Surprise and Delight

Thanks to Liz Taylor for this gem.

Sometimes the smartest social strategy is simply listening.

Full story here.

But first: how did this beautiful reverie come to fruition? It seems we have Twitter to thank. After reading Alexander Chee’s interview in Pen America, in which he said “I still like a train best for [writing]. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers,” Gross tweeted her mutual wish for an Amtrak-sponsored writing experience.

And though such lofty fantasies often die unrealized, by the grace of some transportation-and-prose-loving god, Amtrak actually responded to Gross on Twitter, and liked the idea. 

So Gross emailed the social media team at Amtrak to set the trip up, picked dates and a route (Amtrak recommended the Lake Shore Limited, because, you know, there tends to be room on a train headed to Chicago in mid-Winter), and booked her ticket. She rode the rails from NYC to Chicago to NYC again, writing the whole time. No one else on the train knew about her residency, Gross said, or if they did, they "definitely didn't act like it."