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.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bringing in the Sheaves: More Saskatchewan Grainers (and John Newlove)

From Alex Emond,  our man in south Saskatchewan, where the wheat harvest is happening:
"I could not not photograph this. The little truck was parked in downtown Climax, Saskatchewan.  
"At this time of year all the older grain trucks get pressed into service ... everybody and everything kicks into high gear during the harvest. They can rest up in November.

"Here's the Climax Lions showing their pride. " --AE

One of Wallace Stegner's best books was his memoir, Wolf Willow, which is about his boyhood in Alex's corner of southern Saskatchewan.
More grainers up here. I saw a bunch in Texas last weekend, where the trucks are comatose this time of year: wheat harvest on the Panhandle is over by end of June.
For me, driving across high plains country brings to mind John Newlove's great poem, Driving. (I drove across the Llano Estacado--Texas Panhandle/eastern New Mexico--last weekend, but more on that in a later post).


You never say anything in your letters. You say,

I drove all night long through the snow

in someone else's car

and the heater wouldn't work and I nearly froze.

But I know that.
I live in this country too.

I know how beautiful it is at night

with the white snow banked in the moonlight.

Around black trees and tangled bushes,

how lonely and lovely that driving is,

how deadly. You become the country.

You are by yourself in that channel of snow

and pines and pines,

whether the pines and snow flow backwards smoothly, 
whether you drive or you stop or you walk or you sit.

This land waits. It watches. How beautifully desolate

our country is, out of the snug cities,

and how it fits a human. You say you drove.

It doesn't matter to me.
All I can see is the silent cold car gliding,

walled in, your face smooth, your mind empty,

cold foot on the pedal, cold hands on the wheel.

                                                                             -John  Newlove, from his Apology for Absence:   Selected Poems 1962-1992. Erin, Ontario: Porcupine's Quill.

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