Writing the Rails

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Crossing the Merrimack River

Ever since I read an article about writer Jessica Gross taking a writing residency aboard Amtrak, Arlo Guthrie’s “The City of New Orleans” has been on endless loop in my mind. Then, when I  heard about the possibility of more residencies on trains, I immediately tweeted:

@Amtrak Would love nothing more than to write an #AmtrakResidency from Maine to Cali, blogging all the way…#dreamcometrue #pleasepickme

I knew it was more than a long shot because within seconds I saw more tweets (and Facebook postings) than I could count—other writers like me, wanting a residency. Now six days later, with no reply from Amtrak, I impatiently took matters into my own hands. I made a reservation on Maine’s Downeaster that goes only as far as Boston’s North Station. I wanted to take a test run: seven hours round trip, a daylong residency.

The Railroad is in my Blood

My grandfather was a brakeman for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Baltimore. He lost all the toes on one foot when one very cold day he slipped while he was climbing a freight car’s ladder and his foot went down to the rail and was run over by the car’s wheel. If the railroad is in my blood, it’s in mind and soul as well. The year after we were married, my husband and I took Amtrak from Denver to New York City. The next year we completed the romantic cross-country trip and rode Amtrak from Denver to Los Angeles.

Just hearing the conductor yell All Aboard yesterday gave me a shiver. I boarded and sat at a window seat—I stopped short of pressing my nose against the smudged window. I had my laptop unpacked before the train even left the station, though. As the train began to move, I was faced with my first of several challenges: I was sitting facing backwards. That’s when the reality settled in. The train would be moving, consequently I would be moving. And sometimes (just sometimes) I get a little motion sick, especially when I’m traveling backwards.

I moved to a forward facing seat. First problem solved. I opened the tray table and realized Problem 2. The tray table was unsteady, enough so that typing was out of the question. I closed the tray table and took out my Moleskine notebook.

Train-writing Challenges

On my return trip to Maine, I met Ben (an environmental science graduate student) who told me that it’s easier and less jostling to hold the laptop on your lap. The tray tables can be useless, he told me, while I looked at him with something bordering on panic as we experienced what on a plane would be labeled “extreme turbulence.” Ben is a frequent traveler on the Downeaster, making the trip from Boston to UNH to study, as he described it, “lake farts” (turns out lakes “belch methane” like cows and people).

People like Ben were a distraction from writing, no question—but they are also the lifeblood. On the way down to Boston, I spent half an hour talking to my seatmate (who got on the train after I did, at a stop in New Hampshire), and during that half hour I didn’t write anything or even think about writing, except that her day could be the basis for a story. It was a problem—is that number 3?—the inability to get away from other people. For her residency, Jessica Gross was given a compartment on the train—a place to go and sleep and write in solitude—which I believe might be a necessity. I didn’t have this so I eventually resorted to ditching my talkative seatmate and writing in the café.

While in the café (in days gone by, “the dining car”), I conversed with two more people—one was a writer, not writing just traveling—before settling down to really write. There’s something about the changing scenery and passing landscape whilst warmly ensconced that conjures ideas, dreams, even longing. Sun-dappled snow and ice covered fields, isolated houses and occasional people in Maine gradually morphed to lines of cars stopped at railway crossings, graffiti on buildings, and more and more populated areas—and in everything I saw a story.

When I finally did settle down, I wrote nine longhand pages in my journal. I rarely write longhand at home, and I’m certain I’d never have written those pages, all directly or indirectly inspired by the train.

Last summer I drove across the country and I was similarly inspired—with no way to write as I went, even my plan to record things on my iPhone didn’t pan out because it was awkward to juggle while driving—and therein lies the beauty of the train trip: all of the changing scenery, interspersed with train whistles and half-overheard conversations, the clacking of the rails…everything adds up to the perfect writing environment, and you are unencumbered, free to write.

When I finally did settle down, I wrote nine longhand pages in my journal. I rarely write longhand at home, and I’m certain I’d never have written those pages, all directly or indirectly inspired by the train.

10:35 Boston North Station

The summer after my son graduated from high school, and before he started college, he took a cross-country train trip—by himself. There was more than a moment of “what the hell am I letting him do?” as I watched him board the train…even more of that when he called from Chicago to tell me he was sharing a locker with a new traveling companion (a guy from the city, he said), someone who nicknamed him “Jesus” for wearing Birkenstocks and for being “from the country.”

