The Far Field

By Lola Wilcox

Volume IV, #3 April, 1966

“Room check. Are you ill, Lola?”
“Are you sure? Everybody else in the dorm is in class.”
“I’m sure.”
“You look ill.”
“It’s the light through the curtains; they’re green.”
“Oh. Well, if you need anything…”

If I need anything… Dear old woman, I don’t think you can give me what I need.

“Hey, Lo!”
“Hey, roomie!”
“You missed class. I thought you were getting up at six.”
“I was awake then, does that count?”
“Nope. Did you get the meeting minutes typed for tonight?”
“Good grief, no. I’ll get it done right now.”

‘6, February, 1966. The February meeting was held at 10 p.m. All were in attendance. The topic of discussion was the war in Viet Nam. It was under old business. Two hours of discussion summed up in ten words. But what else to say? There is a uselessness to killing now. Death, on the battlefield, it was decided, was outmoded. Old hat. The secretary records that she spent two hours listening to voices complaining of dying. Of course they weren’t really dying. The ones who were dying were elsewhere. ….

“Thomas Aquinas not only felt that there was a God, but that the existence of his God could be proved to the rational mind. The first book of the Summa Contra Gentiles deals with this problem. He will offer five rational proofs that God exists. For tomorrow will you please consider…”

“Do you have a match?”
“Yes. Here. I really like your hair short.”
“Thanks. Pete does too. You know we’re engaged.”

“And it’s BATMANNNNN!!!” Sap. Blooey. CRUNCH. KaPow.

“Hey, you! Young woman!”
“Hi, Pete. How have you been?”
“O.K. Going to lunch?”
“Yes. Walk along? Hear tell you’re engaged.”
“No exuberance? No bursting over with joy? No great hopes for the future to come spilling forth?”
“Don’t be silly. I’ve been dating her for five years. It was inevitable. Actually, I couldn’t think of anything else to get her for Christmas.”
“Oh, come off it. Don’t you love her?”
“Love her?”
“Yeah, you know. Think maybe life would be much more with her than without.”
“You don’t understand, Lo. I’ve been dating her for five years. It was inevitable. She doesn’t have anything else.”
“You’ll both be miserable. How dumb is she that she won’t know what this is?”
“She won’t know. Even if she does it won’t matter. She just wants to get married.”
“Look, Pete, … is it immoral to be happy or something?….”

“Afternoon mail in?”
“Hi, Lola. Yep. Here’s one from Berkeley.”
“Hello, how have you been? Good here – bad here. Both. But bearable none the less. The Sexual Freedom Forum is quite active now, selling buttons at a table in the union saying “Love is”, “If it moves, fondle it”, “Legalize abortion”, “Legalize prostitution, “ and (my favorite) “Unbutton.” One is exhorted by the Vietnam Day Committee to get out of Vietnam and by some other group to go and picket the plight of the grape pickers. I haven’t made up my mind which one I am going to do. I do understand that the climate is very bad in Saigon this time of year…”

“In the lecture today I wish to discuss a quotation from Yeats: “I have always come to this certainty: what moves natural men in the arts is Intensity of Personal Life.” We are all capable of living an “intense personal life”. It is not just suffering, you know; too often we equate intensity with suffering. I think of a short poem, or part o one, that a student gave me yesterday:
Love tears
at the inside…
What is more painful
than terror?

“This is Chet.” “This is David.” This is WAR. (…For $2.98) Today’s death count was…
(Buy super blue blades) WAR. (With the lunch bunch.) War. (Think of Europe? Sail on the P&O/Orient Way) WAR. (Each day in every way bigger and better and good for you.)

“Have you read your Aristotle yet?”
“Have you read your Aquinas?”
“Haven’t you got anything to do?”
“No. I thought I’d just lie here.”
“And do what?”
“Watch you….?”
“Dummy. Hey, the Virginian’s on!” …..

“Hey listen, you aren’t ill are you?
“Are you sure?”
“You look ill.”
“It’s the light through the curtains.”
“Nothing. It’s a line from this morning. It’s not important.”

Where’s the alarm… let’s see. Six o’clock should give enough time to get the Far Field finished. So tired. So very tired.