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, January 6, 2014

Autoliterate Truck of the Year Winner

This year AL discovered machines in Holland, Germany, France, Cuba, Colorado, Maine, Texas, New Mexico, Los Angeles, Northern California, Santa Barbara, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Oregon, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Nevada, and Central Asia. Maybe by now you've figured out our aesthetic, which favors solid originals over restorations, and doesn't mind a little faded paint, and a couple of dings. There's just something grabby about the gestalt of honest old trucks: maybe they remind us of the toys we had as kids. There's also something wonderful about driving old trucks (anywhere but Interstates): for one thing, their crankiness and sometimes bad manners demands that the driver PAY ATTENTION, and paying attention is our basic rule for living "the life engaged"---PAY ATTENTION: DIG IN: LIFE IS A ONE-WAY TRIP.
It's ridiculous not to be aware of the environmental impact of choices. Driving a cranky old gas-sucking carbureted truck....does that make sense? I'm not sure how it balances out, but in all my life (and I am and always have been a gearhead) I've only owned 6 vehicles--and of these I still own three. I buy 'em old, I take care of them, and I keep 'em forever.  The newest vehicle in the fleet (and the only vehicle I've ever bought new) is a 1997 Volvo 850 wagon; the oldest is the 1975 Sierra Grande pickup. In the middle there's the 1986 C10 Chevrolet pickup. BB drives another 97 Volvo 850 wagon. I maintain them in good shape and I'm not asking Detroit or Wolfsburg or Toyota City to crank me out a new machine every four years. The philosophy is buy and hold---if it's solid, who cares about "new"? 
New gets old. 
Old gets classic.
Anyway the Truck of the Year was  not well-organized: next year will be better, with a shortlist and a simpler way of voting. This year's T of the Y is being "proclaimed" by the leadership in more or less North Korean style, with minimal input from the population. So if you hate it....well. Write and tell us why. The "Wurlitzer" Chevrolet---1941-46--has everything we like. Don't know this truck's pedigree but saw it one morning en route to teach a class at Colorado College. It looks original, and sound, and that paint job is hard to beat. What's under the hood, and does it run? Not sure, but if it doesn't, it  ought to. Love to see a truck this handsome going down the road.

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