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Contact: Ann Hatch214-378-1819;
For immediate release — Aug. 13, 2015
(DALLAS) — Writers: Forget spending hours in dusty attics creating prose and poetry. It’s time to “do the locomotion” with North Lake College and sign up for a unique new class called “Writers in Training.” Literally. This new, fun partnership — DART and North Lake College — is a mobile classroom where writers will ride the TRE (Trinity Railway Express) as they compose stories on their own computers or devices.
“Take the train and tell your story” is what North Lake College journalism professor Joanna Cattanach is saying to interested writers. This one-day course, scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 29, will leave Union Station in Dallas at 10 a.m., journey across the Metroplex to Fort Worth, and make a return trip that concludes at its origin by 2 p.m. The class is limited to 20 students.
The clickety-clack of railroad tracks will mirror the clickety-clack of computer keyboards as students — busy professionals, parents, writers and students — hone their craft and take a day to think and write on their own in a very different setting — a “nonclassroom, nonwork environment,” according to the instructor.
“Finding the time to write can sometimes be a challenge,” explains Cattanach, who is a former reporter for the Dallas Morning News. “Riding the train and writing the words also will give participants a chance to publish their stories online as they work on the basics of storytelling, under a four-hour deadline.”
The cost for this “training” is $125, which includes the train ticket and course materials, as well as a designated travel theme. Students can earn .5 continuing education units. Plans are to offer the class quarterly, using a different theme each time.
“This experience gives writers a way to stop the distractions that occur in their lives when they are trying to put their words on paper and on screen. They can carve out time just for themselves to let their creativity flow, under a concentrated deadline,” added Cattanach. “They will produce stories with a specific theme and word count, too, in a personal essay, and we are offering them an opportunity to publish their stories online. This course really is an experience, not just a class.”
Although a similar course has been taught in California, this class is a “first” for any college in the Dallas County Community College District system. The West Coast class comprised a group of writers taking the train to write, but it was not offered in partnership with a transit authority. North Lake’s course is the result of a deliberate and enthusiastic partnership with DART.
Prior to the ride, students will receive the writing theme, guidelines and suggestions; they also will be asked to submit some prewriting in advance so that they can make the best use of their train ride, says Cattanach. The prewriting sample can include an outline, rough ideas and some brainstorming.
Writers will be able to go where they want to on the train to write, and they will submit their essays electronically when they reach the end of the line. They should bring their own food, beverages or snacks for the trip, as well as their own laptops or mobile devices. Wi-Fi is available on the TRE, but students will submit their stories to Cattanach on flash drives when the trip ends.
The easiest way to register for the course at North Lake, “Writers in Training CRWZ 1000,” is by phone through the North Lake College continuing education office at 972-273-3360 or 972-273-3357; staff members will walk callers through the process. Once students are registered, they will receive more information closer to the class start date.
For more information, visit
www.dfwtrainwriters.wordpress.com or contact Cattanach by email at
All aboard, writers in training!
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