as I have been alive. Back then, the cabin got three channels, broadcast, via antennae. After trying, unsuccessfully, to get drunk in local bars, I was suffering a dearth of shit to do.
Desperate, I tagged along with my considerably more bookish sister to the bookstore in town.