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.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Angel Fire and The Last Days in Vietnam

 from Colin Washburn, on the road in New Mexico:
"The Vietnam memorial site overlooking Angel Fire is a powerful place..... When I lived near Taos, NM years ago, I would go up there faithfully on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, and too whenever I was passing through that high, windswept valley on a road trip. There were always tear-jerking speeches and songs, and the sincere, touching, and important commraderie of fellow Vets. There would usually be a jet or Huey flyover.
       "I'll never forget the black brother who drove all night from L. A. on a Harley for a Veteran's Day gathering; He stood next to me during the program, and I noticed how wired, rumpled and exhausted he was. We talked afterwards, and in the sea of Harley's in the parking lot I saw his, a death-trap, bare-bones, stripped-down chopper with a car battery bungee-corded on the back. This guy was hard-core. He, like many there, had come a long way to pay heartfelt respect to our friends/brothers in arms, who didn't come back alive. This big, tough brother broke down and fell into my arms sobbing as he spoke of his best friend who --- if memory serves --- he had watched die. There are many such stories from that place.
      "Yesterday I was there on a road trip from Taos to Cimmaron, NM. Nobody else around. Blustery, cold, sky full of clouds. After walking around the Huey and peering inside, I went into the little chapel. A candle or two were burning, some tokens scattered about, boxes of Kleenex on the benches, flags in their stands, and twenty or so photos of young men looking at you. Dead men. Choked-up, I leaned on a rail and said a prayer. Back outside, I felt grateful to be alive.
     "I met Dr. Westfall (the man who built the memorial to honor his son David, a Marine KIA. ) up there years ago. A humble man, he looked at me with eyes full of love. I thanked him for what he'd done for all of us.
     "I was drafted in 1968 and served in the Army with the 101st Airborne Division, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry, Recon. I made it back in one piece after a year in Viet Nam, thanks be to God ! Half an hour at the memorial brought memories flooding back of course. I think it's important, indeed, vital, that we never forget those who went to war, whether it was a just one or not."--

[Rory Kennedy's documentary The Last Days in Vietnam is being screened at various locales around the State of Maine this week, and will be nationally broadcast on PBS.]

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