You meet interesting people on the train and they help inform your writing, can even provide character studies or sketches, and they are all encapsulated with you in a short tube of metal. Each one has a story of their journey, a story of their life, all against the setting of the shifting vista and the theme of all the time in the world. Who knows what might be inspired or conjured up? No obligations. No responsibilities. No distraction from the dishes, the dog, the house, nothing. Isolated and suspended in reality yet moving through space and time with all the inspiration you’d ever want to find.

In Boston I parted ways with my seatmate (who boarded the train with no ID, no ticket, and with no real proof of who she was, the conductor reluctantly allowing her to stay, based partially it seemed on her flimsy association with me—someone she’d met merely five minutes before). During my hour in North Station, I sat anonymously: I read, I watched people, and I bought hand sanitizer.

All Aboard (again)

More passengers boarded in North Station than did when I got on in Brunswick, Maine, but passengers were also more spread out and subdued, making it easier to concentrate. I made the same mistake of sitting backwards (and moved), and this time I made sure the tray table wasn’t unsteady. I didn’t get up and go to the café, I just sat and wrote in my journal.

Until Problem 4—the extreme turbulence—reared its ugly head. It was so bad that I couldn’t write on the computer or by hand. It was so jarring it was hard to even think. I overheard another passenger ask a conductor if there was something wrong with the wheels. “No, it’s the tracks,” the conductor said. “Sometimes they’re like that…” I read for a while, then I gave up on even that and looked out the window.

When we pulled into Portland, I was surprised—it seemed like we’d barely left Boston (it’s a two and a half hour trip), and I had just gotten into the rhythm of life on the train, used to how to do things, and used to the people and things around me: Ben of the farting lakes, the grumpy red-haired guy in the seat across the aisle, the Dad and his two daughters six or so seats ahead, the café car, the bumpy tracks and everything else…reading, writing, thinking, living aboard the train. (Which brings me to Problem 5, it was too damn short.)

I know other writers who write on the train (some as commuters) and they swear by it, and every writer I’ve talked to about the Amtrak residency says they’d jump at it. Which brings me to this: did my train trip accomplish what I set out for it to do? Without question, yes. Were there problems? I have a laundry list, all easily managed. But was it worth it? Absolutely.

When I started writing this post, I downloaded “The City of New Orleans from iTunes.” My bag’s packed. I’m ready to go. And every time I hear the whistle of a passing train, now I hear it calling my name. My only question to Amtrak is: when do I leave?

How about you? All aboard? Have you had train writing experiences? Would you want to try an Amtrak Writing Residency?

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About Julia Munroe Martin

Julia Munroe Martin (@wordsxo) is a writer and blogger who lives in an old house in southern coastal Maine. Julia's other passion is photography, and if she's not writing at the dining room table or a local coffeeshop, you'll likely find her on the beach or dock taking photos. Julia writes The Empty Nest Can Be Murder mystery series as J. M. Maison.

Comments

  1. says

    Julia,

    What a great beginning to the adventure of writing on trains. I, too, would love that Amtrak opportunity. However, I have one complaint. Next time you take the train to Boston let me know so that we can finally meet up for tea.

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  2. says

    That’s funny Julia. One of my dream vacations is to take a train from Nova Scotia to Vancouver. Let us just cross the border and take a coast to coast trip via the Canadian Rail. I’m game for a train residency.

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  3. says

    @wordxso I love the idea of a train full of writers!
    I always read and write during train rides up and down the east coast between Charleston and New York, so this would be a natural. And I’d like to take a cross-country train ride one of these years; a great writing retreat!
    JoAnne Simson´s last blog post ..Why do I Love to Travel?

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  4. says

    Good morning Julia! I enjoyed the recap of your Amtrak adventure. Traveling by train has always appealed to the romantic in me (especially after watching Before Sunrise many years ago). When I need a fix I can just hop on the Metra for an hour ride into the city (which definitely stirs the creative juices for all the reasons you wrote about), but beyond that I have a bucket list wish to one day ride the Trans-Siberian Railway—in the middle of a snowstorm, preferably.

