…well…not allaboard. Many are called, some will enter, and a few will be chosen. Am I talking about heaven? No. I’m talking about Amtrak. We all know what Amtrak is, but how many of us have ever taken a trip by passenger train? Not me; the closest I’ve ever gotten to a trip by train have been rides around the parks on the choo-choos at the Columbus Zoo and Hershey Park. Amtrak, however, is sponsoring an “Amtrak Residency for Writers,” believe it or not. It is happening right now; you can apply here until March 31, 2014. The application includes the submission of a writing sample which will give you the opportunity to strut your creative stuff as well. Amtrak representatives will start selecting winners on March 17 and keep doing so through March 31. Amtrak will choose twenty-four winners. The residency will be for six months…I’m kidding about the duration: if you are one of the very lucky winners, the terms of the residency will be two to five days, and it appears that Amtrak will select your destination. You will be provided with a private sleeper car with a bed, a desk and a window. Gamblers need not apply (again, just kidding. I can’t resist. Hope you’re not, um, keeping track.). I do regret to note, however, that Brother Basil Sands is not eligible; please read the contest rules carefully to see why.
This contest looks as if it would be just the berries if you are looking to jump start your next (or even your current) writing project via exposure to inspiring scenery in an environment removed from your normal distractions of daily living. I have submitted an application, and while I would love to be one of the winners, I’d like to see at least one of you, our loyal and wonderful visitors to The Kill Zone, listed as a winner as well. Should you be selected, all I ask in return for alerting you to this wonderful possibility is that 1) you dedicate your completed novel to me and 2) you insist upon a clause in your ancillary rights agreement that I am to be given a featured role in the film version of your work. That’s all. Wink wink.
Good luck. And if one of you should be a winner, please let us know. For now, however, please tell us: if you are selected as one of the winners, where would you like to go? And how would you schedule your daily writing activity?