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Hello, friends and readers of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir" - 

Here’s another 5-Star review. This one is from Ryan Lanz at Book Review Directory, and you can link to the original review HERE.

Carol Marsh has no idea what to expect when she founds Miriam’s House, a care home for homeless women living with AIDS in Washington, D.C. Growing up in a stable, loving family, she always felt a passion for helping others less fortunate than herself, and she believed her role as executive director at Miriam’s House would give her the opportunity to serve a group of women often shunned and neglected.

What Carol doesn’t realize is that these women, who suffer the debilitating health effects of AIDS and also struggle with addiction, mental illness, and emotional trauma, would, in turn, teach her so much about herself.

Nowhere Else I Want to Be is beautifully written in the honest voice of a woman who is unafraid to reveal her own personal struggles and heartaches in serving the women of Miriam’s House. At times Marsh creates poetry with her vivid descriptions of the scenery, the women, their conversations, and the memories she’s had with them.

She uses flashbacks and foreshadowing to move seamlessly from the stories that she’s chosen to share and her own thoughts on the tragic history of black women suffering from AIDS. While Marsh’s choice not to recount her thirteen years at Miriam’s House in chronological order can be overwhelming to the reader who also has many characters to remember, it keeps the reader interested even though the book is quite lengthy.

Marsh shows her love for the women of Miriam’s House in the way she gives each woman a unique personality: She crafts descriptions of the women’s physical appearances, their voices, and their behavior in such detail it’s as if the reader has met each woman personally and spent time with her. Through Marsh’s storytelling, we’ve watched horror movies with Kimberly, sampled chitlins with Tamara, and observed interesting characters with Gina during emergency room visits.

Marsh shares the times of celebration–Christmas traditions, Miriam’s House anniversaries, and when women, like Kimberly, eventually improve in health and move out, but more often the stories are more tragic: women who die alone in the hospital, who leave young children behind, or who themselves are not much older than children. In this way, she memorializes these women, who would have been otherwise forgotten, and which makes their deaths–so many deaths–that much more heartbreaking.

As much as this is a story about the lives of these women who struggle to overcome addiction and face their debilitating health and imminent deaths bravely,Nowhere Else I Want to Be is also about the impact these women have on Marsh. What is perhaps most refreshing about the narration is Marsh’s honest reflection of herself.

As amazing as it is that she has given so much of herself to Miriam’s House, she is open about how her passion to serve others is tied closely to her need to be liked by others. In working with women who are vulnerable and mistrusting and taking on the tough role of enforcing unpopular rules to help women addicted to drugs and alcohol, Marsh realizes that true love is about serving others without expecting them to make her feel good about herself.

As enlightening as it was for her to come to this realization, it takes tense encounters and some big mistakes with the women and staff at Miriam’s House to slowly break the addiction of seeking others’ approval, which many adult readers can identify with.

During her first years at Miriam’s House, Marsh finds it difficult to assimilate into this community of black women with whom she has little in common. In order to truly help them, she has to come to terms with her own prejudices. As a white woman who grew up in a community where everyone spoke and looked like her, she comes to realize judgments that she didn’t even know existed.

Having never been addicted to any substance, she has no idea how difficult it is for these women to break this habit that worsens their health. Through living with them and witnessing their heartaches, Marsh develops a love for these women and becomes their greatest advocate.

In Nowhere Else I Want to Be, Carol Marsh describes the harsh realities that homeless women living with AIDS face. She gives the women of Miriam’s House a voice to share their untold stories–some of hope, but most of tragedy–with an elegance that makes her memoir unforgettable.Recommended rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Carol

WEBSITE                    FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE

Hello, friends and readers of NOWHERE ELSE I WANT TO BE: A MEMOIR:

This is a short message to tell you about my first podcast inerview.

Janna Marlies Maron, editor of the literary journal Under the Gum Tree, interviewed me about my book a month ago, and produced the interview for her podcast, More to the Story. In it, we talk about my memoir, life and work at Miriam’s House, writing while grieving, and lots more.

She entitled it "Structure is a B*tch, and Processing Grief through Writing Nonfiction."

It’s about 15 minutes long, and you can listen to it HERE.

I hope you’re all well!  --Carol

WEBSITE                FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE

Dear friends and readers of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir":

Good news!

"Nowhere Else I Want to Be" has won the Nonfiction GRAND PRIZE in the Authors Talk About It 2017 Book Contest.

This is the third award won by the book, which has also been awarded the FINALIST in 2017 Indie Excellence Book Awards (Memoir) and a FINALIST in 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (Autobiography and Memoir).

The book has also received 5-Star reviews from Authors Talk About It and Readers Favorites.

And here’s a LINK to an article about the book and me in the September issue of A&U MAGAZINE.

On November 16, I’ll be featured in a podcast interview on Janna Marlies Maron’s More to the Story.

