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Melanie McNair

Contests & Giveaways, Guest Posts

Essay Winner of Scholarship To Emily Rapp/Jen Pastiloff Vermont Retreat.

September 21, 2015

Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station:

This was not easy. This is not easy. I had one spot to give away to our retreat (and yes, we will do it again next year as this is our third year leading the Vermont retreat.) I had one spot which then turned into FOUR, thanks to various generous donors including Lidia Yuknavitch, Amy Ferris, Elizabeth Quant and three others.

And yet and still, we have 70 essays to get through. You read that right: 70. In just a few days, 70 essays piled in.

I sat reading through all of them with eyes spilling over. I was so moved that I decided I could not stop here. I would keep giving and finding ways to be of service. My teacher and mentor, Dr. Wayne Dyer, passed away last week- that was his big message. How many I serve?

I intend to carry on that legacy.

I decided I could not stop at these 4 spots to Vermont so I am giving away 3 spots to my New Years Retreat in Ojai, California as well. Nothing makes me feel better than to do this.

And yet and still, there are so many others that were not chosen. There was not one essay that didn’t move me. There was not one essay that did not want me to push through my computer screen and embrace the woman who wrote it. Not one. I had a team helping me as I could not do this alone. I think we need to remember that more often: we cannot do this alone.

How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.

Melanie McNair has been notified and will be attending the retreat with Emily and I next month in Stowe. The retreat is sold out. Congratulations to Melanie. I hope you all will be moved to share this. I know I was.

At the end of my life, when I ask one final, “What have I done?” Let my answer be, “I have done love.”

Love, Jen Pastiloff

ps, I am writing this from the air as I head back from New York. The launch of my labor of love, my Girl Power: You Are Enough workshops, was this past weekend in Princeton and NY. It was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I will keep you all posted on the next one. This movement is so needed.


Time Time Time
By Melanie McNair


  1.  If one more person tells me it’s all for the best, I might resort to violence.


  1. In May, I was in New York, having a meal with some of my favorite women. My friend Jeanne was next to me and she asked in her quiet, thoughtful way what I was up to. I replied with the list of big life changes to come the following few weeks: graduate with an MFA, move to my hometown with the love of my life to start building a life together in a beautiful place, turn forty, marry the love of my life.


“Everything is coming up Melanie,” Jeanne said.


I winced. It didn’t feel that way even though I knew it was supposed to. There were other details. I was at the lowest I have ever been with my confidence in my writing. My brother and sister were not coming to my wedding. My father was coming, but that was all he would be able to do. He was absorbed with taking care of my stepmom—his second wife with cancer. My mother was long dead and I felt her absence keenly.


I didn’t want to lay this on my friend. Jeanne had lost weight since I had last seen her. The chemo she had undergone since before I had met her was a broken levee.


Besides, I still had the love of my life. Whatever happened, we would laugh before we went to sleep at night. We would always be okay.


  1. Three weeks before our wedding date, before our boxes had arrived in our new home, I opened my laptop when my fiancée was at work and saw that she had emailed a newly composed song to another woman. She had also told that woman she loved her. She had also made plans to be with that woman when she went out of town for a gig.


  1. I turned forty back up north where I went to take shelter with a friend while my ex stayed in my hometown with her parents. They had booked flights from Australia for the wedding and it was too late to cancel.

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