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Mark your calendar: Coming September 28, 2012 at Ocean Plaza, Ocean Grove, NJ


Love Lines: Exploring the Most Powerful Force in Personal Writing

Workshop: Dinner Friday, September 28, through noon Sunday, Sept. 30

“Someday after we have mastered the winds, the waves,the tides, and gravity, we shall harness... the energies of love.”
—Teilhard de Chardin

Love is the primary organizing force of our lives. It is our essence, our journey, and our destination. Life provides us with all we need to learn about love. What it’s like to love another, love ourselves, or experience a transcendent love within and around us.

But we also are not loved when we should be. We are loved in a way that isn’t right or good for us. We are injured in the name of love. We develop a false self and embrace a false love. Or our love is betrayed, or dismissed.

So love, it can be said, is the ultimate narrative thread of our lives, as uneven as the stitching may be. There is no more vital way to write our lives than to weave in words the insights and experiences we’ve gained from our love journeys.

For an understanding of what love is and what it is not, we will turn to Lessons of the Lotus and then apply that knowledge in the writing of our own stories. Our discussions also will be infused with modern scientific and psychological thinking and inspired by the work of marvelous authors who have explored the trajectory of love in their own stories Louise Wisechild, Sarah Manguso,  Roger Rosenblatt, and Pat Carr, among others.

Love Lines is for those who want to write to deepen self-knowledge, navigate a difficult life situation, or for publication. Whichever path is chosen, our exploration of writing love using both linear and non-linear story structures will illuminate the way.  Participants will choose which type of personal writing best fits their temperaments and the stories they need to understand and/or tell.

Guest speaker

Seijaku Roshi

Seijaku Roshi of the Pine Wind Zen Center will speak to the group on Saturday night.

Saturday night, we will have a special guest speaker on our topic Seijaku Roshi of Pine Wind Zen Center in Shamong, NJ, who has a crystalline speaking style. He has a way of weaving modern life and classical Buddhist wisdom that is not to be missed.


This year’s “Writing by the Sea” retreat takes place in historic Ocean Grove. Known as “The Jewel of the Jersey Shore,” the town is at the northern tip of New Jersey’s seaside communities. Founded in 1869 as a Victorian-era camp meeting site, Ocean Grove is one square mile of natural beauty, including great beaches, a serene boardwalk, and tree-lined streets. It features the highest concentration of authentic Victorian architecture in the country, including the legendary Great Auditorium, home to many top-rated shows and events.

Ocean Plaza hotel

The Ocean Plaza hotel, site of the Love Lines workshop.

Wraparound porch

Dining on the porch at the Ocean Plaza hotel.

Sunrise over the ocean

Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, just one block away from the Ocean Plaza hotel.

We writers will live and study at the Ocean Plaza hotel located on the historic Ocean Pathway just one block from the beach and a very short walk from the unique shops and casual and fine dining restaurants in the town’s quaint shopping district.

Completely restored in the 1990s, the century-old Ocean Plaza blends Victorian charm and modern conveniences, including central air conditioning and heat, private baths, cable TV, full Internet access, a warm and inviting parlor, and wraparound porches with ocean views.

We will take our Continental breakfasts and our dinners on the second-floor wraparound porch where we can enjoy a panoramic ocean view. The writers will be on their own for lunches so they can explore the great eateries in the shopping district.

During down time, writers can walk the beach or boardwalk to be alone with their thoughts, enjoy a relaxing reflexology or champissage session with Elle Levenson at the Ocean Plaza, write on one of its porches, or take a nap. Coffee, tea, and snacks are available throughout the day, and a small refrigerator can be placed in any room upon request.


There are private rooms for up to thirteen participants. Each participant will have his or her own bathroom. All rooms are very lovely and comparable. The Ocean Plaza is completely handicapped accessible with an entrance/exit ramp and wheelchair access to all first-floor rooms. Room 5 on the first floor is ADA approved.


The complete course fee gets it all: tuition, packet of workshop materials, single room with private bath for two nights, two dinners and two breakfasts. (Commuter rate does not include room or breakfasts.)

Workshop fee: $849
Deposit to reserve your place now: $100
Balance due by September 1: $749
See below for available discounts

Workshop fee for commuters: $629
Deposit to reserve your place now: $100
Balance due by September 1: $529
See below for available discounts

Discounts: Writers (residents and commuters alike) can take up to $150 off the full price using one or both of these discounts:

Optional services

Elle Levenson

Elle Levenson will offer reflexology and champissage.

Since creativity flows best when we’re relaxed, the popular and nurturing Elle Levenson once again will join us and offer sessions of reflexology and champissage (supremely relaxing Indian head, neck and shoulder massage). A reflexology session costs $80; a champissage session costs $70. She is offering a retreat rate of $120 to those who would like both.

How to sign up

Two really simple steps:

  1. to say you intend to come.
  2. Within one week of sending the email, send Lorraine a $100 deposit (or the full amount due, if you wish to take advantage of the Full Payment Discount described above). Your place is not actually reserved for you until Lorraine receives the deposit. You can send money through PayPal to lvash@optonline.net or send a check made payable to Lorraine Ash to the following address:

    Lorraine Ash
    P.O. Box 200
    Allendale, NJ 07401-0200

    That’s it! Sign-up starts now. First come, first served. After all spots fill, a wait list will begin.

Cancellation policy

Payment made, excluding deposit, will be refunded in full if you cancel on or before September 13, 2012. If you cancel between September 14 and September 26, payment, excluding deposit, will be refunded at 50%. No refund or credit is available if you cancel on or after September 27, on the workshop’s arrival day, if you do not show up, if you do not notify us of cancellation, or if you leave an event early for any reason. In the unlikely event we cancel the workshop due to unforeseen circumstances, we will refund your payment in full.


Contact Lorraine

Driving directions


About Lorraine

Lorraine Ash

Journalist, author, and teacher Lorraine Ash.

Lorraine Ash, MA, is the author of Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing (NewSage Press, 2004/2007/2011), a memoir that has reached mothers throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in Mexico, the Middle East, Australia, Europe, and China. Her second book, also a spiritual memoir, will be released in Summer 2012 by Cape House Books. She has taught workshops on memoir and writing to heal at conferences and other venues nationwide.

Lorraine also is a published playwright and essayist and, for 29 years, an award-winning journalist and newspaper columnist. In 2011 she won New Jersey Press Association awards for her Enterprise Writing and News Writing portfolios.

For a schedule of Lorraine’s upcoming retreats and workshops, visit the Events and Appearances page. For descriptions of the different workshops Lorraine offers, visit the aptly named Lorraine’s Workshops page. For any questions not answered on the website, contact Lorraine.