Begin a beautiful summer of wonderful writing at a peaceful, productive retreat…

Lorraine Ash presents

Window to the Soul: Writing a Deep and Unforgettable Spiritual Memoir

Basic Workshop: Dinner Friday, June 4, 2010 through lunch Sunday, June 6, 1010

Optional Intensive: Afternoon Sunday, June 6, 2010 through lunch Monday, June 7, 2010

Are you writing a memoir but are unsure where to start or end your story?  Or what parts of your life to include? Are you having trouble making your chapters flow? Do you sense your prose is competent but lacks depth or flow? Do you feel you have something valuable to say but are unsure how to present or refine it? Then Window to the Soul is the workshop for you.

The basic workshop

Dinner Friday, June 4, 2010 through lunch Sunday, June 6, 2010

We begin Friday night with a brief overview of the distinctly American tradition of the spiritual memoir so we understand the lineage and purpose of the genre.

Starting Saturday, we will address the building blocks of spiritual memoir — inner events, outer events, and reflections — and proceed to study how they can be juxtaposed into engaging sequences, complete with segues. Creating sequences allows us to better see where chapters can effectively start and stop. We will learn how to expose life patterns as we write for the purpose of revealing progressively deeper versions of — and understandings about — ourselves.

Micro-lessons will include how to deal with unknowability, the difference between a memoir and an autobiographical novel, and the decision on where (not how) to end your book.

The course is infused with thoughts from various spiritual traditions and excerpts from the works of respected spiritual memoirists, including Robert Johnson, Kathleen Norris and May Sarton.

The (optional) intensive

Afternoon Sunday, June 6, 2010 through lunch Monday, June 7, 2010

After lunch Sunday participants in the intensive can savor silence and alone time to write anywhere on the grounds. Lorraine will be circulating and offering one-on-one sessions (no extra charge) to anyone who’d like one. There will be an optional Sunday night group critique, and a Monday morning session devoted solely to addressing the literary questions and problems of participants.


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 May 14 (except for early birds who reap the benefit of a discount by paying in full before March 31)

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), each for $70. She is offering a retreat rate of $110 to those who would like both.


Contact Lorraine

How to sign up

Two really simple steps:

  1. Contact Lorraine to say you’re in.
  2. Send your $100 deposit check to

    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 May 20, 2010. If you cancel between May 21 and June 2, payment, excluding deposit, will be refunded at 50%. No refund or credit is available if you cancel on or after June 3, 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, is now in its final stages. 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.