Dear Readers and Friends of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir":
Authors Talk About It gave me a Featured Author Interview today - here’s the article (or link to the post HERE):
Carol D. Marsh
Carol D. Marsh: I’m a 62-year-old woman living in Washington, DC with my wonderful husband. When not writing, I’m marketing my book and my online school, going to the Y for a work-out, knitting, reading, baking, or (a good bit of the time) managing chronic migraine pain.
Marsh: I’ve written as long as I can remember. Small notes to my Mom, birthday poems for family members, the usual (bad) teenage poetry and essay attempts. My serious writing, meaning not for work or fund-raising, began in 2010, when I started my memoir.
Marsh: Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir was published in January 2017. It’s a work of literary nonfiction that got its big push at the Goucher College MFA program (2012-2014). And I’ve had a couple of essays published this summer, one in The Los Angeles Review, the other in Lunch Ticket.
Click here to get your copy!
Marsh: Its combination of creativity and intellect, and the way I feel while I’m writing and in the hour or so after I’m done. I also love the rewriting process – finding the right word or phrase, testing how the words feel in my mouth, getting to the precise point or meaning. It’s so rewarding.
Marsh: Getting past the inertia of anxiety and the feeling that I’m not actually a writer. Not, at least, in the way I assume other writers are. I have a sense I’m not good enough to express this emotion, or make that argument, or say this thing about something important. My journey as a writer has been, in part, about trusting my own voice.
Marsh: I write nonfiction and memoiristic essays, so my ideas come from my life, by way of my heart.
Marsh: My writing process is choppy because I have chronic migraine disease and am unable to establish a regular, daily practice. But I’ve learned to write when not in too much pain, and to let it go when in a lot of pain. I’ve had to ignore the common wisdom about writing for five hours a day, but I suspect most of us do. Who has the luxury of all that time? Certainly not parents, or the employed, or students, or … you get the message.
Because of that, my writing process never runs on momentum. I manage by fits and starts, and have had to learn not to let the fits keep me from starting. And then, having to start again. I’ve found if I accept my process’ choppy nature, I worry less about not having a regular practice, which gives me more energy to write when I can.
Marsh: I have to guard against the writing taking over because too often I seem to veer into the fanciful or the made-up. As though I’m writing how I want something to have been rather than how it was in reality. This is partly because writing a scene means getting to details – sound, smell, sight, etc. I end up questioning myself at the end of a writing session that has got away from me, wait, was the wind really blowing so hard that day? Or was that a different day? Did she actually say that in so many words?
At Goucher College, where I got my MFA, we were told not to make sh*t up. Honestly, that’s one thing for long-form journalism, and quite another for memoir. Not that writing memoir is an excuse to make sh*t up. It’s not. But we’re so often writing about something not researchable as fact. We rely on our memories or the memories of others. And memories are notoriously sketchy when it comes to reliability. So a memoirist needs to hone her integrity and closely monitor how she writes through inevitable memory gaps, working to not fill them in with sh*t. Plus, she takes advantage of research that can help with accuracy, such as public records, weather reports, home videos and photographs, and diaries or journals.
Marsh: Oh, dear, that’s hard to say. If I have to choose, I’d say it’s not one part, but the scenes in which we’re together as a community. (My memoir is about ten of the years I worked and lived at Miriam’s House–a residence for Washington, DC’s homeless women with AIDS–as its Founding Executive Director). I tried to recreate the sounds and language and feel of our gatherings. They were fun to write and are fun, now, to read.
Marsh: I have a couple of essays in the works, and am started on a new full-length project that I’ll be mysterious about for now.
Marsh: Two places: 1) my website, http://www.caroldmarsh.com/; and my online school,http://forumatcaroldmarsh.com/ (Forum for Growth in Service — support and challenge for people who want to serve others authentically, compassionately, and effectively).
Marsh: Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Dear friends and readers of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir":
June has been a good month for the essayist in me - two published in online literary journals!
