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Inanis impetus

A dog and the moon,15k

Futile effort



Hello. How're you doing?

  November, 1999

Last year was hard. On January 16th, 1998, my youngest brother, Jeb, died in the county jail in Austin, Texas. Just a few weeks later I went off to East Africa for a six-week journey with my mother that we had planned for a long time. We decided that, with everything we'd put into it, not to go would have been to give up in the face of something irrevocable, and that our trip could be carried out with him in our hearts. But, of course, it was hard.

I had planned to document our trip in Africa for this website, and so in a way it felt easier to imagine documenting my brother's death. Now, many months later, it's still not an easy story. We're all very aware of how misleading any one story might be, so maybe there will be a few stories here, interwoven. Other stories will be forever untold, certainly the ones my brother took with him. In the context of stories told at the Street Corner Society site (now at a new URL), and realizing that these stories play out all the time, it seems somehow more important to tell what happened for my brother, and for us. Jeb won't be able to tell his side of the story, but perhaps others who visit this site will find a way to tell theirs. We'll do what we can to make it possible.

So for the time being, the "Jeb Pages" have been developed and are now available, but the pages we planned about our trip in Africa are still "under construction." During our travels, my mother and I thought a lot about what we could share with others who might be interested in Africa. We found people there very friendly and hospitable, but here in the U.S. it's hard to know what we can do to send the same positive energies back their way. We took more than photographs. Hopefully one way to give back is by putting people who have access to the World Wide Web in a good frame of mind if they're head off for places like Mugumu and Ndanda.

Needless to say, this site will be growing and changing a lot. Please bear with us. Suggestions are welcome, and if you have criticisms, well... please be kind. Thanks for your consideration.


Kirk Wattles
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My brother (the other one), my sister, and me - in a hotel room in Austin, TX.


Inanis impetus

The emblem above is from Alciato's Book of Emblems, published in the mid-1500s, which includes the following emblem poem:
Lunarem noctu, ut speculum, canis inspicit orbem,
  Seque videns, alium credit inesse canem,
Et latrat: sed frustra agitur vox irrita ventis,
  Et peragit cursus surda Diana suos.

(A dog gazes at the moon by night, as if at a mirror. And seeing himself, he believes another dog is in the moon. So he barks; but his ineffectual voice is carried away in vain by the winds, and Diana pursues her course without hearing.)

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Note: Street Corner Society has a new location:
http://www.strecorsoc.org/


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