March 14, 2014 by Ray Yanek
On a post I put up not long ago a reader, whose name I will not mention, claimed that my posting sounded a little Sheldon Cooper-ish.
*writer here takes a moment to clear his throat and adjust his shirt collar*
Anyway, if that post reminded someone of Sheldon then, well, after this post…
But look, I’ve said before that, despite the name of this blog and the picture of railroad tracks above, I don’t have any major obsession with trains.
Really, I don’t.
I don’t care about their schedules, I don’t get all giggly when I get stopped by a Burlington Northern (actually I cuss and tend to throw empty beer cans at the caboose), and I don’t care about loads or horsepower or anything like that.
But yet in the reality inside of my head, there is something about the atmosphere of old-time train travel that intrigues me. There is a mystery there, a mystique, a romance. I mentioned some things about that on my About page.
So it shouldn’t be any surprise that I did get little girly-giggly when I saw this post on Facebook. It’s an article about a writing residency–on a real-live, moving, Amtrak train.
Seriously. You spend a couple of days travelling on the train, and you write.
According to Writer’s Circle who posted this, Amtrak got the residency idea from a guy on Twitter. There aren’t a lot of details yet, and there is no discussion about where exactly the train would travel, but if the point is to inspire writers imagine the landscapes that train would travel past.
*writer here takes a moment to swoon like he did at that One Direction concert… no, wait, I said LIKE MY DAUGHTER did…*
And maybe I read this wrong, but I’m almost positive I’m seeing the words ‘low cost or free” residencies…
So if anyone is looking to get me an early birthday present, I hate to send a hint, but… hint-f-ing-hint…
I had the above written last night so that I could publish it first thing this morning. As soon as I closed the program though, a Facebook notification came through on my phone.
Yeah, it was a game request.
The Amtrak writing residency is going to happen… That’s right. Amtrak is soliciting writers to get aboard for a trial run.
*writer takes here a moment to look all starry eyed at the heavens, while clapping his hands rapidly together underneath his chin and simultaneously fluttering his feet until he lifts off the ground*
So here’s the deal. Amtrak is only taking 24 writers. Trips will be from 2-5 days, and each resident will be given a “private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration.”
Did you catch that last part about the American countryside?
*writer takes here another moment to envision himself, wearing his spectacles rather than his contacts, sitting at his desk in his sleeper car, as he twirls his brandy above the hand-written story he has just finished. He listens to the rhythm of the train on the tracks, then reaches out towards the towering mountain range outside his window and feels the cool glass of the window*
Yeah, better come back…
Amtrak mentions that there is no cost to apply, but it doesn’t mention anything about a price for the actual residency. Despite what Writer’s Circle posted about the program being low cost, I kind of have a feeling this will be pricey. Also, it doesn’t say anything about the actual dates of the residency.
But will I apply anyway?
Oh hell yes…
Here’s the link to the application, which because they’re only taking 24 writers, I really probably shouldn’t be giving to you…
And here’s the link for Writer’s Circle and all the good stuff they have. Check them out.