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.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Basha Burwell Photo: Red Beemer, Maine

                                                                                                                                    photo©Basha Burwell 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bill Burleson photographs: 1966 Ford F-100 Tesuque, NM

                                                                                                                            all images ©JW Burleson 2015

Burleson is also responsible for the gorgeous and evocative Banff Series.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

1972 Chevrolet Impala & Seymour Hersch in The New Yorker

 Saw the Chevy on a day that was technically Spring but hadn't quite made the transition, spiritually. A lot of The Wanderer's powerful story is written on the car...

It hit me hard for a bunch of reasons. One, I was walking with my son. We had just been in a toy shop to get some balloons and he was attracted intensely--as I was at his age--to the war toys. There was an attack helicopter that flashed lights and yelped "Incoming! Incoming!" There was a tank with a turret that revolved as it moved. There were water pistols that looked like Colt 45's. All this stuff --Chinese made, of course--would have been tremendously appealing to me as a kid. I guess the hunter/warrior is there in most of us. But I was wary of the toys--first, because while we were specifically there for balloons, we don't indulge in freelance shopping. Second, because his mum objects to war toys on principle--(&  despises shopping as a recreational activity: a healthy attitude if you live in Freeport ME, with a downtown that is basically an outlet mall, and the most popular tourist destination! in an otherwise beautiful state.)
Anyway I was thinking about boys, toys, and war. Such thoughts were making me aware of my own vulnerability as a parent. Also, I've been reading Seymour Hersch's piece in the New Yorker, "The Scene of the Crime", about visiting My Lai, 45 years after he broke the story of what happened there.
Seeing the Chevy was just another reminder of how that war entered so many lives, so long ago, and how for so many--in Viet Nam, and here in America--it still lingers in the bloodstream.
I don't think it was different than any other war. I began to see as I got older--and as they got older, and let their guards down, a little--how much the men and women of my parents' generation had been shaped by their war.
Hersch writes clearly and lets  no one off the hook for what happened at My Lai, including the generals, including Robert McNamara.  Including us. We're all Americans. What's done by our soldiers in done in our name, and we own the responsibility for it. So we had better try to be clear and honest with ourselves about what we are doing in our foreign adventures, and why. Because somewhere along the way it seems there is always a terrible price to be paid.


Cold Blue March, East End, Portland Maine (2)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cold Blue March, East End, Portland Maine (1)

1948(?) International KB-12

from Evan Ryan: "...taken at the Gold King Abandoned Mining Town near Jerome AZ. It's a big junkyard/themepark run by a guy who looks like miner-meets-santa claus. He collects and restores old cars and trucks, the place was littered with them."-ER 

Guido Golüke: Mailboxes in Maine

                                                                                                            ©Guido Golüke 2015

350/4-Speed: 1967 Chevrolet El Camino

 It was a great year for El Caminos. This car's for sale in AZ; you can find out more at B-A-T. Looks pretty cool to me though I'd probably lose the billet steering wheel. That's a crate 350. I want this one.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kate Northrop poem: In the Old Army Navy

In the Old Army Navy

                                                (now that David’s dead)

The elevator, “claptrap” he’d said,
was right at the back of the jacket aisle. 
A clerk took us up—

Swung the door open, stood where it soared, the old gym
qua tent room, white and stripped
into us: the high windows
waved and stained, the bleachers
bright and dusty, like large sun-lit rocks.
Holding hands, we could see

dozens of tents (dark red, orange, one emerald)
had been arranged around the room, fluttering
in the fans a little

but holding on, like aspens.


The clerk cleared her throat.  You can go in.

She sneezed into her sleeve,
then we were climbing in the tents like children,
on our hands and knees.

Across the room I could hear
owl-sounds he was making. A little touched, goofy,
they spread out in the air there.

                                                                                     --Kate Northrop  
In the Old Army Navy first appeared 

Basque sheep country and Planet X Pottery: Northern Nevada

from Michael Moore, in northern Nevada desert:
"Brent Espil's sheep coming over the hill across highway 447 from Planet X Pottery's vehicles in remission...eight miles out of Gerlach, Nevada, one could say..." -MSM

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Three-deckah, East End, Portland Maine

3-deckahs do come in all shapes and sizes, and a half hour's walk around #Portland's eastern neighborhoods--East End, Munjoy Hill, Eastern Promenade--offers all kinds of them. This is about the plainest form of the style. Some examples from up on the Hill...

Basha Burwell: Kentucky Pontiac:

                                                                                   ©2015 Basha Burwell photograph

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Netherlands Under Construction & George R. Stewart

from Guido Goluke, Dutch translator and intrepid cyclist:
"These (first) two pictures intend to show that in the Netherlands a landscape (if we can speak of a landscape in my man made country)  is never finished. Trees that poke their shoots too enthusiastically into the air are cut back into shape. Ditches are deepened, widened, narrowed, straighened, bent, redirected or filled in.
   "The viaduct under construction must carry a six lane highway over this man made canal, right next to a bridge that also carries a six lane highway over this man made canal. Intersections are replaced by roundabouts, roundabouts by intersections. Sometimes a little patch of ‘nature’ is created to satisfy environmentalists and other troublesome folk. This gigantic ever growing network of highways and bridges is being laid over the old network of simple and slow roads down below, that now serves local traffic, and the cyclist.  Cars are more and more creatures that one has to look up to.
[AL: George R Stewart was one writer with a lot to say about highways dominating landscape: have you read his epic US 40: Cross Section of the United States" ?
"Road in early spring along the Zuiderzee...
"...but what was the designer thinking of, seeing that there...?"--GG

1966 Mercury M-100 & Big Beaver

From Alex Emond, in southern Saskatchewan: 
"Here is a groovy looking truck, and in passable shape. More comfortable than a horse. This was parked near Val Marie on the road to Orkney. Can you imagine moving from the Orkney Islands to the bald ass prairie of south-west Saskatchewan? A hundred years ago, even...
"Should you ever need a location for a Western, I would recommend the "Big Muddy" in south central Saskatchewan. Wide vistas with minimal anachronisms... 

"Big Beaver is, in fact, tiny. Counting horses, I don't think there would be 100 souls. I have to get back there next spring and explore the valley some more've got your buttes and mesas and hoodoos and coulees. You could easily forget what century this is."-AE

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hampshire Street, Portland Maine (East End)

Angel's Camp: Oldsmobile Rocket 88

from Colin Washburn, in the Sierra foothills:
"This cherry Rocket 88 pulled in as I was leaving the Angel's Camp Market. What a beaut, visor and all!"--CRW

There was an earlier edition 88 for sale at Motorland in Biddeford, Maine. One of my favorite AL cars last year was this Dynamic 88 wagon.