Christine Hume
Hum                              (page 3)

This hum was a song of waiting, a refrain attempting to ward off chaos by creating soothing rhythm. To make something out of nothing. A pinch in my throat, a thing stuck there that I was trying to dislodge in order to be. It was like a cry of being born—“the sudden expansion of an echo chamber” as Jean-Luc Nancy describes2—but a slow leak instead of an announcement. I was someone coming to herself slowly by resounding, by opening up into the color and texture of myself. Reverberation is what sound and color share; when they marble, it’s resonance.

Withstanding a recent avalanche of novelty, I may have been attuning myself. By sending out a lonely trembling note, the noose of identity loosens. I was unmaking plot, making a sound carpet out of a drone that refuses expectations or variation. Or I may have been homing in on a self with a kind of summer-long echolocation. Or I may have been doing the opposite: when a person hums, she can block out most sounds—unfamiliar rustlings, silence, all parental speech gary-indiana-ed instantly. Or Glenn Gould-like, I was humming an independent contrapuntal part. As prophylaxis against loss, the habit wasn’t ineffective. Humming performed for me a sympathetic magic: I was rediscovering a missing sensation, I was discharging the dregs of childhood certainty for something unknown. I was resurfacing my voice, intensifying it in a crucial moment. As a bird might shed drab feathers for bright ones in a time of courtship, my sonic ornament was perhaps the first flush of puberty. By mismanaging my larynx, I was channeling a somatic charm. With a vibratory rhythm of my own, drilling toward center, I readied myself. Out of a rogue moment, rouge burst forth. I hummed a route to the interior life.

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