    Btw, I took Amtrak from Chicago to Springfield, IL not too long ago, and omg, I had *thee* worst experience with Amtrak personnel. However, it led me to sitting next to a wonderful woman with whom I exchanged funny anecdotes, which led into deeper conversations about life and family and love… and before I knew it my 5 hour ride (which was supposed to take 3 1/2 hours) was over, and I felt like I’d made a new friend. Like you, I was all set up to write and/or read, or listen to my ipod uninterrupted, and yet, I let go of all that for the sake of lively dialogue and camaraderie. It’s one of my favorite traveling memories. :)
    Barb Riley´s last blog post ..The Eternal Gaze

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    • says

      Sorry for your bad experience, but glad it led to a wonderful interaction with the woman sitting next to you — that’s one of the things I love about the suspension of time and reality while on the train! Probably why I couldn’t completely ignore my fellow passengers (loved my talk with Ben the lake fart guy, too!). Glad you enjoyed the recap of my travels, Barb, and if I do get the Amtrak residency, you can bet I’ll be coming your way, and that will be a blast! (And thanks for the Before Sunrise reference — I haven’t seen it!)
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  5. Carmel says

    I always imagined myself starting a novel with the MC being on a train and, even though I forgot that idea over the years, it’s exactly what I did! Both of my grandfathers worked for the railroad, and my dad got his start there. So I guess it gets in your blood!

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  6. says

    Ah, yes, the train. My daughter and I took the train from San Francisco to LA and then across the country one year long ago in the days before laptops. I took copious notes of scenery and senses because one day I just might need them. Our cabin had a convertible bunk bed, a chair, a table, and a shower, along with a true dining car, meals included. I’d make that trip again in a heartbeat. And this time I’d carry my laptop and iPod.

    In December, Mama and I took the train from NC to NYC to visit my daughter and her baby. I didn’t try to write, but I did listen. And I read. And I met some delightful folk.

    Imagine a train car crossing the country with writers on board? A dining car–not a snack car–where we could gather and discuss our progress, the timing planned so we’d cross the Rockies by day? Oh, yeah. I’m in.
    Normandie Fischer´s last blog post ..Lovely Words from Good Girl Gone Redneck

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    • says

      Normandie, I love the idea of a train filled with writers! Imagine a WU conference held entirely in motion—as we travel from one end of the country to the other? Yes, I’m in (or make that ON BOARD!) too!
      Barb Riley´s last blog post ..The Eternal Gaze

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    • says

      Your trip sounds marvelous, Normandie, and I am way jealous of your compartment — sounds like the way to go. So I propose that on the writers’ train we ALL have our individual compartments. It sounds divine! I’ve taken the train across the Rockies — and I agree, by day would be amazingly wonderful. Thanks for reading and for your comment! And let’s think on that rolling conference! :)
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  7. says

    Quite a while ago, I commuted on the Cardinal, a train going from New Orleans to New York stopping briefly in Charlottesville, to a writing workshop with Gordon Lish. Arriving in the winter at 6:30 in the morning, I got on while it was dark and stumbled around the poorly-lit aisles trying to find a seat. Everyone was asleep, bundled up in blankets and while the train lurched forward, I had to hold on tight and scramble to keep my balance. The odor in the car from feet, B.O. and bad breath was notable as people had been on the train for eighteen hours. When I did locate a seat, I always ended up being squeezed in between the wall and some very large snoring person. With little mobility and no space to position my laptop, it was usually a miserable ride with not much opportunity to write. The ride back was more comfortable but as I’d been beaten up so badly by Lish that I spent the six hours licking my wounds. As you can expect, I’m not too big on train writing.
    Tony Vanderwarker´s last blog post ..Tony Vanderwarker on CBS 6 News

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    • says

      Well, Tony, I can well understand why you aren’t too big a fan of train writing! And your comment definitely highlights why a compartment would be necessary if a journey was for the express purpose of writing. I can’t imagine trying to do what I was doing if the train had the conditions you describe — and it was a bit what I felt like when I had the chatty seatmate. So sorry for the miserable ride! (But thanks for the read and the comment!)
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  8. Marcy McKay says

    What a fun, fabulous post, Julia. Out of curiosity, how much did your railroad adventure cost?

