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Guest Posts, Relationships

How to Fix a Bluey Heart

February 14, 2021
blue heart made of napkin time

By Dustin Grinnell

By my mid-thirties, most of my college friends had moved out of Boston to other cities. Many were married and starting families. While they bought homes and built families, I focused my time and energy on writing essays and fiction, trying to become the best writer I could be. I wasn’t making new friendships and I didn’t often see the friends I had. Devoting all my spare time to pursuing my goals, I dated casually, avoiding commitment. These were productive years for me, but I was disconnected and lonely.

Tragically, I didn’t see a problem with this dynamic. Not only had I forgotten the value of friendship—once asking a psychologist to “sell me on friendship”—but I also thought my happiness didn’t depend on others. This attitude came from growing up with my father and brother in a hyper-masculine household. In my father’s home, a “real man” is self-reliant. A “real man” pursues his goals without help from others. A “real man” doesn’t need support from friends or loved ones. If you’re dependent, you’re vulnerable, and a “real man” is never vulnerable. It took me years to realize that this was bullshit. Now I know that everyone needs care and support to flourish in life—yes, even men. Without nurturing, without love, we can wither. And I had been withering.

When I met Sam at 35, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted from a romantic relationship—to marry, build a family, live in the suburbs—but I knew what I needed. Casual dating had run its course, providing less and less fulfillment. I knew I needed someone who could satisfy my emotional needs, not my sexual desires. I needed someone to offer support. Someone to listen to me and validate my ideas. I needed someone to care.

Sam and I met in Boston, at an MFA program in creative writing. We hit it off right away at one of our program’s ten-day residencies, where all the students came to campus for workshops, classes, readings, and more. Since then, we’ve been inseparable. Together, we have visited beaches, parks, and bars all over New England and beyond. We edit each other’s work. We’ve met each other’s families. We constantly joke and laugh. Early on, I realized that Sam was the best friend I desperately needed.

We’re perhaps an odd pairing. I’m in my mid-30s from the mountains of New Hampshire who was living in Boston at the time. She’s in her late 20s from the beaches of Florida who had been living in New York City at the time. I studied science, she studied theater. I write science fiction, she writes young adult. But we’re similar in many ways. We both grew up lower-class. We both see the world’s absurdity and mock it. And we’re both writers—hungry to find our voices and make our marks on the world.

As a preschool teacher, Sam has the unique gift of being able to comfort tiny humans who can’t always tell her where it hurts. It’s a superpower she often uses on me. If I’m stressed or frustrated, Sam senses it. She listens to me when I’m disappointed. She tolerates me when I’m mad. And she does all of this without my asking for help from her. This is important because—due to my upbringing—I never ask.

Though I was already working , on it in therapy, Sam was unwittingly helping me reform my decidedly “jock” origins. Regrettably, in high school and college, I displayed a fair share of toxic masculinity. A “never show weakness” attitude in the halls and classroom. Ignorant jokes in locker rooms. Tough-guy behavior with friends. Anything else was wimpy or weak.

To be fair, my interpretation of masculinity was like most of the males who came of age in my generation. A man of my era never showed softness. A man of this time didn’t admit fault. A man of this time didn’t ask for directions if they took a wrong turn. We were adept at pushing away emotions and soldiering on during tough times. Therapy helped me unlearn this programming. But women also played a large part in my reeducation—working with them, loving them, sometimes hating them. Yet, it was Sam’s caring and nurturing that allowed me to drop the macho facade and be vulnerable, thereby helping me build a less repressed, more sincere view of myself and manhood.

It wasn’t just my dad who had predisposed me to having a troubled relationship with my emotions. During childhood, my mom could be emotionally distant and wasn’t adept at understanding my emotional needs. When I was upset, she struggled to understand the cause of my distress and didn’t always know how to take away the pain. I don’t blame her because it wasn’t entirely her fault. I’ve always sensed that my mom doesn’t quite know how to label her own emotions and console herself when she’s distressed. Instead, she avoids vulnerability and talking about her feelings, and often busies herself in distracting activity (or drinking). I also knew that in her teenage years, my mom went through a traumatic event that drove her further away from her own feelings. And so, in addition to inheriting my dad’s macho attitude, I got my mom’s habit of avoiding emotions, negative ones in particular.

