Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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One: Full of Holes

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One

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pp. 9-32

The day after I graduated from high school, I cut out. Left my mama weeping in the carport. "I'll be back, honey, don't cry," I yelled out the window of my inheritance, Daddy's old Riviera. But she knew what I meant: back for...

Two: One Main Sound

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Two

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pp. 35-42

In Florida, I had a fringed suede jacket I got at Second Chance and some cowboy boots. "Rodie-Odie," the boys at school called me then. Once, some chunky hood yelled across the parking lot, "Hey, ride me, Rodie, I buck rill good...

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Three

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pp. 43-56

Those years in Lexington, before Molly was born, I worked my day job, took fiddle lessons, practiced, played around Lexington with one patched-together group, then another, looking for my chance. I lived on the strungout...

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Four

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pp. 57-78

Well, it was a phase.
Getting pregnant ended it.
I got pregnant on purpose, I suppose. I just didn't let myself in on the plan till the last possible instant. What happened was, I ran out of patience with myself at exactly the same moment I ran out of optimism...

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Five

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pp. 79-92

The next day found me on the Hawktown Road itself, headed for Cap's house, to practice.
It had happened so fast that a merciful dreamlike state had set in. I was so far out the other side of thrilled that I'd bent back around to regular. Perfectly willing, perfectly open, stepping...

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Six

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pp. 93-105

Carrie Mullins from Lexington, Kentucky, over there on the fiddle—give her a big old North Florida welcome, folks."
I was the emergency fill-in, the holding operation.
I fell in with the plan. I hung back, reined myself in, so tactful I wanted to puke...

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Seven

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pp. 106-117

I can't remember exactly how Cap and I started singing duets together. It happened gradually. By the time I noticed, it was as though I'd never sung any other way.
The difference between Louis and Joyner and Cap singing...

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Eight

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pp. 118-121

I took out the little policy on Molly at the same time I took out the big one on me. The guy talked me into it. Accidental death, double indemnity. The big one's still got Molly as the beneficiary. Maybe I should put my mother's...

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Nine

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pp. 122-129

One main sound. It made sense, it figured. There's one main light in the world; everything we call color is a splitting apart of this light. So I thought there might be one great chord, too, like the light of the sun, that separates...

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Ten

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pp. 130-138

He knelt on the floor beside me. He said my name. I still remembered it was mine.
What would have happened if he hadn't come? Would I have died there? Of what? Would I have literally opened a vein? I don't know. I can't see me doing that. I don't know...

Three: Star Quality

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Eleven

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pp. 141-153

The blue bottle of window cleaner, the cloths, the roll of paper towels. I have left them spilled across the grass behind me. The stepladder, knocked onto its side. I didn't stop to right it. I just took off running, away from the job Ona gave me...

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Twelve

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pp. 154-170

Let her sleep, I wake and hear someone say. I fall back. A drone, far off. Then closer. Then gone again.
Where he is.
I try to rise toward it, as it comes near. It's as if the heel of a hand against my forehead shoves me back. Then I have to do it all again...

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Thirteen

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pp. 171-190

The lights spill down the hall, onto the dark wide floorboards, out of the kitchen. Comforting smells, cooking fruit and roasting meat, rise up the stairwell. At least somebody's taking care of business around here, banging lids...

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Fourteen

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pp. 191-195

Toward music. Ona's flipped on the radio, to keep her company while she cooks. Ruth's standing in the hallway, showing off her new outfit, bright periwinkle-lilac, she's not shy. Price tags hang off of it. "I saw it the minute I...

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Fifteen

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pp. 196-207

Qoia, low and lullabying, asks Jesus to bless our food. For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly grateful.
To me, this sounds like a blind and desperate prayer, for who knows what we are about to receive? We might...

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Sixteen

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pp. 208-232

What? Hero? Nothing rhymes with that except zero. Lovelife with a Scout knife? Hell. Slippin' in to set me free.
Turn at the stone fence. Turn at the church. Cross the twolane with the blinking light, turn again at the bridge...

Four: Careless and Gay

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Seventeen

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pp. 235-250

I lie flat on my stomach, with my head twisted to one side, trying to see up into the hole in the elm tree by the dim beam of my glove-compartment flashlight; everywhere I shine the light, no squirrel. But if it didn't knock down...

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Eighteen

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pp. 251-268

What time is it? Don't know. Where am I going now? Don't know. Someplace where I can practice my music without being heard.
If a hunter saw me, he'd surely tell all his friends—Little Lady walks again...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 269-270