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.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Always loved Jeeps, at least up through the 1960s.  I'm not a jeep expert and can't identify them very precisely. I know this is a US military jeep, WWII vintage, because it has the 9-slot grill. They were made by a few different manufacturers, mostly Willys and Ford, in different series, and you can find out a lot more about that here. This one belongs to Sean Wilsey and lives in West Texas after spending most of its life in California. It's a solid original, no rust. Sean offered me a chance to drive it, last winter. It is a perky, snappy little machine, even though it's at least 65 years old. Like so many of the best designs in practically everything, it appeals because it is so obviously utilitarian and unpretentious. It looks tough and spirited, but not because someone thought it should look that way. The engineers who designed it were concerned with what it would do, and they let form flow from function.  This very useful principle was not applied to, say, the design of Dodge pickup trucks--the machines that got the the massive, faux-masculine, aggressive-truck-on-steroids look started--back in the mid-90s. Modern trucks are bloated, pumped-up, supersized. This Jeep is not.
       I remember watching Jack Kerouac on William Buckley's Firing Line in the late Sixties. JK was pretty far gone by then, but still had his puckish sense of humor, and he wasn't about to get pinned down and skewered by Buckley. When Buckley tried to get JK to make a statement about the Vietnam War,  Jack insisted the war was a plot by the Vietnamese to get more jeeps in their country.
                                                                photo: Valerie Breuvart 

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