It was Sam who helped me overcome this tragic handicap. First, she tunes into my emotional state. Then she gives me the nurturing I am too afraid to—or don’t know how to—request. She then holds space for me to be vulnerable—a medicine my parents didn’t seem to have.

To help illustrate Sam’s powers, it’s best to show and not tell how she works with children. Recently, Sam was babysitting an adorable six-year-old who grew upset when her parents had to work longer than usual in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Sam could tell that the little girl was feeling ignored. Knowing this “sweet little nugget just needed some lovin’,” Sam delivered a prescription of snuggles while the child wept in her lap and explained why she was sad. An hour later, they were on the playground and the nugget was crossing the monkey bars with confidence.

This is Sam’s gift and it’s been working its magic on me since we met. Her secret is what might be called “extreme empathy.” She feels everyone’s pain and is often willing to take it on to help. One of Sam’s favorite books to read to her students is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. She relates to the apple tree in the story that gives a little boy everything he needs while he grows older. Over the course of the boy’s life, the tree gives the boy parts of itself—apples, branches, and its trunk to make a boat—until the tree eventually becomes a stump. The boy returns to the tree as an old man. Only a stump by this point, the tree can only offer the man a seat. “The tree was happy.”

Like the Giving Tree, Sam often feels that she gives pieces of herself to others to relieve their suffering. When Sam wakes up in the middle of the night, more often than not, it’s because of her extreme empathy flaring up. Worrying about others, she sympathizes with a problem I’m having, thinks about how she can help her struggling sister, or how scared her students are at having to go back to school during the pandemic.

Like the Giving Tree, Sam gives pieces of herself to the people in her life and lets them empty themselves out in her presence. It’s what she did with that child she was babysitting and it’s what she’s done with me many times. Sam lets you vent if you’re frustrated or pout when you’re down. I can share an insight from therapy, an idea for a story, or a dream I had the night before. And when I empty myself, I feel full.

Early on as we got to know each other, I told Sam about a previous long-term relationship I had with a woman I’ll call Paige. With Paige, I felt like a lottery winner. I had found someone who satisfied my emotional needs and my desires for sexual fulfillment. We broke up six years ago and I told Sam that my heart had been “bluey” ever since. I had been dating casually but was emotionally unavailable for romantic partners. I had also developed the unfortunate pattern of looking for sexual fulfillment from women who I knew wouldn’t satisfy my emotional needs. It’s a painful trick I often play on myself. If I pursue someone who’s a poor fit, the relationship will ultimately fail. And when it fails, I don’t get hurt because I knew it would never work anyway.

Sam helped me patch up my bluey heart.

Spending time with Sam helped me realize I wasn’t reflecting on my relationship with Paige. Comparing Paige to Sam, I had overestimated how intimate I’d been with Paige. Paige wasn’t as attuned to my emotional needs as I had thought. The night before she moved to the west coast, we attended a Red Sox game. Distraught over her departure, I broke into tears on the subway on the ride home. Paige rubbed my back awkwardly, not knowing how to comfort me, as my mom might have done when I was a boy. Also, in looking back, Paige wasn’t much interested in my writing goals either. To be fair, it’s not that she didn’t care at all about my dreams. Rather, she was in her mid-twenties and didn’t have the bandwidth to focus on my self-discovery and evolution because she was learning and developing who she was at the same time.

As I spent more time with Sam, the loneliness and disconnection I had been feeling began to lift. It was a tremendous boost for me to talk about writing with Sam. Together, we stoked the fires of each other’s passion for the craft. We listened to each other’s ideas, helped nurture them into reality, and read and edited each other’s work. It’s not uncommon for one of us to text the other about a compelling premise for a story and then send a screenshot the next morning of the first page we’ve written. Sam was my sounding board for story or article ideas.

With more attention and dialogue around my passion, the quality of my work began to improve. So powerful was having someone interested in my ideas, it gave me the confidence to take creative risks in my work. During my MFA, I changed my style of fiction from a commercial to a literary style—from Dan Brown to Edgar Allen Poe. My writing went to another level and publishing opportunities started to roll in.

