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, January 31, 2014

1942 Chevrolet Panel Truck

I was becoming morose about Maine winter and the lack of interesting metal on the roads hereabouts--almost anything noteworthy in New England is tucked away in a barn until spring. I was about to circulate a whining note to Autoliterates in the South & West asking for some photographic input, when out of the blue Michael S Moore sent these shots from the Bay Area:
             "First day in Benicia and, lacking the rain we so sorely need I ride my bike down to the jetty to find this 1942 Chevy panel truck...the rarest of the rare [it having been wartime and all;
It lives in Vallejo, the guy's owned it for thirty years, drives it all the time [says he's on his third engine - a crate 350 with less than 1000 miles on it]...
Inspired me to pull the tarp off the '45 and see if it would fire up.  It did. 
Ah, California...record drought makes for year-round driving weather..." --MSM

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chevrolet C10, Brite Building, Marfa

Bill Burleson and A John Ford Kind of Porch

Bill Burleson's New Mexico photographs knock me out. He seems to be trying to add another dimension to the flat surface of the photograph; they're all about layers and texture-- high/low, rough/smooth, foreground/background, foreshadow/flashback, now/then. See below for titles.

1. Canyon Road gallery at Christmas.
2. Dune and Blade of Grass, White Sands Nat't Monument
3. Galisteo Basin
4. Glorieta NM
5. Great Kiva, Chaco Canyon.
6. John Ford Kind of Proch
7. Plaza Gathering
8. Rio Grande Gorge, Taos
9. Rio Grande, Northern New Mexico
10. White Sands National Monument

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Basha Burwell: Texas Truck & The Food Shark Fleet, Marfa.

                                                       all photographs Basha Burwell ©2014 

Nash Healey & Audrey Hepburn

I don't much like my photographs of this beautiful car. The location was too tight for a profile shot and there was an abundance of Texas light flooding in, and too much contrast. Wish I'd shot the car the first day I saw it, five years ago out on the Pinto Canyon Road. Pat Rogers & the car's owner, CM, were giving it some fresh air and exercise.  There's a Nash Healey in Sabrina. Of course any car with Audrey Hepburn in it is going to look pretty good.


Monday, January 27, 2014

A Hawk, 2 Trucks & a Highway. Eastern New Mexico

Another 1950 Studebaker Commander, Canyon Texas

I ran into herd of these bullet-noses  last fall on my way to Palo Duro Canyon, on the Texas Panhandle.

Palo Duro is a canyon and a state park on the eastern rim of el llano estacado, a huge mesa, which stretches into eastern New Mexico. A piece of my new novel is set there. 
Mostly, though  it's is set in Frankfurt, in the nineteen-twenties and thirties.

North Seamus Heaney Sligo John & Ellen

Came across this photo of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at Sligo, Ireland. I've spent a bit of time at Sligo over the years, digging around after a family myth. The last time I saw my  grandmother, Edith Hamilton Lillis, she was ninety-four, and she told me a story she'd not spilled before. When her parents were married at the Cathedral at Sligo in 1877, they were pelted with garbage as they came out of the church after the wedding. This inspired them to leave Ireland directly, which they did. It was a 'mixed' marriage: John Lillis was Catholic, Ellen Ormsby Hamilton was Protestant, and in Ireland at that time and place, never the twain shall meet. To marry in the Catholic church Ellen would have had to agree at a minimum to raise all the children Catholics, a promise she held to, even after the early death of her husband. Probably this 'disloyalty' would have enraged some elements of the Protestant population: but no one like mixed marriages, so perhaps two communities got together for a nonsectarian pelting. You never can tell, in Ireland. "Great hatred/little room/maimed us at the start" says Mr Yeats, who ought to know, as he grew up (mostly) in Sligo.  And Seamus Heaney from the North (Derry) had something to say about hatred, and how to survive it, if you were a writer:

     Seamus Heaney

I returned to a long strand,
the hammered curve of a bay,
and found only the secular
powers of the Atlantic thundering.

I feel the unmagical
invitations of Iceland,
the pathetic colonies
of Greenland, and suddenly

those fabulus raiders,
those lying in Orkney and Dublin
measured against
their long swords rusting,

were ocean-deafened voices
warning me, lifted again
in violence and ephiphany.
The longship's swimming tongue

was buoyant with hindsight--
it said Thor's hammer swung
to geography and trade,
thick-witted couplings and revenges,

the hatreds and behindbacks
of the althing, lies and women
exhaustions nominated peace
memory incubating the spilled blood.

It said, "Lie down
in the word-hoard, burrow
the coil and gleam
of your furrowed brain.

Compose in darkness.
Expect aurora borealis
in the long foray
but no cascade of light.

Keep your eye clear
as the bleb of the icicle,
trust the feel of what nubbed treasure
your hands have known.