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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Travelling Light by Peter Behrens

Travelling Light, (Canadian spelling!--and The New Yorker) my new short story collection, is being published this month by House of Anansi. You might recognize the cover photo, by Jarrod McCabe, from a series of AL posts that ran Dec 2011-Jan 2012: JM's photographic essay on his winter road trip from Montana to Massachusetts in a brand-new/old F250.  
  The first story in the book is called "Civil Wars" and you can read it here. The first Travelling Light newspaper review apeared in Friday's Toronto Star. Also a review in the May issue of Quill & Quire
  The book ought to be available this week from Canada's wonderful & crucial independent booksellers  and online from and Chapters/Indigo (they both will ship orders to the US.)  Travelling Light is downloadable from iTunes
  The only SIGNED FIRST EDITIONS are available from Betsy's Sunflower in Brooklin, Maine (207) 359-5030

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Advanced Design Chevrolet, semi-retired in southern Colorado

...from Michael S. Moore in southern Colorado:

" Trigger fired up and down onto the driveway, though a lack of brakes precluded going farther afield..."

The Blue Hill Mercedes Benz 320SE

I'm deep in writing my third novel...along with solo wrangling of the 7-year-old this week while BB is working in NYC. Something had to give, and it meant neglecting the blog this week. Apologies. The novel is set in Germany, mostly... Weimar Germany of the Twenties, Nazi Germany of the Thirties. Parts are also set in Ireland, on the Isle of Wight (England), London during WWI...and I'm hoping to write the chapter set in West Texas/Eastern New Mexico when I'm out there in September. Meanwhile my head's been in Germany--I'm re-reading le Carre's A Small Town in Germany, which has nothing to do with my period--it's set in Cold War-era Bonn--but it is the book that happened to come my way this week, and I'm enjoying it. Also enjoyed this handsome Benz coupe, in Blue Hill (Maine) this afternoon. Kind of a black-and-white day on the Maine coast, after a very blue couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

1973 P1800 ES

from my cousin Rob Macdougall in Montreal:

"As my 60th birthday fast approaches--just bought this beauty!!! 87,000ish original miles. When I was 20 in 1973 this was the car of my dreams. Now I have one!!!"-- RM

Rob found the car on eBay, in Virginia.  Now it has to get to Montrèal. We'll let you know how. I've recommended Safe Way Auto Transport out of Kentucky, on the basis of deliveries they have done for me and for people I know. So far no complaints.
Found another p1800, not as nice, for sale in Maine last year.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

1961 Chevrolet Impala & the Perfect Stance Project

Shawn HibmaCronan sent this 1961 Impala along from Grand Junction, Colorado, noting he'd used the tail lights on his ongoing Econoline project--"Love, Inertia an the Pursuit of the Perfect Stance" 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pierce Motors Chevrolet Buick Marfa Texas

                                                                          ©2013 Jill Goldman

Monday, August 19, 2013

1956 Buick Special -- Troy Trepannier

I wrote an essay called Love Cars to examine why the hell I am so interested in cars and trucks, and in the process of writing, discovered that it's all about my father. A lot of men seem to need to own some version of a car their fathers drove.
I  remember in considerable detail every car my father owned, from the 1956 Buick Special he had from Midtown Motors in Montreal, when I was 2; to the 1985 Mercury Topaz he owned when he died.
The list:
1956 Buick Special. Gunmetal grey, red seats with black inlays
1959 Pontiac Catalina  2 door coupe, white, grey interior
1962 Pontiac Laurentian, 2 door couple, beige, beige exterior
1965 Mercury Montclair, 4 door sedan, blue and blue, breezeway window.
1968 Chrysler Newport Custom 4 door hadtop, beige exterior, greemn interior
1971 Chrysler Newport Custom 4 door hardtop green exterior, black vinyl roof, greek interior
1974 Chrysler Newport custom, 4 door hardtopgrey exterior, black interior
1976 Chrysler Newport custom 4 door hardtop, blue and blue
1978 Mercury Zephyr, green ext tan interior
1982 Mercury Zephyr, Grey exterior,
1985 Mercury Topaz  Grey and grey

The best cars were the first 4. Things went downhill after our family's Chrysler era began. Detroit build quality by the late Sixties was atrocious. My personal favorite was the Catalina.The Buick was a cool car though my dad didn't have it tuned like this one (above) by Troy Trepannier.

Learning to Drive, sort of

I learned to drive on King's Highway, Goose Rocks Beach, Maine when my father would sit me on his lap and let me steer the '59 Catalina from our beach house down to Verriere's Store to pick up the Montreal Star. When I was visiting cousins at the beach last week, I let my son do the same, in our aged Volvo. He was pretty good at it, too.
What a powerful memory that is: my hands on the wheel, at last; the old man trusting me to make the decisions.
One of the reasons I've always been a Springsteen fan: that song My Hometown:

"Eight years old/runnin with/
a dime in my hand/
to the bus stop to pick up/
a paper for my old man.

"Sit on his lap/big old Buick/
let me steer as we drove through the town/
he'd tousle my hair, say/
Son take a good look around/
this is your hometown..."


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Schooner on the Reach

Saw the Heritage, out of Rockland ME, on a reach, on the Reach. Eggemoggin, that is. Summer southern breezes floating over Deer Isle make Eggemoggin Reach a reach on most summer afternoons. Will I say "reach" again in this post? Maybe.  I was lucky enough to sail around Penobscot Bay, Frenchman Bay, Merchants Row, Deer Isle Passage and the Reach aboard Heritage, Captain Doug Lee, in 2001.

Novels, and a Sense of Place

From an essay, "Novels & Places":
I need to seed a book in a place. In my mind I plant the idea of the book in one very specific patch of ground and hope it will grow from there. Until I know where that patch of ground is, I'm lost and the story, the book, that I'm trying to write does not come into focus. I can’t grasp it. I have no traction on a story until I have a place...
read the rest here

Current novel-in-progress is set in Frankfurt during the Weimar-era 1920s and Nazi 1930s. My father's hometown. Frankfurt was heavily bombed during the war but the IG Farben building, where he
worked until 1934, survives...