Meanwhile, if I ever became frustrated or confused, Sam held space for me to be vulnerable. It was the first time I had ever relied on someone and it felt good to be supported. When my head is in the clouds, musing over concepts or philosophizing over theories, I can neglect the mundane tasks of daily living. If I’m preoccupied, Sam steps in to remind me to update my iPhone. She’ll grab a broom and sweep the floor if it’s been neglected. She’ll help diagnose a computer issue if it’s driving me crazy. If I have a demanding workday approaching, Sam will deliver an iced coffee to my apartment.

In therapy, I continued to explore my failed relationship with Paige. It took a while, but at last I figured out why our breakup had destroyed me.

When I was about five, my mother left our family for a year or so, which confused my younger brother and me. For us, it was the incomprehensible nature of her leaving that was most traumatic. Another inexplicable loss occurred when my grandmother died of cancer when I was seventeen, which re-triggered the loss of my mom in me. So when Paige moved across the country, I once again felt abandoned by a woman for reasons I didn’t grasp. But I knew Sam wasn’t going to leave and that was good medicine for a bluey heart like mine. I once asked Sam where she thought she’d be in five years. “Wherever you are,” she said.

Over time, I recognized that though I had loved Paige, we met at the wrong time in our lives. I knew that if I didn’t follow her to the Pacific Northwest, I would lose her. And I did lose her. Selfish as it may seem, I didn’t follow her because I needed that time to focus on my writing. A young artist needed time—years of intense study. Misguided or not, I felt if I didn’t give everything to the craft in my thirties, I’d never become who I wanted to become. Again, perhaps this is self-centered, but writing gives meaning to my life and I’ve made sacrifices for it. I sacrificed someone I loved.

Two years into meeting Sam, I got the closure I needed with Paige. I got in touch with Paige and apologized for not moving across the country with her. She expressed her regret as well. She admitted that she knew I needed that time and that she wouldn’t be able to fulfill that supportive role that was essential to me. She needed that time to transition as well—to continue learning and understanding who she was and find her place in the world.

The medicine for trauma isn’t just talking, reflecting, and shedding cathartic tears. It’s also humor. Sam can be lighthearted and playful, and she sometimes giggles at my “serious” ideas about life and death. Without invalidating my ideas, Sam can make light of my criticisms about mindless careerism, the irresponsibility of the media, and the shortness of life. When Sam pokes fun at my seriousness, it lightens me. It reminds me to stop thinking about life and focus on living it. I became sillier and more fun-loving, especially with Sam. I’m still just as dedicated to my work, but I take the journey less seriously now. Thanks to Sam, I take myself less seriously.

Now, I would be remiss without revealing that Sam loves me hard. The love and affection that Sam shows me pales in comparison to anything I’ve experienced in previous relationships. Her love is so intense, it can’t be avoided or denied. I’m staggered and inspired by it. But are we “together”? Are we dating? It’s the question everyone asks. It’s a constant hum in the background of our companionship. I often think of Sam as my best friend, but she’s much more than that.

In the beginning, Sam expressed her desire for physical intimacy, but I have been holding that part of our relationship back. It’s not just that Sam doesn’t quite fit my “type,” which motivates how I choose sexual partners; it’s that our relationship provides something more vital to me. I wasn’t opposed to the possibility of these desires developing, but when they didn’t, I started to believe that we could continue our unique dynamic forever. Who cares if weren’t “boyfriend and girlfriend”? Given how emotionally satisfying our connection is, I could do without the erotic part.

Eventually, this logic broke down. I went on dates with other women and concealed them from Sam. Even though Sam and I aren’t in an official “relationship”, I felt disloyal when seeing other women. Whatever dating I did was short-lived anyway. I always came back to Sam because I enjoy her company the most. I have the most fun with her. I’m most fulfilled by her. I love her. And so, I stopped going on dates.

But this still didn’t address Sam’s desires. So I tackled that conflict by doing what Sam always gives me space to do: be emotionally vulnerable, a skill that took me years to learn and one that all men would be wise to learn in the 21st century. I divulged that I cherished our connection and intimacy, but was still uncertain about my desire for sexual fulfillment. I told her that our deep emotional connection is more important than the passing pleasures of physical intimacy, at least for now. I questioned whether our connection needed to be defined. Could we just keep caring and supporting each other with a label?

