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We love trains. Writing too. Trainwreck is a mobile residency for writers by writers, no strings attached. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on April 5, 2014.

We love trains. Writing too. Trainwreck is a mobile residency for writers by writers, no strings attached.

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UPDATE!! (Mar. 31. 2014)

We modestly started Trainwreck thinking about it as a simple geographically local enterprise between St. Paul and Chicago. But the other day we receive a fantastic message from Adam Auxier which immediately expanded the depth and reach we are able to offer with the project.

Adam manages charter rail trip across the country on vintage restored sleeper cars. He was intrigued by the idea of Trainwreck and wanted to know how he could help. We're still working out the particulars, but now, with Adam and Altiplano Railtours on board, we can now offer:

- Trips between locations across the entire country.

- The chance to travel with a small cohort of writers while simultaneously being afforded private space to think and write. 

- The possibility of expanding the conceptual reach of the project, such as a mobile symposium in addition to the open call residency for example.

We are extremely excited by this turn of events. Not only does this open up the residency to many more writers, it also opens up the ideas we can work with regarding how writers and artists might converge on the train. And, simply put, these train cars are absolutely beautiful. We're very grateful for Adam and Altiplano Railtours' interest in Trainwreck.


Not too long ago word got out that Amtrak was developing a writers residency. We, like many many others, found this idea very exciting. We love trains, and writing, and books. Here’s the thing though - always read the fine print! Just as quickly as word was getting around about this new residency so were the terms that were attached to the project (thank god some people actually read that stuff because we sure didn’t). The terms were a little restrictive in the end.

Admittedly, it occurred to us that we could just buy our own tickets and hop on board ready to get some writing done. But people like being part of a group - ourselves included - and having someone else plan the whole thing makes things a lot easier. So with this in mind we thought, “Well, let’s just start our own residency?” And so we did!

Welcome to Trainwreck: A Red76 Residency & Book.

We want to send eight writers on a train trip and then make a printed publication of what they write while on the rails.

Once funded we’ll set up an open call for anyone in the world to apply to travel roundtrip between St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL. (Our pockets are light, so no matter where you live, you have to depart from and return to Minnesota.) We will purchase and book the train tickets, book one hotel night in Chicago and create a schedule for writers to submit their work for our printed publication.

Most importantly, this is a no strings attached writing residency.

The writing - or lack thereof - created during the residency belongs entirely to the writer, not us. People can write about anything they damn well please and we’ll print it.

Trips will begin in early summer and will end in early fall, 2014. Towards the end of the year we will produce a book through Publication Studio of the writing of Trainwreck residents and have a release party in Minneapolis in association with Red76’s new neighborhood library project, The “_________” Public Library.

So hop on board. We figured that if you really like the idea of something, but it’s not exactly what you had in mind, you might as well work together to make it your own. With your help we believe that can be easily done.

Sincerly, Sam Gould and Sarah Peters (the folks organizing this Trainwreck for Red76)

Risks and challenges

While we would love to support this project no matter what, funding is essential. If we do not receive the full funding we won’t be able to offer the residency or the resulting publication.

Other challenges include:

+ What if no one applies? Well, thankfully, we know a good amount of writers, so we can twist some arms. But, we are more interested in reaching out to a wide and diverse range of writers. Who are the people we don't know and what might they have to share? Our job is to do our best to move the message of the residency along after funding is completed. With this in mind we will need to develop a robust network of supporters to encourage writers to apply. We are confident that this network already exists.

+ Publishing a book is never easy. There's editing (honestly, there won't be much of that - it's up to you and your trusted allies, writers!), as well as design (Sam's been designing all the digital and printed matter for Red76, including the Journal of Radical Shimming, for fourteen years - so we've got that covered), but there's still the physical assembly of the book. We're not working in bulk, we're making books like pizza. You want a book? We'll make it for you. Sam is an editor and publisher through the publishing cooperative Publication Studio (PS) and it is with this model that we'll be making and publishing the books. The only foreseeable flaw in this plan is if way too many folks are interested in getting a book. But, if that happens, the PS model falls into place. Were we to feel overwhelmed with production the other PS branches could pick up the slack. The cooperative model works out nicely in circumstances such as these.

+ What if residents don't finish their writing in time for the publication date? Well, while we are very keen on producing the Trainwreck publication complete with all the residents work included, the residency is the most important part for us. The publication itself, while a great addition, is more of a document of a time and a process of writing and organizing. With that said, if there are writers who don't finish we'll just leave their pages blank... with their names still included.

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  • You selected
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    28 backers

    The High Five. Thanks for supporting this idea. $10 gets you a high five if we ever meet you in person as well as your name listed in the Trainwreck publication.

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    57 backers

    The Book. For $30 we’ll make you a copy of the Trainwreck publication, with your name in bold in the back and a high five if we ever meet you in person. (Shipping costs extra. Ships to the USA only.)

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    18 backers

    The Book and more! For $50 we’ll make you a copy of the Trainwreck publication, with your name in bold in the back and a high five if we ever meet you in person. As well, you'll receive issue #14 of the Journal of Radical Shimming: 406 lovely perfect bound pages of essays and interviews concerned with pragmatic utopianism and tools for everyday equity. (Shipping costs extra. Ships to the USA only.)

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    9 backers

    The Lunch Meeting! We’ll take you to lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in South Minneapolis and talk about your ideas for independent publishing, public art, writing, community building, or whatever else you want to discuss. + Five high fives, a copy of Trainwreck with your name in the back, and a wealth of Red76 publications, including the Journal of Radical Shimming, PAPER INTERNET, and more.

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    0 backers

    The Empire Builder! Named after the train route that spans the Great American West, this reward will help us build an empire of independent publishing where writers' rights rule the land! This award gets you a pizza party in your honor with homemade, brick-oven baked pizza in Sam’s Minneapolis back yard this summer. Booze included. + 10 high fives, and as many copies of the Trainwreck book that you want (within reason). [Note - those not living in Minneapolis will need to work out their own travel and accommodations.]

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Funding period

- (15 days)