On applying for an #AmtrakResidency

Just applied for the Amtrak Residency for Writers program. They're only taking 24 writers so I know my chances are slim but I'm nonetheless excited by the prospect.

I've done my own "unofficial residencies"--one in 2001 and another in 2012. The first one, in which I took the California Zephyr from Chicago to Sacramento wasn't originally planned as a way to write--but I quickly discovered the situation was ideal.

Years later, I was craving another long-distance train adventure and so booked a trip to see family in Forth Worth, Texas. I took the Coast Starlight and the Texas Eagle on that trip and used the time to work on my book. During my time on the train, I wrote several chapters and spent hours talking to people, listening to conversations and observing others. The experience was invaluabe and it also gave me some much-needed respite from everyday life.

Even before news of this residency came up I'd been researching other trips. I'd love to take the Coast Starlight and the Empire Builder to Chicago, and then maybe the California Zephyr again.

Good luck to all the applicants and here's to dreaming of riding the rails once more.


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