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    • says

      Glad you enlyed the post, Marcy — thanks so much for reading! You bring up an important question, the cost. For the roundtrip it was about $50, which is (obviously) substantially more than a cup of coffee if I wrote the day in a coffee shop, even if I threw in a piece of quiche. Although pricey, I do plan on making it worth the money by trying to pitch other stories to other venues, so I consider it well worth the cost. That said, I will not likely go again (unless I do score an #AmtrakResidency or am on my way to an event or on vacation).
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  9. says

    It would be interesting if someone from WU contacted Amtrak with a proposal for the Train of Writers Conference! If we promised them two carloads (or three? four?) could we get them to give us a break on the cost, and make sure we got a DINING Car (or two?) and SIGN ME UP!!!
    Peggy Bjarno´s last blog post ..We Have Arrived in Marathon!

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  10. Cal Rogers says

    When I was in my late twenties, I took a six-week tour of Europe by train. There was the French businessman, who though it was late and he was heading home to his family, went out of his way to help me get from one train station to another on the Paris metro. The cramped and smelly overnight ride from Paris to Barcelona, during which I and a couple of girls from Australia were woken in the middle of the night to change trains at the Spanish border. The Czech puppeteer who didn’t speak a word of English, but showed me how to change in trains in the middle of the night somewhere in Austria (or maybe Germany, I forget).
    Then there was the elderly gentleman on the train from Rome to Venice. We shared a compartment, spent the first couple of hours silently reading and staring out the window. Finally, he asked if I was an American, and when I said yes, he spent the next hour or so inquiring about American politics, which fascinated him. When he was out of questions, I asked what about himself. Turns out he’d recently retired from politics, having spent three 5-year terms as the Senator representing the Venice region in the Italian Parliament in Rome. When I was done collecting my jaw from the floor, he asked where I was staying in Venice. I didn’t have a room yet, so he recommended the Pensione Accademia. Then he offered to take me there, so I wouldn’t get lost. Then he engaged the proprietor in a classic, arms-flailing Italian debate over whether they had a room for me or not (turns out they did). Then he asked if I would like to meet him for breakfast the next day at this outdoor cafe, so he could show me Venice. We met at that cafe three days in a row, and spent each morning walking around a different part of Venice, with him telling me the inside scoop on this or that place that most Venetians didn’t even know. Everywhere we went, people on the street recognized and deferred to him. He took me to a monastery that was closed to the public, where he had recently hosted some kind of summit with Reagan and Thatcher and Gorbachev in attendance. There we climbed to the top of a bell tower, where we enjoyed a panoramic view of Venice few have ever seen, while we talked about the existance of God and the perils of marriage.
    So, yeah, I’m a big fan of traveling by train.

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    • says

      What amazing and very vivid stories, Cal! I can see why you’re such a fan of train travel. I always wanted to see Europe via Eurail like you did (it never happened, but saw bits and pieces in other ways). I can well imagine how these journies and meetings have informed your writing. So glad you read and commented, thank you!
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  11. says

    I grew up on trains. My mother worked as a clerk telegrapher for Missouri Pacific during WWII and left me with her parents because her job on the extra board had her moving once or twice a month. I rode in more cabooses than passenger cars because the passenger train came through in the middle of the night.

    When we went on vacation (every third or fourth year), we went by train. Going to California from central Kansas in 1950, we stopped in Salt Lake City for a few days, then on to Los Angeles.

    Some of those memories show up in my writing from time to time.

    When you get the WU Train Conference set up, just let me know. I’m in!
    Judith Robl´s last blog post ..Beginnings

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  12. Linda Peters says

    Sounds like the trip of a lifetime! My husband rode trains from the west coast to Georgia when he got out of the Army. He speaks fondly of those times. Amtrak doesn’t come through here, but I have a friend who drove to Atlanta just to ride it to Washington DC in a sleeper car. It was her requested Christmas present and she took her two young sons with her.

    What an exciting trip to share space with other writers. Do you think one train could hold all those creative minds?

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  13. says

    An enjoyable post, Julia. I felt like I was there with you–wonderful since I have the travel bug right now.

    While I love the train, IMHO it’s easier to write on a ferry. (For this reason, I once spent a day traveling from Victoria, BC to Vancouver, BC and back again.) Their size tends to guarantee a smooth journey and I’ve been able to secure a table each time.