One of my own favorites of all the essay’s I’ve written is "How To Build A Bonfire", begun when my husband and I were visiting his family farm in Ontario, Canada, and the only one that practically wrote itself.
Here’s the first paragraph, with a link to its page in The Los Angeles Review if you want to read more.
HOW TO BUILD A BONFIRE
by CAROL D. MARSH
Pick a safe spot
The slight depression with its darkened earth, bits of blackened twigs and surrounding stones lies near but not too close to the maple tree, halfway between house and cow barn. He passes that bit of ground every day. Not as often as he used to, when milking cows morning and night for sixty-plus years, yet regularly, on his way to the barn out of habit or to check in with his son before he takes the tractor to tend something in one of the fields. His wife comes with him as she’s been doing for about a year, ever since she became frightened when she can’t see him. As they walk across the yard together on this late summer day, he thinks about a bonfire and begins to plan. The stump of that dead tree he had cut down this summer would do nicely. And there’s always brush to clear, as well as accumulated stuff in the barn and woodshed. He slows his pace a bit, realizing she’s behind him, anxious, unsure of her footing on the uneven ground and afraid she’ll look up and he’ll be gone.
Read the rest of the essay HERE.
In other news, I’ve officially launched the first course in my online school for support of people in service to others: FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE. During June, the course is one-third off. Check it out HERE.
And have a great day!
WEBSITE FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE
Hello, wonderful readers of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir":
Another award for the book:
2017 National Indie Excellence Awards has named "Nowhere Else I Want to Be" as the Finalist in the Memoir category.
As always, thank you for supporting "Nowhere Else I Want to Be".
Best wishes, Carol
Dear Readers of Nowhere Else I Want to Be:
Good news! I just received word that my memoir has been chosen as a finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, in the Autobiography/Memoir Category.
Thanks for all your support - and feel free to spread the word on your facebook pages, Twitter, and to friends.
Your book group may want to read and study the book - I can schedule a Skype author talk with you when the group meets. Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, and have a good day,
Dear Readerly Friends:
Here is a truly humbling and wonderful review of my memoir, "Nowhere Else I Want to Be".
It’s from Authors Talk About It, April 15, 2017. A 5-star review!
(Link to original article HERE.)
Nowhere Else I Want to Be is Carol Marsh’s heart-wrenching memoir of her time living and working at Miriam’s House in Washington, D.C. She founded Miriam’s House in 1996, as a place for homeless women suffering with AIDS and addiction to receive the care, shelter, and safety that they so desperately needed. In providing for these women, who came from backgrounds incredibly different than her own, Carol had to learn to face her own shortcomings: privilege, discrimination, poor leadership skills, and an overwhelming, yet often denied, desire to be liked. In doing so, she, along with the staff and residents of Miriam’s House, transformed it into a safe haven for victims of AIDS and their families, saving dozens of lives in more ways than one.
In terms of content, Nowhere Else I Want to Be is certainly not the easiest book to read. It is rife with tragedy, from abandonment to parental neglect, devastating illness to inevitable death. It weighs on the heartstrings in a manner that most books cannot achieve, largely because the stories Carol Marsh shares are all real. These “characters,” who often seem larger than life in some respects, existed once, and now, do not. It’s an awful feeling, to fall in love with each quirky, lovable woman as Carol did, only to be forced to face their eventual demise. However, the tender tone in which each woman is described is admirable and honorable, shining a spotlight of love and acceptance on an otherwise horrific life. It’s devastating, but profound, in all the best ways.
Nowhere Else I Want to Be is not a book easily defined, as it balances perfectly the qualities of humor, love, sadness, disdain, and acceptance, combined into one spectacular memoir. Carol Marsh takes her readers on the same journey she once walked, alongside society’s forgotten as they struggle to better themselves, contribute to communities who continuously reject them, and just survive, at any cost. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, easy, but it is forever worth it. Nowhere Else I Want to Be is a treasure as much as it is a tragedy, if for nothing else, for Carol’s bold, dignified, and honest approach to a truth best not left forgotten.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.
