Writing Everything I Never Wanted to Know almost entirely in the hellish eternity of the T%&*! Years—where the daily feed of sexual violence, finally widely recognized, became layered eventually into other (medical and social) epidemics—sometimes seized me with an untouchable despair
or an extravagant rage. How many hours a day could I spend thinking about the fact that the most common way for a woman to die in our country is at the hands of a man she knows? How many days could I confront the ubiquity of violence against girls, women, and gender nonconforming people without abandoning myself to the futility of doom scrolling? How many weeks could I spend writing about the horrors of the National Sex Offender Registry without getting stuck in a wordless anxiety pit? What could I do?
I would rise up, almost involuntarily, out of my chair and head out to walk. In a kind of self-hypnosis, pacing between vigilance and idling, catching a loosening rhythm, I began to stride through the shifting perceptions of my own sentences into new models of belonging and transience. Moving forward, whether walking or writing, depends on lateral deviations, swerves, pauses, delays, ruptures, incoherencies, tiny plummets, and constant repetition. The role of repetition is re-invention. We dismantle received wisdom, we unblock the imagination and lose ourselves in the pattern’s numinousness. We repeat to feel our way through to a hidden alley of fresh, radical senses of possibility where we can breathe in the expanses that lie amid our monotonous thoughts and muddy urges. Walking is not a triumph narrative, but it is method of recalibration and (unpredictable) return.
—Christine Hume, author of Everything I Never Wanted to Know (Ohio State University Press, 2023)