Q (Nicolle Elizabeth): Hi Karen! Just popping in to see how the new TrainWrite group here at Fictionaut is going. How is it going, any good workshopping, discussions, story sharing?

A (Karen Eileen Sikola): Hi, Nicolle! Thanks for checking in. It’s been great seeing TrainWrite’s readership and submissions grow ever since adding the group to Fictionaut. I’ve enjoyed seeing people post their stories to the group, and have been able to use it as a resource for soliciting writers whose work I may not have come across otherwise. Since starting the group, I’ve been fortunate enough to feature writing from several Fictionaut writers, including KatieĀ  McCoach, Mark Reep, LenKuntz, Catherine Davis, Susan Tepper, and Linda Simoni-Wastila.

What is TrainWrite, its history? Its plans for the future? Did you know that though James Watt invented the steam engine in 1784, we have no exact date as to when the Moleskin notebook was first invented, though know for certain Matisse was using one around the turn of the 19th century?

TrainWrite started about a year ago, after I completed my M.F.A. and found myself a drifter. A friend of mine, Danny Goodman, had already seen a good bit of success with his lit-blog fwriction, so I felt inspired to give the blogosphere a try. At the time, I was subletting a room in an artist’s loft in Bushwick, Brooklyn, so most of my inspiration came from riding the L into the city for a fruitless job hunt.

TrainWrite began as a log of my own my own flash nonfiction pieces, but evolved into an online literary journal once people began submitting their own observations from the tracks. I’m constantly surprised by the prevalence of trains in storytelling. Just when I begin to worry that the scope of TrainWrite is too narrow, that I’ll
run out of material, I come across a reference to trains in something I’m reading, or someone will send me a link, or a stranger on my commute will do something worth writing about. I suppose I have both the invention of the steam engine and the Moleskin notebook to thank for that.

Please tell us more about you, your projects and anything you would like us to know here.

I tend to write best when my world appears darkest, so am currently attempting to find the muse in this thing called happiness I’ve only recently found in Boston. I still have some pieces out for consideration, but am realizing that they will eventually be rejected or accepted, and when that happens, it would be best to have some new material to send out.

I’ve also been working on a chapbook manuscript for TrainWrite, compiling my original shorts into something I’d ideally like to see people reading between stops. If you know of a potential home for her, she’s in the market and willing to travel.

Keep TrainWrite on track. Submit.

Nicolle Elizabeth checks in with Fictionaut Groups every Friday.

  1. susan tepper

    TrainWrite is terrific both conceptually and for real as a writers’ place. Karen is a writer whose work I admire. Thanks for the great Q&A, Nicolle and Karen!

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