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, October 29, 2013

Jan Zwicky's "Prairie"


 And then I walked out into that hayfield west of Brandon,
evening, late July, a long day in the car from Nipissing
and long days in the car before that; the sun
was red, the field a glow of pink, and the smell of the grasses
and alfalfa and the sleek dark scent of water nearby…
I remember –now--  chasing something underneath the farmhouse table as a child
and seeing the big hasp on the underside that locked the two main leaves: it seemed
rough and enormous, out of keeping with the polished surfaces
it held together, almost medieval, I was startled and a bit afraid; and later
as an adult, fumbling for it, blind, at the limits of my reach,
how finally it would let go with a sharp jerk and the leaves
would sigh apart: but it was there,
in that hayfield, that I felt some rusty weight in my chest stick
then give, a slow opening to sky—
                                                it was that hasp, I know it now,
though at the time I did not recognize I was remembering,
nor, had you told me, would I then have known why.                                                  
                                                                                  Jan Zwicky

                  "Prairie" appeared in The Echoing Years, an anthology of poetry and translation from Ireland and Canada.

Monday, October 28, 2013

1948 Chevrolet 1 1/2 ton Loadmaster. Hutchinson, Kansas

No rust. If it was used as a grainer, possibly low mileage. What's low mileage on a 65-year-old truck?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

1941 Plymouth & The Ford 352 Special

I caught these cars on a bright October Sunday, outside a little old garage that looked like a one-man speed shop in Strong City, Kansas.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Downtown Hutchinson, Kansas

The writer Josh Barkan suggested I go have look at Hutchinson, Kansas. So on a bright October afternoon, I did. Interesting town. I suspect there was a huge boom there when the price of wheat was high, from the 1900s to 1929. Hutchinson was a railroad town when that meant something, and probably a regional banking center. Wheat farmers need banks. Looks like during the last eighty years the town's ambitions have sort of collapsed; everything seems a little damaged, shrunken. Still, those proud high buildings: startling for a town its size. Downtown has somewhat revived, recently--there are bookstores, and antique shops. But it's just hanging on. The neighborhood streets and alleys, which I'll cover in another post,  reminded me of the mise en scene of Arthur Penn's 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde: overgrown back alleys and weathered frame houses could have been a Depression-era town anywhere on the southern prairie or plains, Missouri to Texas.