Don DeLillo came into my life when I was 25. I had heard whisperings of his name by different folk artists I followed and my best friend would mention him and his work nearly every time reading was brought up in conversation. Sometime shortly after my 25th birthday, I wandered into Borders looking for something new to read and there he was, staring back at me in a 25th Anniversary edition cover: White Noise by Don DeLillo. I picked it up and haven't looked back since.
White Noise was the defining moment in my adult life. I've always dreamed of being a writer and I lost almost all of that dream when I left for college. It wasn't until 25 that I found myself careening back towards it and White Noise was what threw me back at it full throttle. DeLillo has this way of defining and describing our most internalized fears as a person and as society that it feels as if he's talking directly about you. White Noise is the true embodiment of that. It didn't just make me want to be a better writer, it forced me to take notice of everything around me and realize that being an adult isn't what we've been told. It's not about the house or the car or the kids, it's not about the job or how much money you have (or don't), it's about finding the things in life that make us feel full and to appreciate, if only for a moment, the things that make us truly happy. I go back to White Noise once a year to remind myself how far I've come and to let me know I still have so much farther to go.