During this conversation, I confessed that meeting her was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I said that she had helped dissolve the disconnection that had found its way into my life in my thirties. I cherished the fact that she watched out for me and wanted the best for me. I had found someone I could laugh with, write with, and go on adventures with.

I had thought I won the lottery with Paige, but I struck gold with Sam. Meeting Sam helped me realize what was missing in my relationship with Paige. I was broken after Paige and Sam helped put me back together. Sam fixed my bluey heart. Now I know how to love again, and, in doing so, how to live again.

Dustin Grinnell’s creative nonfiction has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, New Scientist, Vice, Salon, Hektoen International, and Writer’s Digest, among others. 


Verge, by Lidia Yuknavitch, is out in paperback. These short stories will grip your heart and mind.  The writing is sharp and the empathetic portraits of broken people will stay with you long after you finish the collection.

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy at or Amazon.


Anti-racist resources, because silence is not an option



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Guest Posts, Relationships

Dangerous Mouths

December 11, 2016

By Kimi Eisele

On your journey you will come to a time of waking. The others may be asleep. Or you may be alone.
-Muriel Rukeyser

One summer I watched 60 hours of the zombie apocalypse on Netflix. Four seasons of The Walking Dead. Then, because I couldn’t wait six months for the next season, I watched that on free TV web sites, which, because they were illegal, shuffled on and offline in mysterious fashion.

I’d make popcorn and pour myself a glass of wine then move the laptop to the coffee table and sit and eat and drink and watch. Usually two episodes in a row. Sometimes three. Or four.

Watching between two and six episodes of a show at one sitting is considered “binge-watching,” according to a 2014 Netflix survey. Of those surveyed, 61 percent reported binge-watching regularly, and 73 percent said they felt good about it. Binge-watching was a better way to experience a serial drama; it offered a welcome refuge from modern-day, busy life.

I didn’t watch to escape busyness. I was trying to recover a mangled heart and didn’t know how else to staunch the bleeding. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Letting Go, love

Prop Love. By Jordan E. Rosenfeld.

February 14, 2014

My first serious relationship was forged, not in lust or booze, like most of my college friends, but in furniture and household goods. “Martin” and I moved in together at the end of our Freshman year, built a checking account on the flimsy foundation of financial aid checks and subsisted on Bisquick pancake batter and big dreams.

For the first five months of living together we slept in a pile of sheets and blankets on the floor lusting after bedroom sets we couldn’t afford and dish settings to match.

“There’s no way I’m taking help from your parents,” he insisted. Having not yet met his family or laid eyes on his childhood home, I didn’t understand his stonewalling. But I was not too proud to take help on the sly, my parents peeling off cash like dealers, to buy a few necessities and blend them in slowly so he wouldn’t notice. There was a grimy romance to our deprivation. My attitude was partly from having grown up in Marin County, California, where, no matter that one of my parents’ income was Welfare provided and the other from illicit sales, my grandparents still had to bail us out. I wouldn’t fully appreciate Martin’s origins for many months to come.

Meanwhile, Martin got a job on campus cleaning dorms that first summer and came home with abandoned items while the supervisor looked the other way. We gained an electric can opener, a good cutting knife and eventually our first bed, a rickety, bent-spring mattress set, stained and smelling faintly of ammonia.

While these were hardly luxury items, they were the glue we needed to paste together the edges of our flimsy union.

Martin dressed like a J.Crew model, in tightly-fitting, sleek fabrics, groomed himself impeccably, and kept his clothing and possessions in tightly controlled order that corralled my naturally slovenly tendencies into cinched up squares. I imagined that his childhood home reflected this image. “I think you’ll be surprised by my house,” he said as we eventually made the four hour drive up to misty redwood country. I prepared myself for grandeur that would put to shame all the apartments and tiny two-bedroom houses I grew up in: a sprawling ranch-style home with Spanish tile and big bay windows, an acre of land flanked by the area’s famous ancient trees.

When he pulled into a weedy, pot-hole strewn patch of dirt where three cars, badly rusted and ravaged for parts, and a tiny, listing shack of a house sat like some apocalyptic roadhouse, I wondered if we were stopping for directions.

