Rick Fields (1942-1999)

By Pw | Whole Earth, Fall 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Rick Fields (1942-1999)


Pw, Whole Earth


In 1969, Rick Fields wrote the story of the Liferaft Earth Hunger the first time Americans to experience and draw attention to world hunger. Twenty-five years later he took Zen retreats on the streets of the poorest section of New York, sleeping in doorways in order to experience the pain of homelessness without sentimentality (Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life that Matters, with Bernard Glassman; Random House, 1997). He remained a contributor to Whole Earth until his death in June. He was my roommate at college, booted by the administration in 1964 for having an affair with a woman off campus. He stayed a dear friend for thirty-five years.

Doctors gave Rick a death sentence four years before he died. He lived longer than anyone predicted, and worked, during this time, to help others die consciously. In true Whole Earth spirit, he created a practical and already classic "tool," his poetry book Fuck You, Cancer, whose straight-arrow honesty relieves heavy anxieties of people with cancer as well as those of their friends. "Death is not the enemy. Cancer is the enemy." He honed his attention to healing ("You're not dead until you die," he told the doctors), aiming and practicing as warrior for life, and for death as part of life. He absorbed cocktail after cocktail of chemotherapy, took pill after pill of Chinese medicines for his immune system, underwent gamma-knife surgery for brain tumors, meditated until he felt giddily addicted and angerless, received injections of fetal stem cells to boost his platelet count so he could absorb more chemo, accompanied a friend who pierced his own back muscles for Rick as part of the Sioux sundance, arranged his altar and home with photos of teachers, Buddhist icons, eagle feathers, dream catchers, and amulets, and played Thelonius Monk CDs.

I sat for three or four hours each day, for three days, with Rick's body.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Rick Fields (1942-1999)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?