The Awesome Nat was my workshop leader. How can I even begin to describe my experience? Nat’s workshop was unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. It was very relaxed and chill. We’d read and listen a lot. Nat has great taste. Thanks to him and his library of books, I’ve been exposed to so many authors and different styles that have encouraged me to try writing differently than what I’m used to. Thanks to him I want to put Thelonious Monk and Dana Ward on my iPod; such inspiring voices, with or without music. Nat himself is pretty chill, and I like that. He is the best workshop leader I’ve ever had. My craft session was with Nat, too. It was set up like a free-write session—we listened to music and cool readings while writing down whatever and sharing it with everybody. I loved it.
After workshop, the evening readings really had an impact on me, especially: James Tate, Dara Wier, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Joy Williams—well, basically everybody. James and Dara’s styles stuck with me the most. I think I will definitely try to write more prose, even after Juniper. During the Q&As I just found it interesting to listen to an author’s methods, perusals, morals, advice for life and for writing, etc.
Other than the (dreaded) walks up the hill everyday, daily life was quite pleasant. The dining hall offered a wide variety of choices. I like how everyone was in the same dorm because during free time and at night we could get together and discuss things, play games, write, read, and beyond. The atmosphere was very friendly, and I found it easy to talk to everyone, even about things that I find myself not talking about normally. I think the fact that we’re all writers already bonded everyone together.
My Program Assistant, Nicole, and our pod grew really close this past week. Since there were twelve of us, I thought that was just the right amount of people. We were the infamous Escape Pod, yup. Nicole did a great job of keeping us in check, informing us of news/rules, and just making us feel comfortable in general.
Before coming to Juniper I’d done two other summer writing programs, but I really love Juniper the best. I think the reasons were: the readings, the workshop, the social ease, and especially the people. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, which is good, and I’m going to experiment with my writing throughout my career.
Again, a huge THANK YOU to Nat, my pod, Nicole, the staff, and the fellow writers for changing me and my writing significantly and providing me with an unforgettable time. I’ve had so much fun in almost every waking moment. Thank you so much for letting me in on this awesome society! I love you! I miss you already! Juniper, you are like a homely, beloved spouse. I hate to leave you! The nonexistence of Juniper would be the bane of my existence. ¡Viva la Juniper!
—Jenny Ahn, ’11 participant