A publishing meeting

banner2_top.gifToday, I briefly met with a representative from Temple University Press, set up by a professor-friend of mine.

I had forwarded two query letters to the rep, one on a collection of writing I had done while in Japan, another regarding my desire to compare the lives of a handful of North Philadelphia residents whom I had come to know through my coverage of the community for The Temple News.

He was kind and offered a great deal of insight into the publishing a world, a place I have long wanted to visit but never understood how to arrive. That said, I have no reason to believe the publisher was a place to shop my two ideas for published work.

He did suggest I write a full chapter of my suggested Japan manuscript and have him give it a read. It can only be considered a small step in the direction of a career in writing.

Nearby Francisville is led by a man with a past

By Christopher Wink | Sept. 25, 2007 | The Temple News

In June 1968, two months after his death, the Francisville community of North Philadelphia named what they boast to be the world’s first monument for Martin Lutherwink-christopher.jpg King, Jr.

In June 1968, Fred Sneed, who now works for Temple University’s facilities management, was a member of the Morocco’s, a dangerous part of a growing gang community in Philadelphia.

It has made all the difference.

TROUBLE COMES YOUNG

Sneed was born in South Philadelphia in early 1954. He lived with his grandmother, either five or 5 million miles away from his mother in North Philadelphia, depending on whether you were trying to get there by car or by hope. He started young, giving a gun to a friend who killed a rival not long after Franciscville’s monument to peace went up. A boy needs to be with his mother, they said. So, Sneed moved north and transferred to Ben Franklin. He ran with a fast crowd based around 18th and Ridge.

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Boxing legend and son fight different type of foe

By Christopher Wink | Oct. 16, 2007 | The Temple News

Marvis Frazier has always had to live up to expectations.

He was the boxing son of a boxing legend. Names carry a lot of weight. Sometimes even enough to crush a heavyweight boxer with big hands and big plans. It might have been nothing more than God and a humble self-awareness that has allowed him to thrive in a different mission.wink-christopher.jpg wink.jpgwink.jpg

THE LEGEND OF SMOKIN’ JOE

“Joe Frazier’s name means something to people,” Marvis said of his father and former heavyweight champion.

Indeed, it is a name everyone knows, though perhaps not everyone can place. Joe Frazier once formed what is easily one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sport. The three bouts Frazier had with Muhammad Ali in the 1970s are regularly touted as some of the finest in boxing history.

He may be the most perfect face of Philadelphia. He is legendary and historic and immortalized. He is stubborn. He is criticized. He is tormented by ghosts.

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A week in Italy and its cities

Friday, March 2 to March 10, 2007

I spent about a week in a few Italian cities, unfortunately, my luggage was lost, so I was without my camera for most of the trip.  I flew in and out from Rome, was based in Florence and made day trips to Pisa, Sienna and Venice.

Here are some photos I took from Venice, in addition to others pilfered to fill in the gaps.

A West African Summer in 499 Words

By Christopher Wink | August 29, 2005 | Travel Reflection

Africa was not real to me.  It was imaginary; I saw a place where elephants roam and people starve.  I saw children with flies around their faces in villages and huts and tribes.  I saw in stereotypes and misunderstandings and prejudices and lies.  That was all before I arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana.

I gave two months of my teenage life to West Africa, and I was given in return a lifetime of awareness and understanding.  I studied in a classroom at the University of Ghana, but Ayi Kwei Armah and Abu Abarry didn’t teach me nearly as much as the cab rides and post offices and market women did.  Reading about West African culture in my overpriced course packet never satisfied my hunger as well as freshly pounded banku and groundnut soup did.  I played basketball with Octung and Salam to hear them speak in proverbs.  I laughed with Tonko and met too many Kwesis to remember.

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On attendance of a funeral

By Christopher Wink | April 14, 2006

I choose my clothes carefully, more carefully than I normally tend to choose my clothes. I am dressed well. I am dressed well in black, all black from my freshly shined shoes to my belt to my neatly ironed shirt and cravat. By cravat I mean a length of fabric I tie around my neck according to a tradition with origins unknown to me. This means I am dressed-up. This means fancy. I am dressed well and fancy in black. I have used a shoeshine kit, an iron, and lint brushes, and toothbrushes, and hairbrushes and other items made to help me look nice enough to convince others that I care how I look. I have run out of things to prepare. I enter and sit inside an automobile. I ride.

