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 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, March 13, 2013

Travelling Light, Clayton New Mexico

I drove an International grainer just like this one, working on the wheat harvest in central Alberta. Learned to split-shift and drive down the windrows, staying in tandem with the combines. Keeping the truck just close enough so that the combine could spew grain into the truck box. The worst thing would have been to collide with a combine. Never happened to me, though cornering in tandem was tricky. We'd start threshing at 10 or 11am, as soon as the sun burnt the dew off the crop. We'd keep going until 1 or 2 am, whenever the moisture settled. Sometimes we'd finish one field and move to another in the middle of the night. Those huge wheat fields of Alberta...starting on a new field in the dark  I'd sometimes get lost on my first run, rushing back to the storage bin or elevator. Nothing to navigate by, out there late at night. Though I suppose celestial navigation would have worked. Lots of coyotes for company. CKRD out of Red Deer.
       The first story I published in the United States,"Vulcan", in The Atlantic Monthly in 1985, was based on my experiences on the wheat harvest. That story was optioned in Hollywood and jump-started my career as a screenwriter. It will be reprinted in my upcoming story collection Travelling Light (Canadian spelling, eh?) which comes out in May.

       If you're looking for used farm equipment--like an old pickup truck!--
check out American Ag.  My experience has been that farmers tend to maintain their equipment. And out there in the high-and-dry Western grain belt, rust is less of an issue.

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