Dear Readers of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir":
Good afternoon, readers of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir":
I’m beginning to hear from people who have read my book, and am grateful for reader comments - so please let me hear from you!
Respond to this message /or/ email me at email@example.com.
If you’ve finished the book, you may want to Explore the Themes with me in my new online venture, Forum for Growth in Service. Follow this LINK to find a free single-lecture course and a $10.00 4-lecture course that explore the themes of my memoir.
Finally, here’s a LINK to a virtual booklet that will tell you more about the Forum.
Best wishes and happy reading - Carol
WEBSITE FACEBOOK PAGE
Here is a lovely review of my memoir in A&U Magazine this month:
Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoirby Carol D. MarshInkshares
Reviewed by T.J. Banks
The book that really jump-started Carol Marsh’s imagination as a teenager was Catherine Marshall’s Christy. “I dreamt of being like Christy,” she recalls, “and going to work with poor mountain families—later, Indians on reservations, and later still, overseas with the Peace Corps—and helping people who needed me.” She saw herself living “a life of service in which I would make things perfect for some small village or group of children. For that they would, of course, love and appreciate me.”
Somewhere along the way, Marsh realized that her calling was working with women in need. So, in 1996, she founded Miriam’s House, a place for homeless women in the Washington, D.C., area who were struggling with HIV and AIDS.
Each woman came to Miriam’s House with a painful back story all her own. Claudia was mentally ill. Rebecca had been incapacitated by a stroke and communicated by pointing to pictures or words in a little book that one of the interns put together for her. Laila had contracted the virus from a blood transfusion following a car accident during her childhood. Alyssa, one of the youngest residents, had been pimped out by her mother, who had “needed the money to pay the drug man.”
Marsh and her husband Tim lived at Miriam’s House, and she learned that there was much more to being the director than she’d imagined. She accompanied residents to the ER; sat by deathbeds; and dealt with staff issues and substance-abuse relapses, learning a few truths about herself in the process. But what gave her “real joy,” she discovered, “was relating on an intimate level with the residents.” Over time, “being in service” morphed into “being present” for the residents, and “[t]here was humility in ceasing to help the vulnerable and commencing to be with them. To stay with them.”
Marsh paints vivid word-pictures of the women of Miriam’s House, enabling us to enter their lives as much as it is humanly possible to. And we come away from the book moved by both the story she tells and the honesty with which she tells it.
T.J. Banks is the author of Sketch People, A Time for Shadows, Catsong, Houdini, and other books. Catsong was the winner of the 2007 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award.
An author is truly gratified when a reviewer really ’gets’ her book. I’m grateful to T. J. Banks for this review.
WEBSITE FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE
Dear Readers of ’Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir’:
If you’ve read the book and want to let other readers know about it, please consider posting a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble. It’s easy! I’ve provided links and instructions below.
AMAZON -- Go to the product detail page for the item on Amazon.com.
(* READ this article about writing an Amazon book review.)
GOODREADS -- (note, you must be a member) Go to the book’s page.
BARNES AND NOBLE -- Go to the book’s page.
Thank you, and have a great day,
WEBSITE FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE
Dear readers of Nowhere Else I Want to Be:
I’ve begun hearing from you about your reactions to my memoir. I’m grateful for comments that assure me you’re making a thoughtful read of material that, I know, can be challenging.
If you are like others who tell me the book is thought-provoking and that it made you check your assumptions, you may be interested in Exploring the Themes: two courses - one free, the other only $10 - in my new online school, Forum for Growth in Service.
Click HERE for EXPLORING THE THEMES
Here’s what you’ll find in these courses:
Click HERE for EXPLORING THE THEMES
I am still so very grateful for the support you gave to this book to get it into readers’ hands. Thank you, thank you.