Launch of a Blog and a Writing Residency

Hello and welcome to my first blog post on my newly designed site. I started writing a post last week about attending my first-ever Associated Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Seattle, but everything I put on the page kept coming up drivel—not what I wanted for my inauguration to the blogosphere. As a result, I procrastinated, an easy thing to do when the sun is shining and the flowers are pushing out of the cold, damp earth.

A couple weeks ago, with AWP on the horizon and an upcoming interview to be published at Under the Gum Tree, I finally got off my ass (or more accurately, I sat my ass down) to create an author webpage—a task on my New Year’s Affirmations list (something I wrote about at Letters to Pomona). My new site is still in the works. I’ve never designed anything like this before, and even with the advent of predesigned themes on WordPress, there is much to think about. For example: Do I make the blog the landing page or have a static, unchanging landing page that tells about me? I opted for a Welcome page to introduce myself with a link to the blog at the top. Primarily, my intention for this website is to network as a writer/editor/teacher. And while my blog subjects will often be writing related, I want to allow myself the freedom to write about whatever may be of urgency in the moment of a particular blog post; thus, my choice to have the blog be an addendum to the rest of the site.

Now, I fear this post is not much more interesting than the one I initially tried to write about AWP, so I better get on with it before I lose you to some other blog or online article, Facebook or Twitter, and give you something useful.

So here it is. If you are a writer, and you haven’t already heard, Amtrak is developing a new writer’s residency, and applications are currently being accepted. When I first learned of this opportunity, I was very excited. Not only is it *free*, but it involves riding a train, a pastime I remember fondly from my youth when I commuted by train in the Bay Area to and from ballet class every day.

But before you dive into that application, you might want to check out the fine print. I was skeptical when a friend on FB posted a warning, thinking how easy it is to fall prey to paranoia, but then I saw a link to the official terms. Once I started to read, my enthusiasm definitely stalled. Here is a quote to give you an idea of why:

6. Grant of Rights: In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties.

And there’s more where that came from. Take a look. If you’re considering applying for this seemingly attractive offer, you just might want to be fully informed. Until next time. Adieu!

8 Comments on “Launch of a Blog and a Writing Residency”

  1. Your site is beautiful! I’ve just started learning wordpress too! It’s quite an undertaking, isn’t it? My music school’s site has been up for years, using an old Yahoo template. ( But I’ve just started building a new site for my wedding business. ( The new site isn’t hosted on, though. I downloaded WordPress from I like the Chateau theme you chose. Love the books, of course! At first,I felt bad for posting the Aamtrak residency without having read the terms, but now I’m thinking it served a purpose by inspiring a topic for your inaugural blog post! Talk about silver linings!


    • Thanks for visiting, Kim! Yes, learning this new tech language is quite an undertaking. I’ve made so many changes, and keep making them. Don’t feel bad about the post on FB. Yes, definitely, silver linings! Thank you. 🙂


  2. Great-looking site, Laurie!
    I like the Chateau theme you chose, and of course, I love the books. As for content, well, I know it’ll continue to be good. I’m subscribing right away.
    I’ve just started working with WordPress for the first time during the past few weeks, so I feel you! I’m building a web site for my second business. The music school has had a web site for years now, but I built that with an old Yahoo template. ( Once I’m finished building the new site for my wedding business (, I’ll move my music school domain to ipage and build it a WordPress site as well. We’ll have to trade WP tips!
    Best wishes on your new blog.


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