Lorraine Ash, MA, is the author of Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing (NewSage Press, 2004) and Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life (Cape House Books, 2012). Both are spiritual memoirs, an old but evolving genre she believes in as a catalyst for personal healing and transformation and social change.
“We each were born as a character into a large family and cultural story,” she said, “and not always in the roles we would have chosen for ourselves. Then fate takes us in unexpected directions. Writing spiritual memoir is a way to weave our outer and inner lives to create meaning and trace and direct our evolving identities over time, including that timeless core in each of us called the soul.”
What does all that have to do with social change? Nothing helps the human race see and understand itself more than such honest witnessing in every corner of the human experience. There is no taboo territory in autobiographical writing, which the author William Dean Howells once called “the most democratic province in the republic of letters.”
In her workshops and writing retreats Lorraine fuses rigorous original literary techniques with a wide range of spiritual and philosophical thought. Participants learn to find their strongest writing voice, structure their stories in compelling ways and see their lives from surprising and useful new angles. All these goals are achieved in an informal backdrop of serenity and relaxation. Why? Because gracious contemplation is a friend to creativity. The ultimate achievement always is for the writer to lead herself, and her readers, to some spiritual truth.
Additionally, Lorraine writes shorter memoiric works that have appeared in anthologies, including Steeped in the World of Tea, and various journals and webzines such as Cairn, Journeys, Ducts and Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing. But she doesn’t always write memoir and autobiographical fiction.
A full-time journalist, Lorraine also enjoys the challenges of writing stories about other people and the issues and forces that impact their lives. She has been an editor/reporter in her native New Jersey since 1982, the year she earned her master’s degree in Communications from Fordham University in the Bronx. Currently, she writes for the Daily Record, where her feature articles and special series have won national, state, and regional awards. Her work has appeared in other Gannett newspapers, including USA Today. Over the years, Lorraine has belonged to a number of professional organizations, including The International Women's Writing Guild, Women Who Write, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and Investigative Reporters and Editors.
As a peer grief contact for the SIDS Center of New Jersey, Lorraine works one-on-one with bereaved mothers of infants. She also is an adviser to the Public Awareness Committee of the International Stillbirth Alliance.
She lives in Allendale, New Jersey, with her husband, Bill, a jazz trumpeter. Her passions include philosophy, reading, cooking, fitness, and the state of Maine.