His father was a diabetic emphysemic who still smoked several packs a day as though in defiance of death; his mother’s lips crimped in around words she bit back as her three other beefy sons cracked “fag” jokes at Martin for his trim, clean presentation, and gripped the flesh on my arm proclaiming, “Try not to crush her when you crawl on top of her.”  After a weekend in the house I had to hang my clothes on the apartment porch for a day before I could even wash the tobacco stench out of them.

Martin was odd man out, ashamed of his roots, and it made me want even more to give him the material façade he so desperately craved.

By Sophomore year, we both took jobs that paid more than minimum wage, a whopping $6/hr, and moved into a “cush” apartment—that is to say, a two-bedroom with a roommate, where we were no longer privy to our neighbors’ explosive toilet habits. For a brief time the new place itself was material enough to keep us happy.

When things got rocky near the end of our first year because my “take it all to therapy” desire to process feelings clashed with his “button up your shame” stoicism, he surprised me with a turquoise blue Mustang; she looked good, but her alternator went out on long-distance journeys. In it we traveled (and broke down) to places Martin’s neglected inner child needed to go: Disneyland (blew a tire), Universal Studios (dead battery) and the Drive-Through Tree in Humboldt—which we could not drive through because it was closed.

When our roommate moved out six months later, the empty space unbalanced us. As a temporary fix we bought plastic bathroom sets printed with sea shells; a comforter—which sadly provided little comfort; and pre-fab paintings of the sun and moon—which we’d already stopped being for each other—to hang over the new stereo system.

To fix the disparities between us, after new outfits and sets of dishes and cookware did not turn us into The Beav’s parents, Martin upped the ante: a trip to Italy.

Martin became unusually affectionate as the trip neared, returning home after special forays to the mall for trip-related “surprises”—mainly new travel-friendly clothing for himself and tchotchkes like leather luggage tags and a money purse that screamed “I am a tourist, steal this” to me.

Two days before we left, though I found it quite by accident, I discovered the travel pouch contained more than traveler’s cheques and passports; a bulky box-shaped something holding what girls are taught to sell their souls for.

Holy fuck, I thought.

I spent our first week in Rome watching him gauge the quality of light and the photo-worthiness of his profile against the Coliseum versus the Pantheon. I was sure it would take place at the leaning tower of Pisa, or outside that powerful symbol of God-sanctified unions—the Vatican. Or maybe at one of the sweet street-side cafes where he glowered over clenched jaw when the waiters flirted with me.

By the time we reached Venice, halfway into our trip, I had the urge to drag the box out of his pouch at night, slip the ring on and simply flash my hand at him in the morning.

I also thought of losing him in a crowd of tourists and hitchhiking around Europe for some summer fun of a variety that did not make me feel like I was already married.

Yet I let myself be led onto that gondola, wrinkling my nose against the putrid smell of those otherwise lovely canals (a detail not featured on any travel literature). I watched him survey the scenery, imagining his thoughts—Near Casanova’s home? Nah too obvious.

As we neared the final stretch of the ride, I felt him fumble in his pouch at my side while I pretended not to notice. He turned to me with the smile of a man who has just bought a wide-screen TV.

He flipped open the box. I know he said the words but they are lost in the white noise of my shock. I gasped.

A diamond!

fucking diamond?

I had told him in no uncertain terms that I didn’t like diamonds, even less the solitaire—that universal symbol of possession. I liked pinkish tourmalines and muddy agates, jewels that still resembled the earth they came from.

Yet, with two weeks remaining on the trip, I slid on his ring like a yoke, faking a smile while daydreaming about going home with the gondolier.

The next morning I woke with a weight around my finger that gradually looped around my entire body until I was dragging cement feet through Venetian streets.

Noticing my sagging demeanor, Martin went on a purchasing frenzy, picking up iconic trinkets we could barely carry—a glass knockoff of the Rodin sculpture The Lovers; a Venetian urn and a Murano glass necklace. These were props to convince at least one of us that in setting the stage with all the right items, we could pretend that our love had a life-time guarantee like the leather couch and the display case that housed tiny precious things our hearts couldn’t hold.


