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Heroic Feats

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Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say. -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., novelist (1922-2007) A light bulb exploded somewhere nearby. The glass shattered into a shower of tiny fragments, and as they cascaded in the abyss of time, the filament burned in a flash of glory and died. I lay silent in front of the keyboard, staring at the blinking cursor and wondering what to do next, what to write. 23-year old Ernesto Guevara de la Serna wrote in the opening sentence of The Motorcycle Diaries : Notes on a Latin American Journey , “This is not the story of heroic feats, or merely the narrative of a cynic; at least I do not mean it to be. It is a glimpse of two lives running parallel for a time, with similar hopes and convergent dreams.” In 1952, while still attending medical school, he and his 29-year old friend Alberto Granado started on a nine-month epic voyage across the South American continent from their home