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.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


              I love 1960s funny cars.  Haven't used that phrase in a while, though.  "Funny cars" had more-or-less-stock bodies dropped onto very stripped down, overpowered dragster frames.
             Amazing how much car nomenclature is rooted in the California Dream:  like my GMC Sierra truck. This Pontiac Ventura. The Pontiac Catalina. Chevrolet's El Camino and Bel Air. Others? There's a Tiburon SUV around, I think it's a Kia. It is getting harder and harder to name for car models. Toyota began using invented words a long time ago and sticking them onto useful but dull cars. What is a Tercel, exactly? A Camry? And do I really remember a Sixties Toyota called a Cedric? If so, it didn't last. Anyway, the Tacoma has been one of their most popular models. There's a Santa Fe SUV around: it's a Hyundai, I think.  My father had a 1962 Pontiac Laurentian, which was a Canadian model and named after the Laurentian hills, where we had a summer cottage.
              Trucks trope to manly names, often keyed to Western mythology (and I don't mean Western mythology, as in Greek. I mean yippee-ki-yay.)  The Sierra, the Scottsdale, the Silverado. The Tundra. The Nissan Frontier. And speaking of manly, there was the Dodge Power Wagon. Maybe there should have been a Sixties stationwagon called the Plymouth Patriarch?
                   The most massive, over-several-tops  SUVs have imperialistic names like Armada.
                   There ought to be a really big Lincoln Dominatrix.
                   One thing I love about my 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 is that the "Custom! Deluxe!" was, in fact, absolutely the cheapest, most basic, plainest-jane pickup truck in the Chevy line-up that year.
                  I've always admired English car names, though the cars themselves could be primitive. Morris Minor.  Morris Oxford.  Austin Cambridge. Austin Seven. MG Midget. Triumph Spitfire. Silver Ghost (not primitive). The original Land Rover. The Hillman Minx!                        


  1. Haha, very nice names indeed. Actually, some car models have different names in other countries, like many Toyota and Honda cars. I wonder who names those cars, and what the names stand for.

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