Glimmers From the Train

The long intermission from my blog due to sickness (first mine, then my husband’s), was followed by a medical crisis for my father-in-law, which resulted in surgery for a pacemaker. Now that he is stable and in the aftermath, we are visiting my mom and my bonus dad (“stepfather”) in Washington, and the trip up on the train was a magical transition. I love riding the Coast Starlight (Photo from Amtrak website).CoastStarlightI had just received a notice from Glimmer Train Press that my story, “Thirteen Memories,” received honorable mention in their MAR/APR 2016 Very Short Fiction Contest. Since Glimmer Train is one of my favorite literary journals, I am overjoyed. Here is the link, if you want to affirm my claim (Logo Photo from Glimmer Train Site): Honorable Mentions.

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Train rides provide some quality contemplation time (if you get a sleeper), and I often seem to get some writing done on the trip up here, a two-day and one night excursion. I like the freedom the train provides as opposed to the responsibilities of driving. And I love train stations. Our first stop was the Metrolink Station in Upland where we had an early morning cup of coffee on our way to Union Station, a favorite spot. We were the only people there at first, but were eventually joined by two other passengers.

UplandMetrolinkAt Union Station, I indulged, buying a small bag of warm pretzels to go with a second cup of coffee. Since we had a sleeper car, we waited in the main lobby for a time but then removed to the special area where we would be transported by cart with our luggage to the train. Here is my husband, making sure his dad is doing well.DaveUnionStationOnce settled on the train and when we were north of Los Angeles, we began to relax more than we had in a couple of weeks (hospital trips, errands, doctor calls). I became aware that the views from the sleeper car and the Pacific Parlour Car were offering me a sweep of moods. While I love the Central Coast of California, parts of it are hauntingly melancholy and lonely. I went from aching sadness to exuberant glee over and over again, depending on the view. The glimpses of the Pacific Ocean were the most valued moments, the pleasures afforded to the eyes and the soul.Trainview1Once here with other family members in much cooler weather, we are noticing the moods of this area. Joyful, just energetic enough, beautiful, peaceful. Here is a photo of lovely downtown Gig Harbor, Washington.DowntownGigHarborOur morning walk took us to the charming downtown area and the harbor.GigHarborViewI also got a few rejections, but in the mix, an acceptance for a poem I was hoping an editor would like. And the two driving poems have now appeared inย Vending Machine Press.ย  (For some reason, the link doesn’t show up when I preview this entry, so here it is if you want to cut and paste it: https://vendingmachinepress.com/2016/05/29/two-poems-by-carla-mcgill/). If interested, you can listen to me read them by clicking on the link. I have about a dozen or so driving poems, and one day perhaps they can be included in a collection. For now, I’m glad they have found a home. Mom6.27.16I am also having some wonderful time with my amazing mother, also a writer and an genealogy aficionado. My bonus dad is always entertaining, and he and my husband love hanging out together.ย PeavDave

Here’s to family, poetry, glimmers from the train, Glimmer Train, and of course, blog readers. Ciao!

25 thoughts on “Glimmers From the Train

  1. That must have been a very nice and relaxing adventure, and well-deserved, after what you’ve been through with your colds and worrying about Dave’s father and all. I thought it was rather funny to range from “aching sadness to exuberant glee” with every different view from the window. I could just imagine that, like the actor who uses his hand over his face like a curtain, to reveal different emotions on each swipe. LOL! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. Yes, it is rather comical, the way I put it, and yet being a “Highly Sensitive Person,” it is not unusual for me to have those kinds of responses depending on the scene around me, though it is not a deep thing, just a momentary feeling. Glad I could provide a chuckle. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Wowsa! Congrats on the honorable mention!!! and on the publication of the poems!! Wonderful!!! The train trip sounds like such a relaxing way to travel. We were actually going to take the one up to the Grand Canyon awhile back, but ended up not doing so because of the problem with hubby’s gluten free diet. I am wondering if a train trip is not one of the best liminal experiences!

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    1. Thanks Luanne! Have taken the Southwest Chief (to New Orleans), but the Coast Starlight is wonderful. Not sure if they accommodate allergies and gluten free needs, but the experience is fun. Much more relaxing than driving, especially when we were exhausted as we left.

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      1. Sounds so wonderful. And I think M could relax. But I did call about the train to the Grand Canyon, and they really could not accommodate him. Maybe a longer train ride . . . .

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        1. Aw, that’s too bad. I think we did take that one once, but not to the Grand Canyon. First to Flagstaff, and then the smaller train to the Canyon, perhaps. So long ago, and John Kirwan was with us.

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  3. I’m sorry to hear about the illnesses that have beset you and your family Carla and I hope you’re feeling much better now. Congratulations on your successes – I particularly loved Another Drive, those haunting images such as the ‘bare and intentional road’ and the way the drive leads to new thoughts and the opening of mysteries. I love train travel too, definitely the most romantic way to travel, I think.

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  4. What a guided river the rails are. Your narrative brings your travels and the events around them evocatively into now. A visual, emotional, beautiful vacation without the cost of a ticket.

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  5. Jolly well done, with your honorable mention, Carla. I’m sorry to hear about all the ills — us frail mortals and all that. Am glad you’re recovering. My mum is a genealogy aficionado, too, plus she has had poetry published in the past. My granny was a poet, and my son writes dark fantasy stories. I guess the writing gene must be hereditary in some families!

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! I have been wondering about you. Love the photos of your flowers, vegetables, and other garden delights! Our weather here is hot these days, up to 109 one day! The poor plants are fighting to survive. You do have a lot of writers in your family, and that is much fun, isn’t it?

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      1. Phew, that sounds hot. As much as I like the sun, I think a temperature 109 might leave me fighting for survival D:
        Yes, it is good to have lots of writers in my family, plus many great readers. My grandson (aged 6) has just won the school prize for “The Most Enthusiastic Reader”. He’s so proud of it and keeps showing everybody his certificate! My son won his school’s “Creative Writing” at the same age and still has his framed certificate on his desk, even though he’s 30 in a few month’s time ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. Congratulations on the Honorable Mention and the publications! I hope you all are very well now.
    Many years ago I took Amtrak from Amsterdam, New York to New York City and back. I really enjoyed being able to just enjoy the scenery and read. There used to be a passenger train from Tallahassee, FL (where I now live) to New Orleans but one of the hurricanes “derailed” it and there hasn’t been any passenger service for a long time now. There are talks about starting it again and I hope so because I’d love to go to New Orleans by train. It’s one of our favorite cities, but you don’t need a car once you get there, so driving has always seemed like a waste (as well as very stressful).

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  7. Thank you, Marie! We did take the train from Los Angeles to New Orleans some years ago; what a wonderful journey! I hope you can do it someday. Thanks for reading my blog post. I am about to renew my blog after a long break. Looking forward to catching up on everyone and what they have been posting.

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  8. HUGE congrats on your Glimmer Train acceptance. I’m going over there now to read your story. Glad you’re feeling better and were able to take this wonderful train ride up to Washington. These days, I take Amtrak from Boston to Delaware to visit my mom. Not anywhere near as lovely as a trip as you had. Glad you’ll be vamping up your blog writing soon.

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    1. Thank you, Pam! I was thankful that The Penman Review picked up the story (Oct. 7) if you want to read it there. Boston to Delaware: that sounds wonderful. I was only in Boston once and enjoyed it immensely! Thanks for reading my blog posts. New post should appear next week sometime.

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