Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus Diaries

I'm now blogging at Coronavirus Diaries if you'd like to stop by.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Winter Online Class

My fall Object Lessons class was a lot of fun, and I've had requests to run it again this winter. If you're interested in learning more, let me know!

Monday, August 13, 2018

New Online Class — Fall 2018

Object Lessons: Writing the Tangible 
5-week online class
September 24 – October 28, 2018

Creative nonfiction brings together the concrete and the abstract, grounding relationships and emotion in the physical world and analyzing artifact in order to excavate memory and launch speculation. Through weekly readings, instruction, conversation, and prompts, this 5-week online class will look at the use of physical objects in our writing as a launching point to memory, reflection, speculation, and insight.

Week One
Setting the Stage

Week Two
Artifact as Axis 

Week Three
Speculative Nonfiction

Week Four
Letters and Fair Use

Week Five
Anchoring Abstraction 

Two options:

Basic (no instructor feedback) $195 early registration / $225 after September 3
Includes all class materials: readings, lectures, discussion board, prompts, optional peer review, and instructor Q&A forum 

Premium $350 early registration / $380 after September 3
Includes all class materials + instructor feedback on up to 3,000 words + optional 30-minute one-on-one phone consultation with Lisa before the end of the year

We will be using the Wet Ink platform, and at the end of the course all content will be delivered to you digitally. To register for the course, shoot me an email!    —Lisa

Friday, March 4, 2016

Life Writing: An Introduction to Memoir

Four-week memoir class starting in McMinnville—register soon

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Terroir Creative Writing Festival

One November night in 2011, I drove three towns south on 99W to McMinnville, Oregon, to attend a committee meeting for a local writing festival. The meeting was nuts. So noisy and disorganized. Someone passed around wine glasses and a bottle of pinot noir, everyone talking over and under each other. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. This is ridiculous, I thought to myself. I am definitely not coming back.

You can guess where this story leads. I went back for just one more meeting in 2011 and then another in 2012, until I started to have fun. Nearly four years (and many bottles of wine) later, I adore these strong, noisy, creative writers and artists. And every spring we put on a slamming creative writing festival right here in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country. 

The Terroir Creative Writing Festival takes its strange name from the French vinicultural word for all the environmental factors that go into producing a particular wine's flavor—the soil, topography, and climate. The Festival exists to cultivate writing formed of Yamhill County's terroir, though we welcome writers from all over. 

Our keynote speakers this year are Shawn Levy and David Mason. Brian Tibbets from MacGregor Literary will be joining us, and we have a special workshop led by Oregon Shakespearean Festival actor JP Phillips for those who want to learn from an actor how to read their work aloud like a professional at the end-of-day open mic reading. I'll be teaching a two-hour memoir workshop in the afternoon. If you're in the area, please join us

Thursday, April 23, 2015

John D'Agata Says This About The Fifth Season

My second book meant my second chance at the Oregon Book Award—but the honor went not to me but to another fine writer, Justin Hocking, for his memoir, The Great Floodgates of the Underworld (congratulations, Justin!). 

I have to be honest here. When Justin's name was announced instead of mine at the awards ceremony, I breathed a sigh of relief and all my nervous anticipation faded before the applause did. From that moment on, I was able to really listen, to relax, to enjoy the remainder of the ceremony. 

And I remembered, even as Justin was giving his speech, that sometime in the next week I would receive an email with the judge's comments on my book. 

John D'Agata was the judge for this year's creative nonfiction award, and here's what he had to say about The Fifth Season: A Daughter-in-Law's Memoir of Caregiving. (Thank you, thank you John.)

As I read Lisa Ohlen Harris’s phenomenally understated and yet exquisitely crafted memoir The Fifth Season, I started thinking that any lesser writer would have leapt upon this genuinely hearbreaking story and wrung it dry for every last drop of transfused misery. And then I started loving The Fifth Season even more.

Because what I have only now started to learn as a writer—embarrassingly late in the game, I’ll admit—is that it takes a lot more skill to hold back as it does to go for low-hanging and lurid details. What we learn in The Fifth Season, therefore, we learn through experience, through quietly developed anecdotes and impeccably pitch-perfect pacing, through watching Harris navigate the complexities of a relationship with her mother-in-law that neither of them seems to have voluntarily signed up for, and yet which intensifies gradually over seven long years until that relationship becomes something that beautifully transforms them both.  Through genuinely heroic compassion, as well as agonizingly petty bickering, through fear and humor and unconditional patience, Harris creates a portrait of a relationship that’s about as real as it can get, and thus as strong as they come. I often caught myself envying even the worst of the moments that these two women shared.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

McMinnville Reading and Open Mic

Join me at the Velvet Monkey tearoom on April 2 for a reading (by me) and open mic for prose writers (that means you)!