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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Father, Cars, a Carolina BMW, and E.B. White

Autoliterate has a tiresome theory, first deployed in the essay Love Cars, explaining why many men are wildly attracted to the cars their fathers drove. The theory comes down to the sheer imprinting-on-boy-mind power of seeing dad's hands on the steering wheel; boy sensing that wheel was the center of power and control, & the most masculine object imaginable---boy yearning to get his own hands on the wheel and replace the old man. Later this is mixed with a powerful need to hold on to the old man, too. 
          Anyway, it's a theory.
         Meanwhile Autoliterate is pleased to post (below) some wonderful notes on the father/son/car theme by Bowman Gray. I first saw Bowman' 1972 BMW 3.0 CS (model series E9) in a grocery store parking lot in Maine, where it stood out on account of its handsome maroon paint, its fitness of form, and its North Carolina plates.
             First, some notes on the car from Bowman: "Originally equipped with a three litre dual carb six, producing about 180 hp. I stuffed a 3.5 from a 1989 635CSI with headers and a Schrick street cam to make about 250 hp. Also converted to a 5 speed from an automatic, changed the rear diff to a 3.64 vs the 3.46 and added the CSL front air dam (BMW only made 475 of the CSLs and somewhere around 11,000 of the CS and CSi coupes). The list will surely grow."

"When I was young, my father had a 1969 Bavaria in the same color scheme: Malaga with tan interior. Just before he died in 1985 he and I rode in a silver 3.0 that belonged to a friend. I fell in love. Imagine my surprise when a neighbor in Minnesota opened his garage one spring morning to expose a green tarp hugging very familiar lines under a stack of boxes. It had literally been there since 1985 when his dad bought the car from the original owner. Summer of 2005 we decided to move back to North Carolina. My most wonderful and intuitive wife looked at me and said "You know, if you don't buy that car, you will never forgive yourself." So, I bought it and she hasn't forgiven me since. Despite her graceful lines and pleasing purr, this car is rolling nostalgia. When I have my son with me, to borrow some of EB White's sentiment, I am not sure if I am my son  as a passenger or if I am my Father behind the wheel. It is truly amazing how these things become a part of who we are."  --Bowman Gray

It's interesting, and appropriate, that Bowman references the late E.B. White in his notes. Apart from authoring 2 children's classics, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little)  E.B White was one of the great American essayists and prose stylists (read his collection One Man's Meat), and a long-time resident of this Maine peninsula. 
      Which reminds us of an exciting event happening on our peninsula on July 28th:

      To support and celebrate the Peninsula Montessori School, 
                                                 5 authors 
                                                 Melissa Coleman
                                                 Jonathan Lethem
                                                 Ben Marcus
                                                 Bill Mayher
                                                 Martha White
                                                    will be 
                                           READING THE WHITES
on Thursday July 28, 7pm
at a private residence
700 Falls Bridge Rd (Rt 175), South Blue Hill, Maine
drinks & hors d'ouevres
suggested contribution $25/pp
for more info:

1 comment:

  1. BMW is a world class automobile brand which has made superb and great model of cars with different styles and designs in it.There are many BMW showrooms around the world where people can buy BMW car easily.