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    • says

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jan. I absolutely love the idea of writing on a ferry. What a beautiful idea you’ve planted in my mind. Perhaps come summer (or warm spring), I’ll have to take a ride out into Casco Bay. An excellent idea, thank you! (p.s. I have the travel bug right now, too!)
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  14. says

    Loved your writing adventure onboard a train. The passing scenery–moment to moment. Even if you didn’t get it all down on the train, it’s in your mind’s eye.

    Remember what Abraham Lincoln wrote on a train.

    Okay, okay, okay,

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    • says

      Thanks for reading, Nanette, and so glad you enjoyed it! I definitely agree that it may not be down in my journal or other written form, but it will stick with me a long, long time and will inform my writing somehow. As for Abraham Lincoln, I forgot! Thanks for the reminder! :)
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  15. says

    Julia, when I first heard about the Amtrak/writers connection, I went into a deep fantasy about a long, vivid train ride—maybe something Agatha Christie-like, but with not too many dead bodies. I went on a train ride with my mother and relatives on her 91st birthday six months ago, and the conductor sent her well-wishes over the intercom several times, and the bartender in the club car actually sang happy birthday to her over the mic. (I think he may have been sampling his wares.)

    I have used trains as a central object in a couple of published stories of mine—they bring such a compelling image of power, the past, and an unusual allure. I actually jumped a few running—slowly running—trains several times when I was in high school and road them for a few miles, back when my brain didn’t warn me of legless potentials. Thanks for the fun post.
    Tom Bentley´s last blog post ..Confessions of a Naked, Shoplifting Hitchhiker and Other Posts

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    • says

      Tom! You described my feelings EXACTLY with this: “…when I first heard about the Amtrak/writers connection, I went into a deep fantasy about a long, vivid train ride—maybe something Agatha Christie-like, but with not too many dead bodies.” How could it NOT be ideal?? I love the story about your mother’s b’day as well as your stories. However, the jumping the running stories terrifies (although fascinates) me… especially after my grandfather’s experience. Definitely an experience for the age when the brain posts no warnings! Glad you enjoyed and enjoyed your comment.
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  16. says

    I do a fair amount of work on the subway — mostly editing, as I can’t rely on getting a seat to write on my laptop. I’m familiar with that jostling, but I don’t think it’s “lake farts” underground. LOL!

    A great experiment. Good luck, Julia. I hope you get that residency!
    Jackie Cangro´s last blog post ..The One with the Eavesdropping

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  17. says

    Such a lovely post – and yes, why not just buy my own ticket?!

    Back in 1992, just one week after college graduation, I took the train from Washington DC to San Francisco to start my new life and to become a writer. The four day train ride was incredible. I got to tour a couple of cities during pit stops and even met some cool people along the way. I remember one morning waking up and looking out my window to the burnt orange jagged peaks of Utah’s rocky landscape, and feeling so alive and full of hope.

    I loved that trip, and I promised myself to do it again. I’ve driven across the country three times, but still no train rides. I sent a note to #AmtrakResidency telling them I’d love to do a follow up story twenty-two years later, but I haven’t heard back.

    Your post inspired me to look into buying my own ticket, but judging your laundry list, maybe I’ll start with a shorter distance: Los Angeles to Seattle.
    Simone´s last blog post ..The Book Marketing Plan – Installment Two

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    • says

      That train ride sounds amazing, Simone! I know, having just driven through Utah last summer, exactly what you mean by the rocky landscape of Utah — yes, it does give those feelings, the landscape and the train! Like you I’ve driven across the country 3 times (and the train once) and I too want to do it again… here’s hoping we’re fortunate enough to get those #AmtrakResidencies! I’ll bet the LA to Seattle trip would be gorgeous (I grew up near the CA coast). Hope you’ll let me know if you make the trip!
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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    • says

      Thanks for reading and for your comment. Minnesota to Cali sounds perfect… as for your sister’s cabin, it sounds ideal! In fact, that’s been my newest idea! My dad has a small place on the Cali coast (he’s rarely there)…hmmm…
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  18. says

    I just got home from a train trip of my home–I went round-trip from Portland to Seattle for AWP. I loved it! I didn’t attempt to write as my brain was too full up with conference info, but I enjoyed chatting with other passengers and found the staff delightful. I’d do a train residency in a heartbeat!
    Charlotte´s last blog post ..10 Ways to Connect With Other Writers

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    • says

      Lucky you to have a train trip and to attend AWP! I can well imagine how much you had to think about and it must’ve been fun to talk to others (were there other writers who had been at AWP)? I agree, the staff was delightful on my train as well. Thanks for reading and commenting, Charlotte!
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  19. says

    What a great way to kick start your creativity. Like you, I figured once the news was out, Amtrak would be flooded, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come up with something like this on my own. I wondered how much the movement might get in the way. Still, it’s like transporting yourself to another era almost. Fun post!

