Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My Photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and an '86 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of '97 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 26 years--we're recycling. I've published 2 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), and THE O'BRIENS (2012), and 2 collections of stories NIGHT DRIVING (1987), and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). Novel # 3, CARRY ME, will be out from Pantheon (US) and House of Anansi (Canada) in March 2016 and Editions Philippe-Rey (Paris) will publish it as PORTE-MOI. More of my book stuff at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I've been teaching at Colorado College, Wichita State, and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I'll be a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right. It's free. Never an ad, never a sales pitch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Stoney Reserve, foothills. province of Alberta

these from Colin Washburn, on the road:
Alberta 22 is one of the most beautiful roads in the world, if you ask me. Especially the stretch from Rocky Mountain House to Pincher Creek. That's the Rocky Mountain front range to the right, if you're heading south. I always see bald eagles on this road.
In Alberta, they are called Texas Gates. In Texas they're called cattle guards. In Switzerland -- Grille Canadien. Go figure. Below: horse race at Morley, on the Stoney Reserve.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stephen Shore: American Surfaces

Stephen Shore, American Surfaces: Queens, New York, April 1972

from a review of Shore's 2014 show, posted on Esse 
"...Shore has the unique ability to document vernacular subjects with the formal casualness of a vacation snapshot but in a way that invests them with a kind of existential monumentality. In other words, he makes the overlooked details of everyday life important, plucking them from their place in space and time with the click of a well-placed shutter. Seen together, his photographs of American roadsides from the 1970s look as contemporary as his images of modern day Abu Dhabi. Scale is often the only giveaway about “when” we are seeing in Shore’s photographs. Keeping the size of the original images, the show lets the older snapshots brush up (sometimes quite literally) against the artist’s more recent large-scale prints..."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Agnes Martin at Tate Modern, the grid, Saskatchewan

Geometry has nothing to do with it. It’s all about finding perfection and perfection can’t be found in something so rigid as geometry. You have to go elsewhere for that, in between the lines.                                                                                                                                  — Agnes Martin

"Agnes Martin’s lifelong dedication to simplicity of mind was perhaps made easier (it was certainly not impeded) by the faint trace of simple-mindedness in her nature. Had she not had about her a touch of the holy fool, the strange and specialised soul of a secular saint, her life and work would not have attained its compelling singularity. She famously said that the artist should paint with her back to the world. The world, meanwhile, was always ready to embrace her, and in the 1960s she was a successful member of the New York avant garde. But her centre of gravity lay way outside the bright metropolitan circle, and her renunciation of the urban scene, her turning away so decisively from social living, was only a matter of time in coming. Perhaps she had no choice but to follow her lodestar, but nothing should diminish her extraordinary courage in doing so. In 1967, with her reputation at its zenith, she lay down her brushes, gave away her painting materials, bought a pick-up truck and headed out West, telling a friend that she did not intend to speak to anyone for three years. After eighteen months, she came to rest on a remote mesa in New Mexico, twenty miles from the nearest outpost, with neither running water nor power, and built herself an adobe house, where she lived for the next ten years. She was 57. In 1971 she began painting again and continued without interruption until she died in 2004, aged 92..." 
from Nicolas Spice's piece in the London Review of Books on the Agnes Martin show at Tate Modern:

Martin was born in Saskatchewan. I wonder to what extent was influenced by the starkness  of her native landscape, not to mention the dominant grid pattern of settlement there? Life lived in between the lines.

1950 International L-110 on the Road to Banff

from Colin Washburn, in the Canadian Rockies: "Spotted this  cherry old cornbinder while driving through Exshaw on the 1A road. Sign on the door says REID's REPAIR AND RESURRECTIONS!"--CRW

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Bow Tie Ride, the Bike that Runs Like a Deere, and...Donald Trump on a bicycle?

We're back in bikeville. After our stay in the Netherlands we badly missed the biking life. Maine is more or less a bike-free zone. Oh, there are dedicated bikers in the Pine Tree State, and some great routes, but life is not organized spatially to make bikes viable, even in urban centers. Cambridge, Mass., where we're spending the year, is a different story. It's probably halfway between Maine and Holland on the continuum of bikeability. We're on our bikes every day. Sometimes it is hard not to feel that biking is the answer to almost everything: fitness, air quality, human interaction, community building, sprawl. Are bikes the best response to The Way We Live Now? Read Basha Burwell's post on The Oog about a wonderful biking event in our fair city last weekend.
I guess you'll never see Donald Trump biking. If you google Donald Trump + bike, this is what comes up. The Trump Tower of choppers.
I can imagine Hilary biking, if she thought she had the time--but she'd probably never believe she had the time.
See below. Can you believe that John Deere once sold bicycles? From their website:
" In 1894 Deere responded to the popularity of bicycles by offering three models – the Deere Leader, the Deere Roadster, and the Moline Special. The bicycle fad fizzled in a
few years. In the 1970s, the company returned briefly to the bicycle business..."

Robert Rooney, Holden Park

from Artblart: 
b. Melb 1937

"Robert Rooney’s Holden Park 1 & 2, May 1970 is one of the key works of postwar Australian photography. The work comprises a grid of photographs depicting Rooney’s Holden car parked at 19 different sites around the artist’s East Hawthorn home, locations which Rooney chose at random from a street directory. Holden Park draws on a range of influences that include the photographic books of American conceptualist Ed Ruscha, the absurd topographies of the Swiss conceptualist Daniel Spoerri, and the American composer John Cage’s interest in chance as a creative principle. However, and while the work is very ‘literate’ in relation to these influences, Holden Park is very much a product of postwar Melbourne. Rooney has always maintained a strong interest in the suburban experience and the way that Melbourne has developed around this experience. While it would be disingenuous to say that Holden Park is a product of social history, it was certainly informed by and reflects the sensation of driving around Melbourne’s suburbs on a Sunday afternoon..."