Writing the Rails

I’m flattered to have friends tell me they like reading my blog.  Even more so when I get a *like* from a random reader.

Yesterday I woke to one such text from a friend since my high school days, the eldest of the Fabulous Baker Girls.  She went one further, though.  She told me that she thought I should apply for a Writer in Residence position and sent me a link to apply.

Prior to this, I’ve been the Writer in Residence of Chez Galby, and doing a pretty poor job of meeting the “requirements” of the position…which is to publish one measly post per week.  To be on trend to make that goal, I should have 40 published posts and this will be #31, so I am behind, but gunning to make it up with a renewed discipline…maybe that will make my dick boss happy.

This renewed discipline also affords me a “reason” to procrastinate working on my other writing projects:  a couple of novel ideas I have been kicking around.  It’s a task that daunts me to the point that thinking about it just made me roll my eyes.

So, I read up on this Writer in Residence opportunity and decided to take the plunge.  It meant answering a couple of short essay type questions and submitting a writing sample.  So, I scrubbed a couple of blog posts for foul language and sent them along.  An earlier post and one that was more recent so they could see the progression in my writing voice as well as get an idea for some of the themes I discuss.

The program is for Amtrak, hence the title for this entry.

It’s weird to consider them sponsoring a position like this, then again, it isn’t.

It’s basically a short term position.

Like a four-day trip across country on a train and my job would be to write about the experience.

And that’s why I was excited to apply.  I’m sure nothing will come of it, my portfolio is still too meager to warrant a paycheck like a $500 cross-country train ticket, but…who knows.  Anyway, back to being excited to apply.  The reason I was so excited was because in researching the program, it occurred to me that one of my most common themes – starting way back with The Seattle Thaw and continuing into a lot of my posts about dating and relationships – is how people interact and treat one another.  My observations on social behaviors and preferred manner of treatment are somewhat anachronistic, just like train travel has become in America today.  This would be an exciting exercise in comparing how travel evolved from trains and buses to planes and automobiles and what we traded away experience-wise in favor of convenience while also highlighting the conveniences our technology now affords us and how that has impacted our cultural behaviors and social norms.

I think there is an interesting parallel to be drawn.

Maybe I’ll do it anyway, just for myself.

Flash forward a couple of days and I’m meeting up with FBG1 for some happy hour drinks and grub at Henry’s in the Pearl – hey, I had a gift card from New Year’s Eve at Cider Bite just burning a hole in my pocket – and we started talking about cruises.

This was one of my favorite games in college.  OK, it wasn’t a game so much as a necessity when sitting around with my roommates drinking beer from our BeerMeister and eating enough guacamole that I can barely stand to look at avocados anymore…but it’s basically retracing the conversational steps we took once we realized we had gotten off on so many tangents that the original point was lost.

So, let’s see.  We were talking about…Alaska?  That can’t be right.  Food?  I dunno.  Rest assured, she’ll let me know once she reads this.  That woman has an impressive memory.  Anyhoo.  I think we both agreed that we didn’t really care for the concept of cruises and whatever the objection she or I had was basically true for every cruise except a gay cruise.  Not that I would want to go on one of those!  I have heard horror stories, let me tell you.

She had a story about a gay couple that she or a friend of hers had met during a traditional cruise and said that they were just the best folks.  Really enhanced the cruise experience.  I think this was her personal story, but I’m old.  I get confused.  And this was after one whole beer, so obviously I was out of my mind.  Remember, beer makes me loopy.  I don’t know why I still drink it.  Oh, yeah…it tastes amazing.

But!

That gave me a great idea for the cruise ship industry:  Gays in Residence on cruise ships!

It would be perfect.  When gays go into a neighborhood, everything traditionally improves.  Why can’t that work with cruise ships, too?

And suddenly, I’m rethinking my stance on cruises.  I could go be the Truman Capote of the seas.

Writing the Rails

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