When my parents sold the house I grew up in, I was determined not to be sentimental about it.
As much as we seek out new experiences, repeated ones define a huge part of our lives. And it’s not just mundane routines that dominate, but the places we return to in our travels, books we reread, conversations we have over and over again, plans we recycle, theories we rehash, and mistakes we keep making—both deliberately and not. All these things affect our sense of narrative and possibility. Going back to a city or argument or series of sentences can deepen our understanding of them, confirm or complicate what we think we know. Yet we talk about repeating ourselves as something we’re at risk of doing, something to apologize for.
Curated by Eryn Loeb (who always finds herself circling back to Maine, Margaret Atwood and Maurice Sendak), “On Repeat” looks at the echoes and recurrences that shape our personal and creative lives, and that drive culture. Through essays and interviews (with an openness to other formats and approaches) the column is interested in traditions, touchstones, memories, nostalgia, habits, rewriting, (un)predictability, boredom, layers of experience, sources of continual frustration or inspiration—the places and ideas that draw us in, and draw us back.
ll the houses in the Outer Banks have names. They’re the kind of affectionate, ocean-themed identifiers owners bestow on their property regardless of what…
“I don’t think in stories, I never have. I know that everybody does, that we do think in stories, that’s like a physiological necessity. I guess I’m interested in parts of stories, but this whole idea of having a narrative arc with a beginning a middle and an end, that just never really worked on me.”