Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Imagining Riding to Write

Train Writing Excursion Dream | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Dreaming of a train adventure.
Since childhood, I've been enamored by trains. My dad had an immense train collection when I was a little girl. He built the track on plywood. It had hills and tunnels, trees and buildings. The terrain was dotted with people and various farm animals. It was quite a detailed landscape created especially for Dad's HO-scale trains. He would set up the plywood countryside on his ping pong table. I could barely see over the table, so I had to kneel on a chair to watch the trains. I can still see Dad manning the controls. I can still hear him barking, "Don't touch!"

Riding the subway in New York City also resides in my reservoir of memories. My grandmother and great grandfather lived in Manhattan, so I was introduced to the subway at an early age. I loved the breeze from a passing train. I loved standing and holding onto a pole, trying to keep my balance as the train stopped and started. I can still see Granny putting a token in the turnstile. I can still hear Mom barking, "Stay back! You'll fall onto the track and get squashed!"

As a young teenager, I loved to lay on the bow of my dad's friend's sailboat while drifting on the Hudson River. From the boat, we would watch the trains traveling into New York from a track that ran parallel to the river. I can still smell the murky Hudson River. I can still hear Dad barking, "Don't lean too far, you'll fall into the river!"

Conductor Dad Mans the Trains | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Holiday Trains with Poppy
As an adult, visiting my parents' house at Christmas included sitting amongst Dad's new trains. He started collecting a much bigger gauge as part of his empty nest adjustment strategy. The tracks wound around the formal living room. A smaller track encircled a Christmas tree. My boys relished their time on the couch not touching the controls as Poppy brought the magical train room to life.

It is no wonder trains hold such a special place in my heart. To combine my passion for writing and wanderlust gene with my love of trains would be a dream come true. That is why I had to apply for an #AmtrakResidency. Each day I open my email, I hope to find an acceptance notification for the program.

With a temporal lobe full of train anecdotes, a laptop sporting an addictive typewriter sounds app, and my long-weekend travel suitcase, I dream of being whisked away in a sleeper car. I fantasize about standing and holding onto a handrail, trying to keep my balance as the train stops and starts. I imagine gazing out the window and finding endless inspiration. I even have a conductor's hat just in case I am fortunate enough to be selected. And you never know, such an adventure might be just what I need to produce that coveted, all-American, best-selling novel.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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Families First Monthly

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