In an interview last December, novelist Alexander Chee offhandedly said that he wished Amtrak had a residency for writers. Thanks to a Twitter storm of people dreaming that same dream, the program is now a reality. Over the weekend, Amtrak opened up the application for the #AmtrakResidency program (yes, hashtag and all). Each resident will be given a private sleeper car with a desk, bed, and window “to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration.” It sounds like a pretty sweet — if endlessly idyllic — way to carve out some writing time. And with Amtrak on board, we have a few more suggestions for companies that should have their own writers’ residencies. Because if this experience has taught us anything, it’s that Twitter can also be used to pressure companies into offering writing residencies. That’s a new one. Get to it, America!
Coffee shops are one of the ultimate writer clichés, but for good reason. Where else can you type away for hours on end, subsisting on only the cheapest small black coffee? It’s so ridiculous, it’s basically squatting. And a Starbucks residency wouldn’t even require much, just a guaranteed outlet, unlimited lattes, and maybe access to the coveted employee bathroom. People have been doing this unofficially for years (but free drinks would be nice, though).