Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 2012. “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 an '86 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of '97 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 25 years--we're recyclers. I've published 2 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), and THE O'BRIENS (2012), and 2 collections of stories NIGHT DRIVING (1987), and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). Novel # 3, KARIN, will be out from Pantheon (US) and House of Anansi (Canada) in March 2016. More of my book stuff at www.peterbehrens.org I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I've been teaching at Colorado College, Wichita State, and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lobsterboat 'Charlena" Brooklin Maine, and the warm seas of Maine

We head to TX tomorrow for Christmas, and some desert light. This may be our last post of the year from Maine, and what better than a lobsterboat? Charlena is about 65 years old, and going strong, though retired from the lobster biz. There was  an intersting piece in the NYT this week on warming waters and the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gulf 1937 (Black and white)

Thanks to Larry Nordell for this. I don't know anything about the photograph. Winter 1937 and somewhere down South. Georgia? Birmingham, Ala.? If you can read more clues, let us know. The careful probably instinctive way the men are posing for the camera... I'd say the black guy is precisely twice as far from the white guy as the two whites are from each other. He's standing at attention, the other two 'at ease'.

Morris Minor 1000 Estate

 The car is being rehabilitated at Sean McKay's shop, Affordable Performance, on the Naskeag Rd. Becky  Smith sent us one from London last summer. And Craig Manning spotted one amongst the Trabis of Berlin. Then there was the Morris Minor van "straight outta Devonshire" that we spotted in Maine this fall,

Blackwell School. Marfa, Texas

Ratten: The Volvo Review

They have a collection of these at Alan's Auto, the Volvo shop in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Larry McNeil: "Real Indians"

Real Indians, negative made in 1977, platinum photograph made in 2014. Photo by Larry McNeil  

No Cupholders: 1961 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight & Supersized America

It's funny how the overabundance of food plays out in contemporary American life. Most obviously in the obesity epidemic. It's dispiriting, to arrive back in the US or Canada from a less voluminous country like The Netherlands, say, or Italy, where the population is relatively slender. Another aspect that I've noticed: people seem to expect  food and drink to be provided almost everywhere these days, in every setting involving more than a one-on-one meeting. Parent meetings at school, for example: there is always someone deputized to provide "snacks." Like we can't do without food for an hour.  At many business meetings there is the tray of gigantic muffins--often studded with chocolate--- and the box of Starbucks coffee. 
Cupholders proliferate in cars, and people are feasting or gobbling on their way to work. It's Food, 24/7. The current cultural mania about cooking and baking and restaurants is part of the larger story of overabundance...
I've noticed that when classic cars and trucks--any vehicle made before the 1980s--are being test-driven in the old car magazines  the writers, knowing their audience of super-sized guys, will usually make some reference to the difficulty of fitting in behind the steering wheel. The older the car/truck, the narrower and tighter the fit. Trucks from the 1930s? Fuggedaboudit.
And don't get me started on the bottled-water thing. I see this supposed need to constantly "hydrate" as faux-science perpetrated by corporate giants of the bottled water biz.
Anyway, no ungainly cupholders in this Olds. It was a sleek machine. Though maybe not quite so sleek in real life as in the advertisements. GM art of the era really pancaked the cars.