black-and-white 1927 train photoIt is not the norm for me to post news story links to this blog. In fact I don’t think I ever have in its history. But this would be incredible. Ben Cosman over at The Wire wrote a piece a few days ago detailing the possibility of Amtrak offering “writers’ residencies” on their trains. Yes, that would mean getting free rides on Amtrak in order to write while on board. Incredible.

I’m not sure this translates to non-writers, but there is something about a train that stimulates creativity – at least it always has for me. In fact I’m currently planning a trip around the country starting in April that would predominately be on trains in order that I could take advantage of said creative inspiration.

I must admit that I’ve never done long-term train travel, but since I was little I have dreamed about being able to traverse the world during the time period when trains were the way to travel. My own experience has been limited to the hour or so long ride on the BNSF line from Naperville to Chicago. Whenever I took it, however, I made sure to have a pen and paper on me because ideas always flowed easier there. I have written one short fictional piece directly about those train rides and they have inspired many others.

So Amtrak, please consider giving this program a shot. The arts need all they help they can get before we’re drowning in nothing but vampire-robot-sex books and celebrity-plastic-surgery-nightmare shows.