: Summer Conference Jack :

an excerpt by Peter LaSalle


 After the final no there comes a yes

And on that yes the future world depends.

                      —Wallace Stevens     



Jack Farrell's winter was long.

And then—at last, just when you thought it would never happen—it was fully July, and Jack was heading to the small college on the coast on a fine, leafily bright sunny day, about a three-hour drive and only winding rural two-lanes for the last hour or so. Though it was a dozen years old, its blue completely faded to almost the colorlessness of a robin's-egg shell from who knows how many lost springtimes ago, his old Civic did have what they used to call that “Honda Hum,” sort of a motorbike's tuned, high-pitched buzzing, windows down the whole trip.



And even with the leaden sadness in Jack Farrell's life these past few years, all it took was for him to set out to one of these things again, a summer writing conference, for Jack to suspect that he had made the right choice indeed and it was going to be his game again. The way it used to be for, well, Summer Conference Jack.