Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Marianne Worthington


One sound undulated constantly through my father’s life

His tone was edgy. He limped past me gruffly. My mother flashed me the look which meant to shut up about it. Other than to occasionally refer to himself as crippled, my father almost never talked about the complications of his disability.

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Book Excerpt: The Girl Singer

Marianne Worthington is a poet, editor, and cofounder of Still: The Journal. Her work has appeared in Oxford American, CALYX, Grist, and other outlets. She is coeditor, with Silas House, of Piano in a Sycamore: Writing Lessons from the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop. She grew up in Knoxville and currently lives in southeastern Kentucky.

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Spinning through Knoxville

On seeing Knoxville’s past and present

I watch the TikTok videos of a man in Knoxville. He roller skates — backwards — across Market Square plaza, inside and outside the Convention Center, and down Volunteer Landing that snakes parallel to the Tennessee River. He skates down the brightly graffitied Strong Street alley. Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me” plays as he skims past the images and murals on the alley walls. The pictures swirl into swaths of neon colors like a psychedelic dream.

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