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  20. says

    Glad you enjoyed it, Julie — yeah, they must be flooded, why else haven’t I gotten the call?? And you really hit the nail on the head, the train ride transported me inso many ways and really did make me feel removed from my own life and time. Let me know if you take a ride!
    Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  21. says

    I loved this post, Julia! And that idea of a train full of writers, man, I really love that one. You can only talk to each other in the cafe car where the yoga classes keep you limber. :-)

    Hope they pick you to do something @Amtrak. I think they owe you the chance to heal your grandpa’s wounds.

    And a chance to write a murder mystery as popular as The Orient Express.
    Shirley Hershey Showalter´s last blog post ..Coverings and Bonnets, Amish, Quaker, and Mennonite Stories: Part Two

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  22. says

    Julia, thoroughly enjoyed your post — and I, too, love the idea of an Amtrak Residency, I’m so glad they’re working on this and am waiting by the phone for the call. @amtrak #amtrakresidency #chugachugachugwoowoo

    I’d just like to give the (typically Porter-provocative, I’m afraid) reverse on the idea I see here a few times of “a train full of writers.”

    Folks. Folks. Folks. We must get OUT of the ghetto. Surely the best part about an Amtrak Residency is that you’re NOT surrounded by, and talking to, other writers! Julia, your Ben of the farting lakes wasn’t a writer, was he? Your seatmate who seemed to have no ticket wasn’t whispering “buy my book” to everyone else, was she?

    Shirley, Lisa, JoAnne, Barb! Everybody, can we not get a grip on the fact that we’re way too much into our own communities and in danger of not reaching out to the world we need (and, in our better minds, I hope, want) as readers?

    Please. Remember that the power of Amtrak is to deliver you out of your usual milieu, to suspend you in time and space amid stupendous scenery and mind-freeing rhythms and distances…far from our madding crowd, Mr. Hardy.

    Amtrak: Pay them no mind about this “train full of writers” thing. These are lovely, delusional people and I adore every one of them and the last thing we need is a train full of them! Oh my God, I’d have to change at Poughkeepsie.

    I hope that in my own whistle-stop tour (I do have a Residency coming, right?) there won’t be another writer on that train, not so much as a grocery list being composed en route.

    I’m all aboard for the voyage out.
    -p.
    Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson)´s last blog post ..Sir Hugh and the Snail

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    • says

      Glad to hear you’re on board, Porter! And per our Twitter convo, I’m thinking the train-off makes the most sense. Thousands of miles to write sounds amazing. As you suspected, Ben of the Lake Farts was not a writer, and nor was my seatmate. I did converse with one only one other writer… who interrupted my writing, oddly enough! Thank you so much for your Porter-provacative and for your kind words. PS I’m also waiting by the phone for my #AmtrakResidency traveling papers, which, like yours will be solo, as well as out and away from home grounds.
      Julia Munroe Martin´s last blog post ..Writing Aboard the Downeaster

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  23. says

    Everyone has been talking about the possible Amtrak residencies, and I’m totally with you! When do I leave? It sounds like an absolute dream — problems and all. There aren’t so many trains where I live, though. I recently took a 20-minute train to a museum in the DFW area, and even that tiny ride inspired a poem that wouldn’t stay quiet! There’s just so much magic and inspiration in that setting.
    Annie Neugebauer´s last blog post ..Why Women in Horror Month Is Important

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  24. says

    Okay, so I went to the application site and looked it over. I won’t be applying for this residency.

    When I read the fine print, I discovered several things I didn’t like, including the fact that they choose the destination, and they gain total rights to your ten page entry. Not cool at all.

    Since I can take Amtrak to St. Louis for ACFW in September, I’ll just do my own thing.

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  1. […] Today I’m on Writer Unboxed blogging about that trip and why I am still hoping beyond hope that I’ll be picked by Amtrak to be a future writer in residence! I hope you’ll check out Writing the Rails. […]

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