For eight months after he proposed, the ring snagged on clothes and scratched red lines into our flesh in bed at night. Rather than a diamond, I wore a dangerous claw that tore at the seams of our life.

When we’d been engaged nearly a year, my high school girlfriend, Rain, came to visit me while Martin was off playing indoor soccer.

“So are you excited?” she asked, holding my finger up to the light as if to assess some odd fungus I had acquired.

I prepared to speak the words in my head, the practiced ones that I said to everyone who asked, “Of course.  Marriage will be great!”

What I actually said was, “I don’t think I’m ready to get married.”

Rain scanned my material paradise and then focused her wide blue eyes on me. “Hmmm,” she said.

“What do you mean, hmmm?”

“Oh nothing,” she said, stroking her own long fingers as if to point out how unencumbered they were. “I’m just glad I asked. It sounds like you have some thinking to do.”

Those two sentences bulldozed the paper set of my relationship. Twenty years old was too young to cinch myself to a man who would go silent on me for three days at a time if I pissed him off or questioned his judgment. A man whose ex-girlfriends from high school had a funny way of turning up in person and on the phone just to “see how you’re doing.” A man who felt threatened by my writing in my journals—my most sacred personal act. I feared that I would become just another fixture in our home, a polished, perfect wife unit who completed the bedroom set or the new kitchen.

Still, Martin and I didn’t break up instantaneously; after all, it takes more than a day to demolish a house. I slowly moved the things that were unequivocally mine to a new apartment, saying I needed a little last-chance independence. We dated once a week under the pretense that nothing had really changed, the way we had built our prop life in the first place. Yet each time I stopped by for a “date” there’d be a new pile of our carefully curated stuff, like surgically-removed organs, waiting for me on the table.

“You don’t want those?” I’d ask, lifting kitchen towels and matching Tupperware.

He’d shrug. “I thought you did.” Suddenly it was no longer clear what belonged to whom, or why it had ever mattered.

The set of our romance grew bare, but we hung in there.

Until I tried to give back the ring.

“Don’t fucking insult me!” His strong jaw was rigid with rage.

I might as well have said ‘Your money’s no good here anymore.’

“But we’re not getting married and you spent money on it.” I felt it was a fair gesture.

He glared at me. “Nothing was ever good enough for you.”

For me? For me? I never wanted all this fucking stuff, I thought but didn’t say. I was merely the prop girl, trucking in goods, ticking off items on a list to make him happy. Only I hadn’t realized it until then.

It was clear that more than just the engagement was over. Still, I was stuck with the piece of jewelry that barely measured an ounce yet weighed me down like a mattress. I could feel it deep inside my jewelry box like the Princess and the pea, hear a metallic pinging in my inner ear whenever we were in the same room.

I could think of only one solution.  I went to the grounds of the University at the edge of the duck pond where he’d once seduced me with a necklace and murmurings of how different I was from other girls. Though I hadn’t ever liked it I felt sorry for the ring, for how it had failed to keep Martin and me together. How it had never had a chance to sit on a married girl’s finger and never would. I threw it into the pond and imagined its slow descent to the mucky bottom. It wasn’t a gracious end, but at the time I was thinking like a serial killer: if neither of us could keep it, then no one should have it.

With only a hiccup’s panic after it arced through the air, relief hit me like a cold sweat as it slipped into the dark water. Only the ring had disappeared; I was still here.

Jordan Rosenfeld is the author of the novel Forged in Grace, and the writing guides Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time, and Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life (with Rebecca Lawton). Jordan’s essays and articles have appeared in numerous magazines, and she teaches via online writing courses and webinars. She has two writing craft books soon to be released with Writer’s Digest Books: A Writer’s Guide to Persistence: A Toolkit to Build & Bolster a Lasting Writing Practice (Spring: 2015), and, with Martha Alderson, “The Plot Whisperer,” Deep Scenes: Plot Your Story Scene-by-Scene through Action, Emotion & Theme (Fall, 2015), the material of which will be taught at their first annual Retreat. Her first romantic suspense novel (pen name J. P. Rose) Night Oracles, releases Spring, 2014.

Jordan_teal headshot1


Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what a Manifestation retreat is. Check out her site for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. A lot. Next up is a workshop in London, England on Feb 15th. Book here.