Mark your calendar: Coming October 22-26, 2010 at Carmel Retreat, Mahwah NJ

The Three Writers Inside Every Writer: A Memoirist’s Guide to the Literary Universe

Basic Workshop: Dinner Friday, Oct. 22 through lunch Monday, Oct. 25

Optional Intensive: Afternoon Monday, Oct. 25 through lunch Tuesday, Oct. 26

Are you unsure how to structure your first, second, or even third memoir?  Do you feel you’re writing passable prose but wonder how to add depth and dimension that you sense are lacking? Have you finished your memoir but feel discouraged by rejection letters from agents and editors and wonder if there’s an alternative, even better, publishing route to take? Then The Three Writers is the workshop for you.

The basic workshop

We begin Friday night with a reading from the first memoir ever written and explain the surprising origin of the genre and the reasons for its endurance. We also will introduce the three writers — The Artistic Self, The Business Self and The Genius Self. Throughout the workshop we will develop and strengthen our knowledge of the three writers. Why is this important? Because it is not until we understand their various roles that we become completely conscious and in command of our own creative process. Otherwise, the three writers within us may interfere with one another, instead of enhance and protect each other.

Saturday opens our discussion of The Artistic Self, which employs the intellect. We will cover three inspired ways to contemplate and organize the life stories we want to tell. These sessions will include working with the technique of applying key cultural, countercultural or even ancient ideas to our own life situations and dilemmas.

In The Business Self sessions, we will discover why now more than ever it is pivotal for an author to understand the economics and realities of traditionally breaking into print in literary journals and books and entertain the option of true self-publishing, which is very different from subsidy publishing.

In The Genius Self sessions, we will cover how to employ the subconscious mind to work with us on the page when thinking does nothing but mire us deeper into problems. To accomplish this, we will delve into the territory of dreamwork, active imagination and shamanic journeying.

The course is infused with excerpts from the works of respected authors, including Dorothea Brande, Vladimir Nabokov, Jennifer Traig, Jill Bolte Taylor, Phillip Lopate, Brenda Peterson, Kathleen Norris, and more.

The (optional) intensive

Writers who stay for the intensive will enjoy alone time to work on their projects, one-on-one sessions with Lorraine (no extra charge) on Monday afternoon and an optional Monday night session at which each participant can read up to ten pages to be critiqued and present one writerly problem or concern for discussion. On Tuesday morning Lorraine will present a skills session on time telescoping, an effective technique for memoir writers.


The 100-year-old Carmel Retreat, set on a 30-acre country estate in the Ramapo Mountains of Mahwah, New Jersey,, adjacent to a wilderness preserve. Our group will be based in a charming old stone house called The Lodge. The workshop will be held in the second-floor conference room, which is a large living room with lots of upholstered chairs and couches, bookshelves and a fireplace. The Lodge also has a communal kitchen and social dining/living area, both on the first floor. We will be served our meals in the dining room at The Priory, which is a five-minute walk from The Lodge.


There are rooms for eleven participants — eight in The Lodge and three in The Hermitage, a smaller old stone house right next door. Each participant will have her own room and share a bathroom with at most one other person. All the rooms are comparable, most with a different but distinguishing feature.


Payment policy

A $100 deposit reserves your spot; balance is due October 1 (except for early birds who reap the benefit of a discount by paying in full before August 20).

Optional services

The popular and nurturing Elle Levenson joins us again and will offer hour-long 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.


Contact Lorraine

How to sign up

Two really simple steps:

  1. Contact Lorraine to say you intend to come, indicating whether you’re interested in the Basic or Basic + Intensive weekend. This will hold you a spot for one week.
  2. Your spot is not actually reserved for you until Lorraine receives a $100 deposit check at the following address:

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

    That’s it! Sign-up starts now. First come, first served.

Driving directions

Cancellation policy

Payment made, excluding deposit, will be refunded in full if you cancel on or before October 7, 2010. If you cancel between October 8 and October 20, payment, excluding deposit, will be refunded at 50%. No refund or credit is available if you cancel on or after October 21, 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.

About Lorraine

Lorraine Ash, MA, is the author of Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing (NewSage Press, 2004/2007), 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, A Sudden End to Seeking: Finding Peace and Purpose Within, will be published in 2011. She has taught workshops on memoir and writing to heal at venues around the country. Lorraine also is a published playwright and essayist and, for 28 years, an award-winning journalist and newspaper columnist.

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 web site, contact Lorraine.