Are you breathing? Are you breathing?? I'm not breathing. I can't move. I can't even blink. I can't believe it. Out of over 16,100 applicants only 24 writers were selected!
AND I'M ONE OF THEM!!!
I have found out the news 2 days ago but couldn't share. I was dying to share, dying! And finally I can! Here is the official blog post from Amtrak about it. And here is another blog post I have written about being selected as one of the 115 semi-finalists (including the full text of my application, for those of you curious), at which point I thought, "Ah, whatever, I'll never win." I was supposed to send in a sample of my writing for the second round, so I have sent the opening of ROSEHEAD. Did that do the trick? I don't know. No clue. Maybe I will never find out. But what I do know is this.
I will start on a new novel while on a train.
I have a title already.
TUBE: Trans-Urban Blitz-Express
Knowing me, you could've guessed that it's a flesh-eating train. Yes, it is. Yes, I grew up with trains, all kinds of trains, metro trains, trams, passenger trains, sleeper trains (I traveled from Moscow to Berlin and back), and I both love them and am creeped out by them. In IRKADURA I compare the subway train to a tapeworm. Not this one, the TUBE, the train will be a she. Not a he, like Stephen King's Blaine the Mono. A sinister she. I have the opening for the novel already (yes, I couldn't stop my brain and had to write it down):
She heard it breathe. The train. She could've sworn it took a slow inhale. Her toes pulsed, reminding her that they hurt from practice. She cast a glance around the compartment and continued unwrapping her left pointe shoe. The right one lay sprawled on the mauve carpet like a squished moth.
“Bleeding again,” she sighed, carefully peeled the fabric off, and threw the stained shoe next to the first one. The carpet shifted imperceptibly, as if sniffing it.
The book will be about a troupe of Bolshoi Theatre ballerinas going on tour in US, and, well, strangely disappearing one by one in the car number 5. Or something.
This is just an idea, but I know I will write it into a book. Probably will have to shift my schedule around a bit.
Oh, you must be wondering what an Amtrak Residency is?
Well, in the course of the next 12 months I'll get to choose one of the longer train rides, like from Seattle to Chicago and back, for example, and Amtrak will pay for it. I get my own coupe, Wi-Fi, all the fancy stuff, and I can ride the train and write, watching spectacular landscapes whiz by the window, imagining myself J.K. Rowling coming up with the Harry Potter idea. Which in my case would more like buckwheat sprouting into cockchafers that grow and multiply and devour people like juicy aphids. Or some gluttonous beasts catching obstreperous victims like bugs and with pretentious nonchalance tearing them apart and slurping them in, guts and all. Lovely imagery, don't you think? Don't you like my stories?
I'm astounded you have read this far, you bloody logophile.
Well, that's it, really. Just an announcement that I WILL BE RIDING A TRAIN AND WRITING ON IT AND INUNDATING YOU WITH PICTURES AND UPDATES UNTIL YOU HATE MY SOCKS.
Or maybe not.
Maybe you will never hate my socks.
But here is the exciting thing!!!
Once I know the exact route and where I'm going and for how long I'm staying where, I will post it here and I'd love to see you, if you live in that city, or maybe even crash on your couch in Chicago! If I go to Chicago. Not sure yet. I will know soon, though.