"A treasure" -- Authors Talk About It/5-Star Review, read HERE
"Spellbinding" -- Readers Favorite/5-Star Review, read HERE
"Unforgettable" -- Book Review Directory/5-Star Review, read HERE
is about ten of the seventeen years during which, as Founding Executive Director, I lived at Miriam’s House with women who were homeless and had AIDS.
I am a graduate of Goucher College’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction program, where my thesis was this memoir.
Excerpts have been published in print in Soundings Review (Honorable Mention - 2014 First Publication Contest), and online in Jenny Magazine (read story), while another was the Featured Essay in March 2015 bioStories (to read the story, click on my name, fourth down on right-hand column .)
A story about me, of course, but equally about the women, the book describes a life both richly rewarding and very difficult. It chronicles a time in the AIDS epidemic, from 1996 to 2005, when the advent of new medications and treatments began to change AIDS from a fatal illness to a chronic one. It does so from the point of view of those last to benefit from these advances: women who were poor and on Medicaid, reliant on emergency rooms and free clinics.
The book’s narrative is driven by differences in race, class, education, health, lifetime opportunity, and by stories of the women themselves. A shy and introverted person, I struggle with my dual role as leader and member of the community. I learn that my passion for social justice is not served just by building Miriam’s House, but is only made real by being there day by difficult day, in community with women who challenge me at the core of who I think I am.
The women are wonderful, funny, frustrating and, many of them, dying. Valeria channels a TV character called Sha-nay-nay and struts around the dining room tossing off Attitude with a cobra-whip of her neck. Crystal, blind and afraid of the dark and whom I had promised would not be alone when she dies, passes away alone in the hospital while I am taking a weekend off. Kimberly defies the odds by living with us for nine years despite her disease. Alyssa dies at our house waiting for the mother who would not come to her; the mother who put her on the street as a prostitute when she was only twelve.