Thursday, March 29, 2007

Joe Jackson

The Joe Jackson, who visited my Bosque Santa Lúcia isn't to be confused with the Joe Jackson, the famous musician and singer. This Joe Jackson is just as famous, but for his writing ability. To quote his website, "Five-time Pulitzer nominee Joe Jackson is the author of four works of nonfiction and a novel. His nonfiction includes: Leavenworth Train, a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime; Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America, with co-author William F. Burke and an introduction by William Styron; A Furnace Afloat: The Wreck of the Hornet and the Harrowing 4,300-mile of its Survivors; and A World on Fire: A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen, which was released by Viking in October 2005. A first novel, How I Left the Great State of Tennessee and Went on to Better Things, was released in March 2004." Joe's visit to Santarém in October, 2005 was not to market his many publications, but to research historical data for a new book he's writing on Henry Wickham, the Englishman, who "smuggled" the 70,000 rubber tree seeds out of the Amazon. The title of the book, as I understand it, will be The Thief at the End of World. I met Joe through Claúdio and Gil Serique at the Cultura Inglêsa school of English here in Santarém. They invited me to join them for a get together of local authorities, journalists and other people they felt might serve as contacts for the writer. My role was that of making our Bosque Santa Lúcia available for a visit, if he so wished. Indeed, he accepted the invitation and we were off to the Bosque early the next morning. Without saying, I stopped at the top of the hill on the way (at Piquiatuba) to show him where Henry Wickham lived when he first came to live in Santarém. We spent the morning walking the trails of the Bosque, where I introduced him to most of our 200 rubber trees. He must have enjoyed the visit because he wanted to return before leaving Santarém. Unfortunately, his time played out by the time he and Gil got back from Fordlândia, upriver.

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