Finally, please bear with me as I drop a broad hint: THE HOLIDAYS APPROACH! "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir" makes an inspiring gift:

  1. "Spectacular" -- Authors Talk About It
  2. "Spell-binding" -- Readers Favorite
  3. "We come away moved by the story [Carol] tells and the honesty with which she tells it." -- A&U Magazine
  4. "Throughout the book, Marsh avoids overly sentimental poetics in favor ofgenuinely human moments of connection." -- Current Newspapers

Best wishes, Carol D. Marsh

WEBSITE          FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE

Hello, readers and friends of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir" - 

I’m happy to announce two five-star reviews just in from Readers’ Favorite. One is below in its entirety with a link, the other is just linked. You’ll see when you click on the links that it’s easy to share to facebook, twitter, and other social platforms, so, please, share away! Word of mouth is awesome.

Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir by Carol D Marsh is an inspiring memoir that redefines the sense of humanity in a world where human values are quickly replaced by an egoistic culture. In this spellbinding memoir, the founder of Miriam’s House — a residence for Washington, DC’s homeless women with AIDS — shares her journey through the first ten years of her project. The reader is immediately transported into another side of Washington, a grim reality of suffering and pain that is ignored by those who hold the power to make the changes that could affect millions of lives. This is a story of one woman’s courage to step out of her world to confront the difficult reality of suffering and pain in others, a journey that is filled with powerful challenges. 

Carol D Marsh takes the reader with her through this story, confronting racism at its deepest core, struggling to create spaces where homeless women can experience hospitality and reconnect with their humanity. Readers will meet people like Kimberly, a woman who suffers from alcohol addiction, and Alyssa who longs for a mother’s touch, having been abandoned by her own mother. It’s a story that shows readers how, in the midst of the worst form of suffering, there is a light shining; that in the prostitute, there is a child of purity, and that in the distant, intolerant person, there could be someone wounded, yearning for love. 

Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir is a story of love and compassion, a memoir that brilliantly articulates values that our society needs to be a better place. I enjoyed how Marsh’s sense of humanity comes across in her narrative. I was stunned by her courage and her selfless spirit, reaching out to embrace the destitute in very difficult and trying circumstances, most often putting her own life in danger. This book - just like the work of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche - will change the way we look at others, especially those less fortunate than us. It brought tears to my eyes and awoke deep sentiments of compassion and a love I haven’t felt before. 

(Reviewed by Divine Zape) Read original post HERE

 Read second interview HERE

Thanks as always for your support of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be: A Memoir".

Carol

WEBSITE                    FORUM FOR GROWTH IN SERVICE

Hello, readers and friends of "Nowhere Else I Want to Be":

Happy Fall, everyone! I thought you’d like to know that the September issue of A&U Magazine has a lovely article about Miriam’s House, my book and me - "A Calling and More" - by Tammy Banks.

Read the first few paragraphs below, then click on the link to read the rest of the article.

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For Carol Marsh, starting Miriam’s House was something that she felt called upon to do. “It felt like coming home,” she recalls, “and I think that is the hallmark of a calling.”

Marsh founded the Washington, D.C., residence for homeless women with HIV/AIDS in 1996. But in many ways, she had been moving toward this kind of work since her teen years, when she’d read Catherine Marshall’s Christy. The 1967 bestselling novel about a young school teacher doing her damnedest to bring education to children in Appalachia had fired Marsh’s imagination: She’d seen herself as being “a benevolent helper of others” and making sense of all “the cruelty and inequity” in the world. There’d been comfort in “dreaming of 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.”

But the path to our true callings is seldom a straight one. We take wrong turns, get waylaid, or lose sight of where we’re headed. “I lost that vision for a while,” Marsh admits. “I moved to Washington, D. C., at thirty-five, and that’s when I reconnected with a passion that had been mine as a teenager.”

She threw herself into the work of bringing her vision of Miriam’s House to life. “We didn’t want to create a cookie-cutter program that forced women to comply or leave,” Marsh writes in her memoir Nowhere Else I Want to Be (Inkshares 2016), “so we opted for an open-to-the-possibilities, organic kind of growth that, while it achieved its goal of allowing residents to help shape this new program, also left us in chaos much of the time.” She started out “with a few rules about sobriety and violence and being able to live cooperatively in community” but soon realized that she needed to go beyond that.

For the disease was, she saw, only part of the story that each woman brought with her. The other part of the story—call it the back story or the subtext—was even more disturbing. (At Goucher College, she was, Marsh explains, encouraged to dig deeper and go “underneath the stories.”) Juanita, for instance, had begun shooting up at fourteen in an attempt to escape from a reality that included savage beatings by her own mother. Alyssa had been pimped out by a drug-addicted mother when she was twelve; despite that, she still loved and kept reaching out to the parent who never came to see her during her time at Miriam’s House.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE

******

Have a great day!

Carol

WEBSITE          FORUM for GROWTH in SERVICE          

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):

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Author Interview

Carol D. Marsh

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

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.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

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.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

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!

ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

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.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

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.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Marsh: I write nonfiction and memoiristic essays, so my ideas come from my life, by way of my heart.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

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.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

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.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

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.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

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.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

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).

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

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!

Carol

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

WEBSITE                    FACEBOOK


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: carol@caroldmarsh.com.

Thank you, and have a good day,

Carol

WEBSITE          FACEBOOK

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.

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