Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

There’s something about a train that’s magic…for writers


Do you think so? Someone had the idea that there should be a writer’s residence like Breadloaf on a train.

Maybe the train would be conducive to getting something magical done. You have the hypnotic rhythm of the rails, the isolation of your berth, the absence of someplace else to go. In a way, you’d be a captive writer, so you might as well write.

I’m not sure about that. I’m a sucker for scenery. I’d probably be gazing out the window a lot, watching the mountains rotate slowly as the train went by. I’d want to be in the observation car for those craggy views through the Rockies and Sierras. Or I’d wonder who’s in the bar car now. Getting a little thirsty…

I did do a writers’ retreat once in Idaho, thirty miles out of Ketchum. Pretty country. My room was a small cabin without television or radio. I was surrounded by earthly magnificence. Didn’t get a lick of writing done, but I did meet a lot of terrific writers and jawed with them over beers on the veranda of the lodge.

This train thing sounds fun, though. I wouldn’t mind avoiding my WIP by booking a seat.

(Image via.)

9 comments on “There’s something about a train that’s magic…for writers

  1. denizb33
    February 26, 2014

    I’d love to do this! And that writers’ retreat sounds like fun too. I’d like to go to this one someday: http://www.homericwriters.com/

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 26, 2014

      Wow, that one does look great! In Homer’s footsteps…

  2. LindaGHill
    February 26, 2014

    I absolutely love trains, but I don’t think I could write on one either: for one thing I get motion sickness if I don’t look out the window, and on top of that, like you, I’d want to look outside anyway. How much you could miss that might provide inspiration!! I think I’d be the same as you on a writer’s retreat as well. Too much to learn and commiserate over. The only time I’ve managed to get loads of work done was when I went away, alone, and only after dark when I didn’t feel comfortable going out anyway. During the day however, I did nothing but gather more and more inspiration to use in my writing.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 26, 2014

      And so much of writing is your own daily routine anyway. When you step out of it, odds are you won’t get into good writing rhythm. But there’s plenty of inspiration in these settings for later use…

  3. ericjbaker
    February 26, 2014

    I think you have to enjoy the trip, and write when you get home with fresh inspiration.

    One of my favorite horror movies, Horror Express, is set on a train, as is one of my favorite books, Murder on the Orient Express. Up with trains!

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 26, 2014

      Oh yeah. I would have named my first born Lionel if I’d had kiddies.

      • ericjbaker
        February 26, 2014

        And “American Flyer” for your second?

      • Kevin Brennan
        February 26, 2014

        And Caboose for the last one…

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This entry was posted on February 26, 2014 by in Writing and tagged , , , , .
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