Murder on the Amtrak Express?


          Writers on the Rails – All Aboard!

Probably not murder, but one never knows what may happen when you put a bunch of writers on a train. ICYMI – Amtrak recently announced their first class of writers-in-residence. This very cool program started out as a brief quip from a blogger and has progressed into a full blown, official long-distance residency for writers.

Imagine the benefits. You get to see the vast stretches of America you normally miss when driving your car. After all, when you are behind the wheel you are either looking for the next restroom, gas station, or speed trap. On a train? You get to people watch with a captive audience! Judging by the potential stories I see every time I go to an airport, a long train ride could also provide excellent fodder for the imagination.

Another plus – limited Internet and phone access. No distractions. Need I say more?

So who are these 24 writers now packing their bags to hit the rails like modern day Hobo-Hemingways? (I just made that up. Can you tell?) I won’t describe all 24, you can read more about them using the link above, but what a diverse group. Among them are a few nationally known broadcasters, a former spy, a sports writer, a movie reviewer, a noted transgender writer, several national award winning authors, and then there’s Ksenia Anske.

If you don’t know Ksenia Anske, you should. A Russian by birth, Ksenia arrived in the US in 1998. Since then she has been named one of the Top 100 Women in Seattle Tech. A published fantasy author, Ksenia is also very, very, very active on Twitter. Not that I am the expert on the Twitter-verse, but I will say Ksenia tweets some of the snarkiest comments I have seen there. Probably why she is so popular? if you are a writer, her Twitter feed is worth checking out @kseniaanske.

Amtrak scored big with this new residency program. I hope it continues; maybe I’ll apply some day. In the meantime, I may just send Google a note asking them to send me one of their self-driving cars. If I had one, I could start my own residency program as I commuted to and from work. That would provide me an extra hour and a half of writing time each day!

If only it came with an attached club car…



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