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.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Montreal, the Center for Canadian Architecture, and The Seagram Building

I've been reading the copyedit of my book of stories, Travelling Light, (Canadian  spelling, eh?) due out this summer from Anansi, so I'm thinking a lot about Montreal these days--my hometown, and the setting of some of the stories. For no better reason than that, I'm posting Montreal (et ses environs) photos--mostly by me, a few from the family archive. The first person who can identify tous les endroits wins....a 1st edition of Travelling Light, signe par moi.
        For anyone interested in Montreal, Kristian Gravenor's blog coolopolis is fun. It's wry & pithy & very knowing about Montreal, a city which has, god knows, inspired much bad writing & weak thinking. Not to mention way too much European-style clowning.*

(Have a look at the Center for Canadian Architecture's provocative open-source guide to Montreal. The CCA was founded by Phyllis Lambert, who was responsible for hiring Mies Van de Rohe to design the Seagram Building on Park Avenue.)
And if you're aiming for Montreal anytime soon, or just want to keep an eye on what's happening there in the arts, The Rover's weekly The List is essential.

C'est pas facile d'être amoureux à Montréal
Le ciel est bas, la terre est grise, le fleuve est sale
Le Mont-Royal est mal à l'aise, y a l'air de trop
Westmount le tient serré dans un étau
Y a des quartiers où le monde veille sur le perron
Y a un bonhomme qui en a fait une belle chanson
Dans ces bouts-là les jeunes se tiennent au fond des cours
Y prennent un coke, y prennent une bière, y font l'amour

Here a video of the gran' spectacle sur Mont-Royal in 1976
Forget Paris. The city that Montreal most resembles--in its history as a 19th c. low-wage factory town, its ethnicities, architecture, huge number of churches, self-regarding neighbourhods, and urban style, is Brooklyn NY. 

Of course Brooklyn has Manhattan across the river, and Montreal has Longeuil.

*A French clown, according to the late Robert Benchley, is the superlative form of the adjective "unfunny." One knows what he meant. You have only to utter the phrase and I see a milk-faced, red-nosed, popeyed oaf (later to be described as a 'Chaplinesque droll')  falling backward off a kitchen chair while in the act of blowing low C on a slide trombone. Behind him, doubled up with laughter, crouches his partner, or deuxiéme banane, who wear spangles and carries in one hand a soprano saxophone. They are both, you understand, brilliant musicians; only brilliant musicians could pretend to play so badly. They are in the great line of Continental clowns, and that, as far as Mr. Benchley and I are concerned, means the firing line.-- Kenneth Tynan, 1960

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