There are so many other automobiles. The automobile I am inside situates itself between two other automobiles, all ordered according to white lines on rough, hard ground of the same color as the legs of my pants that don’t fit around my ankles as I feel they should. I stop and fix my black pants, and retuck my black shirt under these black pants. I have run out of things to prepare. I enter a big building made of triangles.

This is a place that many people I know think these events should be held. By tradition and desire I am quiet. There are initial furtive glances particular to my role in this event. Or casual glances that are natural for when people pass other people. I do not know which. I think they are particular to me because I think everyone cares about me so that way if that is true I am not surprised. I am still in the lobby. This is an oversized, tiny room that lets you enter. Like my mouth, where I hold my food before I gobble it down my throat to its destination. I don’t know if my food really knows where it wants to go or if it is only given the appearance of a choice. It always goes to the same place. In the lobby everyone goes to the same place.

I pause by faces that I recognize because I have seen them every day for many days. People say my name in hushed tones. I assume this is to reaffirm that it is me because the hug and repeated back-patting that always follows would not be desired by someone who wasn’t me. I don’t really desire them and I am I. But, I don’t know if I don’t desire them. My belt does not stay centered. By tradition, my belt buckle should line up with my shirt buttons. These are all roughly in the center of my body. I have to retuck my black shirt under my black pants. I have run out of things to prepare. I enter a room with a roof that is too tall to remember.

They look at me or I thought or I wanted or I didn’t want them to look at me. I watch the show. Many women wipe things from their eyes with very white kerchiefs. These are portions of soft material with which women wipe things from their eyes. Men look forward or rest their arms on women who wipe things from their eyes. Other men have red eyes, or normal eyes with red tints. Sometimes people get red eyes for not sleeping. I think how silly that is while I bend my leg at the knee to rest my ankle on my opposite thigh. This is how people traditionally relax or sit comfortably. I wonder if any animals do that when I notice a mark on my recently shined black shoes. I use the fleshy side of my thumb to rub the mark until it disappears. So few imperfections disappear after rubbing and attention and care.

People get up and join the show. They say nice things and remember other nice things. Many people lie, if lying can mean to exclude negative information. People get tired of saying nice things to men who get tired of resting their arms on women who get tired of wiping things from their eyes next to the children who get tired of looking sad.

I loosen my cravat just a little. This is why men wear cravats. So, later they can loosen the cravat a little. This is a very fashionable look, but, by tradition, you have to wear it tightened for many hours first. I loosen my cravat. I can think of many things to prepare. I exit the room with the roof and the building of triangles and I enter the automobile. The automobile carefully reverses and drives on the right side of yellow lines, as everyone traditionally does. I tie my shoelace, which doesn’t seem to stay tightened. I tighten my cravat so later I can loosen it and look tired. I look out the window.

Lakota Reflections from the Rosebud Reservation


By Christopher Wink | May 25, 2006 | Travel Reflection

I have proudly represented Temple University on service immersion trips before. I have had South Dakotan ground beneath my feet before, too. Moreover, I have been with Jason Riley in a rental car and with John Dimino on an airplane before. Still, it is easy to understand that some experiences, no matter the similarities, can never be fully replicated.

Our group of ten administrators and students flew into Rapid City, South Dakota in May 2006, destined to work on the Rosebud Reservation of the Lakota Nation. While nearing the airport from above, below me South Dakota appeared wrinkled and aged. As we further approached, her features took form: trees that survived passed generations of agricultural clearing and beef cattle that survived passed days of agricultural slaughter.

This region of Dakota’s limitless expansion is only interrupted by flurries of elevation change. Once on ground, the pavement of interstate 90 appeared to have tamed the land into a consumable table of gentle slopes and caressing ridges. All of which leads me to offer muddled explanations of the region’s geographical features: endless plains with small, yet punctuated elevation changes interjected regularly.

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Habitat for Humanity in Laredo, Texas Reflections

By Christopher Wink | March 18, 2006

Temple University sent 23 of us to Laredo, Texas to work with Habitat for Humanity. We slept on the ground of vacant classrooms, took less-than-hot showers, and worked a watered-down form of construction from 8am until 4pm daily. For those unfamiliar with what the phrase college spring break generally connotes, this wasn’t your garden-variety week off from American higher education.

Yet, nearly 100 volunteered to pack screwdrivers and hammers in their spring break suitcases. It’s a shame that only 23 of those who applied got to work with the international group that manages to build beautiful homes with volunteer crews and sell them to deserving families with long-term, low interest loans. -The teach-a-man-to-fish type of charity that makes us get mushy inside.

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