My workshop leader, Blair, led us in a wonderful immersion in writing. We especially focused on how the physical body relates to writing, which I found refreshing. We engaged in many in-class free writes, and had nightly assignments to supplement. I learned about the power of simple language, and my writing flourished. Our loose “workshops” of each other’s pieces bloomed into fabulous discussions of craft and process.
In my craft session on “the art of the long sentence,” I learned how the long sentence is less of a dangerous freedom, and more of a refreshing constraint. I enjoyed all of the Q&A’s—I felt knowledge just soaking into me. I was especially grateful for Amy Hempel’s carefully-chosen words. I felt like I was a part of a community that included published writers as equals to us youngsters.
There were so many places I found to write: the dorm basement was cool to write in, and by the pond was also nice. In the last two days, we wrote in the spinny chairs on the 23rd floor of the library, looking out the windows over the dollhouse buildings. I wrote and read there so happily. I loved how much we walked around campus. I loved how little free time we had. I loved the salad bar and the Reeses Pieces equally.
I have attended other writing programs, but I loved Juniper precisely for its community and its inclination to inspire growth. Every day was precious.
I met the best friends I have ever met. We understood each other, and also didn’t in the best way. My peers made the program rise above others I have previously known. The ending of Juniper happened slowly, like time was honey. After Thursday, it felt like an end. Before Wednesday it felt like the beginning. And Friday and Saturday were so sweet. We tasted. We learned.
I am working on a novel, and Juniper gave me more tools to understand my world, and a more complete understanding of craft. I now have many, many more “writer friends” whom I plan to stay in touch with in the context of writing. I just want to say to Juniper: thank you!
—Hannah Nahar, ’12 participant