Over the weekend I overheard (on the Internet) that Amtrak is putting together a plan to give away onboard writers' residencies. You can read all the details of how this came about here.
Given my recent frequent train travel aboard Amtrak's Vermonter train, and writing about it here, and live tweeting it here (see Feb 21 tweets), I couldn't help but interpret this as a sign from the Universe that #100words is meant to be taken on the road - or rather, tracks. What that might look like, if Amtrak were to even pick this up, is still wide open, but I imagine many different scenarios from a solo writer's residency where I live tweet the travel in 100 words prose (10 x 10) and create challenges from on board, all the way up to the wild idea of a group retreat where a guest writer (I have some wonderful ones in mind) accompanies us to conduct workshops, writing sprints, and do readings. Or perhaps a tour of some famous writing spots.
The possibilities feel excitingly endless.
So I'm recruiting you, Velveteers, to help me get the attention of Amtrak. They are looking for social media influence, particularly on Twitter. Let's see where we can make this go. If you're on Twitter, tweet out to @Amtrak and/or use the hashtag #AmtrakResidency along with #100words and @velvetverbosity.
Since Amtrak is still figuring out how to make this work for them without simply throwing money out the train window, we have no idea what they would be up for. So in a way, we're helping to give them some ideas. What I want to do is simply create the opportunity for a dialogue with them.
In the meantime, I'll be traveling back to Vermont by Amtrak on Wednesday, so watch for more live tweeting of 100 Words that evening.
On the trip down, I was reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.
It is quite good. Humorous and practical, insightful and vulnerable, and inspiring. In the chapter, School Lunches, she re-emphasizes a common theme - just write. Something, anything. Yes, get that "shitty" draft down on paper, because a) if you don't start, you have nothing, and b) you have no idea what will emerge if you simply sit down and start somewhere. Her treatment of the topic in this chapter is worth the entire book. She makes you laugh, gives you a concrete exercise to get started, inspires you, and clearly illustrates exactly how the writing process works, and the inherent mystery within that you just have to trust.
And just now it occurs to me that I want you all to have this book, so much so that because I've asked you to help me get the attention of Amtrak, I'd like to give away a copy of this book to one of you. So if you tweet out to Amtrak and use all the appropriate @'s and #'s, I'll throw your name into a hat for each time you do, and on March 10th I'll draw a name to win a copy of the book!
Your word, Velveteers, from the book, and the chapter, is...(you probably already guessed)