It technically would have made more sense if I had written about this earlier in the year, when it was in the news. However, I consider now to be just as good to write about it, not only for the mere fact that it’s been occupying my thoughts as of lately, but because it’s something to consider as I look to the new year and as I proceed forward with writing my second novel.
Last year, a freelance writer from New York named Jessica Gross tweeted about wanting a writing residency on Amtrak (that’s the National Railroad Passenger Corporation we have in the United States, for those who don’t know). She had went about with tweeting that after reading an interview with writer Alexander Chee, who had mentioned how he writes best when on a train and how he wishes that Amtrak had a writing residency. Amtrak saw Gross’s tweet and shortly thereafter, she found herself on a round trip from New York to Chicago, testing out a writing residency. She later shared the wonderful experience she had in an interview and not long after that, Amtrak established their first writing residency, where 24 writers were selected through an application process to take part in the program.
I’ve only been on one trip using Amtrak. It was about two years ago when I took Amtrak to San Luis Obispo to visit a friend there for a few days. I hadn’t officially started writing A Moment’s Worth back then, so really the closest I got to being productive while on my five-hour train ride was working on an essay for an ethnic studies class and writing in my journal.
But nonetheless, I can understand why writers can benefit from such a residency. The train provides a steady pace and rhythmic motion as it makes its way from one place to another. Not to mention that, since this is Amtrak, it provides picturesque views of the environments you’re traveling through that, while it looks like an ant farm when viewing it from a plane, in this setting, you can gaze forever at and contemplate over the more deeper thoughts and ideas in your mind. It’s very cinematic in a way; like when the protagonist is taking a train somewhere and there’s always that one beautiful shot of them, staring out the window, with a look on their face that’s in a state of deep thought.
I wrote a good chunk of A Moment’s Worth while commuting to and from San Francisco on BART, so I have a general sense of what it’s like to write on a train. However, to be in an environment that’s fully designated for you to hash out a writing project, to think, and to gaze out a window without judgment, that sounds like a pretty good deal if you ask me.
For that matter, I really hope that Amtrak offers up the writing residency again in 2015. Now that I’m no longer in school and am emerging into the early writing stages of my second novel, I want to apply for it. I would love to spend part of my time, writing my second novel, in an environment that’s perfectly designed for such a task as that.
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 5 reviews so I’m already a quarter of a way to my goal).
Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.