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, May 17, 2011


I've never owned one, but I used to drive an F-100 around Banff when I worked on a landscaping crew. We would cruise through the bush, following the Canadian Pacific Railway right-of-way, digging small spruce trees that we would ball up, pack into the truck, and sell in town for hedges and ornamental plantings, or just as backyard trees. (Our 2WD  truck had a very low granny gear, like all Fords; you could just about put it in first and get out and walk alongside.) This particular truck has been at Johnson Canyon forever, hauling firewood to the cabins. The Canyon is a few miles out of Banff town. I believe their F-100 is a 1968 model, the second year of this body style. There's something beautiful and ordinary about it, isn't there? The design speaks a simple and modest language, not the bloated, hyper-aggressive, bogus speech that contemporary pickup truck design seems to be talking. There is no better reflection of who we are now than the contemporary pickup truck.  No matter the manufacturer, they all share the same design elements. Massive and cartoonish, trucks in 2011 sell a caricature of masculinity, the way recruiting posters do.  Thanks to AE for the photograph.

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