Friday, May 16, 2014

Storyteller's Journey

Photo Credit: Kriston Johnson
   Taking a Literary Train

My critique partner and friend, Kriston Johnson, and I were first inspired to take a train to Seattle for the purpose of writing when we heard about the Amtrak Residency program for writers. While neither one of us applied for the program, we wondered: Why not take a train on our own? So last week we hopped aboard an Amtrak train with tickets and tech bags in hand.

I must admit that, like so many people, I find travelling by rail a blend of the romantic and the nostalgic. Images from movies like: Murder on the Orient Express, Harry Potter (all of them), Miss Potter, and even The Polar Express ran through my mind as we chugged away from our community's historic station en route for the Emerald City.

One additional reason I was so excited for the trip was the fact that I have a story outlined (scheduled later in the proposed middle grade series I'm working on) that includes a lengthy train ride for my protagonist. I was hoping to be inspired by rumbling down the rails as we headed north. As I tapped away on my laptop, I began to revise a portion of my story's plot that had previously stumped me. Much to my surprise, as we neared the central part of our state, the answer to my plot problem seemed to magically come into focus.

By the time we arrived at King Street Station, my W.I.P. woes had been remedied. It never ceases to amaze me, how writing in a different environment than my own creative cave, has the ability to enhance my writing.

My last several trips to Seattle were unseasonably warm and sunny; I wasn't so lucky this trip. Kriston and I grabbed a cab in the driving rain and headed straight for our destination: Elliott Bay Book Company.

The independent and family-owned bookstore has been operating in Seattle for over forty years. A trip to Elliott Bay Book Company is something truly special. Not only is it housed in a space with wooden beams and floors, the Elliott Bay Café serves sensational sandwiches, desserts, wines, and a variety of coffees. We enjoyed a delightful lunch after perusing the multitudes of rare titles, as well as books in the shop's whimsical children's section.

The real adventure in our day began when we departed the bookstore. The driving rain had transformed to a gusty rainstorm. By this time in the trip I was carrying my tech bag, my purse, and a bag of new books. To make matters worse, we couldn't snag a cab! Consequently, we walked three miles in the williwaw - from Capitol Hill back to King Street Station (near the Seahawks' Quest Field). In this photo I'm leaning on a bench, back at the station, so I won't fall over!

However, by the time I returned home around 9:30 that night, I realized I'd had the time of my life. Besides all that, I had four wonderful new novels to read; and of course, the bag had been a must.

As I proceed on my Storyteller's Journey, I'm finding that it's not the word counts or writers' events that are making me so happy. It's the little experiences all along the way. We need to remember to embrace what each new day offers. And when it's a tumultuous storm, find a way (with the help of a friend) to make it through to calmer skies.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Debbie. Hope all is well with you across the pond! ^_^

  2. Sounds like an adventure, for sure, Victoria! I agree, whenever I get out of my writing cave and write somewhere else I am always inspired and productive. I don't know why I don't do it more often.

    1. It was certainly profitable for me on the train trip. Hope you have a wonderful week, Ruth!