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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Way Out West Department: Mid-Sixties Chevrolet C10 & GMC C10, Marfa Texas & Clayton NM

I caught the derelict but viable-as-a-project Chevy C-10 stepside in Clayton New Mexico, out there in the high dry air of Union County, in the northeast corner of the state. Union County NM is roughly the size of Connecticut with a pop. of about 4000. I was on the road heading for Llano Estacado, doing on-the-ground research for my novel CARRY ME which comes out in 3--count 'em, 3--weeks. 
Here are some links if you'd like to pre-order first editions  at Indiebound, Amazon, or Chapters Indigo (Canada). The Canadian and American first editions have different jackets and the books are designed differently. If you're a collector you may want to grab one of both, and I'll be happy to sign 'em when I'm out on the road trip/book tour this spring. Some dates are up here. Starting at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison CT on February 24. 
Did my Harvard/Radcliffe Institute talk/lecture/reading last Wednesday. SRO, which was fun, in the Sheer Room at Faye House. Many thanks to friends who showed up, some on the longhaul from Downeast Maine. There is a feature on us (BB, HBB, me) in Radcliffe Magazine this month; the online version links to a video interview--"PB-A Writer On Writing". Though if you're an Autoliterateur, I doubt you really need to hear more of me on that subject. 
The GMC below is a going concern, one of the Marfa (Texas) truck herd. I like everything about it except the wheels. Steelies and dog-dish caps for me, always. 


Dumptruck for sale, Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston

Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

1958 Apache 31; 1952 Chevrolet 1/2 ton. Alpine TX

It's dry in Brewster County. The '51 has surface rust. That is probably an older repaint on the Apache, though a lot of those trucks were that color.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Donald Trump and the Manure Spreader in Climax

from Alex Emond:
The old manure spreader is located a bit north of Climax, Saskatchewan. It has spread a lot of crap over the years ... I wonder if Donald Trump is looking for a campaign bus.  Cheers--AE

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bonneville Salt Flats, 1964

Okay, it's a '57 Chevy, but there's a Volvo in there somewhere.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Empty Quarter

Boise City, Oklahoma. This is Cimarron County, the end of the Oklahoma Panhandle, and ground zero of the Dust Bowl. There are some handsome buildings in Boise City, built in the 1920s, just before the collapse of the farming economy. Timothy Egan covers this ground in The Worst Hard Time. I explored this part of the southern plains doing some on the ground research for my upcoming novel, Carry Me, which is set on the Isle of Wight, Sligo town, Frankfurt, Berlin, and the Llano Estacado in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, just SW of the Okla. Panhandle. Big sky country.  Re. Carry Me--those on-the-vine pre-release reviews at Amazon are often kinda wicked but so far we're scoring high.

Classic Chevrolet truck herd.

A herd of Chevy trucks, assembled by the archivists at Chevrolet...more up here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Al Purdy: The Dead Poet


I was altered in the placenta
by the dead brother before me
who built a place in the womb
knowing I was coming:
he wrote words on the walls of flesh
painting a woman inside a woman
whispering a faint lullaby
that sings in my blind heart still

The others were lumberjacks
backwoods wrestlers and farmers
their women were meek and mild
nothing of them survives
but an image inside an image
of a cookstove and the kettle boiling
— how else explain myself to myself
where does the song come from?

Now on my wanderings:
at the Alhambra's lyric dazzle
where the Moors built stone poems
a wan white face peering out
— and the shadow in Plato's cave
remembers the small dead one
— at Samarkand in pale blue light
the words came slowly from him
— I recall the music of blood
on the Street of the Silversmiths

Sleep softly spirit of earth
as the days and nights join hands
when everything becomes one thing
wait softly brother
but do not expect it to happen
that great whoop announcing resurrection
expect only a small whisper
of birds nesting and green things growing
and a brief saying of them
and know where the words came from
                                    -Al Purdy  (1918-2000)
                                     From:   Beyond Remembering - The collected poems of Al Purdy. 2000.

 And here's Margarat Atwood, reading Purdy's Wilderness Gothic. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Marfa Book Co., the C10 and the Judd boxes.

I understand why y'all may be tired of looking at this truck but there is something about its shape, maybe its plainness, that I find very appealing. Parked here in front of Marfa Book Co., which is about to move back to Highland Avenue, and into the Saint George Hotel, or Hotel Saint George, which is what I think we're supposed to call it.
We live just down the road from those aluminum boxes at Chinati and the truck, to me, has a certain undeniable Donald Judd-ness.  Also, it bounces that West Texas light very well. The ivory is more a Ford than a GM color. Hector Sanchez painted it but the color was BB's pick. She liked the old Ford-ivory white of Roy's truck. If you live in Marfa you likely know who Roy is, and the truck I'm talking about---his (late 70s?) F-150.
Anyway, those aluminum boxes...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dept. of Self-Promotion: geography of CARRY ME

I am uneasy about sullying the truck blog with book promotion and shall keep it to a minimum, but with CARRY ME publication date approaching in Canada (2/20) & the US (2/24) & you can probably count on a book post appearing every ten days or so over the next couple months.
The novel is set in Europe and West Texas in the dismaying period 1910-38. What's it about? Let's say War Passion Escape.
My books are very much grounded in specific places, and are a little obsessed with the whole idea of "place" so I'd thought to start book blogging with some photographs out of the CARRY ME file that link to places in the book. Some of the principle setting are Isle of Wight, London, Sligo, Frankfurt, Berlin, West Texas, and --oh yeah--Grady, New Mexico.
The period photos  are straight out of the family album, the others were taken on research trips in Europe and the West.
Now, the point of all this is to pique your interest and give the novel its fighting chance in the marketplace. If it's working,  then you will immediately click to one of these sites and pre-order your copy. Andif there's a local independant bookseller you rely on, and aim to support,--like Longfellow in Portland ME, R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison CT, Left Bank Books in Belfast ME, The Book Den in Santa Barbara, Porter Square Books in Cambridge MA, BookCourt in Brooklyn,  the amazing Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick VT, you can pre-order from them online through IndieBound. I think of independant bookstores as small islands of refuge from Donald Trumpism. You know you will never encounter The Donald browsing the shelves. Indie bookstores are safe, Donald-Free Zones.
Chapters Indigo (for the Canadian edition)
Barnes & Noble

And word from Publishers Weekly is that, north of the border, independant bookstores are BACK, & posting increased sales.  Here's a way to access the Indies of Canada.
Sanssouci, Shanklin, Isle of Wight c.1914
MLB, Sanssouci, Isle of Wight c. 1977
Sanssouci, c. 1914
Sligo town.
 Hiking party, Taunus Hills, Hesse. 1923
 Hiking party, Taunus Hills, Hesse. 1923

1927 S Class Mercedes

 Goethe University, Frankfurt. Formerly (1930-45) IG Farben headquarters.
Model of Frankfurt 1939
Frankfurt 1939

 Klinger School, Frankfurt. The "Wild Camp"
 Klinger Schoool, Frankfurt
Winnetou by Karl May
Frankfurt, Dom
Add caption


Charlottenburg, Berlin
Charlottenburg, Berlin

Stumbling Blocks, Charlottenburg, Berlin
Rainbow, Llano Estacado, Texas

1935 Plymouth

Llano Estacado, Texas

Llano Estacado, New Mexico