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“I wasn’t the first preacher’s wife to run away. There had been three more. One met a man on the internet. Another went into a life of drinking; she posted pictures on Facebook. And the third was Mary Anne. One Sunday morning Mary Anne was singing in the choir of her husband’s church. She walked […]

“When I was a little girl there were two records in our house that weren’t church music. One was a single of a kid named Jimmy singing ‘I saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause.’ And the other was Nat King Cole. We weren’t allowed to dance. So I’d put on Nat King Cole whenever I vacuumed, […]

“A month before we got married I was sitting with my husband in a gravel lot behind the old Hidden Valley Catfish Restaurant. He said: ‘Detra, you’re a strong woman. Do you plan on being a submissive wife?’ I told him that I certainly would try my best. And he said: ‘Well if I can’t […]

“She was a female doctor from the Choctaw Indian Nation. And I could tell that she’d rescued before. She stepped out of the car, slid an arm around me, and found a hand. My husband tried to stop her. But she slammed the door and told her daughter to drive. They dropped me off at […]

“My entire life I’ve been good at following rules. But in New York I didn’t know any of the rules. One time a man touched me on the subway, and I froze. Ever since I was a child—I’ve had a fear of defending myself. When I got home, I asked Lucas: ‘What’s the rule for […]

“In Brooklyn there was a church with a 300-voice world famous choir. It was mesmerizing to watch. In my old church you weren’t even allowed to raise your hands. But this choir moved, like a wind was blowing through it. I’d stand up front every Sunday and move right along with it. One week they […]

“Every Sunday after my shift at Starbucks I’d eat at a place called Hill Country BBQ. It was the closest thing to Arkansas that I’d found in New York. They had sweet tea. And moist brisket. And live music every weekend. The band that performed on Sunday was called The Three Gentlemen. It was three […]

“I thought about what Lucas had said: ‘Let go of all the rules.’ And the very next week I started writing a one-woman show. I called it ‘One Woman’s Journey To Love,’ and it was nothing but love songs, with little pieces of my story in between. I managed to put together a five-piece band. […]

“It was magic that night. I didn’t miss any lines, or any beats. I sang seventeen of my favorite love songs: ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow,’ Unforgettable,’ ‘Love Look What You’ve Done to Me.’ Toward the end of the show I sang ‘Dance With Me,’ by Orleans. I told the audience that for eight years I’d […]

“My first night in the shelter I found a folding chair and sat with my back against the wall. I needed to feel something solid against my back. I didn’t know if there was going to be a bottom that I could hit, and bounce back up. Or if it was just going to be […]



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