monica lewinsky

Carol D. Marsh

Carol D. Marsh has had a checkered career, beginning with a Gino’s and ranging through teaching, retail at a seminary bookstore, selling Mary Kay, a stint at a DuPont Co. message center, and some opera. Chronic migraine disease forced her resignation in 2010 from a job she loved and had been in for 17 years in the nonprofit sector. At that point, since there’d been non-profit in all of her career choices, writing seemed a logical next step. Marsh earned an MFA from Goucher college in 2014. Her memoir, Nowhere Else I Want to Be, was a 2018 finalist in Sarton Book Prizes, and National Indie Excellence Awards. Her essays have appeared in LAR’s Best of the Year, River Teeth, Chautauqua Journal, and Vassar Review, among others, and won awards from New Millennium Writings and Tucson Festival of Books. Now 66, she lives in Washington, DC with her wonderful husband, and is working on an essay collection about being a highly sensitive person. Yes, it’s a real thing. She’s made her peace with chronic pain—mostly—and is glad for writing’s creative outlet and feeling of productivity. Visit her website: caroldmarsh.com

Essay

I’m Sorry Monica: #MeToo, Monica Lewinsky, and Me

written by Carol D. Marsh

“I’m Sorry, Monica” is a letter to Monica Lewinsky. In it, the author, Carol Marsh, takes a soul-searching look at how she reacted to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in the late 1990s. She explores the roots of her feminism and the family dynamics that affected it, and shares how the #MeToo movement jarred her into examining how she and other women unfairly excoriated Ms. Lewinsky.

 

© 2022 Carol D. Marsh  | Recording © 2022 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Dear Monica:

You don’t know me, but I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately, what with Andrew Cuomo re-starting the MeToo avalanche and you being a producer on American Crime Story: Impeachment.

The “Monica Lewinsky scandal”? Why not the “Bill Clinton-is-a-lying-adulterer scandal”? I was furious at yet another man who couldn’t keep his pants zipped, but it was you I blamed.

I believe in redemption. I would love to see the Clintons go to a #MeToo rally and say, “We were wrong in how we managed things when Bill’s infidelities and assaults were reported; we were wrong in how we treated women like Paula Jones and Monica Lewinski.

Somehow, your story, MeToo, and my redemption are tied up together, and I’m just trying to loosen the knot. 

You’ve had the fortitude to endure what would have crushed me, and now you’re out in the same world that F-ed you over, speaking publically for yourself and on behalf of bullied people everywhere. You embody grit, pluck, spirit, and grace under pressure as no one else I can bring to mind, and I admire you.

monica lewinsky

Carol D. Marsh has had a checkered career, beginning with a Gino’s and ranging through teaching, retail at a seminary bookstore, selling Mary Kay, a stint at a DuPont Co. message center, and some opera. Chronic migraine disease forced her resignation in 2010 from a job she loved and had been in for 17 years in the nonprofit sector. At that point, since there’d been non-profit in all of her career choices, writing seemed a logical next step. Marsh earned an MFA from Goucher college in 2014. Her memoir, Nowhere Else I Want to Be, was a 2018 finalist in Sarton Book Prizes, and National Indie Excellence Awards. Her essays have appeared in LAR’s Best of the Year, River Teeth, Chautauqua Journal, and Vassar Review, among others, and won awards from New Millennium Writings and Tucson Festival of Books. Now 66, she lives in Washington, DC with her wonderful husband, and is working on an essay collection about being a highly sensitive person. Yes, it’s a real thing. She’s made her peace with chronic pain—mostly—and is glad for writing’s creative outlet and feeling of productivity. Visit her website: caroldmarsh.com

Q&A with Carol

Tell us about your story...

This essay is a deep dive into my life as a feminist and its many failings, the catalyst being a Vanity Fair essay I read by Monica Lewinsky right as the #MeToo movement got underway. My earliest draft was in the form of a letter, just because that’s how it arose from my gut. I decided to keep the letter form and the tone of personal address to Ms. Lewinsky because every revision felt too academic, too removed. When I wrote as though directly to her, my voice came alive. I don’t know if she’ll ever see this, but that wasn’t ever the point, and isn’t now. I simply needed to get honest with myself, and this was the way to do it best.

 

What was the inspiration for this story?

The #MeToo movement, which I followed closely, brought me to a realization about how poorly my supposed feminism served me during Bill Clinton’s scandal-ridden last years in office. After I read Monica Lewinski’s essay in Vanity Fair (I think it came out in 2014, but I read it a couple years later), and listened to her TED talk on bullying, I simply had to sit myself down and make a thorough, honest assessment of myself and my so-called feminism. This essay is the result.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last few months?

What’s been happening all along: I have a wonderful husband who has a job, a comfy and secure place to life, and all I need. Every day, I am grateful. Oh, and my chapbook, Border/Between: A Symphony in Essays was picked up by Bamboo Dart Press.

What are you most looking forward to, post pandemic?

I want to go out protesting again, doing civil disobedience and getting arrested for it. Climate change, the threat to our democracy, women’s rights, civil rights…  There’s no shortage of things that need change. I miss that part of life.

 

 

 

What have you recently read that you loved, and why?

I don’t know that ‘love’ is the right word, but I’m working my way slowly through Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands. It’s a tough read for me, but an important one.

Coffee or tea? Whiskey or Wine?

Tea – Mighty Leaf Organic Breakfast. I buy it loose in 1-lb bags.

Wine – Riesling (for some reason, it’s not hard on migraines).

Tomorrow, I absolutely refuse to…

Give in to hopelessness.

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